"They Wouldn't Dream of Getting a Job: They'd Lose Their Welfare!"

by RICHARD BRODIE August 26, 2011
When I asked our next-door neighbor, a well-known African-American movie actor, why his three healthy, middle-aged brothers didn’t have jobs when, as the actor complained, they were continually “hitting [him] up for money”, he answered—“They wouldn’t dream of getting a job: they’d lose their welfare!”  This statement sums up the poisonous deterrent to personal initiative and the subsequent production of personal sloth engendered by the creation of the welfare state more completely than any statement I have ever heard. I should be broadcast around the country, so exactly to the point it is.
When I was a boy in the 1940s I remember that no one would have dreamed of admitting publically that he was on welfare, or even that he was poor. To confess to poverty meant announcing to the world that one had failed to provide for oneself, that one had essentially failed in achieving the national personal goal of self-sufficiency. Today, by contrast, hordes of picketers can be seen in public demanding this or that form of welfare, almost proudly proclaiming their indigence. Electoral politics have even encouraged officials, a preponderance of them Democrats, to be forthcoming with government handouts as a way of buying whole classes of future voters, and let the country be damned. Even the modern euphemistic vocabulary for welfare has served to erase the stigma of government handouts, with words such as “compensation” and “entitlement” making the reality of being on the public dole sound almost honorable.
A particularly egregious form of welfare is Aid to Single Mothers, a subsidy that not only encourages dependency but that actually discourages marriage, destroying any semblance of family life. In the Afro-American community, for example, the percentage of children born out of wedlock just after World War II was eight percent. Today, with decades of the Aid to Single Mothers program behind us, that figure is close to seventy percent (the Left, of course, blames this high figure on slavery!), with fatherless boys especially forced to look for male role models in organized groups—such as gangs.
Is it a lack of intelligence that makes us choose welfare? Hardly! Our intelligence tells us that if anyone offers us free money we should take it! It is rather our integrity and our traditional American values, both diminishing qualities in our society, that tell us not to take it because taking public money is basically taking money from other people against their will, money they badly need for themselves! What we need is leaders who have the intelligence and the integrity to realize that putting people on the dole creates a class—and eventually a nation—of parasites, a catastrophe for any nation that eventually dooms that nation to oblivion.
Even I, who loathe the idea of welfare, have experienced the seductive appeal of free government money. When I was laid off of my job five years ago I discovered that unemployment compensation, which I knew would last for a year, was quite adequate to live on, which I did for almost the whole year before looking for another job. To my great shame I interpreted it as a paid year’s vacation, which I rationalized by saying that I had paid into it, although in reality it was my employer who had paid into it. I can't believe that I am the only recipient to have reacted in this manner. Of course there is a need for welfare, but it should be reserved for the truly incapacitated, that is, exclusively for the tiny percentage of people who are actually physically unable to work.
So when the public cringes at the current unemployment numbers, particularly among minorities, they should avoid the clarion calls to “compassion” and realize that not only will more government doles foster more parasitism, but that a significant percentage of these unemployed are already in a huge and growing sub-class of people who “wouldn’t dream of getting a job—because they’d lose their welfare!”
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Richard Brodie graduated with a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley. For most of his life since then he has been a freelance artist and writer.

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