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The Fallacy of Living Off the Dole

Category: Society
Posted: 04/14/10 11:37

by Dave Mindeman

I've got to talk about conservative welfare myths again. It seems that whenever the economy tanks and the social safety net has to kick in, conservative talk ratchets up the welfare cheating and living "on the dole" denigration of poor people

Another editorial in the Star Tribune tries to, again, give credence to these myths and fallacies. Somebody name Amity Shlaes gives us the latest version:

Amity Shlaes: Here's an incentive to get off the dole

Here is the biggest ongoing myth that this writer perpetuates:

Part of the problem is the relationship between the cost of hiring for employers and the cost of being unemployed for workers. By making hiring expensive through mandates such as health care, the administration is discouraging hiring. By extending benefits for the jobless, the same government is making unemployment less painful -- cheaper -- for workers.

In a nutshell, she is telling us that we don't make unemployment painful enough. It is also noteworthy that she lumps in health care mandates as part of the problem, when they haven't even taken effect yet. The current unemployment problem is not a result of government mandates, government largesse, or government regulation.

It is a function of corporate greed.

If you want to discuss the real problem, then let's discuss it in a larger context. Corporations have been "living off the dole" forever. The entire defense industry...(Halliburton, KBR, Northrop Grummond, etc) live and thrive on government contracts. And better yet, government contracts that have no other purpose than to keep us in perpetual war. It makes that small percentage of welfare cheats look like loose change on the sidewalk.

Living off the dole.

Then you have the Bernie Madoff's and Tom Petters' and Denny Hecker's of the world. For years Madoff and Petters lived large on made up money. It was paper shuffled around making them perceived millionaires. They were given defferential treatment and cajoled by the powers that be. Regulators looked the other way. Hecker's story was slightly different in that he started out with a legitimate business, but it wasn't enough and he saw government regulatory agencies as a means to cheat. Ironically, both Hecker and Petters are costing the taxpayers a court appointed attorney.

Living off the dole.

Then we have the bankers. Bankers aren't satisfied with billions in corporate profits. They aren't satisfied with millions in staff bonuses. They had to take huge risks. Stretching the housing/mortgage bubble to the breaking point. Risks that ended up costing the taxpayers billions of dollars. They ignored regulation and business norms and played dangerous games with other people's money. They lost....big, and ended up....

Living off the dole.

As to unemployment benefits, sure, we don't have to do that. After all, taxpayers shouldn't have to help in anyway to support people. We are, after all, in this for ourselves only, aren't we? We could leave those people on the streets and begging on the street corners. Maybe in desperation they would find a way to subsist. More likely, the desperation will cause them to resent the rest of us. They might turn to crime. They might become a perpetual burden to their families. They might simply end it all.

But at least they wouldn't be living off the dole.
comments (1) permalink
04/14/10 15:08
You forgot those Minnesotan corporate welfare Ponzi queens Steven Mark Renner and Trevor Cook who were each separately ripping off Americans for hundreds of millions of dollars and then donating to the Republican party.

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