Monday, September 5, 2011

Then you pay for it

Maxine Waters, Democratic Congresswoman from California, is calling for a new government jobs program that costs more than one trillion dollars.  She expresses a belief that measures such as cutting taxes for job creators and cutting government spending will harm the economy more than it helps.

Ms. Waters, I must respectfully disagree.  We are worse than broke.  We got this way in part because we distorted what should have been a free market where those with good jobs and a good credit record could afford to buy a home into a market where the only thing produced is bad debt and foreclosures.  We got this way because a good chunk of two generations of American children have been let down by their parents and been raised in one parent households and warehoused in schools that get worse every year.  Throwing even more money down that particular hole will do nothing to put people into sustainable jobs that will be there when the government money stops flowing.

I agree with Congresswoman Waters in that we as a society have failed the poor.  Through programs such as housing projects, food stamps, funding for schools that continually crank out illiterates, and tolerance for rampant criminality, we have discouraged productive lifestyles and encouraged destructive ones.  We have robbed them of the motivation to do better than their forebears and the means to do it.  We have fostered a culture of generational poverty and dependence where there is no shame in living as a beggar to the taxpayer and being a felon is celebrated.

But putting the country another trillion plus dollars in debt is not going to fix that.  I'm not saying that I have the answer to this problem that has taken almost 50 years to create.  But I know that continuing to offer the public teat as a pacifier isn't it.

If we want to get poor and unemployed people working, especially those who have never held a good, steady job, we need to provide both a carrot and a stick to get into the workforce.  The carrot is already there.  Getting a job gives someone a way to provide for themselves and their families, and the government already provides for job training through programs such as Pell Grants and Americorps.  The stick should be what it has always been, starvation.  I feel compassion for the young and the old, who have every reason to need help.  I feel for those adults who truly cannot provide for themselves.  For the rest, all I want to provide for them is opportunity, which already exists.  Yes, jobs that pay large salaries with generous benefits are thin on the ground in a lot of the country right now, but there are jobs to be had.  If one entry level job is not enough to put food on the table, look for two.  No job is beneath a man or woman who is willing to work for their daily bread, and there is no better motivator than worrying about where your children's next meal will come from and wanting your children to know that you worked hard to make sure they had a chance in life.  Your constituents need to stop worrying about the respect of their criminal friends and start worrying about the respect of their children.

Ms. Waters, if you feel that more time and money should be spent to get those who do not have nor have looked for a better job and life into the work force, then put your money where your mouth is.  Give up your own outsized income and ask those who donate money to your campaign coffers to instead donate to job training and placement programs.  Quit condemning business and start condemning those who have convinced your constituents that it's better to live in comfortable poverty and be a felon than it is to work as hard and as long as necessary.

In other words, until you are ready to give up your comfortable position and income, quit looking hungrily at what I and those like me have scraped together with talent, hard work and luck.


Old NFO said...

I have to disagree on one 'small' point... Poverty doesn't include cell phones, cable TV, cars and air conditioning... Poverty is not having ANY luxuries, and scraping to have enough for food... Also the 99 week unemployment payments are BS! Studies have shown the majority don't even START looking for work until they are down to three months of unemployment left... sigh. Cut it back to 26 weeks, and if you're not trying, then cut it off entirely...

Scott McCray said...

Amen! Amen, to both of you!

MrG's said...

Ageed, we have the richest "poor" people in the world. Wanna see poor, go to Africa or the shantytowns in south America. That is poverty, not the freeloading crap we see here. Not only are they proud to be poor, they have an entitlement mentality. more gimme,gimme,gimme I am owed.

DaddyBear said...

That's why I used the term "comfortable poverty". I've seen people who were thankful for a hooch made out of plastic sheeting and a couple of milk goats because there were lots of people with less. Our definition of poverty is better than at least half of the human population lives.

Mr. G, I remember someone once telling me that all I was entitled to was the air I breathe and the sunrise tomorrow morning. I wish more people were told that and remembered it.

I hadn't considered the unemployment numbers, NFO. Honestly, the people I know who have had to go on unemployment have gotten a new job before 26 weeks, so I can't comment on when a majority starts working. I'll have to read up on that.

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