Thursday, May 17, 2012


My friend Amy from Slope of Hope wrote the following excellent comment that I knew someone would state, and she is right on.  So instead of posting the comment in the comment section that would never be read, I wanted to respond right here and give Amy her due.  Thanks for making a great point Amy.

"I think we need to be careful about blaming "those damned bums on welfare". Most of them want to work. It's not their fault that we're in this mess. We're watching the biggest rip-off in history and many of those 46 million are victims who don't have a clue what's happening."

Amy, you are so right of course.  I don't want to paint the picture that most of these folks are not needing it.  Although with 46,000,000 on the roles, I'm going to guess at least 2% to 5% just aren't deserving like the recent story where the million dollar lottery winner was a participant or the report that 20,000 Wisconsin university students had to be kicked off last year.

My post really is lamenting that we are seriously saying that 15% of our entire nation's population is receiving benefits that help to feed themselves.  15% of people aren't earning enough to buy groceries!  That is really why I track this data each month, I'm of the mindset that this is awful and I completely understand that all of them would probably trade places with Mark Zuckerberg or even Goatmug in a heartbeat.

Going deeper, I'm in fact not blaming any of the people that would actually be enticed to go get some aid and benefit for free, in fact it is a natural by-product of what they been told and sold.  I actually blame our entire system as it is removing the notion that self reliance at any cost is better than taking a hand-out.  Once the stigma is removed for these things you almost create an entire class of people willing to live at that standard of living in order to not have to do anything.  Just think about New Orleans prior to Katrina where you had literally generations of families "working the system".  Was it a good living, no, not one bit.  Could they be blamed, perhaps a bit, but it is what they knew and is where they were trapped.  Could the government system be blamed?  Heck yes, as it was easier and better for the government to give them just enough to keep them in control rather than have to face them, deal with them, teach them, and actually raise them up to be people that could stand on their own.  Essentially the entire system created entire classes of PHDs in systemology or the science of working the system to maximize benefits with little or no work.

This is the vision for government in our day, get funding, provide services, advertise services, grow the budget, provide services, and grow the program.  In this set up, SNAP or CALFresh government employees have misaligned incentives as their success depends on the programs growing bigger and bigger.  What motivation does the Director of SNAP have to get people to be self sufficient and get on to real productive lives?  None!  If they do get financially healthy, the Director of SNAP has less power, reduced funding, and less prestige.

In closing, I also lament the shift in mindset this entire country has begun to undergo.  Would you ever have imagined that a large part of the population in the USA would demand forgiving their student loans and demanding this as some right like the OWS movement?  The government and socialists and Democrats and Republicans have grown government so large that we've begun to see government and regulation as the answer to every problem.  In this country we used to do things without government, now it seems no matter how ineffective government is, we need more government to fix the problems created by the government.  Just ask Congress.


Goatmug is an investor that cares about you and your family. Goatmug's Blog - Financial Perspectives From The Mountain Top is a collection of thoughts on our economy and how it impacts the lives of investors and average people. While several specific investments are named in many of his posts, these articles are simply invitations for you to do your own research and reference to these securities does not constitute financial advice. Your situation is complex and unique and you should seek professional assistance with your trading and investing. Please visit Goatmug and share your comments at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting.... if you are leaving spam or any link that is not related to the post, your comment will not be approved.