June 15, 2005

Welfare Ethic

The Progressive side of the aisle is constantly referring to us of the conservative persuasion as being cold and heartless because we don't wholeheartedly support a robust wefare system and believe Social Security isn't the best idea since sliced bread. I think we hold to these beliefs because we are realists and realize that "if you want more of something, you subsidize it."
Progressives seem to believe that the "the poor" as a group are that way because the "society has treated them unfairly" and "held them back from succeeding", despite multitudinous examples of people achieving great success despite having had their starts in some pretty appalling squalor.

I came across this story at Tech Central Station of an Irani-Swedish emmigrant that proves the contentions of the conservatives point of view. The author describes just how an overgenerous welfare system leads to the dependancy of it's constituants on government largesse, not a helping hand on the ladder of success. (note- Social Security is the Swedish term for Welfare here)

Some telling little snippets:

"The strong work ethic that we had brought from our home countries simpered away and we became used to the idea that social security was responsible for our lives."

Social security secretaries assumed that the people that they supported had no sense of responsibility.

One thing that my up growing has shown me is that there is little incentive to work and educate yourself in the Swedish welfare system. According to the Institute for Labour Policies the average salary of a person who has studied at a university for three years is only five percent higher of somebody who is uneducated. Most Swedish families would have higher income if they lived off government and made some money working in the black market.
Note that word incentive, it's the major difference between the Conservative and Progressive view. Conservatives want to help those in need just as much as Progressives do, the difference is we want to give a boost up to survive in hard times, and Progressives seem to think that any restrictions placed on the public largess is "discriminatory" and "demeaning" to the poor.

The author in the story also has fears for the future of her adopted country as a whole, as she has seen first hand the corrosive effects of government handouts. She makes the point that such a system cannot be sustained for the long term because of those corrosive effects on the population as a whole:

For a long time the strong work ethics in Sweden has prevented people from exploiting the system. But this seems to be changing. The work ethic has dramatically fallen in Sweden. More and more people are finding ways of living off government as an alternative to working. Between 20 and 25 percent of the working age population does not work. Between 1997 and 2003 the number of people who were on sick leave increased by more than 200,000, a dramatic number for a small country such as Sweden.

There hasn't been a great epidemic sweeping the country during this period, but rather a change in attitude. Today 62 percent of the employees in Sweden believe that it might be OK to take a sick leave even though illness doesn't stop you from working. This attitude is probably simply an adjusting of ethics to the Swedish system. What can you expect in a country where 9 out of 10 females who are living off sick leave would have less money in their pockets if they went back to their jobs?

The European welfare systems have functioned because of strong work ethics that made people reluctant to exploit them. But these work ethics are the product of a society where you had to work in order to provide for yourself and your family. As people adjust to the political systems we have today the ideas of individual responsibility diminishes. This is exactly what has happened among the large number of emigrants who are dependent on social security. What happens when the rest of the population adjusts to the system?

Welfare, and to a lesser extent Social Security, erodes the work ethic, and in the end leads to a permanent subclass of people that live as parasites of the society that has too much false compassion. Why would I include Social Security in that statement? Think about it...SS gives people the false impression that they need not plan for their future income when the time comes they can no longer work. It's true that they are paying into the system for that purpose, but the fact is that the lower income earners get back benefits in excess of their contributions, even though those benefits are really not high enough to really provide for a comfortable living on their own...so in effect the low income earners are actually being cheated twice.

If they invested the same amount in private accounts, they would receive a much higher rate of return, so they are not getting the full benefit of their hard earned money, yet they have no choice, and the mandatory nature of the system precludes them from making their own investments; the money for that has already been taken by SS. Once in the system, they are bound to it with no chance for improvement other than voting in vote pandering polititions promising to raise their slice of the pie on the backs of the taxpayers. And the cycle continues untill it's inevitable collapse.

Individual Progressives support the system because they have this strange idea that it is the "governments money" that is involved. They have forgotten the basic fact that the government HAS no money other than what they can squeeze out of population through taxes, tarriffs, and licensing fees. The more generous the government largess, the larger the bite they take out of YOUR wallet to pay for it.

Some progressive may point to some of those individuals that rose out of a welfare family background to make great success for themselves, and those individuals do indeed deserve to be lauded for their achievments, but the facts show that for a large percentage of such families; it becomes a multi-generational way of life where the sons and daughters only learn how to "game the system" to receive the maximum amount possible. This is an attitude that is a cancer on any society, and can only lead to an ever increasing sickness in that society's economy to the point of collapse.

Posted by Delftsman3 at June 15, 2005 05:07 PM

Great post Delftsman3, of coures the liberals will scream it's blasphemy, and your nemesis from down under will get her panties in a wad, the truth has been told.

Posted by: Jack at June 15, 2005 05:27 PM
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