Welfare Is Not A Right!
If you do not understand why Conservatives are against entitlements, check out the words of Congressman David “Davy” Crockett.
Congressmen David Crockett of Tenn. responding to a bill which was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer.
David “Davy” Crockett Floor of the House of Representatives
“Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.
I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.
Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased.
Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price.
If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.
There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House.
There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt.
We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity.
Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”
This is just Common Sense!
Applying These Words To Today
In recent years, there has been a steep decline in labor force participation — essentially, the percentage of working-age adults who are either working or trying to get work. The House Budget Committee’s recent War on Poverty report largely blames this trend on increased spending on anti-poverty programs, which reduce many people’s incentive to work.
This echoes arguments that many conservatives have made for years — essentially, that the social safety net has been turned into a welfare hammock. Taken to its extreme (and it often is), this line of argument suggests that welfare recipients are cashing in on an easy ticket to a comfortable life in which they opt out of work and instead spend all day smoking dope or playing video games or creating welfare babies to get bigger welfare payments.
As Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget panel, said a few years ago:
“We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.”
The broad strokes here shouldn’t be particularly controversial. After all, a person who can get $500 a month for free is going to be a lot less desperate for work than someone who doesn’t get $500 a month for free. Both people may still be quite desperate — $500 a month isn’t exactly a ticket to Easy Street — but there should be no doubt about who is more desperate.
Case In Point
Back in 2011, Georgia passed a massive immigration law. The law literally put Arizona’s immigration law to shame. As a result of this law however, even legal migrant workers were too afraid to go there.
In a Newscast report, Melissa Stiers of Georgia Public Broadcasting spoke to Steven Johnson of South Georgia Produce, who said his crop was ripe on the ground; but there weren’t enough people to pick it:
“We’re probably at 30 percent of boxes of produce that we would normally get in the spring season,” he says. “And it’s there in front of you to be got, and the markets are good, and you can’t get it. It’s very frustrating. ”
Johnson says the farmers can’t find the labor, as workers who normally come up from Florida are afraid to come across the state line because of the new immigration reform law the governor recently signed.
The problem with this? Is that if you notice the graph below, in 2011 the unemployment rate in Georgia hovered around 10% the whole year.
Now, someone tell me how these farms were unable to find people to pick their fruit. $15 an hour was the medium wage, not to mention the countless hours of overtime being offered. Yet, for some reason, people did not want to work. Anybody have an idea how that could be possible?
The hammock is mighty comfortable isn’t it.