You Don’t Need to Work to Make a Living

by: Brent Smith at the Common Constitutionalist

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Have you ever wondered why America’s unemployment rate is so low.

Over the years, I’ve gone through the various methods the government uses to calculate the employment, or unemployment rate – the different categories like U-3 vs. U-6 and so on. Knowing the particulars of each, we are effectively able to prove what are crock the published “U3” unemployment rate is and how useless and misleading the most often used U-3 number is..

Within the U3 category, the government differentiates between being unemployed and not working. Well, that’s easy, you may say. Maybe those in the “not working” category are the stay-at-home-Mom types. My apologies to stay-at-home Moms, but you know what I mean.

You may think that but you’d be incorrect. The “not working” category are those who are so discouraged that they just stopped looking. They are not counted as being unemployed. Of course they are, but not according to the government. It’s why the unemployment rate is so low. It’s a bogus, or at best, a misleading number – and purposely misleading.

Logically then, one may ask just how all these millions of people have been surviving for all this time – sometimes years to generations, without employment – without a paycheck?

Well, they may not be employed, but they sure receive a paycheck, of sorts, courtesy of you and me. In fact, in some States, families bring in more money through 126 government “entitlement” programs than they would earn if employed.

I’ve personally heard more than a few times from prospective employees, that, “I can make more money on government benefits than I can working for your company.” It’s called a perverse incentive, and boy is that right. As bad as this sounds, it’s actually worst than most people think.

In the video below, Michael Tanner, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, explains just how out-of-control the “entitlement” system in America has become.  read more

West Virginia Reminds the Kids Just Who is Paying the Bills

by: the Common Constitutionalist

What do you call one who is unable to feed, cloth or house him or herself without a benefactor? Well, I would call them children.

We bring children into this world, which unlike some in the animal kingdom, can literally do nothing for themselves. We as parents happily (hopefully) provide for all their needs and at least some of their wants – although I know some parents who provide virtually all their kids’ wants. Those we classify as spoiled brats. For the most part they are.

When children are young it is a relatively routine task to care for them. They don’t need anything particularly special and they demand little beyond the basics. They say please and are thankful for what they receive.

It’s when they get to be teenagers they try to stretch the boundaries and that’s when parenting becomes more difficult. Parents hate to say no their children, but good ones understand that the job is to raise good responsible kids who then grow to be good responsible adults.

Part of being good, responsible kids or adults is abiding by certain rules. This is where the tried and true statement, “As long as you are living in this house, or under my roof, you must abide by our rules,” comes from. read more

One Nation Tries To Tackle Its Welfare Problem

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Every developed nation on Earth, at least so called Western Nations, has something in common and that something is what to do about the poor.

Countries wrestle with the social and economic impact – we/they struggle with the ever-increasing cost of caring for our/their poor. Those on the left insist it is our duty as a grand collective to redistribute the wealth from the haves to the have-nots. Those on the right agree that some care should be provided to the working poor, the homeless and truly indigent. This debate has been raging for multiple decades with no end in sight – the left advocating for ever more entitlements and the right insisting on some accountability.

Instead of just endlessly debating the issue the Island nation of New Zealand years ago decided to try something new. In 2013 they overhauled their welfare system to make those who receive payments somewhat more accountable. Some of the changes included discouraging families on welfare from having more children, requiring recipients to reapply for benefits at set intervals, cutting benefits if certain obligations are not met and guiding recipients into work. They also instituted a penalty for abusers of the system where a spouse must repay any benefit his or her spouse received under false pretenses. Try that in America.

Although the system has helped, the government of New Zealand is still not satisfied. So, it’s on to something new and even more radical. They call it a “Universal Basic Income” (UBI) and it “involves a basic, unconditional, fixed payment made to every person in the country by the state in lieu of benefits.” read more

An Argument for Amnesty

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I’ve had an epiphany recently. For years, heck, as long as I can remember, I’ve been dead set against any form of legalization or amnesty for any person illegally here in the United States. Whether it be an illegal who waded across the Rio Grande, the Swedish Bikini team who overstayed their visas or a child who was brought here illegally by his or her parents.

 

It didn’t matter to me how they arrived or why, or what their reason for staying. They all had to go, I thought. I was unapologetic and steadfast.

 

Well, times have changed and we dusty old constitutional conservatives must change or be left behind.

 

I hope you will now join me in converting to the pro-amnesty side as I lay out my argument.

 

The crux of my reasoning has more to do with current American citizens then those as yet undocumented.

 

Now, back in the bad old days citizens were expected to get an education and then venture out into the world to earn a living. One was actually expected to work for a paycheck. Seriously? Yes – I’m not kidding. read more

Federal Government Has Declared War On Work

While 50 years ago the federal government declared war on poverty, I would submit that in recent years it has led an undeclared but real new war: a War on Work. The government increasingly is using its coercive powers to punish people who want to work, creating a vast class of able-bodied Americans dependent on the government — and politicians — for their daily bread.

The statistics are startling. A smaller proportion of working-age Americans works today than when the recession officially ended 4-1/2 years ago (June 2009).

But this trend is not just a failure of policies to encourage economic recovery, such as the stimulus package and the ineffective, highly expansionary Federal Reserve monetary policy. The decline in work has been going on since at least 2000, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. read more

Work is a Four Letter Word

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

The AP reported, “The House is poised to vote on cutting $4 billion a year from food stamp assistance, now used by one in seven Americans.”

 

To that, Nancy (Bella, I vant to suck your wallet) Pelosi said, “Maybe I’m just hoping for divine intervention, but I really do believe that there are enough Republicans that will not identify themselves with such a brutal cut in feeding the American people.” (Thanks to Jay Severin for the Bella Pelosi reference)

 

Well Bella, I’m sure you’re right. There will most likely be plenty of squishy, scared of their own shadow Republicans to kill or seriously watered-down the proposed bill. And as for the “brutal cut” as you describe it; proposing a one-dollar cut would be considered brutal for money-grubbing statists such as you. And another thing: what would Pelosi know about “divine” intervention? Always remember the progressive creed: government can never do with less… ever.

 

What the Democrats and RINOs won’t tell us is that the cuts are targeted. They are targeted at those recipients who are able-bodied and without dependents. The bill will actually have work requirements similar to the welfare reform act of 1996 that forced those who were able, back to work. Shocking! How mean-spirited.

 

But worry not all you bleeding heart liberals and big government progressives. Regardless of what happens in the House, the bill will die in the Senate. Harry Reid has assured us of this.

 

But what of us real conservatives? Those of us who don’t think the House reforms go nearly far enough. Is there any model, any state that is trying to do something about the well-known waste and abuse of the entitlement system?

 

Funny you should ask. The state of Michigan, of all places, is attempting just that.

 

The Michigan Senate recently passed a bill that will make those on public assistance do, at minimum, volunteer work. The Michigan House has upped the ante. Their bill will require benefit recipients to be drug tested. Those testing positive will have their benefits revoked and new applicants, or those current recipients who refuse testing will be denied benefits.

 

State Senator Joe Hune, the work bill sponsor said: “The whole intention is to make some folks have some skin in the game and I don’t feel there’s any problem with making folks go out and do some kind of community service in order to receive their cash assistance.”

 

There was of course the typical Democrat response saying that the bill was intrusive and mean. Vincent Gregory, a Senate Democrat, explained that, “a lot of people are embarrassed to even be there (asking for benefits) and they have this put on them. It’s this feeling that this is what the public wants, but the public doesn’t want to see people beaten down.”

 

You’re absolutely correct Senator. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to see anyone beaten down, but when an applicant for employment at my company tells me, “I make more in benefits than I could working for you”, where is the incentive to work?!

 

I agree with Sen. Hune. Everyone needs a little “skin in the game”. What’s wrong with drug testing them and having them go out and clean up a park or something?

 

Once again we can count on one of the founders to provide us guidance.

 

Ben Franklin’s famously said: “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Michiganders To Work For Welfare, Pass Drug Test

LANSING (WWJ) – Could this mean the end of welfare as we know it?

A bill has passed in the Michigan Senate that would require those receiving public assistance to do some “volunteer” work. Another bill, which passed the House Commerce Committee, requires drug testing, revoking benefits for welfare recipients who refuse the test or who test positive.

“What [the legislation] does, it says, in order for your to receive your cash assistance, your welfare check, you must provide some kind of community service to the community,” said the volunteer work bill’s sponsor, State Senator Joe Hune, who represents  Livingston and Shiawasse counties in Mid-Michigan. read more

Wanted – An Honest Politician

Big Lies in Politics

By Thomas Sowell

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.

Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.

There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.

After the Constitution of the United States was amended to permit a federal income tax, in 1916, the number of people reporting taxable incomes of $300,000 a year or more fell from well over a thousand to fewer than three hundred by 1921.

Were the rich all getting poorer? Not at all. They were investing huge sums of money in tax-exempt securities. The amount of money invested in tax-exempt securities was larger than the federal budget, and nearly half as large as the national debt.

This was not unique to the United States or to that era. After the British government raised their income tax on the top income earners in 2010, they discovered that they collected less tax revenue than before. Other countries have had similar experiences. Apparently the rich are not all fools, after all.

In today’s globalized world economy, the rich can simply invest their money in countries where tax rates are lower.

So, if you cannot rely on “the rich” to pick up the slack, what can you rely on? Lies.

Nothing is easier for a politician than promising government benefits that cannot be delivered. Pensions such as Social Security are perfect for this role. The promises that are made are for money to be paid many years from now — and somebody else will be in power then, left with the job of figuring out what to say and do when the money runs out and the riots start.

There are all sorts of ways of postponing the day of reckoning. The government can refuse to pay what it costs to get things done. Cutting what doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients is one obvious example.

That of course leads some doctors to refuse to take on new Medicare patients. But this process takes time to really make its full impact felt — and elections are held in the short run. This is another growing problem that can be left for someone else to try to cope with in future years.

Increasing amounts of paperwork for doctors in welfare states with government-run medical care, and reduced payments to those doctors, in order to stave off the day of bankruptcy, mean that the medical profession is likely to attract fewer of the brightest young people who have other occupations available to them — paying more money and having fewer hassles. But this too is a long-run problem — and elections are still held in the short run.

Eventually, all these long-run problems can catch up with the wonderful-sounding lies that are the lifeblood of welfare state politics. But there can be a lot of elections between now and eventually — and those who are good at political lies can win a lot of those elections.

As the day of reckoning approaches, there are a number of ways of seeming to overcome the crisis. If the government is running out of money, it can print more money. That does not make the country any richer, but it quietly transfers part of the value of existing money from people’s savings and income to the government, whose newly printed money is worth just as much as the money that people worked for and saved.

Printing more money means inflation — and inflation is a quiet lie, by which a government can keep its promises on paper, but with money worth much less than when the promises were made.

Is it so surprising voters with unrealistic hopes elect politicians who lie about being able to fulfill those hopes?

American Hyper-Stupidity

Let’s file this one in the , “Could we get any Dumber”, category.

By Daniel Horowitz (The Madison Project):

Much ink has been poured over the fact that 51% of tax filers paid no federal income taxes in 2009. There is less attention directed towards the more outrageous statistic; 30% of tax filers had a negative tax liability that year. In other words, they made money off the tax system.

Those who won the jackpot on tax day benefited primarily from refundable tax credits; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit
(ACTC, the refundable portion of child tax credit), and the now-expired Making Work Pay Credit. In 2011, refundable credits cost the treasury about $94.4 billion. Keep in mind that this is just one small portion of the burgeoning welfare empire, approaching $1 trillion in total federal, state, and local expenditures. While it would be nice to get rid of these redistributive “tax expenditures” for everyone, we could start with illegal aliens.

Last July, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Collection released a shocking report detailing how illegal aliens are able to utilize a filing loophole to obtain billions in ACTC funds. While EITC appropriations are protected from illegals (those who don’t engage in identity theft) because they are only awarded to those who provide a valid Social Security number, the same cannot be said for the ACTC. Illegals can receive the ACTC by merely providing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their 1040 form, which is blithely issued by the IRS. In 2010, according to the report, illegals received $4.2 billion in ACTC payouts. That accounts for roughly 15% of all outlays for that refundable credit.

During the December imbroglio over the payroll tax cut, the House inserted a provision to require a valid Social Security number in order to collect the ACTC. Republicans planned to use the savings as part of the offset package. Now that the bill, HR 3630, is pending before the conference committee, we must ensure that the ACTC provision is part of a legitimate proposal to offset the cost of the extenders package.

Originally, the Joint Committee on Taxation scored the savings as $2.6 billion for 1 year and $9.4 billion over 10 years. However, as Joint Committee on Taxation Politico noted earlier this month, that estimate assumes the Bush tax cuts – along with the expansion of the child tax credit – will expire. If you assume a baseline in which the tax cut is extended ($1,000 per child, instead of $500), the ten-year savings can be as much as $24 billion.

Now, obviously $24 billion over 10 years is not enough to offset even the unemployment and doc fix components of the package for just 1 year (a cost of up to $70 billion for the Senate version). Nonetheless, it is a legitimate offset, and should serve as part of a broader package of spending offsets for the bill. If we can’t force the issue on refundable tax credits for illegals, we will never be able to cut one inch from the welfare empire for the broad populace.