Considering current economic events, here’s one with an ominous warning. It’s from George Will’s column in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Paraphrasing from a book by economist, Nicholas Eberstadt, of the American Enterprise Institute, A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic, he says that 8.6 million adult men were receiving disability payments in 2011. That’s about three percent of the population. Moreover, that it’s increasing every year. Confusing. How is it that people are living well into their eighties, many to ninety and that most seem to exude with good health. Yet at the same time a growing percentage of younger people have somehow become disabled and can’t support themselves?
Do these Current Economic Events represent a false paradox?
To compare take a look at 1960. Then, 134 Americans were gainfully employed for every person taking a disability. Today, that figure is 16 employed for each one taking disability. Care to speculate on the state of things if those figures were 8 to one, or 4 to one?
Current Economic Events: Passing the Point of No Return
You know, of course, that the government—the public sector—doesn’t have an unlimited stash of cash to pay for such services. Instead, what they have is taxed from the private sector, business, industry, and private citizens. And, the more that is taxed—or expropriated—the less is available for more private investment. Should the money grab continue taking bigger tax bites, the smaller the private sector becomes until the government has no where to go for more and the Country is bankrupt. It reminds me of the Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts back in the 1600s. There, the trials were eventually suspended because the Governor realized, despite the apparent need to burn witches, that should they continue, Salem, Massachusetts would run out of females to kill.
Current Economic Events: A Package Deal: Cradle to the Grave
But what if we combine the disability figures with unemployment compensation which is now permitted to run for just under two-years. Let’s also throw in food stamps where 47 million of us use them, or fifteen percent of the population. Also, let’s add workmen’s compensation, plain old welfare such as aid to dependent children, and all the various health care programs now paid for by the gainfully employed. Then, I’d wager that under current economic events, that someone born today could live his entire life and never be required to support himself provided a few colluding doctors were willing to alter the truth. At various stages of his life there would always exist some form of welfare under which he could live as a parasite off the productivity and self sufficiency of others.
Current Economic Events: An Insidious Drain
Okay. What’s next? The larger issue is that welfare in general keeps growing with more and more people dependent on Government for part or all of their existence. Such a situation, of course, is entirely contrary to the framers original intent where government exists mainly to arbitrate disputes and protect the rights of its citizens under the Bill of Rights, none of which included a right to be supported. Also, notwithstanding the waste and corruption involved in administering welfare in general, within each recipient it sets in motion an insidious drain on their self esteem and confidence. And, like a vindictive and addictive drug, it chips away at their general optimism, well being, good will, and regard for others. Why?
Current Economic Events Affect Our Nature
It’s part of our nature as human beings. To survive we must produce the means of doing so, food, clothing, shelter. That we have also developed a division of labor and have the advantages of the most advanced civilization in the world, does not mean that we can forget about the basics, or reality and the necessary virtues we use to deal with it. Personal productivity is one of those virtues. If we’re not personally productive, we survive off the productivity of someone else. Therefore, any attempt to justify lax productivity is nothing more than a broad rationalization for failing to be self supportive and master of your destiny. In other words, if you’re not personally productive, you’re no better than a lazy bum on the street. Also, most of us remember that when our productivity peaks, so does our optimism, general good feelings, and regard for others. When we’re not productive, the opposite occurs. It’s part of our nature.