How the Unemployment Welfare in America Changed

People go hungry in America. Children are homeless in America. Millions of Americans struggle for bare economic survival each day.

Fortunately, Americans are a basically compassionate Sport people. We do not let people suffer and starve without at least making some effort to help. Individuals often help those in need. But for a problem of this magnitude we need more than just the efforts and contributions of generous individuals. We need effective political and economic policies.

No one begrudges welfare for the disabled, the elderly who are poor and alone, or mothers with young children who have no other means of support. But the issue that confronts the government when it seeks to alleviate poverty is this: How do we provide necessary help for people who need it, without perpetuating a culture of welfare for people who no longer need it. This question is of crucial importance because the American welfare system, as it stands today, is a potent cause of poverty -as well as being a major cause of all the broken homes, fatherless children, suicides, health problems, drug trafficking, and violence, that virtually always accompany poverty.

American society used to assume that poor people were ‘different’ than the rest of us, that poverty was somehow a natural and unavoidable condition for certain predisposed persons: blacks, for instance, or Indians, or immigrants. Poverty, broken homes, violence, etc., were thought of as unfortunately inevitable for such people. As society became more enlightened, however, these ideas eventually became politically incorrect, so we searched for new reasons to explain why these people were poor. One major excuse, grounded in our egalitarian principles, was that black people’s psyches had been so damaged by slavery and discrimination that they really could not help themselves -which is as much as to say that even though they were not born ‘inferior’, now they are. So the government is obligated to step in with welfare and other programs (which is only fair because the rest of us are guilty).

And so began the degrading habit of treating poor people in general, and black people in particular, like children, incapable of taking care of themselves.

And yet, when white middle-class people are ravaged by economic catastrophes like sudden job loss, they often resort to drink and drugs, violence and depression, and their children are often neglected and end up in trouble of their own. Divorce, the death of a loved one, and other family catastrophes, often initiate the same chain of events. It does not matter what color one’s skin happens to be or where one’s ancestors came from. The rich and the poor are not different species, and the only way today’s poor will rise to a higher standard of economic life is by the same means that yesterday’s poor did the same thing: not by being degraded and emasculated by government coddling, but by working hard.

Giving Blacks, Hispanics or anyone else, the incessant cultural message that they cannot ‘make it’ in America without extra help and unearned entitlements only perpetuates poverty. Poor groups of people in America, usually newly-arrived immigrants, have always ‘made it’. Yes, the history of black Americans is clearly, and horrifyingly, different. But black people are no different than these other people. And the many (and growing) numbers of black success stories invariably show that African Americans can rise out of poverty by the same means as everyone else. Typically, one generation works exceedingly hard, allowing the next generation to get an excellent education, and fairly quickly the entire group moves up the economic ladder.

Various studies (as well as obvious common sense) demonstrate that married fathers, on average, spurred by the need to take care of their families, work more and earn more than single men. Studies also show that these men, on average, work more and earn more than working mothers. Relatively few mothers of small children make jobs their top priority. But if a mother is taking primary responsibility for the children, fathers typically can and do make jobs a top priority -for exactly the same reason that mothers don’t: i.e., to take care of their children.

And this indicates that a key to eliminating poverty is to encourage strong ties between men and their families. But due to a tragically misplaced ‘compassion’, governmental anti-poverty programs demoralize men, encouraging a state of affairs in which fathers recognize with horror that their families are better off without them! A mother raising young children by herself is eligible for a bonanza of government benefits that are taken away if an able-bodied husband is in the home. So off he goes -feeling hurt and angry and aggressive, seeking once again the pleasures of drinking, fighting, and promiscuous sex that he gave up when he got married. Soon he fathers yet more children that he won’t take care of. His daughters grow up seeing that husbands and fathers are expendable, though having babies brings them free money. His sons grow up without a father to teach them what being a man really means -so they try to learn these things, wrongly of course, from equally immature friends who gather in the streets.