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Welfare

Let’s get one thing clear.

  1. I care for the people less fortunate.
  2. The government has no role in that caring.

Okay, that’s two, but the second is important.  The government has a role.  And that role is to act as the referee in disputes.  It is to make sure that we all face the same rules and laws.  Sure, there is a cost in maintaining a government, so we tax to pay for it.  But that role of government is not meant to take money from those who have it and just flat out GIVE it to those who don’t.

When that role is given to the government, bad things happen.  Really bad things.

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So, the United States isn’t doing so well educating our kids:

Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment to be released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.

And, on top of delivering horrible results, we’re spending more money than ever while watching our performance lag:

…with the exception of Switzerland, the United States spends more than any other country on education, an average of $91,700 per student between the ages of six and fifteen.

That’s not only more than other countries spend but it is also more than better achieving countries spend – the United States spends a third more than Finland, a country that consistently ranks near the top in science, reading, and math testing.

This isn’t new.  We’ve known this for a long time now.  And, just as long as we’ve been watching spending go up and achievement go down, we’ve been debating how to change one or both of those trajectories.  And of all those debates, few have been more contentious than all the others.  That subject?  That topic?

Choice.

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There is nothing government can do to help.

Government, in it’s purest form is a concept rooted in “negative liberty“.  That is:

Negative liberty is defined as freedom from interference by other people…

That is, Liberty is best defined as that state found when living alone, on that “deserted island” where no man can take or demand.

On that island, a man is free and owns his liberty.

If, in the course of living, another should try to take from him his liberty, he is within “justice” to defend his self, his property and his life.

Government is nothing more than the collective acting as the individual in saying, you may not do this thing.

So be careful when the government comes to you offering you help.

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Because it’s hard for a person who wants to get elected to tell the people doing the electing that they need to suck it up.

While I’ve only been politically jazzed for 2-3 years now I have always wondered how “other people” vote.  You know, do they vote for what’s good for them and them only or do they vote for the better of “the system”.

For example, if a road is going to run through my backyard means I lose my house but it’s good for the community, should I vote for it or against it.

Can you imagine how different a father would discipline his children if they could somehow “vote him out”?  The only reason we successfully raise our children is that we create rules that they otherwise would not generally abide.

Same for politics.

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Wherever the oil went, the damage done to the area is horrific.

Industries are impacted.

Families are impacted:

LAKESHORE, Miss. – Pete Yarborough, a trucker who hauled seafood until the BP oil spill hit, and about 800 other households are under pressure to buy or get out of the state-owned cottages they’ve been living in…

I can’t imagine.

If I’m in a position where I’m in government housing  the last thing I wanna hear is that my only means of making a living is ending.  AND I’m facing a deadline.

But there’s more than meets the eye.

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Just as I uploaded my most recent post to Twitter, I saw that Cato referenced a post by Jeffrey Miron, an Economics Professor at Harvard.

He basically says the same thing I do:

On several occassions over the past few weeks, I have expressed the view on TV/radio that unemployment insurance is one factor that keeps unemployment elevated.

Not that a Sr. Fellow at the Cato Institute needs any backup, he brings it with an article from the NY Times:

Struggling to keep its budget under control after the financial crisis, the government in June cut into its benefits system, the world’s most generous, by limiting unemployment payments to two years instead of four. Having found that recipients either get work right away or take any job as their checks run out, officials are also redoubling longstanding efforts to move Danes more quickly out of the safety net.

It would appear that this long hair isn’t stewing alone in his own juices.

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Earlier I mentioned that I found it funny that somehow having the government take money from some people and give it to other people is seen as a good thing.

Step away for a second about where the money comes from, from whom it comes and other such details, I am interested in the science that states, in essence,

“Money in the hands of someone unemployed is spent better than that same money in the hands of someone NOT unemployed.”

Can you answer that question?

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