Thursday, February 6, 2014

The freedom not to work?

Yesterday on van Susteren’s show, Elise Viebeck repeated the specious liberal argument: since all safety net programs disincentivize work, it's not a surprise that and shouldn't count as a defect of Robertobamacare that it disincentivizes work.  She did not offer the corollary that it gave people a “choice,” but that argument is just as bad.

Like most liberal arguments, these trade on distortion and a shallow understanding of context. 

(1) Would anyone take liberals seriously if they said long term unemployment benefits are a good thing...because they give people the option not to work?  Because they gave people a choice?

(2) Never before have we trumpted the work disincentives as a good thing in safety net programs.  Indeed the welfare reform -- that this White House has gutted -- was precisely put in place in the mid-90s to remove such disincentives while still providing a safety net.  Yet this administration sees disincentivizing work and choosing not to work as its version of the American dream.

(3) When Medicaid, food stamps, and others were put in place, we did not have 1 in 5 people on food stamps, we did not have 91 million Americans not working, the labor participation rate was not precipitously dropping as it hadn't in decades, and we weren't arguing about whether to extend 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for a minimum of 12 more weeks...and we didn't have millions, perhaps tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance so these "special few" could choose to work less!  Yet this is the context of this new program.  Unfortunately Republicans so far have not bothered to provide the context.

(4) Liberals do not bother to mention that we did not put safety net programs into place to disincentivize work.  Yet that is what this Pelosi-through-the-looking-glass-"follow your dream" argument suggests -- Robertobamacare allows you to follow your dreams! By not working! So others can pay for your dream! Would it do any good to tell liberals that safety net programs are not put in place so special few can follow their dreams?  At someone else’s expense?

No comments:

Post a Comment