Corrosive kindness’ Cato study: Welfare pays Bay Staters $42k/years

By Neil W. McCabe

Almost 20 years after its study comparing welfare benefits to the minimum wage, the Washington-based Cato Institute released a study a new
study showing there are 36 states with welfare benefits more generous than the minimum wage. In 13 states, including Massachusetts, welfare pays more than $15 an hour.
The 52-page white paper for the purposes of analysis assumes an individual receives the benefits from all 72 welfare programs. Adjusted for inflation, the 1995 Massachusetts welfare recipient took in $37, 346 compared to $42,515 today.
The first study was a crucial part of the welfare reform debate. It remains to be seen what impact the new study will have.
One of the landmark achievements of President William J. Clinton was the passage of the 1996 welfare reform law that limited benefits and encouraged recipients to find work.
Clinton was a New Democrat, but he was also a politician. His pollster Dick Morris told him point blank that if he signed welfare reform he would win reelection. If he vetoed the bill, he would lose. He signed it and he won.
Welfare reform had a tough road. When Ronald W. Reagan described real-life people convicted of welfare fraud, the liberal media ridiculed him as if he made it all up.
In his two terms, Reagan never came close to fixing welfare or reining in its costs.
Interestingly, Reagan’s successor, George H. W. Bush, actually ran against Reaganism, when he pledged a kinder, gentler nation, so there was no attempt to go after welfare in that term either.
Then along came Clinton. Just as only Richard M. Nixon could have gone China, only Clinton could have ventured towards welfare reform. But, unfortunately, in the 12 years since the Man from Hope, welfare has made a comeback. First, with the squishy compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush, and then with the out-and-out bread-and-circus vote-buying President Barack Obama.
Obama’s approach welfare is certainly open-minded. Beyond his lifting of work requirements and time limits for individuals, banks, auto companies and, of course, green energy hustlers have all fed at the trough. But, the most damage has been done to the poor, who despite all the best intentions of welfare programs have a shocking lack of success actually bringing people out of poverty. Only a cynic would suggest that this is the actually goal of welfare advocates and the politician partners. But, then again, I am a cynic.
The truth of the matter is that most welfare situations, women-led households, would be solved by a husband with a job.
OK, hold that thought.
My military service on both the sea and the desert has taught me many things, but the thing that jumps to mind right now is that young, unmarried men are trouble. This was as true in Fayetteville, N.C., as it was in New Bedford, where members of my Coast Guard cutter crew would stumble back to the ship, pausing only to take turns trying to break random large storefront glass panes with a single punch.
Luckily, it is harder than it sounds. But, the point is that women civilize men. Think about the Old West gun slingers. As soon as the women showed up and started married those maniacs things calmed down. Now, think about the maniacs in your own life.
Think too, how as E.B. White said it: “The child is the father of the man.”
Going back to women-led households, having a husband and father figure has benefits beyond a paycheck. A man brings order to household and relieves the stress on the single mother doing everything herself.
I am not saying it will work every time, but there are millions of situations, where a single mother could use a husband and single man, who benefit from a committed relationship with a women and her children. Let’s say it is only true for two million people, not a bad dent on our social ills.
But, alas, what is getting in the way? Welfare.
There are at least 36 states where a young man making minimum wage cannot compete with welfare benefits. In simple terms, being in a relationship means giving up all those prerogatives of being an individual. In a way, it is how being in a relationship, or dare I say marriage, makes us better citizens.
With welfare outbidding minimum wage, it makes it a tougher sell for a single mother to give up her prerogatives. Basically, a man making less than $42,515 is out of the game before it starts.
To the liberal looking down from their balcony, the answer is simple: increase the minimum wage. But, that feeds inflation that will drive up welfare payments. Increasing the minimum wage also makes it more difficult for young men to find work, especially men from less mainstream cultures.
The way to go is to cut back on welfare payments, so as to bring back incentives for single mothers to seek husbands, a good thing for mothers, husbands and children. Then, as those individuals come off the welfare rolls, we can address the more difficult cases of poverty.

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