“Poverty” pays better than middle-class employment

I have long maintained that the critical problem with the American welfare state is not “makers vs. takers,” but rather makers who are also takers. A prosperous free society can afford safety-net programs for the truly impoverished, and the citizens of such a society are going to insist on funding one. The great danger of the classic welfare model is that the “safety net becomes a hammock,” by eroding the work ethic of those who spend generations within it. This can inflict horrendous damage on the lower echelons of society – look at what happened to the supposed beneficiaries of the Great Society – but the rest of the national economic structure can survive it. The political will to reform bloated and corrupt welfare programs can still be marshaled.

An out-of-control classical welfare state can cost a lot of money, and it can mess up poor families for generations, but it’s still fairly distinct from the rest of society. And it should be, for both practical and moral reasons. We can all agree that the only “happy ending” for any given welfare recipient is a return to the productive middle class, right? Even the vast majority of liberal American voters would say that’s the desired outcome.

But classical welfarism has mutated into something far more insidious and dangerous. It is the great project of the organized political Left to destroy the “middle class” they pretend to venerate, by infecting it with government dependency. The true hardcore leftist hates the middle class, because it combines numerical voting strength with independence. It has good reasons to resist collectivism, and the political power to do so. This hard-Left hatred is so intense that it frequently spills over into mainstream liberal culture, where it is generally fashionable to express sarcastic contempt for the middle-class lifestyle, or conflate middle-class identity with sheltered, arrogant, insensitive “whiteness.”

When you hear a leftist praise the “middle class,” he’s not talking about the same thing most of us think of when we hear the term. We still associate middle-class living with financial independence and professional success. When a leftist talks about the middle class, he means someone who has a job and depends on government benefits. The desired outcome is the fusion of paycheck and welfare check; takers who are also makers. This allows the collectivist to harvest two types of power from the same vast group of people: confiscation of income through taxation, and direct control through the manipulation of government benefits. Socialized medicine is generally the endgame for the Western Left in any given country, because it moves the political center of gravity permanently and irrevocably to the far Left. It becomes politically impossible to run against the welfare state at that point; you can only ask voters to give you a turn at the controls, with promises to run the machine a bit more efficiently.

But even with medicine only partially socialized in America, the Left is already well along on its project to transform the middle class. As ZeroHedge warns – and not for the first time – the lower ranks of the middle class have become virtually indistinguishable from…

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I have long maintained that the critical problem with the American welfare state is not “makers vs. takers,” but rather makers who are also takers.  A prosperous free society can afford safety-net programs for the truly impoverished, and the citizens of such a society are going to insist on funding one.  The great danger of the classic welfare model is that the “safety net becomes a hammock,” by eroding the work ethic of those who spend generations within it.  This can inflict horrendous damage on the lower echelons of society – look at what happened to the supposed beneficiaries of the Great Society – but the rest of the national economic structure can survive it.  The political will to reform bloated and corrupt welfare programs can still be marshaled.

An out-of-control classical welfare state can cost a lot of money, and it can mess up poor families for generations, but it’s still fairly distinct from the rest of society.  And it should be, for both practical and moral reasons.  We can all agree that the only “happy ending” for any given welfare recipient is a return to the productive middle class, right?  Even the vast majority of liberal American voters would say that’s the desired outcome.

But classical welfarism has mutated into something far more insidious and dangerous.  It is the great project of the organized political Left to destroy the “middle class” they pretend to venerate, by infecting it with government dependency.  The true hardcore leftist hates the middle class, because it combines numerical voting strength with independence.  It has good reasons to resist collectivism, and the political power to do so.  This hard-Left hatred is so intense that it frequently spills over into mainstream liberal culture, where it is generally fashionable to express sarcastic contempt for the middle-class lifestyle, or conflate middle-class identity with sheltered, arrogant, insensitive “whiteness.”

When you hear a leftist praise the “middle class,” he’s not talking about the same thing most of us think of when we hear the term.  We still associate middle-class living with financial independence and professional success.  When a leftist talks about the middle class, he means someone who has a job and depends on government benefits.  The desired outcome is the fusion of paycheck and welfare check; takers who are also makers.  This allows the collectivist to harvest two types of power from the same vast group of people: confiscation of income through taxation, and direct control through the manipulation of government benefits.  Socialized medicine is generally the endgame for the Western Left in any given country, because it moves the political center of gravity permanently and irrevocably to the far Left.  It becomes politically impossible to run against the welfare state at that point; you can only ask voters to give you a turn at the controls, with promises to run the machine a bit more efficiently.

But even with medicine only partially socialized in America, the Left is already well along on its project to transform the middle class.  As ZeroHedge warns – and not for the first time – the lower ranks of the middle class have become virtually indistinguishable from

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