Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obituaries | Real Estate Search | Subscriber Services | Contact Us
Camp Verde Bugle | Camp Verde, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 30, 2016


12/11/2012 1:03:00 PM
My Turn: America's safety net has become too comfortable
Jim Barber


To paraphrase Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 13, "America, we have a problem."

Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare has released a study concluding that a single woman with two children is financially better off with a job paying $29,000 than one paying $69,000 due to entitlement benefits. With $6300 food stamps, $16,500 Medicaid and child healthcare insurance, $4300 rent subsidies, $5000 (low) earned income tax credit, school lunch programs, family assistance programs, she has more disposable income.

Of course, there are variations from state to state, but the facts are ominous. Our "safety net" has become a hammock, sucking the work ethic from a once dynamic population seeking, through hard work and initiative, the "American Dream." America is notoriously generous, but the unintended consequence of that generosity is that, through increasing welfare payments - now exceeding $1 trillion a year, excluding Social Security and Medicare - we increase the incentive to not work.

Today, expectations are different. A recent Wall Street Journal article, "What's wrong in Fort Wayne?" told of employers with job openings that go wanting. Part of the problem is a lack of skilled workers, but part of the problem is "a mismatch between...available and desired pay." When being unemployed is made comfortable enough, a pay scale commensurate with the skill level required for some jobs is not incentive enough for many to give up that comfort.

In this highly technological age, new jobs are constantly being created that require new skill sets. Technology is also changing traditional areas of employment, such as manufacturing, requiring fewer workers to accomplish the same job. That means that those entering the labor force need the tools - education and initiative - to acquire and adapt to ever-changing technology. It also means that those who fail to get those "tools", mostly the consequence of poor life-choices such as dropping out of school, substance abuse, having children before becoming adults, etc., are destined to fill those jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder. And, unless they overcome those poor life-choices - return to school, get clean, go to night school, etc. - they are destined to stay there. For most of those job seekers just entering the labor force, those low level jobs are known as "entry level" employment - a transition stage from teenage to adulthood in which they learn what is necessary to gain and hold a good job, such as showing up ready to do whatever is required.

The safety net was intended for those who, through no fault of their own, lose their job, are injured, chronically ill or are otherwise unable to work. It was not meant to support those who make decisions that relegate them to a lower economic status. Unfortunately, it has become a popular theme by liberals to place the blame everywhere but where it belongs - on the individual. Under our runaway welfare spending, no one has to live below the poverty line, even if they fall into that economic stratum. With the various subsidies and grants they easily attain the lower-middle class lifestyle. Too many are perfectly comfortable there. Meanwhile, the country suffers a labor shortage, the inability to create jobs, and a class of citizens permanently dependent on siphoning the fruits of the labor of middle-class America.

Yes, we need a good safety net. But it should be for the helpless - not the clueless.



Jim Barber is a resident of Camp Verde


    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Obituary: Bill J Norman 1930-2016 (816 views)

•   Camp Verde Promotions brings back Scarecrows Around Town contest (488 views)

•   Camp Verde American Heritage now offers bus service (469 views)

•   Charter school's new principal, teachers happy with program's 'atmosphere' (456 views)

•   What does a library card get you nowadays? (305 views)





Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Camp Verde, AZ
Click for weather forecast



Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Extras Submit Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place an Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Obituaries | Real Estate Search | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Camp Verde Bugle ® is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Camp Verde Bugle Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, cvbugle.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Camp Verde Bugle Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved