Why Work?

How many republicans have blasted Mitt Romney for pointing out how many Americans are now on the dole and unwilling to vote for anyone who will take their goodies away? He was right, but it was too late to do anything about it. Maybe if those oh-so-critical republicans had done something we wouldn’t be at the point where it pays for people to sit home and not work.

This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander,“the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.

We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and… have the same disposable income at the end of the day.

Read the whole thing, it actually gets worse. We’re at the point now where there are only 1.65 private sector workers for every 1 welfare recipient, and for every 1.25 private sector workers there is a welfare recipient and a government worker to support. Talk about a fiscal cliff – we’ve already gone over it, it’s just that nobody’s talking about it.