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Monday, June 1, 2015

When You Eliminate Risk, This Is What You Get

To many, I might be considered a "Right-Wing Tax Zealot".  You'd be wrong, as I am neither right-wing (I'm a small-L libertarian) nor a zealot (I don't think being principled makes you a zealot).

When it comes to taxes, I am VERY principled.  I believe that all taxes received must be used for services that are available to every single person inside of that taxing district (with regards to federal taxes, I support any tax that pays for any federally mandated - Constitutional - responsibility of the feds).

Police - check
Fire - check
Emergency medical via 911 - check
Water treatment - check
Schools - check
Parks - check
Public transportation - check
Public roadways - check
Public libraries - check

Every one of those things are equally accessible to any person in the tax district - even the schools.  If you want to enroll in 6th grade, you're legally here from another country or state, enroll and become educated.  Regardless of your age.  More power to you.

Where I will not faulter in my principles is when public funds are used and available only to defined segments within the taxing district.

WIC - denied - must be a poor woman and have a baby
Welfare - denied - must be poor
Health care - denied - must be poor
Public Housing/Section 8 - denied - must be poor
Disabled payment - denied - must be disabled (thru birth, accident or bad choices)

Chief, Chief, Chief - you cranky old man!  How can you literally take food out of the mouths of babies?  And a disabled person?  Are you just mean?!  You don't want to help some kid that's born with no legs?

I get this screed even from my truly right-wing friends.  My answer has never wavered:
These are things for private charity, not government programs.  Charity is voluntary, taxes are not.  Since I did not place any of these individuals in the circumstances in which they find themselves, I will not be responsible for their care.
 I truly, honest to God, believe that giving something to someone without strings attached does more harm than good.  I'm not talking about giving someone a birthday present or wedding gift.  I'm talking about something that makes their lives easier.

Why?  Because without the strings attached, doing so encourages more of the behavior that put them in their current situation where they're unable to care for themselves.

Give a man a fish, and he's looking to you for his fish tomorrow.  Make him struggle to learn how to fish, and he can now provide for himself.

This is no longer even a topic for debate.  We have 60 years of accumulated data in this country that the Marxist ideology of Government Humanitarianism simply does not work.  Not surprisingly, it encourages more people to draw on those programs.

Look what's happened to the number of people on Social Security Disability payments.  Did some freak occurrence happen that suddenly crippled millions of Americans?  Or did it just get easier to be classified as disabled - and get paid for it?

Numbers in Thousands - Source:
In roughly 19 full years from 1996 to the end of 2014, the population grew by 21%.  During that same period (Jan 1996 to Dec 2014) the number of people getting Disability Payments grew by 113%.

Since virtually all safety statistics have improved over that time frame, one is left to surmise that this nearly 6-fold increase in disability recipients is the result of poor personal choices, easier qualification, or both.

I'm betting on both.

We've removed risk from society.  Without risk, there can be no negative result from your choices.  We lose innovation, and most importantly, we lose motivation.

You can do as you please, and not be worried about the negative consequences of your behavior.  Go ahead, eat yourself into a food coma each night.  Nanny will pick up the tab because you're a victim and not responsible for the fact you couldn't put down the Ben and Jerry's until the quart was empty.

Instead of having to change your behavior, you're classified as disabled, and get a check each month.

And that's what makes "Strings Attached" so important.  Private charities are more efficient and effective because they can set standards - they can discriminate between who gets their dollars and who doesn't.

They can say, "Young lady, we're going to help you feed your baby.  Regardless of the choices or circumstances that put you in this situation, we're willing to help you out.  Here are the rules:  No more kids until you get your diploma, and a job that pays enough for you to support yourself and your child.   It's that simple.   If you don't like the rules, go somewhere else.  We're not going to pay you to become a burden on society when there are people our limited dollars can really help".

Will some children die as a direct result of this policy?  Doubtful, but maybe.  I'd guess it would be no more than die in households that currently accept WIC and welfare.

What it WOULD do is establish consequences for your behavior.  Straighten your shit up, and we'll help.  Don't, and we won't.

Keep it up - spitting out kids you can't afford to raise - and we'll restrict your freedom because of the burden you're placing on society.  Yeah, we'll throw your ass in jail and take your kids.

By having multiple children you can't afford to raise, you're treating those kids like income-producing property.  Just like a person who tosses their unwanted couch on the lawn of a neighbor expecting them to clean it up, their behavior of dumping their unwanted children on society must have consequences as well.

You can make a similar case for any of the other "entitlements" in the "denied" category above.

Not only does government make the distinction between who does or does not benefit from taxes, they actually go out of their way to encourage people to remain dependent.  They've been VERY successful in their tireless efforts.

They get votes that way.  Lots of them.
What did taxpayers give to the 109,631,000 — the 35.4 percent of the nation — getting welfare benefits at the end of 2012? 
82,679,000 of the welfare-takers lived in households where people were on Medicaid, said the Census Bureau. 51,471,000 were in households on food stamps. 22,526,000 were in the Women, Infants and Children program. 20,355,000 were in household on Supplemental Security Income (ed. NOT Social Security - See Here). 13,267,000 lived in public housing or got housing subsidies. 5,442,000 got Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. 4,517,000 received other forms of federal cash assistance.
That's the evil beauty of Marxist dogma.  Government Humanitarianism seems like such a noble idea.  You take just a few dollars from lots of people, and you can save the world!

Except it never works that way.  Never.  It can't.  It's human nature to take the easiest path to a given goal.  

No multi-millionaire ever decided to triple the cost or amount of time it takes to bring a product or idea to market.  Economy Of Effort motivates you to innovate a quicker and better path.

If your government tells you that you're a victim, and you need nothing more in life than food, housing, clothing - and someone will give it to you at no cost or obligation - well HELL, who wouldn't take that deal?

Because of your choice to NOT avail yourself of a public education, you don't have the skills or knowledge to support yourself.  Your options are to get a market-driven minimum wage job and live in poverty, or don't get a job and get the same thing.

Generation after generation sees how the game works, and follow suit.  Instead of seeing the negative consequences of bad choices - dead of diabetes at 45, or 4 kids taken to Foster homes from a 22 year old brood sow - they see government checks.  Victim-hood pays.

By government encouraging this dependency/entitled/victim mindset, we end up with burger flippers demanding $15 an hour when the skills necessary to perform the task are worth $5 an hour.  Mandate that they must be paid that amount, and you remove the motivation of the flipper to better him or herself.

As an unintended consequence, you will motivate the business owner to innovate.  Suddenly, you could end up with a burger that is made with no human intervention other than the delivery guy who fills the bins with meat, tomatoes, pickles, buns and cheese - that were all prepared in an automated factory.

Oh wait.  Sorry.  They've already done it...

Coming To A Burger Joint Near You!

A hot, juicy burger that wasn't handled by some pre-syphilitic, entitled teen?  I'll take two.

You just keep pushing for that government-mandated $15 an hour "living wage", sport.  The more money you get (as opposed to earn) by raising the taxes or costs of the producers will result in fewer actual human jobs.

It's an old but accurate truism:  Subsidize behavior you want to encourage - Tax behavior you want to discourage.

Hey Mr. Marx!  How's that workin' out?  Ask Mr. Galt - he knows.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have to read "in our hands" by Charles Murray, he wrote the bell curve, coming apart and albions seed, all are great reads that make you think