The Welfare State: Too Many Takers — Not Enough Givers

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It worked. Still the left screams at “Big Oil” for taking advantage of legal tax breaks — offered to other companies — to reduce their tax burden, just as Hollywood producers try to do.

Meanwhile, an MSNBC pundit talks about the damage inflicted on the East Coast by Hurricane Irene. This shows, he said, the vital and unique role played by the federal government in disaster relief. He criticized some Republicans for wanting Irene disaster relief offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. But aside from Republican-libertarian presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul and his senator son, has anyone asked under what congressional authority does Congress take money from its citizens to pay for state “disaster relief”?

Obama, after a two-year spending and regulatory binge, has learned nothing about Economics 101. He recently nominated left-wing economist Alan Krueger as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. President Clinton, among others, relied on Krueger’s widely cited minimum-wage study to push for a higher minimum wage. Economists disagree about a lot of things, but there is a mighty strong consensus among them on this: Forcing employers to pay higher entry-level wages means fewer people will be hired.

Economist Milton Friedman called minimum-wage regulations among the “most anti-black” laws on the books. Why? A disproportionate number of blacks are unskilled and, therefore, are disproportionately harmed when laws force employers to pay more than the market value of labor. In fact, before federal minimum-wage laws began in the 1930s, black teens were more likely to be employed than white teens because they were willing to work for less. Bosses, no matter how racist, were more than willing to pay less for labor. Similarly, so-called federal and state “prevailing wage” laws and “living wage ordinances” disproportionately hurt low-skilled workers of color, women and others who wish to work part time. Yet like clockwork, Democrats and many Republicans pass laws to raise the minimum wage to an “affordable level,” unconcerned about the unnamed person now out of a job.

The “welfare state” chickens, as the Belfast cabbie observed, are now coming home to roost. As governments take more away from their producing citizens and give it to their nonproducers, growth stagnates and opportunities dry up.

As my eighth-grade dropout, WWII ex-Marine dad used to say, “When you try and get something for nothing, you usually end up with nothing for something.” Dad would have enjoyed chatting with the cabbie: “Too many takers — not enough givers.”

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