On Fox News this morning, during my daily ten minute audit to see where the right wingers are getting their crazy ideas, they ran a story about Republican legislators concerned that President Biden’s Covid Relief Plan has unemployment benefits that will “discourage people from looking for work”, specifically a $400 per week unemployment insurance supplement and an extension of programs expanding jobless benefits to millions more Americans through Aug. 29.
A common myth on the right is that giving people “free money” in the form of welfare, or SNAP, or unemployment assistance creates a culture of dependency, and as former Republican Senator Ben Sasse wrote in his book “The Vanishing American Adult”, fails to install a work ethic in young adults, and deprives them of the character building and self-confidence that hard work imparts. Senator Sasse goes on to tell how he raised his daughter and wanted her to “learn how to suffer…because very simply neither our children nor yours will grow up to be free, independent, self-respecting adults if we hand them everything without the expectation of something in return.”
Did you get that? People need to suffer and work hard for their money, or it deprives them of character and creates a culture of dependency if we give them “free money”.
I doubt I will run into anyone on BMG that will agree with the Fox News Desk and Senator Sasse but I have no doubt that some reading this story can relate to conversations in the past with right wingers (and some neoliberal Democrats) who take this stand. If you do, here’s a neat little trap you can set for them:
Agree with them. Tell them you too, feel that when wealth is simply handed over to an individual, it creates a culture of dependency and robs the individual of the dignity of work; that a little suffering and hard work never hurt anyone in the long run and leads to a better person.
Now that they have started to listen to you, because you agree with them, perhaps they will exchange an anecdote or two about a welfare cheat that they heard of or the woman with three children from different fathers….it’s okay, just smile and nod your head. The payoff pitch is in your hand. It’s time to start the windup.
Ask them why so many Republicans in Congress fight to reduce or even eliminate the Estate Tax. Are these legislators not aware that simply giving the children of millionaires and billionaires “free money” creates a culture of dependency and robs the child of the dignity of work; a little suffering and hard work never hurt anyone in the long run and leads to a better person?
Your Republican friend will probably talk about family farms at this point, another myth about the Estate Tax, but you’re made your point and they know it. In truth, your Republican (and maybe your neoliberal friend) sees wealth as a sign of morality and poverty as a sign of immorality, so that is the real reason they view giving the poor “free money” as bad, but giving the rich “free money” as virtuous.
If you really want to have fun, bring up the Trump family, Don’s five children with three different women not to mention his numerous affairs with porn stars and the fact that aside from being a reality TV star and a brief stint at the White House that caused his party to lose the White House, House, and Senate, he’s never really worked. Neither he nor his children never “suffered a little” or worked hard for their money and maybe why that’s why they never became better people?