Lazy Welfare Bums Sponge Off Hard-Working Taxpayers . . . Oh, Wait . . .

Not surprisingly, the Right jumped all over a recent paper from the Cato Institute, claiming that welfare benefits offered recipients a better income than actual work, so they didn’t look for work.

“The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work,” reads the introduction.

Now, this has been a Right-wing mantra since, well, probably forever. But along comes Josh Barro (no bleeding heart, he), writing in Business Insider and demolishes it.

“The study is called “The Welfare-Versus-Work Tradeoff,” and it’s meant to show why people don’t get off welfare. And it’s B.S., for three reasons,” Barro writes.

Poverty has gotten worse, and those fortunate enough to live above the poverty line have grown less secure, economically, and it has nothing – zero, zip, nada – to do with sloth, immorality, or the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace. It has to do with decisions made by a relatively small group of people, many of them quite wealthy, in the public and private sectors concerning policy, taxation, the ability of workers to organize, who gets hired and how many and what wages will be paid.

Read Thomas Edsall’s NYT Opinionator piece. Listen to Robert Reich. Heck, go back and dig up a copy of Piven and Cloward’s Regulating the Poor. It’s all there.



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