The Entitlement Brain Drain

It is often said, “necessity is the mother of invention,” but that only addresses how one decides what to invent. The adage does nothing to address why a person bothers to invent something in the first place. The need to feed and house oneself is the primary force behind all of this. Unfortunately, when government provides everything from an apartment to a cellular phone, and everything in between, the need to be productive for one’s own survival is eliminated.

Jason Blair is a contributor for The Brenner Brief. His columns post on Tuesdays.

Jason Blair is a contributor for The Brenner Brief. His columns post on Tuesdays.

With the president’s help, social welfare programs have morphed from a safety net to a means of subsistence. In 2008, Obama opened the floodgates, lifting the work requirement for food stamps. Under the old rules, people could get food stamps for three months, then had to work at least 20 hours a week to continue getting the benefit.

Not surprisingly, after the work requirement was lifted for able-bodied adults, food stamp recipients increased from 1.9 million to 3.9 million. Additionally, even as the economy is beginning to slowly work itself out of its hole, the president began allowing states to lift the work requirement for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF).

The cost of social welfare programs is well documented. However, there is a silent, more sinister side of this – the brain drain. Our greatest inventions have come from people who came from meager beginnings, but once one chooses government over individual productivity he/she enters into a world of soft serfdom.

Just like the feudal lords who forced their subjects to work for a small existence, the government forces its subjects to temper their accomplishments or lose their benefits. Middle Ages or present day, the result is the same — a growing class of people with no real chance for upward mobility.

What would the world be today if Steve Jobs decided that government support was preferable to the uncertainty of starting a computer company out of his parents’ garage? Ted Turner could have easily decided that taking on the big three networks was insanity and never started CNN.  These men, and hundreds like them, changed the world forever. They could have easily resigned themselves over to a life of government subsistence in exchange for their great minds. These aren’t people who were born with a silver spoon — they were all self-made. The cultural shift is palpable and exacerbated by a president and cabinet actively working to attract citizens to these programs. The danger of losing our next Edison is greater than ever.

Alexis de Tocqueville famously coined the phrase “The Great American Experiment,” referring to a young country that, like its people, was forging its way to greatness during a time where in most of the world, one’s outlook on life was largely dictated by one’s bloodline. America was different; it embraced all minds, rich or poor, and all benefited.

This nation is at a tipping point. With nearly 50 percent of the country not paying income taxes or on some form of government assistance, the welfare stigma is going away. Combine this with the fact that those who do pay get punished for their success with higher taxes and regulations. One has to ask, what incentive does a young mind have to not take the government carrot?

Americans must continue to instill the value into their children that hard work will lead to a happier, freer life. If not, we will fall further behind — economically, academically, and technologically.

Comments

  1. One correction, Obama changed the foodstamp requirement in 2009. I must have hit 8 by accident.

  2. Really well written. Truth is truth. Even if no one believes it.
    Subsidies are the power and control of the socialist-progressives. Even Russia and China know how bad Americans have been hooked. Instead of the War on Drugs, we should be fighting the War on Welfare State.

  3. Thank you for the compliment!

    Liberals (Socialists) mistakenly believe, if government provides for our basic needs, we’ll be free to get higher education, innovate and ultimately reach self-actualization on a mass scale. If this were truly the world would have seen its greatest advancements coming out of North Korea, China, USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, and the welfare class of America. Obviously this has not been the case nor will it ever.

  4. Thank you for cross posting.

Trackbacks

  1. […] the left continues to count on a consistent voting class, and we’re building a system that prevents them from escaping. Republicans will pay if they cannot win the growth versus fairness […]

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