Welfare has just changed its appearance – its growing in America

April 17, 2010 06:08

If government promises to take care of you even if you don’t work, why try hard?

by John Stossel at FOXNews.com

I’ve reported on the unintended effect of the European welfare state: lack of dynamism. If government promises to take care of you even if you don’t work, why try hard?

If you get fired in France, the government pays you nearly 58% of your previous salary for up to two full years. Even if you’re rich, the government gives you up to $108,000 a year.

I’s one reason why Americans are nearly 40% more productive than the French, and why the French unemployment rate is so high (it never went below 7.7 over the last two decades, and most years it was at 9 or 10 percent.)

Over the years, a smothering blanket of the American welfare state has grown, but until now, it’s never approached Europe’s. Now it has.

Yesterday, Congress voted to extend unemployment benefits for the fourth time in two years. Obama immediately signed it. So now Americans can continue to collect government checks for up to 99 weeks – nearly 2 years.

The result is that more people will stay on welfare – I mean, unemployment benefits – and won’t try as hard to find new jobs. Some people will simply say: why push myself if I can take home almost as much money without working? Even Obama’s Director of the White House’s National Economic Council, Larry Summers, admits that extending unemployment benefits increases unemployment:

“[G]overnment assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work.”

But giving away your money is just too hard for politicians to resist.


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