The welfare trap is deeper than I ever imagined. The welfare trap occurs when a person goes on welfare and finds herself stuck: where working harder provides no benefit, or actually costs money. Repeat: the welfare system makes it so people can lose money by working more, enjoy less benefits by getting a raise.
“That’s no trap,” you say, “that’s Utopia.”
I say no. When you do no work you gain no skills and so have no future prospects. Your social interactions decline. Your attitudes become entitled. Your self-esteem shrivels. Worst of all, there is no reason to believe your situation will improve.
Those are just the costs to the recipient who, you’ll recall, is the supposed beneficiary. Imagine what is lost on the donor side. How many men forfeit family and community to pay for that trap? How many women sacrifice family and home life for that trap? What would our communities be like if that time, money and energy were available?
An old Quebecois folk singer coined a phrase that aboriginal reformers have taken up:
“The best way to kill a man is to pay him for doing nothing”