|Why start now, Big Boy?|
"One fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming "sick benefits", week in, week out for ten years and counting.By 2012, one tenth of the adult population had done not a day's work since Tony Blair took office on May 1st 1997 - a decade and a half earlier. In such households, the weekday ritual of rising, dressing, and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. In Ferguson, Missouri, the "conversation", as they say on MSNBC, is between the dependent class and the governing class that ministers to them and keeps them in line. If you're a convenience store owner, your low-skilled service jobs are the only labor on offer, and, for your pains, you get burned and looted by the dependent class while your 911 calls go unanswered by the governing class, both of which you fund. ...
Consider Vermont. Unlike my own state of New Hampshire, it has a bucolic image: Holsteins, dirt roads, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Ben & Jerry's, Howard Dean... And yet the Green Mountain State now has appalling levels of heroin and meth addiction, and the social chaos that follows. Geoffrey Norman began a recent essay in The Weekly Standard with a vignette from a town I know very well — St Johnsbury, population 7,600, motto "Very Vermont", the capital of the remote North-East Kingdom hard by the Quebec border and as far from urban pathologies as you can get. Or so you'd think. But on a recent Saturday morning, Norman reports, there were more cars parked at the needle-exchange clinic than at the farmers' market. In Vermont, there's no inner-city underclass, because there are no cities, inner or outer; there's no disadvantaged minorities, because there's only three blacks and seven Hispanics in the entire state; there's no nothing. Which is the real problem.
Large numbers of Vermonters have adopted the dysfunctions of the urban underclass for no reason more compelling than that there's not much else to do. Once upon a time, St Johnsbury made Fairbanks scales, but now a still handsome town is, as Norman puts it, "hollowed out by the loss of work and purpose". Their grandparents got up at four in the morning to work the farm and their great-great-great-whatever-parents slogged up the Connecticut River, cleared the land, and built homes and towns and a civilization in the wilderness. And now? A couple of months back, I sat in the café in St Johnsbury, and overheard a state bureaucrat and a Chamber of Commerce official discuss enthusiastically how the town could access some federal funds to convert an abandoned building into welfare housing...
What does every initiative of the Obama era have in common? Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security disability expansion, 50 million people on food stamps... The assumption is that mass, multi-generational dependency is now a permanent feature of life. A coastal elite will devise ever smarter and slicker trinkets, and pretty much everyone else will be a member of either the dependency class or the vast bureaucracy that ministers to them. And, if you're wondering why every Big Government program assumes you're a feeble child, that's because a citizenry without "work and purpose" is ultimately incompatible with liberty. The elites think a smart society will be wealthy enough to relieve the masses from the need to work. In reality, it would be neo-feudal, but with fatter, sicker peasants. It wouldn't just be "economic inequality", but a far more profound kind, and seething with resentments.
Labor Day is an appropriate occasion on which to reflect upon the dignity of work and self-sufficiency and its indispensability to a civilized society. There may be something down the pike that can replace it, but, on the evidence so far, welfare, minimum-wage service jobs, heroin and meth aren't it."...........
Paradoxically, a word spoken in season is timeless:
Ronald Reagan's Labor Day Speech at
I have talked with unemployed workers all across this country. I have heard their views on what Jimmy Carter has done to them and their families.
They aren’t interested in semantic quibbles. They are out of work and they know who put them out of work. And they know the difference between a recession and a depression.
Let Mr. Carter go to their homes, look their children in the eye and argue with them that in is “only” a recession that put dad or mom out of work.
Let him go to the unemployment lines and lecture those workers who have been betrayed on what is the proper definition for their widespread economic misery.
Human tragedy, human misery, the crushing of the human spirit. They do not need defining--they need action.
And it is action, in the form of jobs, lower taxes, and an expanded economy that -- as President -- I intend to provide.
Call this human tragedy whatever you want. Whatever it is, it is Jimmy Carter’s. He caused it. He tolerates it. And he is going to answer to the American people for it.".......