Friday, August 13, 2010

Meme Watch

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Gingrich wants to re-label unemployment benefits as "welfare." "Welfare," of course, is what goes to the undeserving and the lazy. As the clip points out, unemployment insurance is something "paid into." I've heard the same argument for Social Security: that it isn't "government money," but money one has "paid into" the system, and so is deserving of.

It's a tax, of course, like any other money collected by any government. Somehow, that label makes a difference. So, a modest proposal: what if we started thinking of government spending for people (as opposed to for corporations or the military-industrial complex) as money we pay into government precisely for those purposes, instead of money siphoned out of our pockets against our will to pay "those people," who are always bums and cheats and, well, "on welfare."

Would it change anything? Would it be that hard to turn the kaleidoscope?


  1. Similarly for 'entitlements', which label implies moral hazard, opprobrium, and misuse of government power on behalf of a small minority. Like, these days, everyone over 65, and their families...

  2. To comment on your previous post: my daughter, a couple years ago (16 yo), spent a month in India. Amongst other things,she spent a week working in an orphanage. She was astonished to find it organized around the kids themselves. No adult in attendance, save teachers for lessons only. The 18 yos ran it, the younger kids helped, and as the 18 yos left, those now 18 would take their place.

    She loved it, loved the kids, saw nothing but kids helping kids. Nothing, but nothing, like 'Lord of the Flies'...