Welfare Santa to the Rescue

Do you believe in Santa Claus? By the time most of us stop believing in a literal Santa Claus, we are well on our way to believing in a figurative one that goes by the name welfare state or big government.

Have trouble feeding your family? Santa State can help. Need affordable housing or health care? Welfare Santa to the rescue.

What in the world got me to say such blunt things on Christmas? I put the blame squarely on Andy Rooney, who wrote a Scrooge-like piece for TV Guide back in 1991. Entitled “No, Virginia, you don’t need a Santa Claus,” it was Andy’s answer to the eight-year-old girl who in 1897 asked that question heard round the world.

If she’d written her letter to Andy, he’d have told her, “The sooner you give up on the idea that you can get something for nothing and learn to make it on your own, the better off you’ll be. Forget the fairy tales.”

Andy ended his piece by saying, “Sorry, Virginia, I’m sure you’re a nice little girl, but your future depends on you, not on believing in Santa Claus.”

Santa, you’re a swell guy, but we’ll take it from here. As adults, we need to trust in ourselves, make our own decisions, and not let others fool us into believing we can get something for nothing. Virginia, it’s not a bad thing to believe in Santa Claus, just don’t stop believing in yourself.

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

  • Ron Marquez

    Personal responsibility is a wonderful thing. Too bad some don’t discover it until late in life if at all.

  • Valid

    Personal responsibility is a wonderful thing. But do you prefer living in a society where the millions of people who have catastrophic illness such as heart attack and stroke are simply kicked to the curb? Prior to Social Security, the #1 cause of death among the elderly was exposure to the elements. Currently, the #1 cause of foreclosure in the United States is due to an inability to pay medical bills. The #1 category of homeless people in the United States are veterans.

    Steve’s philosophy is that all of these people should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. If you’ve had a stroke and no longer have use of one of your arms? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Multiple Sclerosis? Polio? Catastrophic injuries due to a car wreck leaving you physically unable to work? Sorry. It’s your fault you weren’t born into wealth.

    Steve will fight for people whose parents hand them more than a million in assets. If the taxable point is $1 million, he’ll fight to make it $10 million. But God help you (literally) if you are not a person of means.

    It’s a morally bankrupt worldview, and one that is well-suited to a latin american dictatorship and not the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.

    • Steve Plunk

      Moral bankruptcy is the idea we should use the state to take other people’s money at whatever some feel is an appropriate level. When you take someone’s inheritance you are essentially stealing from the donor who wishes to leave something to the heirs. The state then promptly wastes a good portion of it. That money has already gone through the tax mill where the state has taken it’s pound of flesh.

      We are a compassionate nation that takes care of the infirm and poor. But we are also a nation that has grown weary of taking care of those who fail to put forth any effort of their own. Liberals will argue endlessly that attempts to make people more responsible are tantamount to throwing people into the streets. It’s nonsense and they should be called on it. Many of those homeless will not adhere to simple rules concerning substance abuse choosing instead to live their own way on the streets. Not all but many.

      Spouting other nonsense like exposure deaths from pre social security is another way liberals misdirect public conversations concerning taxation and government. Today’s health care crisis is one of our demanding the best without wanting to pay for it. The idea we can just make others pay for it is on shaky moral ground as well. We have reached a point where we are paying for one program at the expense of another and there are limits to what the government can extract in taxes before undermining the economy. When the economy tanks the whole system then runs short of money even worse.

      The only thing being kicked to the curb are the outdated ideas that have gotten us to where we are. Passing debt on to future generations that will receive no benefits from it. We do it so today’s liberals can feel good about themselves. Raise the issue as a conservative and the Left is quick to attack your humanity.

    • JacklordGOD

      >Prior to Social Security, the #1 cause of death among the elderly was exposure to the elements. Currently, the #1 cause of foreclosure in the United States is due to an inability to pay medical bills. The #1 category of homeless people in the United States are veterans.

      Source please, because frankly this sounds like a load of hokum.

      >Catastrophic injuries due to a car wreck leaving you physically unable to work? Sorry. It’s your fault you weren’t born into wealth.

      More like your fault you did not get insurance.

      >It’s a morally bankrupt worldview

      Possibly true, however it is less morally bankrupt than any other world view yet devised. That is the point I think.

      >and one that is well-suited to a latin american dictatorship

      Actually I think you will find most LA dictatorships tended more towards the socialistic world view.

      Neither the capitalist nor socialist world view is perfect morally. However no one really disputes capitalism is the lesser of the two evils as it has tended to avoid the horrendous genocide socialists are wont to engage in.

      >and not the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.

      Actually on this one I think you would find few who agree with you. Capitalism has tended to be associated with wealthier nations, on insisting to the contrary you are just wrong.

  • Bob Clark

    I heard a great quote over the weekend. “The problem with socialism is it eventually runs out of other people’s money.” I think this describes the state of Oregon to a T, and most especially city of Portland and Multnomah county.

    • Valid

      Great point, Bob! After all, we are a nation of 300 million individuals, not “One Nation Under God”. Anyone who has made money or been born into wealth has done it all in a vacuum. Evil socialist projects like roads, public infrastructure and schools never contributed to anyone’s bottom-line.

      I’ve employed more people than most during the last 10 years. I send my kids to private school. But the idea that I accomplished what I have without any of the things I’ve just mentioned is ludicrous. And yeah, I’m one of those who is fine with being taxed at a higher rate because what I have been able to accomplish is not something I could have done in any other country in the world.

      I benefit more, I should pay more.

      • Steve Buckstein

        Valid, you don’t have to be taxed at a higher rate to pay more. Earn ten times more than the average worker, and at the same tax rate you’ll pay ten times more tax. Why should you be asked to pay twenty times more?

        If you want to donate more to the government, fine. But most people realize that government is not a very effective way to provide most services. They’d much rather donate to a competent charity rather than let government waste their money. It’s your choice, but please don’t force that choice on the rest of us.

        • Ron Marquez

          …..”Why should you be asked to pay twenty times more?”…..

          Because in the mind of the liberal, progressive taxation is fair taxation. Something I can’t grasp but then much of the liberal philosophy is lost on me.

      • Jacklordgod

        >And yeah, I’m one of those who is fine with being taxed at a higher rate because what I have been able to accomplish is not something I could have done in any other country in the world.

        Then your problem with capitalism is what exactly?

        I mean if you actually have accomplished all the things you claim, and you also claim you could not have done so in any other country in the world, then why in the world would you conclude that more socialist policies would make sense?

        Also, if you have actually accomplished these things, why in the world do you leap to the non sequitur that other people who accomplish things feel that they have done so in a vacuum?

        Have you never met another as accomplished as you? If so, do they walk around in this addled state that roads etc., are not necessary to their endevours? If they do feel they are necessary, who are these accomplished people who think such roads magically appeared, as you seem to believe, rather than were paid for by taxes?

        >I benefit more, I should pay more.

        Go ahead and pay it, No one is stopping you!

        Step one, if you are as well to do as you seem to want us to believe take the standard deduction rather than itemizing. That should result in a higher tax bill so you can pay more.

        My guess is you don’t. I personally have never met a liberal who was willing to show me purposeful overpayment of taxes. I have met many who boasted of their willingness rto do so however.

        Odd how boasting about a willingness to pay more in taxes is something most liberals are willing to do, however when you actually ask in what way they have done so all of a sudden Wikileaking on themselves isn’t something they are so excited about doing.

    • Ron Marquez

      Margaret Thatcher as I recall. Too few of them in government today.

    • Steve Buckstein

      Bob, a related famous quote is worth inserting here for all the Santa State believers:

      “The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” — Frédéric Bastiat

  • valley person

    We tried your world in the 19th and early 20th centuries Steve. no welfare state, and pretty much every person for themselves. It didn’t work out so well, so our grandparents changed it around to create a social safety net and smooth out the bumps and potholes the free market creates. Dismantling the welfare state may be your dream, but it isn’t going to happen, and for good reasons.

    A welfare state is not “something for nothing.” It is the able bodied and employed chipping into the community pot, out of which people either temporarily or permanently unable to care for themselves draw sustenance. And no, it isn’t the same as “charity.” Chipping in is mandatory, and needs to be.

    Appropriate winter seasonal salutations to you.

    • Steve Plunk

      No one is saying we should completely dismantle the social safety net. We should however recognize what it is, what it costs, and how it might even discourage work or make the problem worse. The straw man argument of conservatives wishing us back to the 19th century is not working.

      Indeed a welfare state is not something for nothing but many of those who are on the receiving end don’t know that. It’s those of us who pay that realize the cost. Chipping in is mandatory but we are debating the amounts and the effectiveness of such programs.

      • Valid

        Bollocks. There are a large number of so-called conservatives who would like to do nothing more than dismantle social security, medicare, and evil government entities that help keep people safe.

    • Ron Marquez

      And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, VP.

      Looking forward to your continued participation in the new year.

      • valley person

        Well thanks Ron. That makes you a universe of one, but I’ll take it.

        For Steve P, dismantling the welfare state is exactly what modern conservatives have in mind. They would do it in a New York minute if the geezers who just voted for them would let it happen. But they won’t.

  • Quakso

    I am 37 years old and have had a hard time living my life. My parents kicked me out of the house when I turned 30, which was very trying. I did not even have a job. Then, to make matters worse, I ran out of money. I could not get any necessities. Then I learned that Santa did exist. I got a nice counselor at the state who signed me up for everything she could and now I could not be happier.
    I don’t work yet, but I have a nice apartment, plenty of good food, medical care, and counseling – all for free.
    If I had known I could get all this stuff for nothing I would not have been so upset when my parents kicked me out of the basement (which I had fixed up, by the way). At some point I most likely will get work, but I am in my 7th year at PSU and should graduate in a couple more years if my student loans keep coming in like they have so far.
    I even got a nice laptop with my student loan money so I could gamble online. I am up about $400, so no comments please that I should not do this.
    I will only owe about 70K when I graduate, but my counselor tells me that no one hardly ever has to pay the money back, so I am not worried.
    My major is art history, so I am hoping for a teaching job in a nice, small college somewhere. I have been told I might need a Masters for that gig, though, so I might extend my studies for that before I start looking for work.
    My girlfriend says I really know my art, so any college would want me even without a degree, but I am going to hang in there and get mine. So far my GPA is 2.4, which is not bad.
    So, thanks to the state and the feds I am going to be fine, even though I was acutally homeless when my folks kicked me out.
    We are still not speaking, by the way, but they don’t seem to mind.

    • valley person

      You are Jerry, and only mildly amusing. You would be more amusing if we were not concerned over your sanity.