We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"The core of Murray's book is that if you want to be happy, in the full sense of "eudaimonia" in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics --that is, full human flourishing over a lifetime doing the right things in the right way at the right time -- you need to check in on four basic qualities. You need satisfying work, you need to be married, you need to engage in civil society, and you need to attend church once a week. Look at a community without the Big Four, and you will likely find only 10 percent of people "very happy." Look at folks with all four, and you will find almost 80 percent of people reporting themselves "very happy." Call it the American project: family, vocation, faith, and community. Rush Limbaugh talks about it every day: American exceptionalism. Here is Murray's line on it, from page 305 of Coming Apart.
Upper-class Americans live that way. They work, they get married, they are involved in their communities. They just don't seem to think it matters if other people don't, so they have legislated this monster welfare state that pays people not to work and not to marry, and that harasses them if they join a club or run a church. Our elitists insist on lives with meaning for themselves, but for everyone else, they think life begins and ends with a check: a welfare check, an unemployment check, a severance check, or a Social Security check. And they call that compassion.
Historically, Americans have been different as a people, even peculiar, and everyone around the world has recognized it. I am thinking of qualities such as American industriousness and neighborliness discussed in earlier chapters, but also American optimism... our striking lack of class envy, and the assumption by most Americans that they are in control of their own destinies."
I agree generally with what was said with the exception of including Social Security in the mix. Social Security is NOT welfare and if anything is the opposite of welfare because it requires you to work and save to participate. Most people who collect SS paid into it for 47 plus years, it is NOT welfare. It is a sign of ignorance on the part of people who speak of this issue or possibly an agenda or bias if they lump SS in with welfare and other government handouts.
I wish this would stir up a good debate, because I agree with you. If we're wrong I'd like to know why. After all I'm on the plus side of that 47 years, still adding to it, and didn't have a choice as to contribute or not. Somebody owes me something, and yes I said 'owe'.
From its very outset it was a Ponzi -- a sovereign Ponzi -- but still...
The earliest recipients 'earned' astonishing returns...
Beyond $ 250 for each $ 1 in contributions / taxes...
SS has other issues, too.
It distorts employee perceptions of their wages. The 7.51 % paid in by the employer is, in fact, paid in by the employee.
Should ANY employee not earn this money -- they're on the bubble and will be terminated shortly. No employer can possibly afford to kick in an extra 7.51% in wages as a gift to Uncle Sam and the wage force.
This explains why 0bama can't figure out why employers aren't even close to hiring -- 0bamacare causes employers to pay -- massively -- into another employee benefit. That is, REAL wages paid must ramp sky high in the months directly ahead while NOMINAL wages ( seen on the pay stub ) remain flat.
This is being addressed in the blue collar trades by terminating long standing employees -- with any manner of excuses -- so that NOMINAL wages can be 're-centered' downwards. Once done, then 0bamacare can be tucked in -- on top -- with the REAL wages right back to where they were before.
Thusly, 0bama looks fantastic for all of his 'giving' -- and the employer looks like a heal.
In the current market, true wages are a full 30%+ above perception. They are raked off by big government to provide 'free of charge' all of those delightful mandated benefits all employers must fund.
While they don't make your W-2... such monies are, in fact, earned by dint of labor. It's the ONLY true source for such wealth.
SS can't be considered any kind of savings pool/ investment fund since -- from day one -- Congress has dipped into the kitty for all manner of Federal spending. It further hands out the money like its sugar -- from sugar daddy.
Ultimately, Congress wants to make it 'needs tested' / means tested. Truly welfare for the aged.