February 17, 2015

Reality Check recently dealt with the relationship between expanding welfare and declining work force participation ( link).

We talked about programs and numbers. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush spoke more eloquently on the subject recently in Detroit.

“In 1955, 60 years ago, the Fortune 500 list first appeared. Of the companies on that list, fully 88% don’t even exist today or have fallen away. Today’s Fortune 500 will be replaced by new companies that are just starting today.

This is hard for some people to accept. Because entrenched interests do not like giving up what they have. That’s why they fear small competitors who have nothing to lose. You know the stories: The president of Michigan Savings Bank imparted some wisdom to the young lawyer for a small start-up company: The horse, the bank president said,’is here to stay, but the automobile is only a fad.’

The small start-up that lawyer represented… was the Ford Motor Company.We can laugh about it now because Ford and the other innovators of Detroit had the economic freedom to compete and to prove the doubters wrong.

Our nation has always valued such economic freedom because in economic freedom, each citizen has the power to propel themselves forward and upward.

This really isn’t understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It’s a company town.

And the company is government. It’s all they know.

For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.

We have seen them cut the definition of a full-time job from 40 to 30 hours, slashing the ability of paycheck earners to make ends meet. We have seen them create welfare programs and tax rules that punish people with lost benefits and higher taxes for moving up those first few rungs of the economic ladder.

Instead of a safety net to cushion our occasional falls, they have built a spider web that traps people in perpetual dependence. We have seen them waive the rules that helped so many people escape welfare.”

Well put.