How the Progressive World Really Works
March 28, 2010 Welfare State

Suppose I had a fictional brother named Owen. Owen is about 40 years old, he has an MBA from a good private college, and has had a series of jobs on Wall Street. By the time the financial crisis struck, Owen was probably earning (with bonus) on the order of $300,000 per year. He certainly worked hard for this in a really competitive environment, and he lives in an expensive part of the world. Then he loses his job. through no fault of his own. Owen has faithfully paid taxes his entire working life, and he certainly has paid into the government unemployment “insurance” program. When he lost his job, he received 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. I’ll not tell you how much this person may have made, it is not relevant to my point.

Imagine a second relative, this time on the in-law side of the family, call him Luther. Luther barely completed high school, he is a brute force hard worker (he assembles automobile starters), is about 40 years old, and has never made more than $25,000 per year. Every year he works, he pays into the unemployment insurance system. As the financial crisis deepened, Luther worried that his company would go under. Being a blue-collar manufacturing worker in a poor western New York town, he did not think he had many good options if this event happened. Rather than go unemployed, he took some wage and benefit and hours cuts. He maintained his job throughout the recession and still hangs onto it until this day. Luther barely has enough money to keep his heat turned on at a comfortable temperature and he lives an extremely modest lifestyle. Yet his “contributions” into the UI system were promptly turned over to my much wealthier brother Owen. Of course, if and when Luther loses his job, he too will get “benefits” that are owed to him.

Ask yourselves whether this system is proper and just. Ask yourselves if both Owen and Luther would be better off without this wonderful government program. And also ask yourself how hard my brother Owen looked for work during the 6 months his UI benefits were being paid. The point of course is that you cannot run a “Progressive” system without lots and lots of this stuff happening. The Progressives will never admit it, nor will the folks benefiting from it ever do much to protest getting some of this “free” money. And to this day, my in-law Luther continues to pay UI taxes to support Wall Street bankers who are no longer able to find work, he pays Medicare taxes to pay benefits to people who make 10, 20, 30 … 100s of times more than him, he pays income taxes and sales taxes that are used to fund bailouts of Wall Street firms (that eventually will rehire my brother) and these taxes are used to make sure the jobs of favored union and government workers are not only still there, but paying so much more than he makes in the private sector. This continues his whole life. Luther has not a dime left in savings at the time he should retire, because he had every possible bit of savings taxed from him. Luther will be grateful for the meager Social Security that is left for him 25 years from now, and go to his grave thinking nothing of the sham that was perpetuated on him for his entire life.

That is 21st century Progressivism, and that is how it impacts my family.

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