Tag Archives: Maine

Is dependency on welfare good for people? Or is it better for people to work?

Major welfare programs as of 2012
Major welfare programs as of 2012

What’s best for poor people – to remain dependent on government, or to be encouraged to work for their own money so they can be independent?

Consider this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Earned success means defining your future as you see fit and achieving that success on the basis of merit and hard work. It allows you to measure your life’s “profit” however you want, be it in money, making beautiful music, or helping people learn English. Earned success is at the root of American exceptionalism.

The link between earned success and life satisfaction is well established by researchers. The University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, for example, reveals that people who say they feel “very successful” or “completely successful” in their work lives are twice as likely to say they are very happy than people who feel “somewhat successful.” It doesn’t matter if they earn more or less income; the differences persist.

The opposite of earned success is “learned helplessness,” a term coined by Martin Seligman, the eminent psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. It refers to what happens if rewards and punishments are not tied to merit: People simply give up and stop trying to succeed.

During experiments, Mr. Seligman observed that when people realized they were powerless to influence their circumstances, they would become depressed and had difficulty performing even ordinary tasks. In an interview in the New York Times, Mr. Seligman said: “We found that even when good things occurred that weren’t earned, like nickels coming out of slot machines, it did not increase people’s well-being. It produced helplessness. People gave up and became passive.”

Learned helplessness was what my wife and I observed then, and still do today, in social-democratic Spain. The recession, rigid labor markets, and excessive welfare spending have pushed unemployment to 24.4%, with youth joblessness over 50%. Nearly half of adults under 35 live with their parents. Unable to earn their success, Spaniards fight to keep unearned government benefits.

Meanwhile, their collective happiness—already relatively low—has withered. According to the nonprofit World Values Survey, 20% of Spaniards said they were “very happy” about their lives in 1981. This fell to 14% by 2007, even before the economic downturn.

That trajectory should be a cautionary tale to Americans who are watching the U.S. government careen toward a system that is every bit as socially democratic as Spain’s.

Government spending as a percentage of GDP in America is about 36%—roughly the same as in Spain. The Congressional Budget Office tells us it will reach 50% by 2038. The Tax Foundation reports that almost 70% of Americans take more out of the tax system than they pay into it. Meanwhile, politicians foment social division on the basis of income inequality, instead of attempting to improve mobility and opportunity through education reform, pro-growth policies, and an entrepreneur-friendly economy.

These trends do not mean we are doomed to repeat Spain’s unhappy fate. But our system of earned success will not defend itself.

How do we make government promote “earned success” over dependency on welfare?

Investors Business Daily reports on one state that decided to encourage people to get off of welfare, and to get back to work.

Excerpt:

The number of childless, able-bodied adult food stamp recipients in a New England state fell by 80% over the course of a few months. This didn’t require magic, just common sense.

From December 2014 to March 2015, the caseload of able-bodied Maine adults with no dependents crashed from 13,332 recipients to 2,678, says the Heritage Foundation. This is a remarkable change and needs to be repeated in government programs across the country.

How Maine achieved this is no mystery. Gov. Paul LePage simply established work requirements for food stamp recipients who have no dependents and are able enough to be employed. They must, write Heritage policy analysts Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, “take a job” — just 20 hours a week — “participate in training, or perform community service” for a mere 24 hours a week. Recipients who do none of those are stripped of their food stamp benefits after three months.

This isn’t a radical new idea. Rector and Sheffield cite a successful historical precedent:

“When work requirements were established in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in the 1990s, nationwide caseloads dropped by almost as much, albeit over a few years rather than a few months.”

In the Obama era, “the food stamp caseload of adults without dependents who are able-bodied has more than doubled nationally, swelling from nearly 2 million recipients in 2008 to around 5 million today” across the country, Rector and Sheffield report. That’s far too many Americans who can take care of themselves living at the expense of others. The situation cries out for reform.

The Heritage report says that if the Maine policy were repeated nationally, and the caseload dropped “at the same rate it did in Maine (which is very likely), taxpayer savings would be over $8.4 billion per year.”

“Further reforms could bring the savings to $9.7 billion per year: around $100 per year for every individual currently paying federal income tax.”

[…]The success in Maine is but a blip, affecting only a thin slice of the nation’s welfare rolls. Yet it is a model, a prototype for reforming welfare programs in need of change or elimination, which is all of them. Policymakers at all levels should be rushing to adopt it, then adapt it.

Now, do you think that the governor of Maine is a Republican, or a Democrat? Republicans want people to be independent of government, and productive, because that makes them more free. Democrats want people to be unproductive and dependent, because that makes them easier to control.

Bowdoin College bans Christian student groups on campus

From the radically leftist New York Times. (H/T Nancy P.)

Excerpt:

For 40 years, evangelicals at Bowdoin College have gathered periodically to study the Bible together, to pray and to worship. They are a tiny minority on the liberal arts college campus, but they have been a part of the school’s community, gathering in the chapel, the dining center, the dorms.

After this summer, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college. Already, the college has disabled the electronic key cards of the group’s longtime volunteer advisers.

In a collision between religious freedom and antidiscrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college’s demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association.

Similar conflicts are playing out on a handful of campuses around the country, driven by the universities’ desire to rid their campuses of bias, particularly against gay men and lesbians, but also, in the eyes of evangelicals, fueled by a discomfort in academia with conservative forms of Christianity. The universities have been emboldened to regulate religious groups by a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that found it was constitutional for a public law school in California to deny recognition to a Christian student group that excluded gays.

At Cal State, the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders. And at Vanderbilt, more than a dozen groups, most of them evangelical but one of them Catholic, have already lost their official standing over the same issue; one Christian group balked after a university official asked the students to cut the words “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” from their list of qualifications for leadership.

[…]The evangelical groups say they, too, welcome anyone to participate in their activities, including gay men and lesbians, as well as nonbelievers, seekers and adherents of other faiths. But they insist that, in choosing leaders, who often oversee Bible study and prayer services, it is only reasonable that they be allowed to require some basic Christian faith — in most cases, an explicit agreement that Jesus was divine and rose from the dead, and often an implicit expectation that unmarried student leaders, gay or straight, will abstain from sex.

“It would compromise our ability to be who we are as Christians if we can’t hold our leaders to some sort of doctrinal standard,” said Zackary Suhr, 23, who has just graduated from Bowdoin, where he was a leader of the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship.

The consequences for evangelical groups that refuse to agree to the nondiscrimination policies, and therefore lose their official standing, vary by campus. The students can still meet informally on campus, but in most cases their groups lose access to student activity fee money as well as first claim to low-cost or free university spaces for meetings and worship; they also lose access to standard on-campus recruiting tools, such as activities fairs and bulletin boards, and may lose the right to use the universities’ names.

Not sure how you are supposed to have a Christian student group, if the leaders don’t accept the authority of the Bible. But maybe that’s a feature, not a bug, from the point of view of these secular administrators and their allies in the judiciary. The really sad thing about this is that Christian taxpayers are paying these secular authorities to curtail their basic rights. It’s only open season on Bible-believing Christians.

Maine demands that pro-marriage group reveal donor names

ABC News reports.

Excerpt:

Maine’s ethics panel fined a national anti-gay marriage group more than $50,000 on Wednesday and ordered it to reveal the donors who backed its efforts to repeal the state’s gay marriage law.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found that the National Organization for Marriage violated campaign finance laws by failing to properly register as a ballot question committee and file financial reports in the 2009 referendum that struck down gay marriage. Same-sex unions were legalized by voters in 2012.

The commission also ruled that the organization must file a campaign finance report, which would force it to disclose the names of its donors. The National Organization for Marriage has fought for years to keep its donor list secret, saying doing so would put its contributors at risk for harassment and intimidation.

[…]”We didn’t create a scheme, we tried to follow the law,” Brian Brown, president of the Washington, D.C.-based organization, told the four-member panel on Wednesday.

Brown, who served as executive director of the National Organization for Marriage in 2009, was one of three members of the committee that led the Stand for Marriage Maine PAC.

Commissioners said his dual role and the fact that the national group controlled a majority of the PAC’s funds was problematic for its argument that the funds weren’t raised to influence the Maine campaign.

The group says that it’s being targeted because of its stance on gay marriage and that groups on the other side of the issue — such as the Human Rights Campaign — followed the same guidelines.

State investigators said that its examination of the National Organization for Marriage actions was brought by a specific complaint and that the organization could have sought a similar investigation into the Human Rights Campaign.

John Eastman, a National Organization for Marriage lawyer, said that it intends to file a complaint against HRC in addition to filing an appeal.

The Human Rights Campaign mentioned in the article called the Family Research Council a “hate group”. The FRC was the target of an act of domestic terrorism by a gay activist who also thought that the Family Research Council was a “hate group”. The Human Rights Campaign was also implicated in the IRS leak of NOM donors.

What will gay activists do with the list of donor names? Ask Brendan Eich what they will do with it.

Republicans introduce national right-to-work legislation

Sen. James Demint

From the Hill.

Excerpt:

Eight Republican Senators introduced a bill Tuesday giving workers a choice as to whether to join labor unions, which they argue will boost the nation’s economy and provide an increase in wages.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), introduced the National Right to Work Act to “reduce workplace discrimination by protecting the free choice of individuals to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities,” according to a statement.

Seven other Republicans signed onto the effort: Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and David Vitter (La.).

“Facing a steady decline in membership, unions have turned to strong-arm political tactics to make forced unionization the default position of every American worker, even if they don’t want it,” Hatch said. “This is simply unacceptable. At the very least, it should be the policy of the U.S. government to ensure that no employee will be forced to join a union in order to get or keep their job.

“Republicans cited a recent poll they said shows that 80 percent of union members support having their policy and that “Right to Work” states outperform “forced-union” states in factors that affect worker well being.

From 2000 to 2008, about 4.7 million Americans moved from forced-union to right to work states and a recent study found that there is “a very strong and highly statistically significant relationship between right-to-work laws and economic growth,” and that from 1977 to 2007, right-to-work states experienced a 23 percent faster growth in per capita income than states with forced unionization.

“To see the negative impacts of forced unionization, look no further than the struggling businesses in states whose laws allow it,” Vitter said. “It can’t be a coincidence that right-to-work states have on balance grown in population over the last 10 years, arguably at the expense of heavy union-favoring states.”

DeMint blamed the problems faced by U.S. automakers on the unions.

“Forced-unionism helped lead to GM and Chrysler’s near bankruptcy and their requests for government bailouts as they struggled to compete in a global marketplace,” he said. “When American businesses suffer because of these anti-worker laws, jobs and investment are driven overseas.”

If you want to attract businesses, then you need to have pro-business laws. That’s where jobs come from – businesses.

Here’s an article about states who are trying to pass these laws to attract more employers.

Excerpt:

Currently 14 states beyond Indiana and Wisconsin are considering legislation that would limit union benefits and/or collective bargaining power. They are: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington (state) and West Virginia. In any number of these states, supporters have planned or held rallies against the measures. But public support might be less than deep. According to a Rasmussen Poll conducted late last week and released Monday, 48 percent of likely U.S. voters sided with Wisconsin Governor Walker whereas only 38 percent sided with his union opponents; the other 14 percent were undecided. And 50 percent of the respondents favored reducing their home state’s government payroll by one percent a year for 10 years either by reducing the work force or reducing their pay. Only 28 percent opposed such action.

This is how we are going to turn the recession around. Cut off the spending on left-wing special interests – NPR, PBS, ACORN, Planned Parenthood, Unions. They all will have to pay their own way, just like the grown-ups do.

Gay rights activist convicted of manslaughter

Story from CBS News.

Excerpt:

Bruce LaVallee-Davidson, an outspoken gay rights activist who publicly fought for gay marriage, has been convicted of manslaughter in a bizarre sex game accident that included drugs and guns.

[…]Police say that the shooting occurred while a third man, James Pombriant, was engaged in a sex act with Wilson in the dungeon-like basement of Wilson’s Colonial home in a middle-class neighborhood two blocks from the ocean.

[…]The case had garnered publicity because LaVallee-Davidson is a outspoken advocate for same-sex rights and was in a committed relationship when he testified in favor of keeping Maine’s now-overturned gay marriage law at a public hearing, four days after the discovery of the body of 50-year-old Wilson and a couple of weeks before he was indicted.

LaVallee-Davidson faces up to 30 years in prison. Pombriant was not charged in the killing.

My previous post on why people favor traditional marriage.

Comments will be strictly monitored in order to take Obama’s hate crimes law into account.

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