Staggering Thought of The Day

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
detroit, welfare, poverty

every single thing in this picture was paid for by the government

I get a little existential panic when I go to planetariums, but for real nausea I think about the artificiality of poor neighborhoods in America.

What most people don’t want to realize is that in a poor neighborhood, the entire economy is funded by the government. Sure, you get a couple of Korean grocers who set up shop; and there’s lots of doctors, and labs, and SSI/immigration lawyers; and check cashing joints, and pizzerias, and Rite-Aids, and bars, and Walmarts.   But all of these businesses get paid government money, once removed.  Rightey loves to complain that welfare moms get paid to be lazy, but it seems obvious to me that they’re paying her in order to pay everyone else.

If the government put the Korean grocer on a state salary to operate a store on 63rd and MLK, the American public’s eyeballs would explode, but that is exactly what is happening anyway.   And if the government sent a liquor store owner a monthly check to offer St. Ides at affordable prices, there’d be riots.  But that’s what’s up.

I haven’t looked through the financials, but I can say with confidence that  all of the revenue generated by Popeye’s chicken is a wealth transfer from the U.S. government.

Someone might say that the solution is the welfare john needs to get a job to pay for his own damn liquor and Korean groceries, which is true, but the point here is that if he had a job he wouldn’t stay in that neighborhood.   Popeye’s would collapse.  Therein lies the problem.

I am not saying the system inadvertently reinforces this kind of poverty (am I?); I am observing that it is completely impossible to restructure the way poverty is handled in America because so many millions of people depend on it working this way.  There are a number of possible great solutions, I guess, but the economic disruption  for the 25 years it would take for everyone affected to reorganize, find new jobs, etc, would be catastrophic.  Think of what happened when steel left Bethlehem or cars left Detroit, and multiply that on a massive scale, all at once.

America is a welfare state, just not everyone knows it yet. 

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29 Responses to Staggering Thought of The Day

  1. max says:

    Everyone knows it, some are just better at rationalizing than others.

  2. kimota says:

    Similar ecologies develop around military bases as well, so this dynamic is even larger than one might think.

  3. qerplonk says:

    Rightey loves to complain that welfare moms get paid to be lazy, but it seems obvious to me that they’re paying her in order to pay everyone else.

    But why would they want to pay everyone else? What incentive does the government have to transfer money to inner city businesses? My guess is to keep them in line. It’s hard to criticize the government when they butter your bread. Meanwhile, minimum wage laws keep unskilled workers unemployable and welfare crushes the spirit.

    My nausea moment comes when I realize this is all done under the auspices of helping the poor community.

    • sunshinefiasco says:

      Rightey loves to complain that welfare moms get paid to be lazy, but it seems obvious to me that they’re paying her in order to pay everyone else.

      The other fun part is that Righty wants to pay welfare moms to be lazy too, because silently, they know that if there’s no for the welfare moms and no money for the small businesses that work in those neighborhoods, we’ll head toward class war by way of urban decay (provided the media doesn’t drag it back to the status quo).

      Righty, like Lefty, wants to avoid that, they just want to do it cheaper.

  4. TheDevastator says:

    I think you could say the same thing about a lot of wealthy neighborhoods. How many doctors make all their money from Medicare? How many lawyers and accountants do nothing but navigate the tax system? How many Wall Street guys do nothing but sell US Treasury bonds? How about academics who depend completely on NSF grants to keep going? Plus, defense contractors.

    I wonder, if we converted to balls-to-the-wall libertarianism tomorrow, how many jobs would be left? Maybe the market only actually needs like a million people, and they buy off the rest of us with make-work.

  5. BluegrassJack says:

    Is violent crime occurring in that landscape also funded by the government?

    The SSI/immigration lawyer must have shyster friends who provide homicide defense. The prosecution is paid by the government.

    • vandal says:

      You get a “public defender” for that actually, 6th amendment and all.

      SSI/immigration lawyers are generally reserved for the more well off of the poor. You save up for that one. Immigration lawyer is actually tricky as while it is in demand it isn’t trusted by immigrants since many are ripped off or know stories of those ripped off by immigration lawyers. Seeing it slashed with SSI is weird to me but I suppose it’s just “lawyers used by the poorer” connection.

      But I’m sure the government is aware of this and that’s why any move to reform the system is slow to come or never gonna happen.

      • BluegrassJack says:

        As long as all the people living in that landscape (a) register to vote, and (b) vote (correctly), the status quo will remain forever. There will be “outsiders” who make sure that (a) and (b) always happen.

        There is no reason for anyone living there to look for the escape hatch.

        • vandal says:

          Who are the people living in that landscape? Are we talking poor people?

          They hardly register and vote as much as the wealthy. It always seems rather pointless.

          I don’t understand the analogy of looking for the escape hatch. But having grown up poor and gotten drunk with the rich I can see no more or less of a need to “escape” anything between the two. Oh you can pity the poor for buying boonsfarm from the well fare supported liquor store but it just seems like a bad joke coming from a wealthy man high on his rum and medications.

  6. JohnJ says:

    One question certainly has to be “Where does the government get the money to do all this?”

  7. CubaLibre says:

    Wait, what happened when steel left Bethlehem? It sure didn’t become downtown Detroit.

    Actually, you reminded me: I should write a post about Bethlehem and the Steel. I got thinking about branding when I visited home a couple weekends back.

  8. Arno says:

    It’s posts like this that force me to read in the afternoon. If I read this in the morning I’m not sure if I could force myself not to talk about it with anyone who got within earshot throughout the rest of the day.

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  10. Guy Fox says:

    I thought I heard the Fingermen coming, but I calmed down once I realized that TLP’s secret identity is obviously *wink*.

    Great post, and good point about the military bases, Kimota, but take it one step further. Granted, the bulk of the military is drawn from the huddled masses, but think of grunts as tradesmen for a minute. Their guild gets contracted en masse for certain big government projects every so often. It gets really interesting when you consider how expensive their tools are, who produces them, and who actually purchases them. Some might call it racketeering, and others might argue that it’s okay because it’s in defence of something called ‘freedom’, which is apparently some kind of social phlogiston.

    Drinking before 8 a.m. is a sign of what exactly? Should I be worried?

    • BluegrassJack says:

      Guy, if I say “effective government agency”, what entities come to mind?

      Dept. of Education, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Commerce ?

      Nope. Those and many others are filled with grunts, consume huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, and have difficulty justifying their continued existence. There are just three that come to my mind: Dept. of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and possibly the CIA.

      With your spelling of “defence”, I assume you’re not in the US.

      Americans know that “defence of something called ‘freedom’ ” is actually difficult, expensive, and necessary.

  11. doyer says:

    sure..when steel left bethlehem things were a bit rough for a while…

    but now we have a sand’s casino!..and latin kings..

    doesn’t sound so bad to me.

  12. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    This is going to sound racist, but I’m not particularly popular on this forum so I don’t care either way.

    We pay the poor to stay out of sight and not make trouble. SSI and welfare exist to keep people above abject desperation, just placated enough that they don’t riot, but not sustained enough to even make a rudimentary attempt at self betterment.

    The reason the poor exist in these societies built on nothing but handouts is because so many people in our country are third world immigrants. These people come from NOTHING, have no comparable civilization, and all they know is euorpean exploitation and poverty in european society. A few generations ago, they were hunter gatherers. They are c completely unfamiliar with this western style of living, and can only assimilate into it when they bastardize themselves from their culture (a culture which teaches powerlessness and ignorance and no sense of being capable of anything). A black or NA person can certainly succeed, but only if they stop thinking of themselves as bound to that “culture”, because the culture requires powerlessness and poverty.

    • BluegrassJack says:

      Your comments are excellent, so you have at least one fan.

    • sunshinefiasco says:

      I agree with the first half of your comment– it’s very similar to what I wrote above, but I have to disagree with the second half.

      First of all, I take issue with the hunter-gatherer comment, because for the majority of the world that’s not true, but whatever. Also, if you’re talking about culture differences, how can you possibly equate American-born black people and people from third-world countries.

      Secondly, while many immigrants use government services, they are one of the populations that tends to use those services the way that they were intended (temporarily). The people who are perpetuating this kind of systematic abuse of government money are American born, and often are from families who have worked that angle for generations.

      Thirdly, I think your “cultural” idea is a huge crock: I would like you to name a culture that teaches people that they aren’t capable of anything. Also, no matter what culture you come from, work is pretty consistent. People who are willing to go through the incredible amount of effort that it takes to get to the states aren’t the stuff of long-term welfare abusers. In fact, the majority of immigrants work long hours at low-paying, dangerous/boring/dirty/unpleasant jobs. The reason they want to do that work here is that it can lead to a better life, as opposed to at home, where there’s no work or where hard work doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere positive.

  13. BluegrassJack says:

    Irony: “Staggering Thought of the Day” blog post has an ad for Free Government Supported Phones at the bottom.

    Priceless.

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  15. james wilson says:

    The result of ending the welfare state would not be catastrophic at all. The result of retaining it is catastrophic.

    The fact that we thought we knew what we were doing when stepping into the welfare state should disabuse us of the idea that we need to know what we are doing when ending it.

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  20. lemmycaution says:

    I don’t know whether you have ever had Popeye’s chicken or beer, but I would recommend both of them to you if you haven’t.

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