From the anonymous blogger at Come And Make It:
Nothing creates poverty. Poverty is the beginning state. It takes zero effort to be poor. It does take a lot of work not to be poor.
True dat. True, true dat.
I wish our politicians and bureaucrats would understand that. You can’t legislate people out of poverty; you can’t redistribute resources to make some people better off and others poorer; you can’t equalize the slices of the cake, or pie, or whatever, so that everybody gets the same size slice, and then expect things to remain in equilibrium. The motivated and hard-working will enlarge their slices, by hook or by crook; and the lazy and unmotivated will lose bits and pieces of their pie to the others until they have nothing left. If it isn’t a recognized law of nature, it should be, because it’s happened in every society since the dawn of recorded history.
That’s also why handing out largesse to the people is such a bad idea. If they don’t have to work for a living, why should they? It’s easy to just sit back and accept the crumbs the government gives you, and vote for politicians who promise to give you a few more. As the Roman poet Juvenal pointed out about eighteen centuries ago:
Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.
I think Juvenal would have recognized the same thing in most Western societies today.
If the State makes it easy to be poor, with no negative consequences for not working, the rest of that society will gradually go the same way. Eventually, there’ll be a minority of hard workers supporting a majority of non-workers . . . until the hard workers realize they’re carrying the load for everybody, and refuse to carry it any longer.
When that day comes, that society is doomed.