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Today’s lesson

July 7, 2012

The appearance of this makes me wonder whether it was really printed in some newspaper and then clipped and copied. But maybe I’m too suspicious; it may have come from the Miller County Liberal in Colquitt, Georgia.

It’s a good reminder, regardless of its source.

And, no, the point is not that we’re treating poor people like animals. The point is that all animals, including people, respond to incentives.

For example, I know a woman who worked for years and made good money – over $100,000 per year in her last job. She’s married to man who’s doing very well in his engineering career. (He earns more than she was earning.) Their children are grown. So when she lost her last job, it was a loss of income but couldn’t be considered a hardship by any means. Nonetheless, she collected unemployment compensation while she was eligible just because it was available. (I don’t believe she was actually planning to return to work but I may be wrong about that.)

And another point is that the USDA seems to be in overdrive these days about enrolling as many as possible in its food stamp programs. To me, that looks more like a bureaucracy trying to expand its empire than a compassionate agency taking care of needy people.

Penn Jillette wrote, "Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness." In other words, people have responsibilities.

So Amen, Mr. Fleming.

Tip o’ the hat to Jeff G.

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