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Richard Rider

Government DOES work — just not as promised.

A common fallacy of “our side” is to endlessly repeat the mantra that “government doesn’t work.” It DOES work. Just not as promised.

Our welfare state works. Pay women to have babies out of wedlock? That works. A new study found that today over half of U.S. babies born to women under age 30 are born out of wedlock.

Pay people not to work? That works. More choose not to work — by postponing their return to work (well, returning to “on the books” work). Here’s the URL for the latest WALL ST JOURNAL article on unemployment insurance — aptly named “Paid Not to Work”:

As of December, ten counties in North Dakota have under 2% unemployment. Their statewide unemployment rate is 3.3%. They are crying for employees, but can’t find enough, even in this recession.

Why? Because today’s unemployed people are not sufficiently motivated by their status to disrupt their lives and move to a less hospitable location. In short, unemployment insurance (coupled with other welfare benefits such food stamps, utility subsidies, etc. etc.) lowers the “mobility of labor,” as the economists put it.

And it’s not just North Dakota that offers better employment options. Other low unemployment states include Nebraska (4.1%), South Dakota (4.2%), Vermont (5.1%), New Hampshire (5.1%) and Iowa (5.6%).

There ARE jobs in this country, but the interest in employment is too often subordinated to “staying put.”

If government simply “didn’t work,” often that might not be as bad as envisioned. The fact that it DOES work — causing adverse consequences not envisioned by our central planners — is perhaps a more perverse problem for America.

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