03 Dec 2013

Liberal Charity: “Make George Do It!”


John Steele Gordon notes, in Commentary, how liberal benevolence always consists of making somebody else provide the donation.

Steve Coll has a comment in this week’s New Yorker calling for a higher federal minimum wage. He points out that it’s awfully hard for a family of four to live on the current minimum wage, which would produce a family income of about $15,000 a year. That is certainly true, but Mr. Coll leaves out a few things. A family of four with an annual income of $15,000 would be eligible for food stamps amounting to $7,584 and an earned income tax credit of $5,372. That raises the family income to $27,911, which is quite an improvement. The family would also be eligible for Medicaid, school lunch and breakfast programs, perhaps housing assistance and other forms of help. He also leaves out the fact that very, very few people earning the minimum wage are the sole breadwinners of a family of four. Most are entry-level employees, often teenagers, with no developed skills. Most people who take a job at the minimum wage are earning above that level within a year, having learned marketable skills.

To be polite, Mr. Coll is being tendentious. To be less polite he is being grossly intellectually dishonest.

The minimum wage is a favorite liberal hobbyhorse, heavily promoted by labor unions. It is typical progressivism: a liberal politician (or journalist) says, in effect, “See that man over there? He needs help.” Then he points to an employer and says, “You, help him.” Finally, he points to himself and, addressing the man needing help, says, “Don’t forget where the help came from.”

One Feedback on "Liberal Charity: “Make George Do It!”"


To provide a family with food stamps AND school lunch and breakfast programs makes the government complicit in fraud. Isn’t the agreement we make with parents who get food stamps thatthey will feed their children? If they aren’t feeding them and in addition to paying them to feed them we must also pay the schools to feed them then isn’t it time we charge someone with a crime? Are those food stamps being sold at $.50 on the dollar so the parents can buy drugs? Where ever it is going it obviously isn’t going to pay for the kids lunches and breakfasts.


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