In addition to protecting their basic rights, the “perfect government” would ensure that every citizen had a job, and that job would pay a wage appropriate to the needs of the worker. Every citizen would also have full access to healthcare, education, and job training. If for any reason the person couldn’t work, or was temporarily out of a job, the government would keep them on their feet until something worked out. Yes this sounds great. A pure Utopia.
Introducing the Nanny State.
If you believe the above paragraph makes any sense at all you need to re-calibrate your thinking. I’m just going to sketch a picture of this society to see what it might look like.
Since there is no way to determine what an individual “needs”, a minimum wage would have to be set across the board, determined by the cost-of-living rate. If the least a person can live reasonably on is $2,000 a month, then that’s where it is set.
Companies who need cheap labor, and whose workers do not need much skill, experience, or education, would be forced to limit their staff to only the most productive employees, and new applicants would have a much harder time getting hired on, due to training costs. Business would likely hike prices just to keep up.
Of the pool of underqualified and inexperienced workers, the less able and less productive will be cut out completely, causing legislators to scratch their heads trying to find a way to get them jobs without forcing companies to hire them. In the meantime, these people will be supported by the government (on other people’s money).
In an effort to avoid getting stuck in this position, many people would take advantage of the free education and job training. Some would do well and move on to be successful, and others would fail horribly from lack of responsibility, determination or simple intelligence. Nevertheless they would have their tuitions and training paid for by, again, other people’s money.
By this time, many of those in the lower-income bracket would be enjoying the benefits of not having to work as hard as their friends, while still being able to pay bills. On occasion, when a visit to the emergency room is required, they wouldn’t need to protect themselves with quality health insurance like their friends. They would simply walk in, show that they have limited funds, and would receive the necessary medical attention. The cost would then be passed on to the government, where they will take it out of… other people’s money.
Likewise, by this time those that have worked hard to make sure they are taken care of would realize that not only are their less responsible friends having their bills paid, but that the extra money is coming out of their pockets.
All the while, those that are coming of age would face to two choices. They can live a modest life, with the benefits of doing what you want with your time, or they can go for bigger dreams, with the cost of sacrificing much of their life to work for someone else’s benefit. Some would choose the higher ground, but many would stay put, especially once they realize it will be a long time before they can taste that luxury they hoped for.
As a result of this system there would be much fewer “wealthy” people, and the income gap much smaller. Most people would be getting by “comfortably” (by whose standards?), but with little to spare, leaving them unprepared in case of emergency – in which case they will be quite dependent on – yes – other people’s money. Many churches, private schools and various charititable organizations would have to be closed down because of lack of donations. Disease research and scientific studies would depend on government grants, and be heavily regulated.
The long term effects would be devastating.
You see, while I believe there are times when circumstances make people poor, I don’t believe they can keep you poor. The beauty of our system in America is that people are (or should be) unrestricted in their own personal pursuit of wealth and success, and the only person who can get you there is YOU. It takes responsibility, honesty, motivation, and determination. We can’t get mad at someone else who strikes it rich, demanding that they share their earnings. Successful people should not be punished, nor should laziness be rewarded. What most people don’t realize is just how much money the wealthy in America contribute to charities, science, technology, scholarships, missions, and other private organizations and institutions.
Am I saying that wealth and success are everything? No. Am I saying that the poor should be left to die? Definitely not.I find my wealth in my faith and relationships. But government bureaucracy is not the solution to helping the problems we face in the world. If anything, class warfare makes things worse by cutting off the very people who make the most of their resources – killing the goose that lays the golden egg. I support programs that effectively help people get out of poverty, but redistributing people’s income is neither moral nor constitutional.
They tried it in the USSR, France, Cuba, and many other places, and every time it leads nations into poverty and death.