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Is It Worth It to Work? The Definitive Answer That Will Drive You Mad

Jon Gabriel at FreedomWorks has a fascinating article up about the welfare state in America, analyzing if a person should even bother to work anymore, or stay home and earn government benefits.

The chart he provides will leave those of us that do work seeing red.

Gabriel starts out by discussing the psychological phenomenon known as “learned helplessness” – the concept that receiving unearned rewards (such as lottery winnings, welfare benefits) produces passiveness rather than happiness.

And on the contrary, earned success through hard work provides happiness regardless of the tangible monetary rewards.

He writes:

“… this is the greatest crime of the American welfare state. Not the dwindling dollars and cents on a balance sheet but the dimming spark in the eyes of the men, woman and children who have abandoned the hope of working toward their own success. That hope has been replaced with a government check — a bimonthly message from Washington, D.C. that says, “no, you can’t.”


“It can’t be long until many hard-working Americans realize that it actually hurts them and their children to strive for greater professional success.”

And with that last statement, Gabriel provides the proof.  Proof that a person can actually work less and receive more financially.  Not earn more, but simply receive more – learned helplessness.

“Pennsylvania’s secretary of public welfare recently exposed a shocking fact about our accelerating welfare state. Once you add in the various welfare programs, a single mom is financially better off earning just $29,000 at a job than earning $69,000. How is this possible? The lower salary makes her eligible for all kinds of government programs that just aren’t available at the higher salary. Washington is telling her that the less she does, the more she’ll be rewarded.”

Here is the chart to back this up, referred to as “the welfare cliff”:

On a personal note, our family also did the math regarding a similar personal situation one upon a time.  Several years back, my wife was offered a job (she was staying at home with the kids at that time), so we sat down and worked the numbers.  After counting eligible benefits, daycare, taxes, etc., we came to the conclusion that her working a full year in that new job would result in a mere $3,000 earned over that same time span.
It’s a sad fact that should make any hard-working individual detest the welfare state that this President and government are forcing upon our society.
And it should make you see red.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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