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Duane V. Grassell / July 3, 2015

Causing and Condoning Sinful Behavior: Part II

The change in the American work ethic.

The Bible states through numerous passages that mankind is meant to work for their provision. Before man even sinned, God put man to work.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15, ESV).

Having received wisdom from God, Israel’s third king Solomon wrote, “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9, ESV)

In an epistle, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, ESV)

With the creation of relief programs under Franklin Roosevelt and their exponential expansion under Lyndon Johnson, trillions of tax dollars have been spent to pay a class of people in our nation to not work. The ironic use of the term “welfare” to describe these programs is antithetical to what Madison defined in Federalist #41. At our founding, the general welfare clause was known to be that federal spending was not to favor one group of people over another. Today, this has been twisted a full 180 degrees. Since the Johnson administration’s expansion of the welfare state that has disincentives for a large portion of the nation’s population, of many diverse races, from becoming productive contributors in the American economy, a class of people have evolved to be takers rather than earners. My grandparents told me of a day when people were ashamed to be on relief and they would work to get off of it as soon as possible. Today, generations from the same families have been on some form of public assistance without a hint of shame. In fact, the political correctness of today prevents the shaming of those who are lifelong residents on the dole, even though their lifestyle, paid for by the productive, are leading our nation to a breaking point. Is there a politician today who will run with a platform of completely ending the current welfare system because we cannot afford it? I have yet to hear a candidate for any federal post suggest such a thing since the current mindset of our culture would shame such a candidate rather than the millions who live for the free benefits and still demand more but will not work to get them. I have a profession where I am exposed to people on public assistance. Even though they come from different cultures and races, I see recipients on the public dole with the latest in nice housing, cell phones, android devices, cable TV, transportation, expensive clothing and are obese, alcoholic or drug addicted. In short, they are living better than the nobility of the middle ages. In the school system, very few students who originate in a welfare family work for something better in their lives and many only want to have the knowledge of how to apply for benefits because there is no incentive to work if you can get something for free.

In the 1990’s, the GOP took both houses of Congress for the first time in more than half a century with a united platform called the Contract With America. One of the platforms was Welfare Reform which added work requirements for benefits. The bill was vetoed twice, then, reluctantly, signed by a Democrat president knowing he needed to sign it to win reelection. The current regime changed this policy without the approval of Congress and the GOP has done little to restore the work incentive.

“The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” (Proverbs 21:25, ESV) Not working is contrary to the law of nature and against God’s instruction as scripture points out repeatedly. In all the history of mankind, has a significant portion of a society’s population been able to thrive without working? Where else on Earth today can non-workers thrive?

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