Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lying Down With Dogs

Mickey -- a Democrat, remember -- continues his jihad against expanding help to the unemployed in the midst of a massive recession by citing to the following reliable sources:

- The Cato Institute (pegging the welfare expansion as $3BN);
- The Heritage Foundation (which has the cost at -- hold on to something -- $787BN);
- Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner (unspecified "billions"; he also calls Mickey a "journalist"!); and
- The New York Post ("His "stimulus" bill is not change we can believe in. It's a return to big-government welfare that we will choke on").

In fairness, he does link to two articles in the New York Times. Unfortunately, he does so to prove the existence of a new "larger liberal campaign" to roll back work requirements and get everyone back on the dole (because Democrats hate it when people have jobs -- it's true!).

[Uh, are we sure welfare isn't back in the news because the country is hemhorraging jobs? -- ed. Please, we all know it's because the unemployed and destitute have a powerful cabal of lobbyists and PR men!]

The best link of the bunch is Heritage's article, which arrives at their massive figure through a combination of wild speculation ("both Congress and President Obama intend for most of these increases to become permanent") and definitional sleight-of-hand (the EITC, Head Start and Pell Grants (!) all seem to be counted as "welfare"). After redefining reality to match their imagination ("the goal of the bills is spreading the wealth"), they accuse Congress of having untoward motives:

The claim that Congress is temporarily increasing welfare spending for Keynesian purposes (to spark the economy by boosting consumer spending) is a red herring. The real goal is to get "the camel's nose under the tent" for a massive permanent expansion of the welfare state.

Well, grants to low-income college students do discourage hard work and early childhood education clearly encourages a culture of dependence. Only the Heritage Foundation has the guts to say what we all know ...

You'd think Mickey might notice that a few of his cites have red flags (seriously, John, a "journalist"?), but Mickey's gone native:

If a state somehow succeeds at placing would-be recipients in jobs, it's out of luck under this provision. To get the extra federal money, it has to get more people on welfare.

Ah, he's referring to New Kausland, the state that would actively prefer to have high unemployment, just so it can get its hands on some federal money (federal money in New Kausland is worth three times as much as regular money, and smells of sweet perfume).

The best part about all of this is that Mickey seems to believe that the Heritage foundation -- currently endorsing the insane "more tax cuts" plan while citing to discredited-and-inaptly-named hack Amity Shlaes as proof that government just doesn't work -- and their ilk really have the best interest of the country at heart, as he approvingly repeats their call to arms ("better to whack off the camel while you're outside the tent", or something). Meanwhile, he just assumes that the Democrats are subversively trying to permanently expand welfare because ... well ... because they're evil! That's why!

Hey, wait, I forgot another one of Mickey's links:

Today, only about 40 percent of families eligible for cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program actually receive it.

Goodness. Maybe that's why people think removing the state's incentives to decrease caseloads is necessary in bad economic times? And maybe conservatives are not actually making good faith arguments about the moral hazard of incentivizing unemployment, but are, in fact, pathetically trying to revive the demagoguing that dominated the "welfare reform" issue for nearly two decades (recipients = shiftless and lazy; proponents = sinister socialists) because stoking hate and fear is the only thing they know how to do?

No, no ... I must be overthinking things.