Benefits show people it’s better not to work

When our politicians propose to raise the minimum wage, it tells me one thing: They have no real plan for people to have jobs, period. This is reprehensible. I felt the same way when the political parties agreed to extend unemployment benefits up to a two-year period, instead of six months. How long ago was that? Long enough for unemployment to actually be the wage? There is little resistance by the populace when some money still flows.

The minimum-wage job was never meant to be the end result of your labor; it was the beginning. You worked and learned and advanced. I fear the only thing we are learning going forward is how having a job interferes with collecting social service benefits. People are not stupid; the fact is, earning too much will cut your food stamps, heating, housing, transportation and child care assistance. I know business owners who have a difficult time scheduling minimum-hour shifts for their employees because of this unintended consequence of so-called safety net program entitlement. Raising the minimum wage will make it worse.

The free health care alone is worth thousands of dollars and when its value becomes taxed as income to those who are employed, working may well become obsolete. Before we look down on our neighbors who take advantage of taxpayer largess, let’s take a good hard look at what various advocacy groups are teaching: In many cases, not working is being responsible. Working means losing benefits for your family. All of the taxpayer dollars spent on education in this state have not refuted that lesson, kind of giving a melancholy meaning to the belief you can be anything you want to be.

Pam McDonald