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Friday, July 13, 2012

This is the Wrong Address for a Planned Dependency blog!

Recently, while I have been completely preoccupied, my blog has been taken over by comments asking me to write about planned dependency.  I am thrilled that my readership is expanding and I'm hopeful that my new crop of readers will hear my message.  But if you are looking for a plan to plan your dependency and set up permanent residence on Uncle Sam's Plantation, or if you are looking for ways to milk the system--especially if you lack complete integrity--I'm afraid you have arrived at the wrong address.  If you want to hear that message, Orthonomics is NOT the place for "Urbanonomics".

The Orthonomics blog is pretty much a broken record.  At Orthonomics, the message to be heard is one of (Hirschian or Maimonidian or Ben Ish Hai type) independence.  I believe in integrity: yashrut goes hand in hand with kashrut .  I believe in thrift, frugality, and wealth building.  I believe in prosperity, prosperity that can be enjoyed in this generation and can help the next generation gain their footing.

Furthermore, I am well aware that if one--especially a frum person who also benefits from the vast social and tzedakah networks of the community-- plans their alphabet soup and numbers of HUD, Section 8, Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, EITC, HEAP, FNS, Priority 7, child care vouchers, head start, government cell phones, etc, etc, etc, that they can be materially better off than they would be in lower paying jobs.

Nonetheless, I think choosing dependency is a terrible choice, and ultimately a choice that will destroy future generations, even if it "benefits" a current generation that is attracted to the shine of fool's gold.  A culture of dependency is destructive to the human spirit and to initiative.  It brings forth "learned helplessness" not "resourcefulness" as one of my new readers believes.  A culture of dependency is destructive to marriage, to family, and it is especially destructive to fathers/males and their offspring.

Ultimately, planned dependency is a wealth destroyer.  Time and energy are sapped to navigate properly through the great bureaucratic tangle of government benefits.  Wealth destruction is necessary to continue dependency.  One wouldn't think that poverty and consumerism would go together, hand and hand, but dependency changes the relationship between a person and money. You can't save too much and hold onto benefits, so you become a consumer.  You can't have too much investment income and keep your EITC credit if you go a dollar beyond the limit, so you avoid risk and production.

Case Worker:  two words my dependency advocates love and two words I never want to hear under my own roof.  Dependency does not allow you to live free, to attain independence.  Dependency does not promote self-reliance. Even if planned dependency gives your own brain some exercise, it does not give your children a yerusha of work ethic or nor does it provide role modeling for the next generation.

The frum world, a generation and a half into their planned dependency which many would like to increase and promote is just "playing house", shielded from real urban blight, urban (and rural) blight I recently had the opportunity to revisit.  Our poor have access to vast social networks.  Our poor live side-by-side with wealthy people.  Our poor often have two parents, often both professionally successful.  Not so the case among the 2nd and 3rd generation dependent.

I know that poverty is a struggle (and I don't want to undermine that struggle or be insensitive to it), but our poor are generally struggling alongside a vast middle class.  But, I would predict, that making glamorous dependency as the "solution" to our struggles (should the trend hold) will leave a future generation without this network and is a terribly destructive, selfish, and short-sighted solution.  Your grandchildren will not suffer poverty in a protective cocoon and that is yet another reason to value independence.

Once again, welcome to Orthonomics.  If you want a message of planned dependency, start your own blog.  And if you want to obtain that through questionable or even fraudulent means, don't try to educate others on my blog.


Nephew of Frum Actuary said...

This is what I posted in the earlier thread:

For those who are looking for a Kollel style "how to make it" economic blog, I would suggest "penniless parenting", which is from a frum lady in EY (I believe).

To all those dissing the Kollel families: Remember those 5K tuitions from Lakewood etc. that teach nothing? No secular studies after 6th grade (if that)? How can you expect someone to get off benefits if they only have a seccnd or third grade level of education?

Blame the parents, but Nebuch on the children. It is no different than other cultures that dismiss "the educated man's ways" in favor of their own, to their loss. It is very difficult to catch up when you are so far behind.

I'll add: Dependency is very rarely "planned" by the Hamon Am. It is (from what I have seen) the rabbis pushing "pushing off" education, claiming it can be made up when needed. By the time it is needed, it is way too late to survive on anything other than government programs.

Daily Cheapskate said...

Yasher Koach Orthonomics! I could not have said it any better or more articulately! Well spoken.

Orthonomics said...

Why thank you.

queenbee said...

This post was worth the long wait! I hope your small emergency passed quickly and peacefully.

ProfK said...

Bravo! Very well said, and needed to be said.

Mark SoFla said...

Your grandchildren will not suffer poverty in a protective cocoon and that is yet another reason to value independence.

This is the most important statement. Those who are fostering a culture of dependence are doing a great disservice, I would even say great evil, to their descendants.

Shabbat Shalom all!

Orthonomics said...

queenbee-The emergency is ongoing and has its moments. This moment seems to have passed!

Mark SoFla-I would absolutely agree. I'm glad my parents broke out of what could have been a poverty cycle.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Kol hakavod. Too many ochlei lehem hesed already. Just one correction, if I may: yosher (with a holam) rather than yashrut. Shabbat Shalom.

Dave said...

Why are you ignoring the part of the Ketubah where the in-laws, bride, and taxpayer promise to support the groom?

Mr. Cohen said...

Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky (born 1891 February 28, died 1986 March 10) was asked if it is permitted to lie in order to receive benefits from a government program.

His answer was an emphatic NO!!

Then the questioner said:
But many Gentiles do it!

The Rabbi explained:
They did not stand at Mount Sinai when the Torah was revealed!

SOURCE: page XXI of Chofetz Chaim Lessons in Truth by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, published by ArtScroll in September 2001

Zach Kessin said...

But many Gentiles do it!

Is it just me or does this sound like something you would expect from a 9 year old? But Johny's dad lets him do it

OK maybe Johny's dad is an idiot, that still does not make it a good idea

AriSparkles said...

I agree with you with the asterisk being if the person is able bodied. There are some of us here who are vastly disabled who live on services like SSDI not out of choice, but still use Orthonomics and coupon/deal blogs' ideas to stretch pennies till they are copper wire. Some of us on the plantation believe in your ideas. One day, I will work again.

AztecQueen2000 said...

AriSparkles brings up a good point. These services are designed to meet a genuine need. As such, they should be reserved for the population whom they were meant to serve. However, if they are abused by able-bodied people, then they will be cut for EVERYONE.

Anonymous said...

Well done SL - you're absolutely correct to maintain your resolute stand.
Hope the emergency soon settles down to normal life.

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, the welfare of the next generation is being mortgaged to satisfy the vanity of this generation.

GilaB said...

I thought Frank Bruni's column in today's NYTimes was related:

Anonymous said...

Frank Bruni's article was right on the money. Sad to say that the frum community is leading the pack in the "me first" society.

Miss Clavell said...

Finally, Sephardi Lady has made an effective, ringing statement against government dependency. I have been waiting and waiting for her to return from Israel to take this blog in hand again. A member of my own family lives on government assistance, and she cannot be seen to acquire any more than minimal money. It's a terrible situation, and one that is probably being perpetuated among her grown children raising their own families.

There's nothing like an honest living, folks, believe me. That's what teaches good midos and resourcefulness. I so didn't want to go to work today, but I did, and we were incredibly busy and I was needed. I am working because I have developed a strong work ethic. Dependence on government handouts makes you lazy and, well, dependent. It doesn't take resourcefulness to show up at the welfare office. It takes resourcefulness to make up for your educational deficit in the program for that purpose run by Agudah, and to walk the pavement, resume in hand, and go to every business looking for work. That's what my father did, and how he found a job and supported his family with dignity.

Miss Clavell

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about Israel? "Miss Clavell" appears to be one of our favorite commenters back under a new name. Last we heard, her feelings were hurt and she was signing off forever...

Anonymous said...

We're glad she's one of your favorites. She's one of ours, too. She's clever.

right winger said...

to add to the above story about R Yakov, a personal story. My dad was in kollel for four years and asked R yakov if he should go on govt programs, because his finances were tight. The Rabbi said - No, you should get a job.

btw, I have heard rabbanim say (cant remember which, so i wont guess, but it was def. right wing) that by allowing the govt to support us, we are giving the govt zechusim, which makes the US strong
and having such a strong country could be holding back moshiach.
interesting, no?

right winger also said...

personally, I think it emasculates our menfolk.
I dont think its healthy. Human beings need to be productive.