POLITICAL: Dependency programs are a moral hazard

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The Effects of Dependency Programs: More Harm than Help
by Donlyn Turnbull

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Aside from the dire economic outlook, equally important is the harm social dependence is causing for people who enter the system and become stuck.

It’s not called “in-dependency” programs for a reason.

Whoever controls your money and your choices controls you.  And when you lose that ability, you begin to stop taking responsibility for your life. Dependency programs breed more dependency and can create the same psychological effects as people involved in abusive or other severely difficult situations.

Many people assume if you are in a bad situation you will do anything to escape it.  However, the truth is, “If you feel like you aren’t in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in”.  It’s the very definition of a psychological effect proven in the 1960’s by scientist Martin Seligman, called “learned helplessness”.

When people begin to believe they can’t help themselves they eventually stop trying.

The Administration is allowing people to become fully dependent on them for their basic needs like food and access to health services, even encouraging it. The more they rely on the Government, the more Government has control of their lives and the less people feel they are capable of escaping their situation.  Without responsibility and choices, they give up.

An excellent example of this was presented in a study in 1976 by Langer and Rodin.  It showed the effects of nursing home patients who were given responsibility and choices as opposed to those “where conformity and passivity is encouraged and every whim is attended to.”  The latter dramatically declined in overall “health and well-being”.  The study was extended to homeless shelters.

When people were given both responsibility and choices they were much more likely to find work and a place to live.

A continuation of the same study showed “increased-responsibility conditions” have very positive long term effects as well.

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I remember my Mom saying to me, when I complained about this or that, “Fix it!”, “Do Something About It”, or “That’s Not My Problem”. And, heaven help me, if I said I was bored. She’d find something that I needed to do. Later in life, when “stuff happened”, as it always does, she’d say: “That’s life; deal with it.” or “Well, what are you going to DO about it?”.

I’ve made many bad decisions in my life. Done dumb things for which a price had to be paid. Squandered tons of money. Burned bridges, spilt milt, and regretted so many missed opportunities. Some, due to NOT making a conscious decision, but many due to a deliberate choice. Good decisions go bad through what I’d call bad luck. But the vast majority of my “disasters” were of my own making.

(In writing this, I wonder what “choices” I missed completely. That’s not “shoulda, coulda, and woulda!” thinking. It’s just realizing that there maybe have been “hidden” options that I’m not even aware of or just didn’t see as a choice.)

I’ve heard this before form the lady who runs a welfare to work charity in Mercer County. How the State Welfare bureaucrats want their “Clients” to stay on the dole. She has to literally retrain people to think independently. She has great success stories which just proves to me that people are beautiful when they are free of these artificial constraints.

I’ve long thought that the Gooferment shouldn’t be in the charity business. Just prevent force and fraud, and allow people to suceed or fail on their own.

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