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Jim Cook



Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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The Best of Jim Cook Archive

Commentary Of The Month
September 16, 2004
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The (subsidized) American Dream

By Julia Gorin By the time my mother, sister and I joined my father in America in 1976, he had saved $6,000 after two years of working as a violinist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. His annual salary was $11,000. A former dissident from the Soviet Union, he never thought he'd see that kind of money in his lifetime ($36,000 in today's dollars). The $6,000 ($19,600 today) was enough for a down-payment on a house in the suburbs, and his salary was able to support a family of four.

We had a car — a used, sixty-dollar 1966 Plymouth that my dad had gone 50-50 on with a fellow immigrant Symphony pal. (In today's money, that $30 apiece means $107 each.) When my mom started working as a computer programmer the following year at $9,000, our cup was running over.

For my husband's family, the year was 1980, the family car was $200, and his parents — working as engineers for $5 and $10 an hour — were able to put a down-payment on a house within five years. They had help: In a combined effort, the State of Maryland and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society provided housing, utilities, food and healthcare — the same things that today's working poor get. But the family, who had come to America in March, were off the dole by November. (My mother-in-law proudly recalls the date: October 24th.)

The Soviet émigrés of the 70s and early 80s were a motivated bunch. For American-born welfare beneficiaries, on the other hand, it wasn't until the system itself became the motivator in 1996 that they were weaned off. That year, the Republican-controlled Congress's Welfare Reform Bill changed welfare from a lifestyle choice to a temporary solution used by people who work — just as we immigrants had used it (at least the honest ones among us). It stipulated a two-year deadline for finding a job, at which point the help would become more specific (childcare, housing, vocational training, work transportation — including money to fix the car if it's the only way to get to work). No one would be left out in the cold. Dick Morris advised a kicking and screaming Bill Clinton to sign the bill — if he wanted to get reelected. So what are today's Democrats thinking?

Edwards painted an idyllic picture of his life growing up the son of a mill laborer. He credited his mother's part-time furniture refinishing with putting him through college, then declared that every American, no matter who they are, where they live or what their color, should have the same opportunity he did. The crowd roared. Yet the "opportunity" he described his modest background as affording him in this country qualified precisely as the poverty that he — and the other speakers — spent the whole convention railing against. So, while commending his parents for busting their behinds their whole lives and promising everyone the opportunity to do the same, he said no one should have to live that way.