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In the Welfare State, Beggars Learn to Be Choosers — Very Picky Choosers

Written by Gary North on October 16, 2014

The welfare state mentality is close to universal today. Half of Americans are on the dole to one degree or another.

The outlook of this society is one of entitlements. They are deliberately called entitlements by their defenders because “charity” sounds voluntaristic. These handouts are not voluntary, as both the legislators and the recipients know. The recipients of money or non-monetary handouts think of the arrangement as both moral and legal. Because the dole is promised to oldsters, every member of society is taught to look forward to his days of wine and roses, his golden years of automatic monthly money and nearly free medical care.

An attitude of a moral right to other people’s money pervades what used to be called the lower ranks of society. Even where the legal right to other people’s money does not exist, the moral right is thought to. Those who have lived in terms of government handouts expect handouts to continue on at least a part-time basis from anybody who possesses any advantage, earned or not, which they do not possess. It is not just that they want to get their hands into your wallet through the civil government. They want to get their hands into your wallet directly. But this proves more difficult. They cannot use coercion, so they have to use a sob story. They make up effective ones.

This is why there are deacons in churches. This is why there are screening committees in charitable organizations. The donors need people who are skilled in sorting out sob stories of pretended need from real stories of real need.

I used to attend an inner-city church for several years. The secretary knew everybody in the neighborhood. She would warn the pastor when some guy came looking for a handout. She would tell him which people were con artists, and which ones really had a pressing problem. We all need people like this in our lives. Until you get one, operate on this assumption: the person who wants the handout does not really need a helping hand. The person is just working the system, and you are the latest mark.

Charitable organizations are hit so often with sob stories that the screeners can categorize them. They have heard them all before. They know all the reasons offered for personal failure. They become skilled at separating people who need a hand from people who want a handout.


I was reminded of this recently when I received the following email.

I was doing a search for my daughter of online accredited colleges and came across your video when trying to look up reviews on Ashworth University. She’s not a social kid and she’s been doing Fisher online college for early childhood and she just informed me that she wants to switch her major to Psychology. She works as a FT nanny, 19, and lives on her own. We have qualified for some financial aid but she says she doesn’t like the curriculum of Fishers. She has looked at Phoenix online and likes them but it’s very expensive, and now she just sprung on me Ashworth Univerisity. She’s a very naive girl and she’s stressing me out. I was excited when you said go to my website for my free report to download and when going there, I saw that you want a fee for it. I can’t afford this. I am a single mother trying to get my daughter to keep at it and pursue college and get a degree. Is this the only way to get your valuable information? I live in Massachusetts and my daughter has social anxieties so she prefers online college only. If you can help me in any way I would value that.

Let me break this down, point by point.

First, Fisher College online charges $325 per semester credit hour. (Note: Fisher College charges over $43,000 a year to parents of its on-campus students. This is about $1,430 per semester credit hour. So, $325 per semester credit hour is a real bargain — one which parents of the on-campus students would be wise to take advantage of. If they don’t, they are dumber than dirt, which in fact most parents are when it comes to the trifecta of after-tax economic loss: “room, board, and tuition.” The really smart ones would pull their kids out, have them use AP exams and CLEP exams to quiz out of college courses, and get the price per semester unit down to about $35 for the first two years. To find out how to do this, click here.)

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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6 thoughts on “In the Welfare State, Beggars Learn to Be Choosers — Very Picky Choosers

  1. AmericanIcon says:

    Nobody is 'entitled' to my earnings, and when the government steals or extorts from the productive to subsidize the parasites, it's not 'charity' either – it's slavery…the only difference is the lash has been replaced by the debit card.

  2. Here is the shtick, as I have learned the hard way spending two years working full-time with these "poor" people.

    I am "poor" (even though I have a smart phone, $100 a month television contract, buy new clothes, smoke, etc.).
    You are rich, because you have money (because I DON'T have a smart phone or television contract, etc.)
    You are a Christian.
    Christians are mandated to help the poor.
    Christians are not allowed to judge others. If I say I'm poor, you are not allowed to question it.
    Therefore, you must give me money for food and anything I deem a "need".

    If you question this, you are a hypocrite.

  3. I received a statement in the mail yesterday saying that everyone in the state of Tennessee who graduates from high school in 2015 will be able to get a two year degree and it will be paid for. I assume that includes illegal immigrant students because if not there would be so many law suits. Got it? You are illegal but you get to sue the government for not paying for your college after high school.
    You can be an illegal immigrant and join the military in the united states. Do you remember the major that while shouting Islamic phrases and killed 13 people and wounded many more and it has been labeled a work place violence case. Not terrorist attack,
    Benghazi according to Juan Williams, they are still trying to find out what actually happened. I don't know where he has been hiding for the last few years but they knew it the night that it happened. Leon Panetta told Obama that it was an attack and that it was terrorist. How can they not come up with it was a terrorist attack? In the second debate with Romney, Obama said that he came out the next day or so and announced in the garden that it was a terrorist attack. the commentator agreed that she had information that was true. She came out days later and admitted that she was mistaken. I guess that is why they sent Susan whoever to the talk show circuit, I mean the news show circuit to tell that it was a demonstration caused by a video tape. Which was absolutely not true.
    We have endured a lot of that mistake, misspoke kind of thing. You don't have to be Christian or Islamic or anything else to simply tell the truth, but maybe you do.

  4. Terry Metcalf says:

    Gary North, you are an idiot. In your article, Welfare state, you make the comment, "Because the dole is promised to oldsters"
    What is promised to oldsters is NOT dole. It is our money we were forced to put into SS rather than get a better return in the private market.
    Do not make the uniformed mistake of calling SS to older folks, the dole, or an entitlement. IT IS OUR MONEY.

  5. you are wrong with your claim "it is our money" that you claim you were forced to put into the system.
    1. one could have said no and defended one's constitutional position, by force if necessary. unfortunately many took the cowards road of the path of least resistance. which enabled and assisted in the death of the constitution.
    2. SS has no profit and loss statement, once one gave the funds; they were gone, no longer one's to posses . it was either given or stolen.
    3. with hindsight it is easy to see that these funds enabled payments to the muslims and other subhuman organisms, those that complied enabled/funded homos, abortions, pedo's. and many unconstitutional policies. thereby assisting in destruction of the constitution.
    4. even as "older folk" there is still not admission of error, but rather a joining of the statists that choose to destroy the country. instead of telling the younger generations of the foolish choice of compliance, now those that complied stand and expect that others should bow the knee and repeat the folly. at any moment anyone can take the stand and warn the younger that the federal government are liars and not to be trusted, that they are not interested in preservation of the constitution or America.
    5. history will this constituency of "americans" as the greatest generation of fools that ever walked the north American continent, assisting/enabling the destruction of the constitution and country; completely selfish and loyal to their bellies.
    6. in light if the results of the compliance and destruction, what manner of person would claim it was their money and work that resulted in the destruction of the constitution and the country? these moneys are so cursed and filled with treachery and debauchery, it could only be the reward for treason to ones own people, especially the children.

  6. As a Cashier I witnessed (many times!) food stamp/welfare customer(s) buy groceries with stamps. Including cuts of meat that I cant afford.
    Next, they bought their hard liquor, beer, tobacco and 100-150 pounds of dog food for their 3 illegal Pit-bulls, With Cash! (This family lives in city limits). They were bragging about not getting caught with their 3 illegal dogs!
    I saw these people in the store often. They did travel from another town.
    Most customers I saw ,I knew.
    Most came from rich families.
    Many were young and milking the welfare system for inexpensive housing, buy their pricey-cuts of meat, groceries, formula, diapers, etc. etc.
    Then customer spends cash for dog food! Plus liquor,beer, tobacco, lighters, & junk!
    This needs to STOP!