December 6, 2010 | Marc Goodson

According to the media, extended unemployment compensation may be coming to a permanent end. The Republican political leadership does not want to extend compensation for unemployment short of finding a way to do so without increasing the deficit.  So the proposition of compensating unemployment is not wrong, it is conditional.  Democrats, on the other hand, teach that the unemployed should be compensated because they need money, because their unemployment is no fault of their own, and because compensating unemployment stimulates economic growth and creates jobs.  These politicians tell us these things so we believe them and reelect them.    Neither perspective, however, is principled or honest.  Since we elect these people, they are considered our representatives. So if they are unprincipled and dishonest, is it because we are unprincipled and dishonest or have we just been deceived by them?

In all fairness, I should disclose a bias or two about this notion of indefinite compensation for unemployment.  I was raised in a household with a father who repeatedly stressed, “The man that does not work ought not eat.”  He became a Christian shortly after my birth.  He started reading his Bible and he happened upon this statement in 2 Thessalonians 3.  He was persuaded by the truth of it and insisted that my sisters and I work.   Having made that admission, one does not need to read the Bible to figure the relevance of personal contribution for coexistence.  As the writer of the second letter to the Thessalonians acknowledged, none should be a burden.

As voters, we have contrived a social system that allows everyone to be a burden; no one is responsible for his own unless he wishes.  His willingness for personal responsibility, however, does not exclude him from the burden of those who cannot or will not assume responsibility for themselves and their own. He simply manifests himself as one apt for freedom.  He would be numbered among those who believe that personal freedom is intrinsically linked to personal responsibility.  There is no God-given right to disassociate personal choices from personal consequences.  There is no God-ordained public responsibility for private choices.  No one deserves anything because they need it.  One can only deserve what he earns.  Need does not give money value nor is the value of money in the paper.  The only reason money has value is because of those who produce products and provide services; without them, there would not be anything to buy.  To the extent that one believes money is necessary and should be had, one must either earn it, be gifted it, steal it, win it, or find it.  For the money to be gifted, stolen, won, or found, it must first be earned by someone.  Hence, one is greater.  Without the one, the others cannot exist.

To use government to compensate unemployment, we must first violate those who earn their keep.  We must hold our interests, our significance, our life, our freedom in higher esteem than theirs, not because we have added more value, but because we exist.  We appeal to liberty to help ourselves to the fruit of their labor and consider it justice because they earned it and we voted for it.  Such delusions of grandeur are not only degenerate, they, along with a host of other fantasies, are unconstitutional.  This may go unacknowledged by today’s Republican leadership, but it is a predominant offense to me.  My ancestors left enough stories of slavery for me to know it when I hear it proposed.  When you demand I work for you because you exist and in return I get to keep what you do not take, I sense a wannabe master in my midst.

Again, I am not certain whether society has regressed to such foolishness because politicians told us that our need, misfortune, and failure warranted compensation or whether they went about teaching that because we required it of them.  Nevertheless, I am certain that the only value associated with need is motivation; specifically, it is motivation to change and adapt to acquire more control of one’s life.  Among those who believe in liberty and justice for all, our personal lives are the only ones we should be living to control so that we do ourselves well instead of perpetuating our own demise.

There was a time in America when the man that did not work did not eat.  He sought work to stay alive and he usually found it.  Today, that is not so because his freedom to negotiate with employers has been impeded on several fronts, two of which are unionism and minimum wages.  Michigan’s forced unionism law prevents the unemployed from offering his services for less than the unions demand.  The nation’s minimum wage law restricts him from offering to work for less than $7.25 per hour.  I do not figure it matters much to the many dishonest and covetous among us, but to those who wish to live an honorable life these impediments are most troublesome.  It was not until last year that the President and his Congress of merry men made it illegal to pay a person less than $7.25 per hour.

So if a risk analysis of a prospective employee does not warrant such expense, that person will remain
unemployed.  Accordingly, more of us will remain unemployed.  Democrats, like President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Stabenow, Carl Levin, John Conyers, and Gary Peters understand this and they expect for the unemployed to vote for them.  Under the auspice of doing good, i.e. raising the minimum wage, they have removed the option of self-preservation for an honorable, contributory life and permanently unemployed a larger segment of the population.

While I am convinced that increasing minimum wage is a death sentence to many unemployed who do not have money saved or a supportive social network, Democrats insist that the unemployed should be compensated because they do not have jobs.  This is not because of some intrinsic value or becoming attribute of unemployment, it is so they can keep their political job and compensate us for our vote. That process is commonly referred to as a kickback.  And yes, it is unconstitutional for elected representatives, including President Obama and a host of other presidents of times past, to support such perks upon vowing to uphold the U.S. Constitution.  This may or may not matter to you.  I suppose it depends on whether you believe we should simply be compensated for our existence, whether you believe one’s disadvantage entitles him to another’s fortune, or whether you believe in liberty and justice for all, as most of us Americans pledge.

We all know there is no public value gained by a person’s unemployment, yet we, the public, choose to compensate it.  Politicians tell us that our unemployment is no fault of our own.  Who actually believes that?  How is it that our unemployment is no fault of our own?  We chose our employer as our employer chose us.  We chose to remain with that employer until we were laid off.  We chose the skill-sets and the attitude that got us employed.  If little got us employed, there was little to keep us employed.  Why are some still employed, while we are not?  Could it be that they made different choices?  Who voted for the politicians that raised minimum wage and strengthened unions so that manufacturers flee the country?  If I believed politicians, I would have never become who I am.  Am I the only one that fears judgment by God?

My unemployment does not give me a right to another’s income.  My desire for a job does not give me a right to a job.  This is reality; it humbles me.  Who, under God, considers himself exempt from the simple commands against covetousness and theft?  There can be no peace among a people who believe they have an unearned right to the person or property of another. If making false claims of value and innocence for unemployment fell short, politicians also claim using government to compensate unemployment stimulates economic growth and creates jobs.

One could address this as one would claims of public good associated with minimum wages.  If raising minimum wage is such a public good, why not raise it to $10, $20, or $30 per hour?  Doing so, as noted above,
would increase our unemployable population.  We all may think we are worth more, but our challenge is to identify someone who is willing to pay us what we think we are worth.  In this same sense, if compensating unemployment stimulates economic growth and creates jobs, why combat it?  Why don’t we increase the compensation for unemployment?  Some of us could sit back and get paid for existing while the others work to finance our leisure. Of course, increasing unemployment compensation would only motivate more people to seek payment for unemployment in the same sense that compensating poverty increases the population of people wishing to be compensated for poverty.

Despite political claims, neither increasing nor extending unemployment compensation perpetuates economic growth or creates jobs.  That is a ridiculous, bold-faced lie.  It may be the lie that we demand of our politicians, but it is a lie.  Economic growth is stimulated only by productivity, not sloth.  As Americans, we have ventured so far from the founding principles of America that our Constitution borders upon irrelevance.  We do not know it and we possess little or no understanding of what we should be as a nation.  While America was founded to be different from all other countries, we now aspire to be as the others.  To whom should they appeal for hope?

Since we all can vote, we are both citizens and leaders.  As leaders we have made a lot of bad choices making for more bad citizens.  If it is possible to deserve the unearned, if one has an unearned right to another’s person or property, why is theft, murder, and rape criminalized?  If your success entitles me to your income, if my desire requires your sacrifice, what has become of your God-given right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?  Does just any law make right or are there underlying principles to which we, as Americans, are subject in forming our legislation?

The idea of public compensation for unemployment may sound good, just like a minimum wage and compensation for poverty sounds good, but the social and public consequences of the policies are worsening.  They will continue to worsen until we change our ways and our expectations.  You, I, we only deserve what we have earned and we do not deserve until we have earned.   Regardless of our personal income or a politician’s claim, we, through our federal government, do not have a right to tell others how to use their earnings.  Until we accept and embrace the truth, I am convinced that America can forget the blessings of God regardless of its prayers, its origin, or its currency.  Personal freedom devoid of personal responsibility ensures our national peril.