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Wages for Housework

June 26, 1988

The article by Prescod and Jones-Schellenberg is the product of a "society-owes-me-a-living" attitude.

The arguments presented are based on two false premises. The first declares that taxpayers are morally obligated to pay for someone else's responsibilities (e.g. raising children). No evidence was presented other than the "it's society's fault" blame for lack of various amenities. No comment was made on the deliberate choice by these welfare mothers to raise children without preparing adequate financial resources.

The second premise constitutes a denial that welfare fosters a contempt towards society. The consequence of the largess begun under the "Great Society" was demonstrated by the difference in reaction to the New York power failures of 1965 and 1978. In the former, most people affected stayed at home, while the latter--after more than a decade of political altruism--resulted in looting that decimated many businesses in the ghettos.

In addition, the argument that most industrialized nations pay mothers an allowance ignores the fact that most industrialized nations have higher tax scales, lower birth rates and more homogeneous populations than the United States. In such countries some incentives for encouraging child-rearing are needed and welcomed by the voters.

Americans do not by nature lack a generous spirit. But after more than 20 years of subsidizing the largest growing segment of the federal and several state budgets, many taxpayers are not interested in listening to further petitions from welfare advocates.

G. W. THIELMAN

Ridgecrest

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