We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The progress of social programs and the debt

1960’s: Lets eliminate everything bad. We can go to the moon so why not end poverty!
“Yes, do it.”

1970’s: Well, it doesn’t look so easy. We’ll have to spend more money.
“Well, okay.”

1980’s: It is actually not working. Maybe we should spend some more slightly differently.
“Well, give it a try.”

1990’s. We’ve got so many people depending on this! We have to spend more to keep them afloat.
“Well, I don’t want to look like a terrible person, so okay.”

2000’s: The debt is growing, and the social programs are actually having negative effects, but we have to keep trying! We’re nice people! We have to DO SOMETHING!
“Well, is this really necessary… why not cut back… oh, okay, don’t look at me that way.”

2010’s: The country is in debt and things are awful! We must help those who are least able to help themselves. We have to let the world see what nice people we are!
“Well… no.”
“Oh, bog off.”

18 comments to The progress of social programs and the debt

  • Julie near Chicago

    I believe our Mr. Amon is onto something here.

    Great sketch. :>))

    Congrats on “supremacist.” I can’t give that man a cigar, but he surely deserves 247 gold stars!

  • George Atkisson

    After the Charlottesville disaster here in the US, the Media is working overtime to conflate “White Supremacist” and “White Nationalist” in the public mind. Believing in one’s country while being White is about to become the ultimate expression of unforgivable evil.

  • Thailover

    Since most people are zero-sum tribalists, it’s not surprising that most people don’t have a positive-sum understanding of the definition of poverty. Poverty is not a mere lack of wealth, (that’s simply a symptom of poverty), and it’s certainly not a lack of other people’s wealth.

    Poverty is not knowing how to create and keep wealth for oneself, or not caring to because gaining wealth requires a lot of effort and delaying of self-gratification. (Some would say “sacrifice”, I would say investment in the future.) Generally speaking, wealth is earned, not an entitlement.

    Treating wealth like it’s merely a lack of cash simply creates mal-incentives and class warfare, like government expropriation of wealth from those that earned it, and “distributing” it to those who have not earned it, creating a sense of entitlement, (usually accompanied with the zero-sum tribalist propaganda that the rich get rich by making others poor, and thus this “redistribution” is a just rebalancing of the “wealth distribution”. Of course, wealth was never distributed at all).

    We can pretend naivety of motive if we wish, but it’s been documented by LBJ’s biographer that whilst publicly proclaiming the entitlement racket a savior and compassionate move extended towards blacks, he’s also quoted as saying onboard Air Force One to others, “We’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.

    LBJ was a “flaming” racist and was always a racist. Nothing changed about that. Ironically, he was as racist as Dem Sen Robert Byrd, who filibustered LBJ’s civil rights act for 83 days straight.

  • Thailover

    Sorry, in the above, that should be “Treating poverty like it’s a mere lack of cash”, of course.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    You should have sent your tired and poor TO the moon! Leaving only the successful people in America. What could possibly have gone wrong?

  • bobby b

    Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray
    August 14, 2017 at 4:42 am

    “You should have sent your tired and poor TO the moon! Leaving only the successful people in America.”

    Given that we’re trying to build a wall because so many people want to come here, I’d say that all of the people already here are successful.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Thailover @ August 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm:

    LBJ was a “flaming” racist and was always a racist. Nothing changed about that. Ironically, he was as racist as Dem Sen Robert Byrd, who filibustered LBJ’s civil rights act for 83 days straight.

    And yet he acted against racism, overcoming the resistance of the likes of Byrd. Maybe it was just the triumph of political self-interest over (bad) principle. But I think that Johnson and others internally modified their views as Jim Crow and white supremacy were overthrown and the sky did not fall.

    Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was an arch-Dixiecrat – the Dixiecrat Presidential candidate in 1948. But in the 1980s, he sent his eight-year-old daughter (he’d married in 1968) to an integrated school.

  • Alisa

    Thurmond also had a daughter from him black maid. People are complicated, politicians included.

  • Jacob

    That explains his sending her to an integrated school. No so complicated…

  • Jacob

    People are racist…people are dumb… people are greedy… people are lairs… people are irrational… yes, that is the world we live in.

    Problem starts – when lefties try to re-educate people by force, by laws, by bullying by shaming, by endless hectoring.
    The lefties think they are perfect, which gives them the right and obligation to re-educate everybody.

  • Mr Ed

    The essence of politics is to reward failure and to do so by penalising success. The Left prioritise penalising success over any rewards for failure that they might offer.

  • Alisa

    Not the same daughter, Jacob.

  • CaptDMO

    Can’t you just compromise on what’s left after the LAST time “we” compromised? No?
    OK, “we’ll” talk again NEXT week.

  • Paul Marks

    The work requirement first introduced into Wisconsin and then other States – and then into Federal policy by the Republican Congress elected in 1994 (although President Clinton took the credit for something he had opposed – and demanded an expansion of government financed healthcare as the price of) did have some good effects.

    The number of people dependent on government welfare did fall for a few years – it really did. It fell because people were told “you are physical capable of work – now if you want money from the taxpayers we will find some work for you to do, and it may not be very nice work” – “surprise” a lot of the “victims” found that they could find employment if they really put their minds to it.

    A “work test” (as people in the, much and unfairly attacked, past understood) is vital – if the government just gives people money and services for not working then more and more people (over generations) will-not-work.

    So the story is not all doom-and-gloom – just mostly doom-and-gloom.

    One of the more recent desperately depressing developments (D.D.D.s) is the revival of interest in the “Negative Income Tax ” and even the (utterly demented) “Universal Income” (welfare for everyone – including billionaires).

    The painful lessons learned first in Wisconsin and then in other States and at the Federal level seem to have utterly forgotten – and now (as Dale points out) we are back to just handing our money and “free” services (such as healthcare).

    Even rampant drug abuse is being described as a disease, an “epidemic” – with demands that more and more tax money and tax funded services be given to the “victims”.

    Very few people are actually forced into addiction to drugs – some may be tricked into it, but for most abusers drug abuse is a CHOICE, they inflict the suffering and the early death upon themselves.

    Now that statement (the truth) will be utterly denounced now in political circles – circles that deny that human beings are beings (free will agents) and see them as just objects (robots – but robots with the capacity to suffer) to be helped by government.

    And thus the moral fibre (and even the use of the term “moral fibre” raises cynical laughter in these degenerate days) of the community is further undermined.

    The America of the past (the recent past) of fraternities (secular as well as religious – and the word “fraternity” used to mean mutual aid society, NOT student drinking den), and churches, and families, is gone, replaced by “atomised” people dependent on government.

    This is the “freedom” the 1960s promised – freedom from family, freedom from church, freedom form civilised standards, freedom from civil society (the “funny” old fraternities and so on), and the price of this “freedom”?

    Dependence on government – total and absolute dependence on government from the “cradle to the grave” in all the basic needs of life.

  • Schrodinger's Dog


    Good hearing from you after so long. Or have you been posting here and I somehow missed it?

    Going a bit off-topic, you don’t hear it so much these days, probably because the Moon landings were now almost half a century ago, but the phrase, “We can send people to the Moon, so why can’t we do X?” always gave me a wry chuckle. After all, the problems inherent in sending people to the Moon have specific answers. For example, if you want to send a man to the Moon, you’ve got to first accelerate him to about 25,000 mph – or 11,200 m/s. I’m not saying that because I’m a heartless right-wing b*****d – although I am (!) – but because the universe is made that way: there’s an equation that says so. By contrast, there’s no calculus of the problems of the inner cities, for example, there probably never will be and, sticking with the mathematical analogy, their problems may well be insoluble.

    Coming back on-topic, you’re right, unfortunately: government social programmes are now so big, and so many people have come to depend on them, it is hard to see how they can ever be meaningfully reformed. Personally I think it will go one of two ways. Most likely people will come to accept handing over most of what they earn to the state, in return for generous subsidies and public services. Or we’ll suffer an economic collapse, similar to that of the Soviet Union.

  • Julie near Chicago


    ‘This is the “freedom” the 1960s promised – freedom from family, freedom from church, freedom form civilised standards, freedom from civil society….’

    Exactly so.


  • Thailover

    Julie, ironically, ACTUAL freedom, aka Liberty, is the accepting of personal responsibility, not the shirking of it. The Leftists of today aren’t “liberals”. “Liberals, i.e. classic liberalism, is, arguably enough, libertarianism. Leftists today are unadulterated fascists who HATE liberty, as framed by our “framers”, that is, America’s founding fathers, who always spoke of individual rights in the context of liberty, rights to ACTION, not rights to “have” things, and services. Rights to ACT, aka Liberty, means, in the context of property rights, to EARN, to PRODUCE and to own what one has earned, and to be judged by our actions, held responsible. The concept of EARNING and BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE to Leftists is like silver crosses and garlic to vampires.