Kentucky Shows Us The First Cracks In The Entitlements State

Reuters tells us that it will tie healthcare to work status in a reversal of norms:

Kentucky on Friday became the first U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or get jobs training, after gaining federal approval for the fundamental change to the 50-year-old health insurance program for the poor.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued policy guidance on Thursday allowing states to design and propose test programs with such requirements.

Kentucky’s waiver, submitted for federal approval in 2016, requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate in at least 80 hours a month of “employment activities,” including jobs training, education and community service.

This reverses the entitlement mentality which holds that all citizens “deserve” certain benefits paid for by other citizens, and instead ties benefits to duty, requiring that people contribute before receiving rewards. That takes our policy to only a step away from, as many have suggested, simply using government power to purchase insurance in bulk and then re-selling it to citizens.

In America, as in Europe, the Entitlement state began in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century as nations attempted to quell the rising tide of socialism by adopting “socialist lite” policies. While this preserved capitalism and individual liberty, it also guaranteed a gradual slide toward full socialism which really accelerating in the 1960s.

With the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, this kicked into full gear because there was no longer a negative example of socialism in the news. This allowed politicians to buy votes with free stuff provided by a group too small to outvote that process, and gave industry a subsidy so that its cheap labor could be paid for by tax dollars:

Here’s a stark number for understanding how low-wage employers are relying on the kindness of taxpayers: $153 billion.

That’s the annual bill that state and federal governments are footing for working families making poverty-level wages at big corporations such as Walmart (WMT) and McDonald’s (MCD), according to a new study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center. Because these workers are paid so little, they are increasingly turning to government aid programs such as food stamps to keep them from dire poverty, the study found.

In reality, this has been going on for a long time, since low-income families have always relied on food stamps, public school as daycare, progressive taxation, and other forms of wealth transfer. Industry and Leftism benefit because both are based on the idea of mobilizing masses to conform to the same behavior patterns, and so both forces act along similar lines and in support of each other.

The Entitlement State draws people from afar because it enables them to live comfortably in the first world without doing much for themselves. Instead of struggling to fix their nations and build wealth, they can simply come to the West and live on welfare or subsidized minimum-wage jobs.

Since adopting these policies, Western nations have spent themselves into debt:

In his January 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” In the 50 years since that time, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Yet progress against poverty, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, has been minimal, and in terms of President Johnson’s main goal of reducing the “causes” rather than the mere “consequences” of poverty, the War on Poverty has failed completely.

That reckless spending and out-of-control debt has made the West subservient to China, which holds the notes on much of our debt:

China added to bond investors’ jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market.

…China holds the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, at $3.1 trillion, and regularly assesses its strategy for investing them.

…A top Treasury official signaled confidence in the U.S. government debt market, which at $14.5 trillion is the world’s largest.

As this realization settles in, people in the West are becoming increasingly unwilling to fund the Entitlement State, and equally more supportive of having a strong military to counter foreign control. This leaves us with the option of cutting the nearly 60% of the budget that goes to entitlements, and setting ourselves free from these threats again.