Comment 40986

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:26:13

Donald, thank you for bringing up work ethic.

When you talk to a little boy and ask "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and he looks at you like you're crazy and says "I'm not going to be anything. I'm going to get a cheque from the government like my mom." then it hits you. And I know people that have worked in Hamilton for 20+ years and see this over and over again... generational poverty is a very hard thing to break, especially when it's reliance on welfare.

When people are raised in a culture of hard work, especially if they've come from a country where it's unthinkable not to work, there's a much stronger social incentive to work. I come from St. Catharines, where there's a huge Mennonite and Dutch culture of people who don't tend to get higher education and often have very traditional gender roles, but they work hard and are thrifty with the money they have. Here's a question - How many Mennonites have you seen on welfare? Ever? How many Dutch people? Not very many, that's for sure.

But I sure know a lot of other people in St. Catharines on welfare who know exactly how much creditors will let you not pay if you wait long enough, and who are back on welfare every year or two. To them, that's life. Work for a bit, welfare for a bit.. over and over and over. Buying any property, saving for the future, being responsible with finances is never on their radar.

If people are raised in generational poverty and generational reliance on welfare cheques, it's a whole different story than those who have a strong work ethic. If you're raised not knowing how to go to anywhere but the cheque-cashing place, or how to make anything but frozen pizza, it's a whole different story. If you don't know how to get furniture except at the rent-to-own store, it's a whole different story. And even a guaranteed income won't help dig you out of poverty.

As much as it would be nice to rely on people wanting to work, if they don't associate pride with work, if they've never learned that there's any value in labour in itself, even in how it builds character, persistence, physical strength, and if their family and friends don't value work, a guaranteed income is the single worst thing you can do for them.

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