Living the Unaffordable Life

Living the Unaffordable Life

© David Burton 2023


     If you’ve worked hard to afford a suburban house with a patch of lawn where your kids can play, you’re under attack.
     The Biden administration and Democrats in New York, Connecticut and other states are fighting local zoning laws in order to build high-rise apartment buildings with “affordable” units in tree-lined, single-family neighborhoods. All in the name of equity, meaning everyone can live in a tranquil suburb, whether they’ve earned the money to pay for it or not.
     The Biden administration announced on 19 January 2023 that it would require all towns across the U.S. to submit “Equity Plans” showing how they will make it possible for low-income people to live there by providing affordable housing, transportation and other resources. Towns that don’t meet the cookie-cutter requirement for economic diversity will lose federal funding.
     Say goodbye to quaint downtowns lined with two-story buildings and older houses. Local control will be obliterated. Bureaucrats will call the shots on what your town looks like, how much traffic there is and ultimately what your home is worth. For most people, their home is their biggest asset. Opponents of single-family zoning are also playing the race card. They say they’re fighting for cities “free of structural racism and de facto segregation.”
     Racial discrimination is abhorrent and should be prosecuted. But as a Brookings Institution analysis of the 2020 census showed, race isn’t a barrier to suburban living. Blacks are moving to the suburbs at a faster pace than whites. Anybody can be suburban. It just takes money. Ensuring a supply of affordable housing within a region is more reasonable than demanding every town alter its character.
     Democrats seem to believe that everyone has a right to the same lifestyle, whether they’ve earned enough to pay the tab or not. So why stop with housing equity? Government could also compel fine restaurants to set aside a certain number of tables for “affordable” dining. All for the sake of - you got it - Dining Equity.[1]

     “Make it better for the next generation” has been the mentality of working Americans for decades, even centuries. Work as hard as you can so that your children will have the benefits and opportunities you never had. This has been the American ethic.

     Democrats and Liberals have taken this objective and rephrased it to read, “Take from today’s hard workers and hand it out to the idle and the slackers in the next generation.”

     Consider what has happened in recent years. “On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic. The announcement followed a rising sense of alarm in the preceding months over a new, potentially lethal virus that was swiftly spreading around the world.” (Ref. 2)

     Suddenly, federal stimulus packages began paying the unemployed a comfortable wage - why work hard anymore?
     The Rev. Franklin Graham highlighted this problem, noting that the ethic of hard work was fading in America. While celebrating the workers who built this nation, Graham pointed out that in the wake of COVID-19, there was then and still is today a growing disregard for work. “Almost every business is trying to hire people, but can’t find enough. So many people no longer want to work.
     “. . . the coronavirus had a great impact, but political mismanagement has dealt a debilitating blow with things such as repeated stimulus payments and giveaway packages that encourage people not to go to work,” Graham wrote.
     The Rev. Graham then praised Republicans for being the party that knows how to get people back into the workforce, while “Democrats seem to know how to tax your money and give it to people as an incentive not to work.
     Although unemployment rates fell at the end of 2022 and in the start of 2023, the numbers did not come close to the historic lows under Donald Trump and the Republicans. Under the Trump administration, millions of jobs were added to the economy, and unemployment fell to the lowest level our country had seen in half a century.
     But now there are labor shortages. Just drive around your neighborhood and you’ll see plenty of “Hiring Now” signs and McDonald’s paying $15 an hour.
     “Labor force participation is below its pre-pandemic level by almost two percentage points, with more than 3 million fewer Americans in the labor force today than before the pandemic. … Even among prime-age workers, labor force participation declined from 82.9% in February 2020 to 81.7% in June 2021,” the National Council on Compensation Insurance reported. Why re-enter the workforce when you can be paid for doing nothing? It’s just common sense to stay home and get paid by the government.
     What we are seeing now with the decline of work across our culture is laziness and the blatantly selfish disregard for the good of future generations. Thank the Liberals in our midst for much of this. The idea of making things better and creating more opportunities for our children is dead.[3]

     Michael Rowe is an American television host and narrator. He is known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs and the series Somebody's Gotta Do It. In early 2023, Rowe warned Americans to pay attention to a startling statistic revealing that seven million men in the prime of life have dropped out of the workforce with no plans to find another job.
     That data came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which also found that men were spending around seven hours a day doing leisure activities such as watching television and playing games instead of working. While millions of men weren't working, there were 779,000 open jobs in manufacturing, according to data from the BLS.
     When asked how these men, aged between 25-54, were surviving without jobs, the Emmy-winning host of "Dirty Jobs" suggested that government handouts were to blame.
     These able-bodied men not working weren’t for a lack of jobs said the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). NAM represented more than 14,000 manufacturing companies and the NAM CEO said they had one-and-a-half jobs available for every worker. He went on to say that "99.9% of [the companies] will say their number one challenge is to try to fill those open jobs."
     Rowe warned that the desire to not work was a reflection of our "national identity.”
     "We’ve given a lot of men a lot of options, and incredibly one of those options is ‘do nothing. Do nothing.' " Rowe criticized.[4]

     One suggestion that could help to alleviate the problem of too many leading a life that would normally be unaffordable without some form of government assistance is that of requiring those receiving public assistance to actually work in return.

     America needs to require that those on public assistance work to whatever degree they are capable. On an annual basis, there are about 60 million Americans who receive public assistance (yes, that is over 20% of America). They are not counted in the unemployment tallies reported regularly as they are not seeking a job. That does not mean they do not exist. Plus, they are costing working Americans over $2.4 trillion every year. And that number has increased by 20% in just the last 10 years. It is simply unsustainable.
     Fortune 1,000 and other large firms should step up. After all, many of the labor-intensive manufacturing jobs over the last several decades went to Asia due to cheap labor. It has helped their shareholders on one hand but has contributed to crippling the American workforce on the other. There are at least 60 million Americans who could use the training and jobs that have been sent abroad.
     As people are taken off the public assistance rolls as a result of finding employment, the less federal assistance would be needed from taxpayers. Imagine setting a goal of removing 33% (or 20 million) from public assistance with new real jobs. It would reduce our annual deficit by nearly $1 trillion a year. An initial tax credit could be offered to the companies willing to participate. This would be one of the best and easiest ways to address our ballooning national debt. [5]

     As the year 2023 slipped by, a question that continued to befuddle federal lawmakers was why so many millions of people had not returned to the workplace in the post-COVID-19 era. The labor force participation rate in the first quarter of 2023 among employable adults was near a record low. There were at least 2 million to 4 million employable adults who could and should have been working but weren’t.
     Very few people with even minimal skills could credibly say they couldn’t find a job. Employers reported some 10 million job openings. Small business owners said their biggest problem was finding competent workers.
     There were many explanations posited for why so many people weren’t working - fear of COVID-19, the skills mismatch, more people taking early retirement, and so on. But a major factor was – and still is - is that the federal government was back to doing what it did in the 1970s and 1980s. The welfare state was and is paying people not to work - even a single hour.
     A major reason for this was the fact that President Joe Biden eviscerated all work requirements during COVID-19, and they haven’t returned. The House Ways and Means Committee reported that less than half of Americans collecting welfare benefits going into 2023 were working. Why? Could a major cause be the Biden administration opposing work requirements?
     Getting welfare recipients back into the labor force is good for the economy and will reduce government debt. But a pro-work policy also benefits those who escape welfare dependency.
     Every study shows that having a job is highly associated with better health, longer life expectancy, happiness, and improvements in family conditions. Children and spouses of someone who is working are better off. There is dignity and a sense of self-worth from working.
     America is a rich nation, and we should absolutely have a safety net so that those who fall on tough times, lose a job or become disabled - and that can happen to all of us at some point in our lives - do not go hungry or homeless or suffer from deprivation.
     But welfare is supposed to be temporary and a hand-up, not a handout. The goal of welfare was and is to end poverty, not perpetuate it.[6]

     Our Democratic leaders in Washington have been enhancing and enabling all of this avoidance of work as they have continued to disincentivize work and dole out more and more money that the government really does not possess. Why do you think there is the continuing battle between Democrats and Republicans over raising the federal debt limit? The Democrats continue to pander to the non-productive in American society by giving them the funds necessary to live a life that they would otherwise find unaffordable.

     Government money is making it easier and more profitable not to work these days. This is simple economics that our elected officials do not care to understand and they use to their benefit. A store owner complained that he can’t compete with the government’s unemployment checks. He can’t afford to pay his employees more than $15 an hour while our federal government is paying them $3800 a month to stay home.
     Anyone familiar with government wealth transfer legislation that was sold as a way to help the poor knows that when something is subsidized you get more of it. There have been multiple generations of impoverished families. Since the War on Poverty in the 1960s, we have more people subsidized by the State. Legislation was written in such a way that intact families wouldn’t receive government aid - a woman got more money if the father was absent and if she had more children. As a result, families were torn apart by Great Society legislation while more and more money was handed out for less and less work.
     Here’s what Ronald Reagan said in 1988 about the war on poverty:
     “What has all this money done? Well, too often it has only made poverty harder to escape. Federal welfare programs have created a massive social problem. With the best of intentions, government created a poverty trap that wreaks havoc on the very support system the poor need most to lift themselves out of poverty: the family. Dependency has become the one enduring heirloom, passed from one generation to the next, of too many fragmented families.”
     Trillions of dollars were pumped into programs designed to move people out of poverty into productivity. It didn’t work. Poverty was subsidized. If you pay people who do not work, more people will stop working. If you pay women who have children with no stay-at-home fathers, you’ll get more children with absentee fathers. You don’t have to have a degree in economics from an Ivy League school to know this. In fact, if you do have a degree from one of our nation’s most prestigious schools of economics, you probably don’t know this or care to know it.[7]

     Is payment finally being demanded from U.S. taxpayers and investors in United States debt? Is living the unaffordable life finally coming to an end?

     On Tuesday, 1 August 2023, Fitch Ratings became the second of the three major credit-rating firms to remove its coveted triple-A assessment of the United States government's credit worthiness.
     Fitch cited the federal government's rising debt burden and the political difficulties that the U.S. government has had in addressing spending and tax policies as the principal reasons for reducing its rating from AAA to AA+.
     Fitch said its decision “reflects the expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, a high and growing general government debt burden, and the erosion of governance” compared with other countries with similar debt ratings.
     Fitch’s move comes just weeks after the White House and Congress resolved a standoff on whether to raise the government's borrowing limit. An agreement reached in late May suspended the debt limit for two years and cut about $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade.
     The president of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said that Fitch's decision was the right one, given that there are few efforts in Washington to address the government’s longstanding budget deficit.
     “This is about a fundamental mismatch over the long term between our spending growth and our revenue capabilities,” he said.
     Standard & Poor's removed its coveted triple-A rating of U.S. debt in 2011, after a similar standoff over the borrowing limit.
     Fitch said that the ratio of U.S. government debt relative to the size of its economy will likely rise from nearly 113% this year to more than 118% in 2025, which it said is more than two-and-a-half times higher than is typically the case for governments with triple-A and even double-A ratings.
     In general, when an issuer of debt has its credit rating downgraded, that often means it has to pay a higher interest rate to compensate for the potentially higher risk of default it poses. If that were to happen to U.S. Treasury securities, the federal government could be required to pay higher interest rates, which would push up interest costs for the government and taxpayers.[8]

     Is this the beginning of the end to living the unaffordable life?

  1. Democrats Are Out To Destroy The Suburbs In The Name Of Equity, Betsy McCaughey, Daily Caller,
    9 February 2023.
  2. Our Pandemic Year—A COVID-19 Timeline, Kathy Katella, Yale Medicine, 9 March 2021.
  3. Democrats Take Your Money and Give It to People 'Not to Work', Abby Liebing, The Western Journal,
    23 October 2021.
  4. Mike Rowe warns government enabling millions of men to quit working: 'Not letting them fail', Kristine Parks,
    Fox News, 26 January 2023.
  5. Jobs for those on public assistance could ease national debt, Gary Franks, Boston Herald: Pge 13, 3 March 2023.
  6. Government must stop paying people not to work, Stephen Moore, Boston Herald: Pge 13, 6 April 2023.
  7. When Uncle Sam is Paying You Not to Work, Gary Demar, The American Vision, 8 April 2021.
  8. The US government's debt has been downgraded. Here's what to know, Christopher Rugaber, abc NEWS, 2 August 2023.


  3 August 2023 {ARTICLE 586; UNDECIDED_80}    
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