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Franklin Would Have Opposed Extending Unemployment Benefits

December 9, 2010 by  

The White House announced late Monday it had reached an agreement with Republicans to extend the current tax rates — also known as the Bush era tax cuts — for two years. To reach that compromise, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits.

Under the agreement — which displeased Congressional Democrats who wanted President Barack Obama to stand against tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year —unemployment benefits would remain in effect through the end of 2011 for workers who have been laid off for more than 26 weeks and less than 99 weeks.

In agreeing to extend unemployment benefits, Republicans made a bad deal. Unemployment benefits are paid by businesses as a tax. Money is confiscated from businesses through a Federal tax and distributed by State governments to unemployed workers, many of whom have passed up job opportunities that paid less than they wanted to earn. And many of those workers have given up their job search altogether, favoring instead the “free” money that continues to come their way.

Benjamin Franklin knew that providing for the poor would not help them out of poverty. In a letter he wrote May 9, 1753, Franklin said:

“Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.”

And in On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor in November, 1766, Franklin wrote:

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • David in Ma.

    And, I believe the Bible say’s that if ya wants ta eat—– work! Or words to that effect.

  • http://? Joseph Weiskopf

    My favorite has been, “Give a man a fis, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish he can feed himself his entire life.” I personally believe that the greatest injury one may do to themselves is to drop out of school. One who does so voluntarily should be banned from all entitlement programs. People who practice the beliefe that they can freely procreate beyond their means without interfierence from government should be charged with child endangerment and child abuse.

  • Flynn

    Why can’t we have more smart people like Benjamin Franklin in our Congress in the 21st century? If the welfare state failed in the 1700′s, it is just as unworkable today. Give a poor person a fish, and he will remain poor for life. Teach him how to fish, and he will have freedom, independence, and wealth for the rest of his life.

  • 2WarAbnVet

    Somewhere along the way politicians lost that common sense that was granted to the Founding Fathers. But then, Franklin was not interested in gulling voters in order to maintain his seat of power.

  • Aix Sponsa

    Teach them to fish: What if they are an expert fishermen? What if there are no fish in the pond? What if there are 200 fishermen at that pond? What if the nearest pond is many miles away, and there the pond only provides enough fish for a few starvation meals? What if their moving away to a farther pond gives them half as many fish and they have to trade their fish for a place to live, so they can starve? Trade many fish to return less fish than it takes for starvation? mmmmmmmm.

    • http://FaceBook Tracy “Baby”

      OK..I see you did not get the whole Fish thing. It does not have to be fishing, It could be any kind of Trade!..Like..Hunting..Building..Teaching, You know anything to help you work for your self to provide for you and your family. Not, just stand there and wait for the Government to give you a hand out! If you are given something free, and don’t have to work for it, then you would NOT work at all. The worst thing the Government ever did was to start Welfare, Sec.8 Housing, and Food Stamps! there are younger girls having 2-3 babies by the age of 19-20 years of age do to the fact that they know the Government will take care of them, and sadly they know this because their Mother’s Mother was on it! Now with this Extending Unemployment is like the same thing. There are some that really need it do to the Government! However there are those that did not have a Job from the get go! Now they are being handed a check to do what they were doing from the start…NOTHING! So what Franklin is saying..To give to those that have their hand out for free Food or free anything only teaches them that why would one work, If it can just be handed to them for doing nothing!…So, just by looking at the BIG Mess the Government has created with all this Low Income Housing, Food Stamps and Free Housing has done nothing but Teach people that they do not have to work for anything!!..and the big plus is Them that support it, Get Voted into Office over and over agian. So, it never stops and the shameful part is that the Hard Working people have to pay for it with their Taxes! So it really has nothing to do with Fishing, Franklin just used it as a Metaphor. Hope you understand now. God Bless You and Yours, and May God Bless America we sure can use it now more then ever!

    • http://?? Joe H.

      It means if a man learns to work for a living and learns a trade he will be able to support himself!! Don’t be so dense!! Sheesh!

      • libertytrain

        Another metaphor: The lights are on but no one is home. Or, The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top. :)

    • Viktor Leben


      Great Post ! Actually what the Republicans are saying “Teach a man to Fish, then he will have to buy a fishing license !”

      OR “Teach a man to fish, then cath him fishing without a license – send him to jail ! ” That one is even better ! The prison system is a racket !

      You got to admit we have alot less freedom now than we did back in Franklin’s time ! Fishing wasn’t outlawed and you didn’t need a license.

      Same thing with starting a business – you have to pay so much money to government, such as getting a license ! Don’t forget local busines tax ! Cost of zoning codes etc. ……….

      Same thing with housing ! Alot of community zoning boards won’t let you buy a piece of land, and build your own house/cottage/cabin — they won’t even let you put a trailer. I wonder how all you freedom loving people would feel if someone bought the vacant lot down the street and placed a trailer on it to live in. You sure woulld be upset !

      COuld the newly trained fisherman sell his catch on the street corner ? Doubt it. That would be against government regulations also — regu;ations that didn’t exist in Franklin’s time !!

      So we come back to 2010…. Michigan and California have very high unemployment. If WE will not give them unemployment benefits, especially the 99′ers, then I propose we offer them liberty and freedom to start their own business. Begin with repealing Fishing and Hunting license requirement and legalize Poaching !! Then get rid of all the local zoning requirements/business licenses- let Liberty ring and reign !

      • David H.

        Good idea. Get rid of the progressive liberals, get the federal government out of the private sector and get back to a strict adherence to the constitution and all those things would be possible.

  • Thomas Avery Blair

    Relating to this very topic, I suggest you review the experiences of Congressman David Crockett, yep, the same David (Davey) Crockett that fought and died at the Alamo! He lost his bid to be re-elected as a congressman because he was held accountable by the voters for violating the US Constitution by approving of giving (charitably) tax money collected from others to rebuild a town that stood near Washington, D.C.
    One other option if one is not to fish, hunt, cut wood, etc.: There is the option for slavery…no specific job…just do what the masters say and when they tell you to and you get fed and housed…fail doing that and you wind up with whippings and to the more extreme, maybe even being lynched. What do you call a welfare recipent with no skills but getting welfare and food stamps? I’d have to call them a slave of the state, just waiting to do what the masters tell them to do when they tell them to do it. Oops, could that even include voting?

    At least food for thought, is it not?

    Respectfully submitted,

    Thomas Avery Blair, EA

    • http://?? Joe H.

      I agree whole heartedly!!!

    • David H.

      Welcome to the New Plantation.

  • s c

    Most of the time, Ben Franklin stood out because he had more than his fair share of common sense. He wouldn’t recognize Washington now – or the scumbags who call themselves leaders.
    Time after time, it seems as though Washington operates via one, basic principle. That is, get rid of your common sense (if you ever had any), and you will go far in politics. Hang on to your common sense, and you might as well stay at home and forget about politics.


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