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Contentions

Julia, Meet Carina

Donald Douglas at the American Power blog highlights a story in the New York Times about Denmark’s welfare-state “rethink.” The Danish government is trying to rein in its celebrated largess in part because a parliamentarian has exposed a particular Danish dependent:

The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.

In an effort to make sure that “people like Carina do not exist in the future,” Denmark is trying to inject a little work ethic into its loafer’s paradise:

About 240,000 people — roughly 9 percent of the potential work force — have lifetime disability status; about 33,500 of them are under 40. The government has proposed ending that status for those under 40, unless they have a mental or physical condition that is so severe that it keeps them from working.

You mean only give disability to people with disabilities?

Instead of offering disability, the government intends to assign individuals to “rehabilitation teams” to come up with one- to five-year plans that could include counseling, social-skills training and education as well as a state-subsidized job, at least in the beginning. The idea is to have them working at least part time, or studying.

“Social-skills training.” The welfare-state experiment has so thoroughly deformed its human lab rats the poor creatures can’t be let back into the general population without teams of trainers to coach them through the reintegration process. Never mind the bit about running out of other people’s money, the deeper problem is that socialism turns the acquisition of dignity into a trauma.

Barack Obama doesn’t see that The Life of Julia is the unavoidable precursor to the no-life of Carina. All it takes to get from one to the other is a generation. Once you’ve established a cohort of cradle-to-gravers who’ve never known the difference between government subsidy and government, everything slides inexorably Carinawards.  

America’s welfare state is growing even as Denmark’s undergoes its emergency liposuction. When Julia and Carina pass each other, two ships in democratic socialism’s long night, hopefully the social-skills training has kicked in and they can wish each other a none-too-awkward bon voyage.



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