If nothing new is produced, and needed service providers are missing, there is nothing to spend money on if you do have any in your wallet or purse.
That used to be the day to day reality splashed in white on the blackboard during economics 101 class. And what you were taught in your own Maine household growing up. Learned from around the supper table family conversations. On how the world runs discussions.
Slowly as government bloated, as jobs became scare because employers shut their doors and headed to less restrictive, cheaper places to do business.
A very unhealthy addiction started. Welfare was not designed for long term life support. It was to stop the bleeding, give temporary relief for lay offs, death, disease or a life event that left you deer in the headlights scared, dazed, confused. Especially if it was not just you cut off to fend for yourself. But you had kids, families with little ones. Elderly disabled members of the local population to care for that all needed everything from housing, beefed up education to nourishment, health care.
Getting 3 hots and a cot but not at the crowbar hotel kind.
Until recovery of the bump in the road happens. You got back on your feet. And that’s where your family pulled together, three generations lived under one roof for survival. Because it was the only option, charity started at home. Before Uncle Sam took over the role of support. As family values disappeared, disintegrated. Broken homes happened all over the place.
But the public support continued permanently, for years and years like an IV memorizing drug. When lack of job opportunities matching their skills happened. Showed up looking for the able bodied workers in the household, but lazy happened about the same time. Why work if you could, there was nothing wrong with you. If the gain with a low paying job was below the bottom line of just staying on the public dole? Dole originally defined as “to give out in small portions; distribute sparingly”.
The math did not add up even with self respect being fed into the getting up, going to work when the public benefits became so easy, pervasive.
And common place when you cranked your head around and more and more instances of it popped up everywhere you looked. When they were more than tiny, just enough to keep your head above water as supplemental support to get by combined with your own efforts to do what you could on your own.
Holding down a job, any employment until something better comes along. Or two part time jobs for now.
Whatever you can get for work. Not feeling privileged, spoiled, entitled special. Bringing in a small paycheck but earned on your own and managed with the tenacity of a corporate FEO CPA bean counter. To stretch the dollar to the maximum. And developing survival skills to barter services to get what you need. Swapped with others to achieve a result that used to be only possible with money. That now you just don’t have as a spending option for settling up, for payment.
Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. Working, hustling for everything you got the hard way. Instead of holding out for the one and only job at a certain pay scale level that is not showing up, out there. Some become lazy and that is the new disability spreading. Have to work to get a free lunch is no longer true. And the folks that do work hard to pay their way wished others able to do so would pitch in, follow suit.
Welfare used to be a last resort.
Pride was something that kept the struggling older widow in a cold home with not much to eat from asking for help. Her rationale that someone else is worse off, more up against it and be grateful for what she had the order of the day. But now welfare is so easy and the various programs to sign up for are not called welfare. SNAP cards, free medical, lots of areas for public assistance that all cost taxpayer moneys that should be used for in other economic development avenues. To create workers equipped with the job skills existing businesses need to survive, prosper, expand.
Or for tax reduction so John and Jane Q Public have money to save for rainy days. To spend on needed goods and services. Shopping hard, frugally and getting them at the lowest price possible. Managing their money better than Uncle Sam does. Close to home, empowered with independence, on their own thinking with choices and better impulse control to get value. Or keep looking until they do and not spend like a drunken sailor.
Talked with a lady at the State Tourism office a couple weeks back and was told she fields lots of calls asking “where do I sign up for all the free benefits Maine is known for?” The callers had heard Maine is an easy mark for public assistance. For getting plenty of long term “free help”, “lots of programs” doled out for the “vacation” not “vocation” individual in the audience. The one looking for a free ride provided by someone else. Not how I was raised, were you?