Poverty pays better than middle-class employment Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year. In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative in the form of actual disposable income to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045. The welfare cliff is far more dangerous than the fiscal cliff everyone is talking about these days. The welfare cliff nullifies the stated purpose of the social safety net which, as noted, is recognized by most of the voters in all political parties. Dependency has become inescapable for too many people. The rational incentives for climbing out of that safety net have been removed, and it reaches well into what earlier generations would have called the working poor, rather than welfare dependents. There is simply no logical reason for someone on the wrong side of this cliff to climb over it, barring a remarkable turn of fortune that vaults them from the minimum wage to over $60,000 per year in a single mighty bound. This problem is particularly acute when the benefits piled up into that formidable cliff face are regarded as effectively cost-free by the beneficiaries. They simply do not believe that anyone suffers or sacrifices to provide the funding for those benefits. They think its all paid for with pennies skimmed from paychecks, idle loot confiscated from greedy fat cats who will never miss it, and money printed in the basement of the Treasury. Even the healthy degree of shame afforded by reliance upon private charity is removed, when benefits become entitlements dispensed by a soulless, impersonal bureaucracy. A lot of this stuff just shows up in your mailbox. And one of the crucial truths compassionate liberals have never accepted is that shame is an indispensable component of responsibility. Shame is a species of guilt, after all, and only the responsible are capable of feeling guilty.