BusinessColumnistsOp-EdOpinionWilliam Reed

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Do You Live in a Welfare State?

Many in America are practicing something-for-nothing politics. Blacks in particular should beware of the snake oil Bernie (the professional politician) Sanders is selling. It’s doubtful that he ever met a business payroll in life. Presidential candidate Sanders is a “big-government” bureaucrat pushing an agenda Black capitalists should be leery of. Be wary of the “tuition-free” college education Sanders is touting in which federal grants cover two-thirds of cost, with states kicking in the remaining third. Other philosophies Bernie is tied to are gaffes such as: “Millions of Americans are working for totally inadequate wages. We must ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. We must increase it to $15 an hour.”

An avowed socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders is the longest-serving independent politician in Congress. Put an emphasis on “politician.” Bernie Sanders started out serving four terms as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 to 1989. Sanders then won a seat to the House of Representatives, where he labored from1991 to 2007. In 2007, Sanders won election to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected in 2012.

Sanders’ presidential campaign is gaining national support. But many across America view Sanders a model of an evolving political class that’s leading too many Americans down the path of “the welfare state.” Black Americans should be apprehensive about “a welfare state”? A welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays the key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of citizens. It’s based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The welfare state involves a transfer of funds from the state to the services provided (e.g., health care, education), as well as directly to individuals (“benefits”). It is an economy funded through redistribution. The modern welfare state is often a combination of democracy, welfare and capitalism. Modern welfare states include countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, which employ the Nordic model system.

As the world’s largest national economy, the United States has a mixed-economy and maintains a stable overall GDP growth rate, moderate unemployment and high levels of research and capital investment. Americans have the world’s highest average household and employee income.

Welfare is a type of social protection. In the nation’s capital there is a situation of “welfare run amuck.” The District of Columbia government has dangerous “welfare mentality. The local government’s latest venture involves bringing into play the nation’s most generous family leave plan – 16 weeks. The plan provides workers four months of paid leave. The D.C. legislation more than doubles the length of any paid-leave program in the country.  Only three states have enacted such laws over the past 10 years. The states of New Jersey and California host the current maximum benefit – six weeks of partial paid leave. The D.C. Council’s Minimum Wage Laws set D.C.’s new wage at $10.50 headed for $15. On the other hand, the city government is highly leveraged in “corporate welfare” funding construction of a $300 million, 20,000-seat new DC United Soccer Arena on Buzzard Point and a deal to construct a $56.3 million Wizards basketball practice facility and Mystics arena for team owners.

To gain more power and respect in America’s capitalistic and political systems, Black voters and office holders need to be financially responsible and self-reliant. At the end of the day, sober American voters realize that there’s no such thing as “a free lunch” and the tab must be paid. The status and economic standing of Black voters will be better off if more of us shun “something-for-nothing” politics and grasp the difference between the public and private sectors as we participate in American commerce and politics accepting capitalism as the economic and political system in which trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit rather than by the state.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and is available for projects via busxchng@his.com.

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William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed has a national reputation for his expert writing, speaking, organizational, research, management and motivation abilities, along with strong managerial, presentation and sales skills.

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