It look as if our right-wing pals have the relationship between government aid and motivation to work exactly wrong:
It is a simple idea supported by both economic theory and most people's intuition: If welfare benefits are generous and taxes high, fewer people will work. Why bother being industrious, after all, if you can get a check from the government for sitting around -- and if your choice to work means that much of your income will end up in the tax collectors’ coffers?
Here's the rub, though: The idea may be backward.
Some of the highest employment rates in the advanced world are in places with the highest taxes and most generous welfare systems, namely Scandinavian countries. The United States and many other nations with relatively low taxes and a smaller social safety net actually have substantially lower rates of employment.
... In short, more people may work when countries offer public services that directly make working easier, such as subsidized care for children and the old; generous sick leave policies; and cheap and accessible transportation.Unfortunately, this won't change soon, because our system is rapidly losing interest in trying to do what's right for a broad range of citizens. We don't seem to want more people to work in America -- not if the rich people who run the economy are thriving while labor-force participation rates are lower. And conservative politicians, of course, actually benefit from being able to point to the unemployed while condemning their alleged shiftlessness.
What our fat cats really seem to want -- or at least the most politically active among them -- is for America to be a Third World country with a small-to-nonexistent safety net and a desperate, low-paid labor force. That fits Randian Republicans' view that laissez-faire equals freedom!, and also fits conservative Christians' view that economic inequality is God's plan, His way of sorting out the morally deserving and undeserving here on earth.
Meanwhile, we have a social safety net that seems almost ideally structured for right-wing sermons about the evils of safety nets in general: It's extensive (and expensive) enough to seem like horrible "socialism" to people who have no idea what socialism really is, and thus its failings, which are the result of inadequacy, can seem like failings resulting from excess generosity. And the safety net is unlikely to change until liberals or (more likely) conservatives achieve total dominance in our government. Until then, we're stuck at this level.