Sunday, August 29, 2010

We Are A Nanny State

By Art Gallagher

Forget trying to save America from socialism. We've already lost that war. We can and should fight to reverse how we've lost our freedom and personal responsibility, but not before we realize that we've lost it.

Bret Schundler is proof that we've become a nanny state.

The situation with Schunlder's termination as Education Commissioner and New Jersey's rejected application for $400 million in federal "Race to the Top" funding is a serious mess for the Christie administration and for the State of New Jersey.

Trenton Democrats and the mainstream media can be counted on to exploit the situation throughout the fall, slowing Governor Christie's reform agenda and "tool kit" legislation. Previously demoralised Democrats now have an issue to play throughout the election campaign. The tit for tat between Christie and Schunlder over whether or not Schundler "mislead" the Governor can weaken both men's' credibility and standing. All of the above is a matter of great concern. If anyone can turn it around in a hurry and prevent the damage, Chris Christie can. I hope he does.

But what concerns me more than the immediate fallout of the RTT/Schundler mess is how far we've crept towards a nanny state, as demonstrated by Schundler's grab for the government tit in the form of unemployment benefits.

When the first instinct of a guy with the talent, skill, intellect, and conservative philosophy of Bret Schunlder upon a career set back is to secure unemployment benefits, regardless of if he is entitled to them, you know we're in trouble. Actually, maybe you don't know, given how deeply the entitlement mentality has taken over our culture. "Well I've paid into the system, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?," is the thought that many rely on to justify applying for benefits that they don't need but think they are entitled to.

Because you don't need it and that kind of thinking has lead us to the brink of financial ruin is the right answer to that justification.

Just yesterday a young woman entering her senior year in college asked me how I got into my business. She was looking towards the future and inquiring of me and others about how we ended up where we did.

My answer was that I fought for a job I was vastly overqualified for rather than accept unemployment benefits.

That job as a car leasing salesman was a huge departure from my experience as a young banker working on billion dollar gas pipeline deals and nuclear power plant sale/lease backs and the job I had as Vice President of Sales for a Princeton area power supply manufacturer. But I couldn't stand accepting the handout and answering to the unemployment office about what I did to find a job every week. When the first check showed up in the mail with the questionnaire to be sent in, I sent the form back saying on I got a job. Then I went and got a job.

Now a days, people wait for their unemployment benefits to run out before they accept a job that is beneath their experience or start a business.

Bret Schundler doesn't need unemployment benefits. Many people, maybe even most, who apply for them don't need them.

Schundler can come to work for one of my businesses. Doing so would be beneath his experience, but would be a huge opportunity for me. He could earn more than the max that unemployment offers, but he would have to earn it. I wouldn't mind if he left in a month or so to become a university president or another big job. I'm sure there are many other small business owners in New Jersey who have long admired Bret who feel the same way.

The same goes for all the other talent sitting on the sidelines in New Jersey waiting for their benefits to run out before they do what they have to do to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

We need to shift our safety net to a system based on need rather than the system based on entitlement that it has become. Until we do so and until individuals stand for their own freedom and responsibility before demanding that which they are entitled to, we have no hope of turning back the socialist creep.


Anonymous said...

What does that say about the Republican Party Art when a conservative Republican champion like Brett jumps at the opp for a failed government program like unemployment?

What does it say about the GOP when a guy like Ken Mehlman who devised a decade of anti-gay strategies comes out and now supports gay marriage after working against the rights of the group he wasn't in for a decade?

Hypocrisy at its worst.

Kathy Baratta said...


My God! Shared values? What's next for us? Same location vacations?!

Seriously. I have a son who has Asperger's Syndrome. In a nut shell that is a high-functioning autism disorder. He was classified by one of the specialists at UMDNJ. He is entitled to kick back and collect more than $700 a month in SSD but he REFUSES to do so. Says he doesn't want to be a leach on society. (That's not EXACTLY the way he put it. The word "tit" was involved.)The real bitch of it is he has a work ethic not usually found among the younger generation. You hire an Aspie and they're the first ones in, the last ones out and you get your money's worth the whole day. He would literally have to be on his death bed to call in sick.

Anyway, he walks almost a mile to and from a bus stop to and from his retail job.

You can imagine what HE thinks of Schundler "gaming" the system.


Art Gallagher said...


Meet me in Key West in late February. Bring your son. I like tits better than leaches too.

You'll know you really have an issue when you start appreciating the Rhoda videos as much as I do.

Kathy Baratta said...

We were in Key Largo when that BP oil rig caught fire. Didn't make it any further south.

One of my best friends is a gay man who tells me I must see Key West before I die.

I say except for drinking at Hemingway's favorite hangout (and due to my heart condition, I can't drink alcohol) I gotta wonder what's the appeal. I suppose you fish? Again, something I used to love (even have my own pole) but is probably too strenuous an activity for me now.


P.S. "You'll know you really have an issue when you start appreciating the Rhoda videos as much as I do." Now don't put words in my mouth.

Joe Schilp said...

I was laid-off this past July 9. I was expecting it as business was declining with no hope of picking up.

In anticipation of unemployment (I was looking ahead and anticipated the layoff), I landed some freelance work. Actually, I landed 8 freelance gigs, some of which have expired, but others that pick-up next week. So I am working numerous P.T jobs while I continue to look for a full-time gig.

I have filed for unemployment, but only to cover those weeks where the freelance work pays less than the unemployment covers - which doesn't happen often. In fact, starting this week, I will probably be exceeding not only my unemployment salary, but my previous full-time salary as well; all the while, I will have plenty of free time to seek full-time work.

Schundler's is supposed to be a conservative, but for him to shirk responsibility by lying and then seek the gov't tit, well, I am just grossly disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Art, First you know nothing about Shundlers finacial condition so you can not say he doesn't need it. A lot of people who were rich 10 years ago are Middle class or poor today.
Second, he paid ointo the system why shouldn't he avail himself of unemployment INSURANCE. I will grant you if I was not foeced to nbe part of the system i would not but if I have to be in it why should i not take advamtage of it.
i was laid off and collected. Whan i saw i was not going to find a job quickly i started doing freelance work rather then apply for an extension. i made more doing that. However the unemployment check gave me some breathing room to figure out my next move. All I am saying is that we should not arrack someone for availing themselves of a program they paid into. Now if that sat on their ass until the payments ran out that is another story.

Third, I applied for a lot of jobs Some over I was over qualified for. Unfortunatly most businessmen will not hire someone over qualified.

Art Gallagher said...

Great job Joe! You are a fine example, and sadly, an exception from the norm.

Art Gallagher said...

You're friend is right Kathy.

Anonymous said...

Anon 148, im sure you and Joe Schlip also opposed the Democrats' recent extension of unemployment benefits? You guys pretend to be conservatives but you are hypocrites and feed off government programs even though you preach that you don't need government. Its sad.

I'm sure you also have gotten charity care and went to a state university so you could have paid a lower tuition back in the day and gotten a better education than had you gone to a private institution. I'm sure you also complain about the post office but get your mail on time every day.

Good to see the Grand Ol Party still full of hypocrisy. I can see more government assistance from my window! Oh, wait no thats you guys.

Joe Schilp said...

Actually, anonymous 3:43, without nanny state programs that I have been paying into for the last 27 years of my life, I'd have a tens of thousands more sitting in the bank and wouldn't have to rely on unemployment insurance to supplement my freelance income to tide me over 'til my next F/T gig.

James Hogan said...

I won't name names, I have to think most readers here know the (at least two) who come to mind anyway, but there are and/or have been conservative candidates (and/or their staff) who also preach things like ending social security and other government welfare type programs - and these same people who can't manage their own personal finances, for whatever reason(s), are filing/have filed for bankruptcy protection. Same type of problem, and a bit hypocritical IMO.

Anon 148 said...

Actually I could have gotten an extension but I didn't take it.As I said in my post I took consulting and contract work instead.
Additionally I went to a private school for College and Graduate school. I worked through college and paid for graduate school with loans from a bank that I paid off in full and on time.
So except for my short stint on unemployment I have not availed myself of any government programs.
Since I paid into the unemployment system for over 40 years I didn't think it unreasonable to collect for a short period of time while i got my bearings. I have paid in far more then I took out.
Sorry to burst your bubble Anon 3;43

Anonymous said...

James you lost me?
How does saying Social Security should be ended as we know it and availing yourself of Bankruptcy = hypocrisy.

You dont get money fro0m the government when you file Bankruptcy