Why Do We Do It?

Why do we work long hours? The Enterprise Council on Small Business reported that nearly half of self-employed individuals work more than 44 hours a week. Why do small business owners forego vacation? A Manta survey found that half won’t take any time off this year. We must be crazy!

As best as I can figure from what I learned from the media, we work hard to be profitable so that we can pay taxes. Then we are denigrated for not paying our fair share. Don’t get me wrong about paying taxes. I agree with Nancie J. Carmody, author of The Sunny Side of Life, who said, “I am thankful for the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.”

But some of the tax money we work so hard to earn then goes in part to support nonworkers. I don’t fault those who cannot work because of disability or the bad job market. Unemployment insurance and certain social programs have their place as safety nets for those who are unable to work. However, I do fault those who do not work because of choice. And now the government is making it easier for some people to obtain assistance without getting a job. A recent Policy Directive by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) undercuts welfare reforms (Assistance for Needy Families (TANF of 1996) enacted by a bi-partisan Congress during President Clinton’s Administration which required recipients of welfare benefits to work in most cases. Now, the HHS move effectively eliminates the need for gainful employment as a requirement for TANF by re-defining work for purposes of welfare to include the following 10 tasks:

1. Bed rest
2. Personal care activities
3. Massage
4. Exercise
5. Journaling
6. Motivational reading
7. Smoking cessation
8. Weight loss promotion
9. Participating in parent teacher meetings
10. Helping a friend or relative with household tasks and errands.

Instead of sitting at my computer for 10 hours today, I think I’ll work by getting some bed rest, getting some exercise, and doing some motivational reading! What’s wrong with this picture?

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