Will the post-plague world change the work-versus-welfare tradeoff?

Some of my friends were discussing whether adjustments due to coronapanic will make it irrational for more Americans to work, rather than to set themselves up for welfare (means-tested public housing, Medicaid, SNAP, and Obamaphone). As with child support profits, there is a a lot of variability from state to state. From Cato’s work-versus-welfare trade-off 2013:

What’s changed with coronaplague? The desk jobs are less fun: sit at home and stare at a screen all day. The non-desk jobs are more dangerous: work in a supermarket and be exposed to hundreds of people every day, any one of whom might kill you with a breath.

What about spending? An MBA friend’s perspective:

I guess the worst-hit people will be those who earn $80-150k

They used to be able to afford a lot of “near luxury” stuff despite not being eligible for the good welfare gravy train and despite the high taxes that the government hits them with to support the welfare gravy train. but now they will be stuck at home. Near-luxury goods such as restaurant meals, airline tickets, theater tickets, and theme park tickets all go way up in price due to mandated de-crowding measures,

Everything will cost more. so the difference between their lifestyle and a welfare family will become minimal. since they won’t be able to afford meals out anymore. they would be better off not working, playing Xbox and swiping EBT card for food. do some cash labor for luxuries (if cash isn’t outlawed under the pretext that it spreads coronavirus!).

Readers: What do you think? Except for those who can earn well above the median, will working be a completely irrational choice for an American?

5 thoughts on “Will the post-plague world change the work-versus-welfare tradeoff?

  1. For one thing, desk jobs are much, much, vastly much better at home than in an office. I don’t really like the commute, the constant surveillance, the communal peeing, the idiotic smalltalk, etc.

    For another, if you can swing it, welfare is now, and always was, and always will be, better than working a crap job. For people who clean floors/drive trucks/wipe asses for a living (etc, etc, etc) you don’t have to do any calculations–welfare is best. For those of us with “good” jobs, I guess we’ll see. It’s probably more about “How many bums am I supporting?” than “Gee,
    according to this chart I really would do better as a bum myself.”

    • “welfare is now, and always was, and always will be, better than working a crap job.”

      After dropping out of community college because she could not pass remedial pre-algebra (because the Hispanic lecturer was racist), a 38-y/o single mom that I’m familiar with has steadily worked full-time for the past 20 years working fast food positions. She’s now a shift manager earning less than $30K per year in Orlando, FL. While she receives no child support from the fathers of her two pre-teenage boys, her life is heavily subsidized by government programs: Medicaid, Section-8, EBT, school lunch, day care, obamaphone, & utilities. In effect, government subsidies more than double her take-home pay. Every one of her friends is in the same position.

  2. Florida was one of the states that did not expand medicaid under Obamacare. Eligibility for FL medicaid is fairly strict. But if your income is below about $30K you can get fully-subsidized Obamacare. However, if it’s too low, you can’t qualify for Obamacare (something like $16K) and, unless you fall into one of the eligibile categories (e.g pregnant), you can’t qualify for medicaid. A lot of under-65 y/o low-income males w/o health insurance in FL.


    Who is eligible for Florida Medicaid?
    In order to qualify for Florida Medicaid, you must be a resident of the state of Florida, a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien, in need of health care/insurance assistance, whose financial situation would be characterized as low income or very low income. You must also be one of the following:

    Pregnant, or Be responsible for a child 18 years of age or younger, or
    Blind, or Have a disability or a family member in your household with a disability, or Be 65 years of age or older.

    In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:
    Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
    1 $16,971
    2 $22,930
    3 $28,888
    4 $34,846
    5 $40,805
    6 $46,763
    7 $52,722
    8 $58,680

    The low-income single moms I’ve been familiar with have never had any problem qualify for medicaid and never any problem receiving health care of medicine. For those that qualify, it seems like excellent health insurance.

  3. The top 1% loves to roll logs on the top 10%, and fund mobs to hate them. The aspirational 10% (you family making 150k namely) are the biggest threat to the power of the top 1% and their dynastic wealth plans. If ambitious and hard working people have to swim hard against the current just to stay afloat then they will not grow to represent a powerful independent political power base.

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