Saturday, August 6, 2016

Addiction to Governance (Part I)

Addiction is defined as: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

Hence, when we think of addictions we usually think of substance abuse with alcohol or drugs. Addictions can also include behavioral disorders such as sex, food, exercise, work, video games, gambling, phones, and so forth. The top 10 addictions in 2014 cited by one article were (in order): Caffeine, Gambling, Anger, Food, Internet, Sex, Alcohol, Drugs, Nicotine, and Work. Caffeine can affect up to 30% of the U.S. population, while sex, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and work can each affect anywhere from 7 to 12% of the population. We all know someone who is addicted to something. Addictions can be mild or extreme in nature. However, when we talk about addiction, the largest form of addiction is overlooked: addiction to governance or the addiction to the government.

Of course most would disagree, but let’s examine the addiction of governance as it pertains to the definition of addiction. Welfare or money is the motivation and reward behind the most common form of addiction to governance. Addictions are a dependence, and addiction to governance is no different. Today, more people collect welfare than work full time: Over 120 million Americans receive welfare of some kind (not including social security and Medicare – which senior citizens receive, but they paid into those programs). Anywhere from 25 to 50% of Americans who receive welfare also work. That means at least 60 million Americans receive welfare as their lone form of income. They are without question addicted to welfare and an argument can be made that millions more are as well.

People with addictions will do anything to get their fix – including lying, cheating, and committing a crime. Welfare is not any different. It is estimated that 1 in 3 cases of welfare has some form of fraud attached to it, or recipients use the use the money they receive to finance another addiction: gambling, alcohol, or drugs. There is very little transparency in welfare programs, so recipients are free to throw away their assistance on anything they like.

Like most addictions, people addicted to government may reform for short periods of time but relapse. After all, it is a much easier solution to live off the hard earned wealth of others than to work. People with addictions are not accountable for their actions. Addiction to welfare is no different. People on welfare do not have to pay back their debts and in fact, can stay on most forms of welfare their entire lives. Welfare rewards people for bad behavior while at the same time it punishes hard working people for doing everything right.

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