Wednesday, October 16, 2002

My wonderful hometown of Milwaukee recently made the national news with a mob-beating death of a man by a group of children. Eleven of the 14 people charged so far in the beating death are minors age 17 or younger, including one 10-year old child.

I was pleasantly surprised that the blame for this is overwhelming directed at the children and their irresponsible parents. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asks "Where Were the Parents?"

Milwaukee radio talk show host, author of the great A Nation of Victims, and now blogger Charles Sykes writes that the usual suspects are out calling the children "victims," but a "debate has broken out in the black community over the issue of personal responsibility versus finger-pointing; and it includes some remarkably blunt truth-telling." (Thanks to The American Mind for the link.)

But I am a little disappointed that there isn't some blame and finger pointing at a very likely culprit: the welfare state. When daddy is no longer necessary because he has been replaced by welfare, this is what you get. Not just a bunch of professional leeches and a culture of learned helplessness and laziness, but you get a bunch of criminals. Taxpayers not only pay for a lifetime of prison for these degenerates, but taxpayers also pay for the creation of these monster with the welfare state. I don't believe in the welfare state on moral and philosophical grounds, but economically speaking, the welfare state appears to have a very low payoff. Could the outcome possibly any worse if the welfare state didn't exist? Could America possibly have anymore people unwilling to care for themselves and their children? The answer of course is no. The welfare state creates an economic incentive to live like this.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides these demographics of the neighborhood where the crime took place, but the newspaper failed to provide the demographics in a useful manner. What would be very useful to know is what percent of households headed by single mothers with children are on public assistance. And what percent of children charged with this crime are on or have ever been on public assistance. Some of the backgrounds published on the parents show they had fathers around and mothers with jobs, but I suspect the welfare state has created these situations and certainly plays a huge role in inner-city culture.