Milking the system: Whose fault?

Tyler Murphy


According to the New York State Department of Labor, one in every ten people who are eligible for employment are unemployed in Chenango County. At first glance I thought- “wow that’s a high number,” but as I dwelled on the thought I started to wonder – are nine out of ten people actually seeking employment? Are nine out of ten people actually employable?


The answer I come to is maybe. I hear a lot of complaints over the welfare and social programs sponsored by our government, and I hear even more groaning over the types of people that utilize them.I’m not sure where I stand, but it’s a fact that some types of personalities are prone to settling into state-sponsored lifestyles as a choice instead of hiring themselves out as labor.


I wonder, can we really blame these people who milk the system? Imagine: I’m getting $200 a week without working from the government, but if I got a full-time job then maybe I could get $300 or more a week –  oh, but wait, I’d be losing my eligibility for all those other medical and assisted living programs, which would probably fall at an expense greater than the $100 extra I’d collect.


Not to mention that adapting one’s lifestyle from social program dependency to productive member of society in a competitive workforce can be very intimidating and a blunt force culture shock.


The system certainly needs to be reviewed and revamped.


I get it, so can we blame some people? Of course we can.


This point of view is interesting, even practically understandable but let’s not forget the part about being a social parasite. If you can work, if you are able, and you choose not to simply because it’s too hard or it’s just easier not to, fine … but accept the fact that you’re essentially contributing nothing to our society; in fact you’re an active handicap to it.


If you want a job, you can find a job. The limits of employment are often restrained by only two factors -both attributed to the job seeker: what job can I do and what job am I willing to do? The latter is the largest inhibitor for most people.


Since I was 16 years old, I’ve been a baby-sitter, gas station attendant, video store clerk, department store cashier, waiter, bus boy, press operator, teacher’s aide, lab technician, bus monitor, fork truck operator and a newspaper reporter. Don’t get me wrong, life sucks when it’s 2 a.m. and you’re mopping floors at a gas station, but at least when you get home at the end of the night, you’re making a living. 


The only true way to measure one person against another is by judging their relative level of potential against their commitment of effort.


In this regard those milking the system, even to small degrees, fall last. It hurts society, it hurts the perception of those individuals who actually need the aid and worst of all, it’s a signature mark of an individual lacking any sense of honor or community.