Thursday, May 9, 2013

R. David Friedman of Karlin: The Ban on Secular Study in Jerusalem

With the current brouhaha over charedim in Israel and secular studies, I thought it would be very appropriate to post a responsum from R. David Friedman of Karlin regarding a 19th century ban on secular studies in Jerusalem. It was translated and given an introduction by Rabbi Dr. Shnayer Z. Leiman, and originally published in Tradition. Here is the main text of the introduction and translation; you can download the original article, which includes numerous endnotes, at this link.

In 1856, the secretary and archivist of the Viennese Jewish community, the renowned maskil and poet Ludwig August Frankl, came to Jerusalem where he founded the Laemel School, the first Jewish primary school in Jerusalem to combine religious and secular study. Frankl’s efforts aroused the violent opposition of the Perushim— the approximately 850 members of the Ashkenazic Jewish community in Jerusalem. The Ashkenazi opposition culminated - on June 12, 1856 -with the issue of a ban against study at the Laemel or a similar school which incorporated secular study in the school curriculum. The text of the ban specified that it applied to “all present and future members of the "Kollel Ashkenazim.” Among the signatories was R. Samuel Salant (1816-1909), later officially recognized as Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic community of Jerusalem. In later years, especially under the aegis of R. Moses Joshua Leib Diskin (1817-1898), the ban was reissued and expanded.

The explosive growth of the Jewish population in Jerusalem during the second half of the nineteenth century, the abject poverty that characterized a goodly portion of that population, and the inability and unwillingness of European Jewry to provide indefinitely for the mundane needs of the Jerusalem community were only some of the factors that fed to a reevaluation in some quarters of the ban against secular study. Other factors included the growth of secular Zionism and its call for productivity and for an end to the halluqah system, and the influx into Jerusalem of a more moderate intellectual elite of Eastern and Western European Jews whose attitude toward secular study differed considerably from that of the Perushim. Not surprisingly, tensions mounted and herems abounded.

R. Yehiel Michal Pines (1849-1913) was a charter member of the more moderate intellectual elite alluded to above. Pines was an early exponent of religious Zionism and a leader of the Yishuv who openly supported the establishment of an orphanage in Jerusalem where secular study would be incorporated in the curriculum. When in 1882 a herem was pronounced against Pines by Rabbi Diskin, Pines approached his brother-in-law, R. David Friedman of Karlin (1823-1917), for moral support. R. “Dovidel” Karliner was a leading gadol and poseq, whose She’elot u-Teshuvot She’elat David (2 vols, Pietrkew, 1913) and Pisqe Halakhot (2 vols, Warsaw, 1898-1901) remain major contributions to halakhic literature. The passage translated here is drawn from his Emeq Berakhah, a halakhic monograph on the rules and regulations governing the issuance of bans.

The Babylonian Talmud nowhere prohibits a father from teaching his son the vernacular. To the contrary, it would appear that it is obligatory for a father to teach his son the vernacular, just as it is obligatory for him to teach his son a trade. Similarly, we find that Rabbi Judah the Prince said: "Why use Syriac in the land of Israel, either Hebrew or Greek should be employed?“ So too R. Jose said: “Why use Aramaic in Babylonia, either Hebrew or Persian should be employed?” Clearly, it is obligatory to master the vernacular. Indeed, the Jerusalem Talmud states: “Therefore choose life (Dt. 30:19)--this refers to learning a trade.” The one passage in the Jerusalem Talmud that prohibits a father from teaching his son Greek refers to a specific period in the past when Jewish informers collaborated with the Greco-Roman authorities. The latter had banned the observance of the commandments; thus, they could only be observed underground. Jewish informers—consisting of heretics and disciples of Jesus—informed on those Jews who secretly observed the commandments. The rabbis therefore prohibited a father from teaching his son the vernacular, lest the son communicate with the governmental authorities. Indeed, the rabbis warned: “Seek not intimacy with governmental authorities.” The ban was issued against teaching young children who in their innocence could reveal damaging information to the governmental authorities. Thus, the ban was against teaching children the vernacular, and not against individual study of the vernacular. In our day, we have nothing to hide from the governmental authorities and nothing to fear. We participate with Gentiles in all our business affairs. Every child, as he matures, will have to master the vernacular in order to make a living. Thus, in our day there isn’t the slightest prohibition against teaching children the vernacular, mathematics, and whatever other scholarly disciplines they need to master in order to succeed in business and in life. The only constraint is that these studies be pursued under the guidance of God-fearing teachers who will know how much time to devote to such study, at what age, and at what level. in general, one needs to distinguish between different types of students. For some, Torah study will be primary and secular or professional study will be secondary; for others, secular or professional study will be primary and Torah study secondary. In this manner, they will fulfill the rabbinic teaching alluded to above: Therefore choose life (Dt. 30:19)—this refers to learning a trade.

In the light of the above, it is clear that the ban issued in Jerusalem was not valid. The Jerusalem ban was issued without constraints or qualifications. The study of all foreign languages was banned, even the vernacular. Moreover, the ban was issued for all time, to be applied to future settlers in Jerusalem. Regarding this last point, those who issued the ban had no authority to do so, without first receiving the approval of the majority of the diaspora Jewish community. All Jews in the diaspora aspire to settle on Jerusalem, all laws in the diaspora pray facing Jerusalem, and all Jews in the diaspora are regarded as residents of Jerusalem. It was inappropriate for one group of Jews to issue a ban that the rest of Jewry finds intolerable. Indeed, the ban discourages Jews from settling in the land of Israel and is, in effect, an enactment designed to prevent Jews from fulfilling a mitzvah. Indigent Jews in the land of Israel will be forced to seek employment outside the land of Israel. Worse yet, they will be forced to settle in distant lands, such as America and Australia, where they will assimilate and ultimately become extinct.

Now those East European rabbis in the diaspora who banned the study of languages and secular study, never issued a blanket ban, to be applied under any and all circumstances. They kept secular study at a distance so long as circumstances warranted it. Even in this guarded approach, they were not successful, for many students could not cope with the ban and were led astray when exposed clandestinely to secular study. Far more successful were the West European rabbis, leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community, who were zealots for the Lord and His Torah. They established educational institutions that provided Torah study on the one hand, and secular study on the other. Nonetheless, as indicated, the East European rabbis never issued an unrestricted ban against secular study. Moved by the Divine spirit, they understood that at certain times and under certain circumstances the majority of Jews would find it necessary to combine Torah study with secular study. Indeed, even those who would ordinarily engage in Torah study alone will have to engage in secular study. Some will be forced by circumstances to engage extensively in secular study. God, however, will come to their aid so that they will not forget their Torah study or abandon the commandments. “Let the clusters pray for the leaves, for if not for the leaves, the clusters would not exist.”

In sum, in my opinion the Jerusalem ban does not apply at all to Jews from the diaspora who choose to settle in Jerusalem [after the ban was issued]. The rabbis in Jerusalem had no authority to issue a ban that affects the majority of diaspora Jewry, in effect preventing Jews from settling in Jerusalem. Indeed, it is incumbent upon those who issued the ban to rescind it. For in these times when there are not sufficient funds to support the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem, it is essential that Jews work for a living… I would advise that they rescind their unrestricted ban. Instead, let them institute rules and regulations governing the appropriate requirements and age for, and type and amount of, secular study. Torah scholars should be appointed to oversee the implementation of the rules and regulations. All this should be done calmly, without bans, for “words spoken softly by the sages are heeded” (Koh. 9:17). So shall peace be restored among the Jewish people.

29 comments:

  1. Forgive my ignorance, but what does "the vernacular" refer to in the context of late-19th c. Eretz Yisrael? Is it Turkish, Arabic? And did those who prohibited study of "the vernacular" twig to the fact that they were basically already speaking German?

    ReplyDelete
  2. talmid of Alex FerguesonMay 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    I dont think one can bring R Dovid Karlin into the debate.
    Like R Moshe Feinstien, who gave his psak supporting the kollel idea in 1964 and you felt it was not applicable to the current situation in 2013, Rabbi Karlin wrote that responsa back in 1901.
    Secular studies in todays day and age would be a new shaila, judging by your own logic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. talmid: Why would the arguments R. Karlin NOT apply to the contemporary situation?

    Lawrence Kaplan

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love R' Dovid Karliner. You should see (if you haven't already) what he says about halacha contradicting science in the beginning of the first teshuva he printed in the back of Piskei Halachos vol. 1

    ReplyDelete
  5. If charedi leaders were reasonable, rational individuals that wanted the best for their communities, families, and themselves, they would likely consider Rav Friedman's responsum persuasive authority worth considering in light of their community's dire economic circumstances. However, I believe their emotional identities are built on a false paradigm that everything outside their walls (the non-charedi and secular worlds) is "impure," and that their community alone (a community that rejects secular studies) is living the one, true authentic Jewish life mandated by G-d. Thus, to recognize Rav Friedman's position as persuasive would be tantamount to refuting the very core of their emotional identity, which most human beings will never do. I believe it's for this reason that the halacha to teach one's child a trade has no weight - they simply rationalize it away as not applicable in our generation given the perilous spiritual situation of the Jewish people which (in their minds) mandates full-time Torah study. While there may be more Jews learning in yeshiva and kollel than at any other time, this does not minimize the "emergency" for them because emotionally (not intellectually) they want to maintain their lifestyle at all costs. This, I also believe, is why the charedi leadership needed to invent the concept that their decisions are made with ruach hakodesh, so that no matter what inconvenient halachic authority was presented, they could fall back on a claim that, at this point in our history, it’s now irrefutable that G-d wants Jews to do X, Y and Z. This does not go to say that Rabbi Slifkin’s post – and those like it – have no value; they most certainly do. It helps those not part of the charedi community – or teetering on the edge of that community – realize there is another, credible side of the argument. This is especially important given the charedi push in cities like Los Angeles to “work with” modern orthodox shuls to provide additional Torah learning “opportunities.” While a benefit may be that these “opportunities” aid the “modern-orthodox lite” in shoring up their halachic observance and general level of Torah knowledge, charedi members of the community have stated to me that their actual goal is “to help bring these people around” to authentic (charedi) Torah living. This is why posts by people like Rabbi Slifkin are so important – once the charedi shul learning opportunity transitions to a push to live a charedi lifestyle, being armed with information which refutes their claim of sole authenticity becomes crucial.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ryan S. - great post.

    ************

    Danny,

    "I love R' Dovid Karliner. You should see (if you haven't already) what he says about halacha contradicting science in the beginning of the first teshuva he printed in the back of Piskei Halachos vol. 1"

    Do you have a link for this?

    ReplyDelete
  7. It was inappropriate for one group of Jews to issue a ban that the rest of Jewry finds intolerable.

    This is an extraordinary statement actually, and I'm wondering how far one can take it. For instance (and I apologize for going off topic but I can't help but think about the planned demonstration against the Women of the Wall tomorrow), what if "the rest of Jewry finds intolerable" (in terms of limiting freedom of religious expression) the fact that women are "banned" from wearing tallesim at the Kotel? (I call it a "ban" since from what I understand "me'ikar hadin" it's not prohibited.) If most Jews find such a ban outrageous, is it illegitimate? And if not, why?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Steg (dos iz nit der šteg)May 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    "Regarding this last point, those who issued the ban had no authority to do so, without first receiving the approval of the majority of the diaspora Jewish community. All Jews in the diaspora aspire to settle on Jerusalem, all laws in the diaspora pray facing Jerusalem, and all Jews in the diaspora are regarded as residents of Jerusalem. It was inappropriate for one group of Jews to issue a ban that the rest of Jewry finds intolerable. Indeed, the ban discourages Jews from settling in the land of Israel and is, in effect, an enactment designed to prevent Jews from fulfilling a mitzvah."

    Sounds like a good argument against the claim that it's "asur" to put on tefillin on Hhol haMo‘eid in Israel, or all other attempts to attack a particular community's halakhic and minhagic traditions as "un-Israeli".

    ReplyDelete
  9. "I love R' Dovid Karliner. You should see (if you haven't already) what he says about halacha contradicting science in the beginning of the first teshuva he printed in the back of Piskei Halachos vol. 1"

    Do you have a link for this?

    I think this is it:

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21406&st=&pgnum=422&hilite=

    ReplyDelete
  10. On R. David Karliner and his relationship with his brother in law, see the article by Eitam Henkin in Ha-Ma'ayan http://www.shaalvim.co.il/torah/maayan-article.asp?backto=9&ed=%E2%EC%E9%E5%EF%20%E8%E1%FA%20%FA%F9%F1%E8&id=245
    and the response in Kovetz Beis Aharon ve-Yisrael http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=47440&st=&pgnum=20&hilite=

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find the whole subject of banning secular studies perplexing in the extreme, particularly when it comes to learning language. To learn English these days is a very useful skill and could help someone to earn a living. To deny children that learning cuts off opportunities that those children might need. That is obvious to a modern person but not necessarily obvious to a Haredi. What should be obvious to them is that the Gemara is written in vernacular (Aramaic instead of Lashon Kodesh). What should also be obvious is that Yiddish is a vernacular. Why one vernacular is allowed and another is not is mystifying to me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Seems like the מבוא which Leiman is translating was not written by R. David Karliner but by his controversial brother in law--see the articles previously mentioned. Although it would be very surprising if Shnayer Leiman would make a mistake like that.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Also response to the article by R. Eitam Henkin is here http://www.shaalvim.co.il/torah/maayan-article.asp?backto=10&ed=%E2%EC%E9%E5%EF%20%F0%E9%F1%EF%20%FA%F9%F1%E8&id=277

    ReplyDelete
  14. 850 Ashkenazic Jews in Jerusalem in 1850? An 1851 census showed a total of 5,580 Jews in Jerusalem. Thus the Jews of Jerusalem were 85% non-Ashkenazi. Where did the Ashkenazi authorities of that time get the authority to rule about anything? In fact, what were they doing following Ashkenazi customs at all? When you settle permanently in a new community you are supposed to follow its minhagim.

    ReplyDelete
  15. " Now those East European rabbis in the diaspora who banned the study of languages and secular study, never issued a blanket ban, to be applied under any and all circumstances. They kept secular study at a distance so long as circumstances warranted it. Even in this guarded approach, they were not successful, for many students could not cope with the ban and were led astray when exposed clandestinely to secular study."

    In order to prove his point, he'd have to give percentages of students who could not cope, and not merely settle for the word "many". Otherwise, one can just as easily claim the ban was mostly successful.
    (And this is coming from someone who opposes bans.)

    ReplyDelete
  16. WFB-

    The translation is from the end of the kuntris, written by R' Dovid Karliner himself.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Herr Snoobler, it's not that hard to believe. Charedism is founded on complete epistemic closure and is radically authoritarian. As such, the greatest danger is exposure to new ideas and the thinking of unauthorized thoughts.

    Being able to converse with others is a danger, not only for the ideas they may have but because it puts the lie to the community dogma about the evil and degeneracy of outsiders. History debunks many of the cherished myths. Civics presents a view of society which is not based on unquestioning obedience to the so-called "Great Ones".

    Science is the worst. It teaches that truths are available to everyone. It is based on doubt, checking sources and constant change. That is why Rabbi Slifkin's work was received with such venom and unthinking hatred. It strikes at the foundations of the lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Natan

    All this Kollel vs work debate is very nice on a theoretical, philosophical level.

    But's there is one thing that seems to be forgotten.

    In the UK (can't speak for the US/Israel - perhaps a reader can advise), most of the people I know working of ages 20 - 40 are, wait for it, also supported. The reason for this is that a even a graduate of a top UK university, will, if he is lucky enough to find a job (and many don't) will earn just about enough to buy the land for a garage.

    And by support, I include a one off capital contribution, such as a house which can be the equivalent of receiving £1,000 per month for 35 years. As for tuition, in many many cases, grandparents pay grandchildren tuition fees. The bank of mum and dad is a nationwide phenomenon and not by any means restricted to, what you would, chareidim.

    So, can you really explain to me, if somebody is going to be supported anyway, why he should be supported in working and become a chazi am ha'raetz when he can be supported in learning and be a talmid chochom? I am of course talking about somebody with the ability and zitzfleish to sit and learn.

    And let me assure, you once again, this pretty much applies to anybody setting up a 'working home' in the UK today - without family money it simply cannot be done. Without family money its benefits - so again if somebody is going to be on benefits, why is it better to be on benefits and work than to be on benefits and learn?

    Can a reader confirm whether this is the same in the US/Israel.

    Answers please, if there are any....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rabbi Slifkin- you ought know better- you should realize that:
    1) R' Dovid Karlin never wrote this- it's an obvious forgery.
    2) He did write it, but changed his mind before he died.
    3) He only meant it as a horo'at sha'ah.
    4) He was able to say such things, but we aren't.
    5) He wrote it derech drush- it wasn't meant to be halacha l'maaseh.
    6) He wrote it under duress- m'shum eiva.

    ReplyDelete
  20. So, can you really explain to me, if somebody is going to be supported anyway, why he should be supported in working and become a chazi am ha'raetz when he can be supported in learning and be a talmid chochom?

    Granting your assumptions for the sake of argument, the obvious difference for people in the situation that you describe would the amount and type of help and burden.

    1) The less help you need, the more you leave for your parents to support themselves as they get older.

    2) You set yourself on a path to eventually ease the burden from your parents and put yourself in a position to help both your children and your parents if necessary.

    3) You are relying on private family funds and not public/charity funds.

    4) You are in a position to do some (work overtime/two jobs) if something goes wrong.

    Also, you can most certainly learn while you are in school and while working. Depending on your situation and abilities, two sedarim while in school is not out of reach.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Atheodox: By 'all Jews' I'm assuming that the qualification should in fact be 'all Torah Observant Jews' ...

    ReplyDelete
  22. *****,

    That is a very shortsighted attitude. Even if what you say is correct, at some point after establishing themselves in a career they do make money and become self sufficient and hopefully even save some money.

    If we followed your suggestion who would support the next generation? Where would the money come from? This is exactly what is happening in Israel now. The first generation Charedim (after the state) worked and also many got reparations from Germany and therefore could support their children and even grandchildren in Kollel. However, that money has run out and that is why the Charedi world is so dependent on government today. After 2 or 3 generations of kollel all the money is gone.

    ReplyDelete
  23. In a previous post, Samuel Dinkels asks for some numbers of the number of men in yeshiva, kollel, etc. in Israel. Bluke gave a link to statistics, which indicated over 65,000 people learning full time.

    But there wasn't a break-down by ages--I'm sure there aren't that many learning full-time and not working by age 30-35, when they realize they can't make it on just a kollel stipend and their wife's salary, at best.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Bluke,

    I wish you were correct. But you are not. Very few people working today, will, on there own backs, make enough money to ever be self sufficient or indeed support the next generation.

    Their chances are increased if they ditch their cappuls and act like a non jew at work, but even then, winter Fridays and problems with socialising normally limit career progression these days. There is just so much competition for jobs these days. Of course, a few will make it but you can't claim being supported to work for all because of those few.

    What tends to happen is that somewhere along the line there is an inheritance or gift to keep the worker going, so why not get the same whilst learning.

    Once again, I'm curious to know if this is the same outside the UK.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wish you were correct. But you are not. Very few people working today, will, on there own backs, make enough money to ever be self sufficient or indeed support the next generation.

    This strains credulity. Are the majority of people starving in the streets?

    Their chances are increased if they ditch their cappuls and act like a non jew at work, but even then, winter Fridays and problems with socialising normally limit career progression these days. There is just so much competition for jobs these days. Of course, a few will make it but you can't claim being supported to work for all because of those few.

    I doubt this, but for the sake of argument if this is true, you should leave that place and line of work and find another one. Shabbat and Yom Tov are difficulties, but they don't place insuperable barriers on supporting oneself in most occupations (whereas in the past, they may have). You can't become a professional football player, but you can certainly do many other things.

    What tends to happen is that somewhere along the line there is an inheritance or gift to keep the worker going, so why not get the same whilst learning.

    Did these supposed inheritances and gifts grow on a tree, or did someone work for that money?

    Also, your prescription is just nonsensical. According to your logic someone that is short, say $1000/month in their budget should quit their job since they can't support themselves. This is absurd.

    why not get the same whilst learning

    Why not educate yourself and work while learning?

    ReplyDelete
  26. David,

    "This strains credulity. Are the majority of people starving in the streets?"

    Are the majority of Kolel people starving in the streets? let's not jump from extreme to extreme.

    Again, I can only speak for the UK, the majority of people (of the younger generation - I am not talking here the older generation - say over fifty today, I am talking about those entering the workforce in the last 15-20 years) often do not marry, do not have several children, do not pay £'000 in tuition, often share apartments with friends or live in little apartments. And if they don't - nine times out of ten it's family money. One time out ten they have made it, I don't for one minute deny that some do make it (but again, there is usually protekzia to get them started).

    "I doubt this, but for the sake of argument if this is true, you should leave that place and line of work and find another one. Shabbat and Yom Tov are difficulties, but they don't place insuperable barriers on supporting oneself in most occupations (whereas in the past, they may have). You can't become a professional football player, but you can certainly do many other things."

    It's not overt, its subtle. One of five workers is due a promotion. As a boss, are you going to chose the chap who leaves early on a Winter Friday, isn't comfortable socialising etc? Yes, there will be some who will be so 'head and shoulders' above everybody else, it will not matter. But we are talking about the vast majority.

    As for getting another job, positions where the above does not matter pay less than positions where it does not. I agree, it doesn't matter for a taxi driver or check out person, but how much do they earn? I'm talking about the professions, only the earnings from them have the chance of supporting a torah family. Where you are going is that not only should people not be in Kolel, they should become 'modern' - (for want of a better expression) - you know what I mean - to enhance their chances of making a living.

    "Did these supposed inheritances and gifts grow on a tree, or did someone work for that money?"

    Ask anybody, fifty years ago it was easier to make money without it taking over your life then it is now. And the proof is that they made money and could leave a Torah lifestyle. This is not the forum for discussing why - a significant reason is that after the war everybody pretty much started from a level playing field - which is not the case now. War is good for the economy (and forest fires are, according to some, good in the long term for forests).

    "Also, your prescription is just nonsensical. According to your logic someone that is short, say $1000/month in their budget should quit their job since they can't support themselves. This is absurd."

    They do - it's called the 'benefit trap'. Something our Government is trying to solve but its unsolvable. For allot of the country, no point coming off benefits and starting to work.

    And anyway, we are talking facts, not logic.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Adam from ManchesterMay 14, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    ***** I'm not sure which Uk you are referring to - not the same one where I live. I know many people rely on help from their parents and the various income support initiatives but they DO contribute a goodly propoprtion of their needs.

    It is clear that those who study and begin their careers struggle but they are putting themselves in the position of getting a job and progressing to self sufficiency. The system you seem to advocate does not offer this but merely the continuation of a lifestyle of dependence.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Meir Moses - That thought did occur to me. Also may be an issue of translation here.

    Even if "Jewry" here refers to frum Jews, I wonder whether the idea of "one group" issuing a ban that the "rest of [frum] Jewry finds intolerable" is davka talking about one group, or whether if even a minority (<50%) issued the ban it would render that ban illegitimate. If that were the case, we'd really need to take a survey.

    ReplyDelete
  29. "I doubt this, but for the sake of argument if this is true, you should leave that place and line of work and find another one. Shabbat and Yom Tov are difficulties, but they don't place insuperable barriers on supporting oneself in most occupations (whereas in the past, they may have). You can't become a professional football player, but you can certainly do many other things."

    It's not overt, its subtle. One of five workers is due a promotion. As a boss, are you going to chose the chap who leaves early on a Winter Friday, isn't comfortable socialising etc? Yes, there will be some who will be so 'head and shoulders' above everybody else, it will not matter. But we are talking about the vast majority.

    As for getting another job, positions where the above does not matter pay less than positions where it does not.


    This is a whole different argument, but I don't see this in computers and I have not heard of this in accounting or medicine which are other popular professions. In nursing and pharmacy, you trade shifts. In occupational and physical therapy, you set you scheduled hours. Generally, you work longer on other days or switch days to make up the hours and no one cares (or sometimes it helps because you work on what are holidays for others).

    But yes, I can see people getting discouraged if they started with the mindset you mentioned. It is important to fight that misinformation.

    "Also, your prescription is just nonsensical. According to your logic someone that is short, say $1000/month in their budget should quit their job since they can't support themselves. This is absurd."

    They do - it's called the 'benefit trap'. Something our Government is trying to solve but its unsolvable. For allot of the country, no point coming off benefits and starting to work.

    And anyway, we are talking facts, not logic.


    If you are saying that people get sucked into dependence based on bad incentives to make a poor, then I agree. When they did "welfare reform" in the US, they were able to get people off of the rolls without putting them into poverty, so clearly those people could have gotten off before and generally had better lives, but were incentivized not to.

    But I think that supports the post, rather than contradicting it.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.