RUSH: Pico in Miami. Pico, thank you for waiting. You’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, God bless you, Mr. Limbaugh, and thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Your call screener thought I was kidding, but I promise you I’m not joking at all. For the last couple of years I’ve been giving careful consideration asking myself why I’m working. I have five children between my wife and I, and between all the taxes that I pay, whether, you know, FICA and federal and whatnot, and after everything we’ve never gotten money from the government in any way, shape, or form, by the way.
RUSH: I hear you.
CALLER: No unemployment insurance ever, nothing. I’ve never wanted it. I’ve never, thank God, needed it.
RUSH: I understand. I’m with you.
CALLER: Well, aside from the moral component, my question to you, sir, with your wisdom — and you are most certainly very wise, sir — I live a very modest life. We live in a three-bedroom, two-bath house. I personally know many people — down here in South Florida I know fraud runs rampant and everything else, but I know people who legitimately make more money than I do. And they don’t work. They collect WIC. They collect unemployment. They’ve got all sorts of things that it just blows your mind. These people know the system inside and out. They know how it works, and I personally know people making more money than I do, and I’m just sitting here wondering, aside from the moral component, why should I keep working?
RUSH: Well, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. And it has nothing to do with money. That’s a decision you gotta make, ’cause everybody needs money. It’s always the money, and I know it’s the top of your list. It’s the basis on which you’re making comparisons here. People gaming the system have more than you do working.
RUSH: You’re talking about the moral component. Let’s talk about something else, though. Self-respect. And I don’t mean the lack of it from being on the receiving end of government programs. I’ve always believed that work — particularly for a man, but it’s even becoming this way for a lot of women, too — it’s who you are. It is where your sense of self-worth resides. It is how you define yourself. You sound like the kind of guy to me that even if you join the people who are not working and somehow getting hold of more money than you, I don’t think that would make you happy. I think you’d have a residue of, if not guilt, you wouldn’t like yourself because you’re not accomplishing anything, you’re not achieving anything.
CALLER: Oh, absolutely. I agree with you a hundred percent. And that’s why this idea just keeps bouncing around in my mind for so long already because I just can’t bring myself to do it. Now, on a side note, my wife and I did go to the WIC program the other day —
CALLER: — just out of curiosity because I said, “I’ve gotta see how this stuff works.” And it was amazing. We walked out of there with literally hundreds of dollars. They told us, “We need to find out if you qualify.” But we left with hundreds of dollars of checks to buy formula for the babies. We haven’t used ’em, but I thought, you know, this is absolutely astonishing to me.
RUSH: Wait a second. You mean you were able to walk in and walk out in the same visit with benefits?
CALLER: Yes, sir. We were there two-and-a-half hours, I believe, with benefits, and they told us, “We’ll let you know later if you qualify.”
RUSH: But until you qualify, they gave you some money anyway?
CALLER: Yes, exactly.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: But I agree with you a hundred percent. It doesn’t sit well with me, Rush. I still look at that as a moral component. But I’m looking at it more as a financial thing. I’m thinking, here I am, I’m killing myself. I’m sitting in front of this computer, you know, 12, 14 hours a day to feed my family, and I know these people that just spend time with their kids. They do whatever they feel like doing all day long.
RUSH: Would you advise your children to do this?
CALLER: No, absolutely not. My son has called your show before, and just to tell you, I am an official member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.
CALLER: Okay? And proudly so. My son almost shot me for telling him I was gonna go to that WIC program thing.
RUSH: Well —
CALLER: He was beside himself.
RUSH: You’re talking about this as a moral component. I understand what you mean. But the word I think you’re looking for here is “dignity,” because you know you’re capable. I’m sure you have confidence in your ability. You’re just in a tight economy like everybody is. If you went and did this, and it became your sole source of support, you would lose all sense of self-dignity, and you know it, and that’s why you’re calling and asking me about it.
CALLER: Oh, absolutely. I agree with you. But again, like I told you, to me, what you’re saying still has a lot to do with my morality as a man, as an individual, and I agree with you. I don’t think I could sleep at night.
RUSH: Well, you’re not alone. Let me tell you, more and more people are asking this question because they see what you see. There are stories that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, people whose unemployment benefits run out, they head over to the Social Security office, and end up on Social Security disability, SSI. They don’t even qualify for it, but they’re put on the rolls because it’s in the interests of government to have dependents. It’s in the interests of bureaucracies to have dependents. I think, if you remember this, even for the money, the longer you’re out of work, the harder it is to go back to work. The longer you’re out of work and the longer you’re not trying to find work, the harder it’s gonna be to get a good job when you find the economy improving where you live and job opportunity improving as well. It’s a tough thing. I sympathize with you, ’cause the reality of the dollars on the one hand is obvious, but then on the other side is your moral component, which I don’t think you can ignore.
The future of the country is not on the benefits side. And when you do that, there’s an immediate sense of relief financially, but you’ve lost total control over your life at that point. You are totally dependent on people you don’t know, people who don’t care about you, coming through for you every week or month or however often the benefits are provided. It’s a risky place to be, when you totally abandon all sense of self-reliance. I don’t think you could do it. Just talking to you, I don’t think you could psychologically do it for very long. Otherwise you’d be doing it already. You wouldn’t have called me.
That’s tough. I know.
My advice is to continue to hang in, ’cause it will get better at some point. We are still talking about the United States of America, and there are enough people like you that are gonna cause a turnaround here, but you have to be involved in that effort if it’s gonna happen. It’s gonna take people like you actively trying to better your life within the system for it to improve. Beyond that, that’s all I can say. The decision is always gonna end up being yours. I appreciate the call. I really do.