There was an interesting juxtaposition yesterday in the WSJ. Let's start in the letters section:
Richard Vedder is incorrect in stating that one of the main reasons for lack of labor-force participation is government benefits ("The Wages of Unemployment," op-ed, Jan. 16). The opposite is true. The existence of growing government benefits, especially food stamps, is evidence of the lack of jobs that pay enough to live on without food stamps.
Now to the news section:
Many Israelis say they are growing fed up with the generous housing and other living benefits doled out to ultraorthodox Jews, who represent about 10% of this country of 7.7 million people and whose high birthrate suggests that will grow. ...
A 28-year-old married father of three studying in ultraorthodox seminary, for example, receives about $1,200 per month in subsidies, say court filings. ...
As benefits swelled, and more ultraorthodox remained in study to avoid the military, their workforce participation fell. When Mr. Begin took power, 75% of ultraorthodox men had jobs. Today that number is around 38%.
Granted, there is a religious component to the ultraorthdox's decision making, but doesn't the Israeli data suggest that an overly generous entitlement system in fact creates a class of takers who prefer the dole to work?