Japan distinguishes itself from the other economically advanced countries by caring for the principle that people who work should have more stuff than people who go on the welfare rolls. The Kyodo News Service reports:
Welfare benefits will be slashed by ¥74 billion over a three-year period starting from fiscal 2013, after a government panel found that some people are making more on the dole than the average low-income person who is not spends on living costs, it was learned Sunday.
The decision to lower standard benefit payments by 6.5 percent was made by welfare minister Norihisa Tamura and Finance Minister Taro Aso. The reduction will hit in August.
In the United States, a recent study in one state showed that to do better than taking advantage of all the services available to the nonworking, a family would have to earn about $65,000, far higher than the average wage. And in the UK, the mass circulation Sun today features a proud couple disdaining work, and glorying in all the nice stuff tghey have without lifting a finger to work:
A SKIVING couple told last night how they claim £17,680 a year in benefits - and don't even bother looking for work because it would leave them worse off.
Danny Creamer, 21, and Gina Allan, 18, spend each day watching their 47in flatscreen TV and smoking 40 cigarettes between them in their comfy two-bedroom flat.
It is all funded by the taxpayer, yet the couple say they deserve sympathy because they are "trapped".
They even claim they are entitled to their generous handouts because their hard-working parents have been paying tax for years.
The couple, who have a four-month-old daughter Tullulah-Rose, say they can't go out to work as they could not survive on less than their £1,473-a-month benefits.
The pair left school with no qualifications, and say there is no point looking for jobs because they will never be able to earn as much as they get in handouts.
Gina admits: "We could easily get a job but why would we want to work - we would be worse off."
Danny's father, 46, even offered him a job with his bowling alley servicing company - but could not pay him enough.
The Japanese, like the Koreans, the Chinese, and other rising Asian economic powerhouses, still historically remember what real poverty and desperation are. They understand in their gut that survival requires effort, and that breaking this connection can be fatal. Of course, Japan has had several decades of comparative affluence (if not growth the last 2), so an entitlement culture is growing there. But the East Asian countries rooted in rice agriculture prize hard work, and it shows in their pace of economic development.
The productive part of the American economy understands the virtue of work. But there has been constructed over the past several decades a large subculture of takers, including many who see no particular virtue in work, and nothing wrong with being entitled to the sweat of others' brows. They have been told they are entitled. This is does not work out well in the long run.