American virtue shines when government offers more money not to work

Indiana governor Eric Holcomb (R) issued Executive Order 20-08 for all Hoosiers to stay at home, effective March 23, 2020.  In his address, he suggested that it would last two weeks.  It continues to date, six weeks later.  If you find yourself out of work as a result of the pandemic, you qualify for state unemployment benefits.

Lafayette, Indiana is an industrial town.  We've got several factories shut down.  The automotive plant — Subaru — paid its associates full wages for the first two weeks.  When the lock-down was extended, workers had to file for unemployment benefits.

Those who find themselves in this dilemma tell me that the state check is $312/wk.  To buffer the hardship, the federal government is subsidizing $600/wk of additional income, via the $2-trillion infrastructure initiative.  My car-maker buddies are enjoying their seventh week of paid time off that doesn't cut into their accrued vacation time, to the tune of $912/wk.

One of them told me that before the lock-down, he was working ten-hour shifts and his paycheck was substantially less than the government benefits.  He's pretty upset about that.

The factory that I am a production monkey in happens to rate as "essential," so I haven't missed a day  due to the pandemic.  The average paycheck for my co-workers and me is in the neighborhood of $600/wk.  We know that all we have to do is cough and say, "I don't feel good" and immediately boost our income by 30%.

Some have.  I have co-workers who have been riding that gravy train for five weeks.  (That's a long time to have the flu — I sure hope they don't die.)  Most haven't done that.  I'm a Bible-thumper, so I haven't because I'm super-holy and righteous.  But most of my co-workers aren't as saintly as I am, so I marvel at their integrity.  Who couldn't use an additional $300/wk?

A buddy of mine recently made a comment to a grocery clerk there that some of the produce sections were getting sparse, asking if it was due to supply-chain shortages.  "No," the clerk replied.  "The people who work in our warehouses have discovered that they can stay home and make twice as much money, so we don't have anybody to load our trucks."

My gut tells me that's the whole purpose of this overhyped epidemic: to accelerate the mass's dependency on the government teat.  It's a trap.  I have a cursory understanding of socialist subversion, having once subscribed to "the New American" magazine.  (I canceled — not because it wasn't good, but because I found myself being angry all the time.)  Being a reader of American Thinker has also bolstered my awareness of the erosion of the moral underpinnings of our republic.

Most of my co-workers are more preoccupied with sports, girls, and cars than political intrigue.  That's why I'm pleasantly surprised that the vast majority of them get up and go to work each morning, at a personal cost of $300/wk.  I commend their honesty.  Their integrity comes at a price.

I don't think the social engineers who concocted this poison and its antidote in the same laboratory factored in the honesty and integrity of the American worker.  I suspect they have once again made the error of projecting their own wretchedness onto their counterparts.

This may no longer be Norman Rockwell's America, but there's a wholesome satisfaction in flyover country, shot through with honest people who are willing to keep their noses to the grindstone (to their own financial hurt) by virtue of stalwart character.  It's cause for optimism.

Even though I'm holy and righteous, I do it only for brownie-points with my Maker.  But these heathens I work alongside simply enjoy the fulfillment of believing they earn their pay and avoid exploiting the current crisis for personal gain.

Ecclesiastes 3:13: "[E]very man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God."

I applaud the virtue of those around me who haven't cheapened themselves at the behest of their would-be overlords.  Sometimes pride in America is deserved.

Mike VanOuse is a factoryjack from Lafayette, Indiana. More of his writings can be found at

If you experience technical problems, please write to