Principle versus survival
Some time ago before much of the present economic chaos I learned to appreciate money and gold and silver. As a medium of value gold is old, limited in quantity, beautiful, stands the test of time, durable and portable. Silver has to a lesser extent these qualities. No medium of exchange is perfect and all can be sabotaged. But gold and silver seem to be the best and have been for quite a while. Gold has been used to set a standard, out of which money and its value is compared to. Alan Greenspan before his later policies used to be an adherent.
Anyhow, this is not a discourse on gold and silver. This is simply about a question, maybe laced with some doubt that encompasses the above. Many people I know, older and younger workers, are playing the system where they can. They collect food stamps, get on whatever government program they can, and get whatever benefits they can for themselves and family. Disability, health coverage, assistance, all are obtained. Not all these people are ignorant. In principle many are against big government and entitlements programs. They are for self-advancement. But they have come to the point where they are doing what they have to do, at least according to them. They are not following the principle of sound money. They are hustling the system, getting government jobs and milking them.
So, as my old and former friend Steve used to say “it's not what you stand for or say that counts, it's whether or not you're in the drivers seat.” In other words, principles be dammed, one has to survive, do what one has to do. To what extent and at what price we have to reflect.