But let’s look at the group that gathers food, but not enough to survive. While they contribute to their own well-being, they still need assistance from others, taking away their time from building the statue and – assuming there are enough of them – can cause the building to halt. Only someone who gathers all his food is not a burden to the tribe. Of course just gathering for yourself is not enough, you actually have to contribute to the statue to be a valuable member, but hey, if you neither take food, nor contribute, you are no different from the stone in the corner.
People who work, but not enough to support themselves are the workfare leeches. They are clearly better than the welfare leeches, both because they create some part of their consumed value and need only the rest and because they show good faith by at least trying to contribute. Why isn’t this obvious? Because anyone who works contributes to the GDP. If we add a tribemember who pick some food, the total food production of the tribe goes up, so the chief looking at the charts is happy about this improvement. Too bad that the statue is now building slower. Of course if he wouldn’t be dumb, he’d notice that the GDP/capita went down.
In the real society, it’s not as easy to see who contributes for himself as in the tribe. We don’t only need food, shelter and other things we buy, we also need education, health care, roads, police on the streets and many other services that the government provides. In order to keep the society afloat, people have to pay taxes. Being small-government fiscal conservative doesn’t change that as the current level of welfare state is objectively existing. Sure, go change it, but until you do, it’s here.
Ergo, someone who has a full time job and receives no formal welfare can still very well be a workfare leech, someone who is carried by the society, assuming that he receives more health care, education, police assistance and whatnot from the government without paying enough tax (including the tax that the employer and the buyer of his product pays) to support these. Such people – despite being self-reliant people on the surface – are still burden on the welfare state. Please don’t forget that in order for the society to be in balance, you have to pay for your childhood expenses (mostly education) too with your later taxes.
You probably guessed where this is going: the meatpacking or fruitpicking immigrant worker who pays no taxes at all is a workfare leech. The main problem isn’t that he “takes the job of a citizen”, but that the job itself is insufficient for supporting anyone. Importing someone who can’t even support himself is alike getting tribe members who collect some food, but not even enough for themselves. “Hey, GDP is up” – says the dumb commerce chamber guy, not realizing that GDP/capita went down. The productive taxpayers pay for all kind of government services to him and his family (who will likely stay and be workfare leeches like himself) instead of building “the statue”: military, space exploration, nature conservation and other government issues that do not directly cater to any particular person, but to the whole country.