Obama’s Budget Flunks the Marshmallow Test: What This Means for Job Hunters

Arthur Brooks’ op-ed brilliantly explains how increasing government handouts damages “our national character” (“Obama’s Budget Flunks the Marshmallow Test,” Feb 24, WSJ).  It rewards adults for acting like dependent children.  As an industrial psychologist, I continually get requests from companies for pre-employment tests to predict if job applicants will show up for work, work hard, and produce profitable results.  

Why?  Huge numbers of applicants see no connection between being a productive employee and their potential to create an enjoyable, secure lifestyle.  They are slackers, lazy, and irresponsible.  

Until people discover they better be a valued employee – or they will have no food to put in their mouths – many applicants will continue to fall back on taxpayer-funded ‘safety nets.’  

Lesson:  Humans develop into responsible adults when they have no possibility of a knight-in-shining-armor or taxpayer-funded bureaucracy rescuing them.  People become responsible when they realize no one will take care of them if they fail, so they must learn to make sure they do not fail.  

Politicians who force working Americans to subsidize lazy bums inevitably produce more lazy bums – oops!  I mean people who enjoy acting like dependent children, rather than responsible adults.

Michael Mercer, Ph.D.



  1. Opik says:

    Easily the best book about job hunting I have found, and one of the better all around books on job-hunting, period. Written in an simple and regularly straightforward style, I found the book to be extremely helpful and informative. Highly recommended.