It seems that with all the talk about budgets and reform, we inevitably encounter the debate of welfare reform. The original purpose of welfare was to help stop poverty. Our current system, in some ways, can actually do the opposite. I posted something similar to this a few years ago, but it's a subject that needs to be addressed again and again until someone takes notice and fixes the flaws in the current system. Instead of threatening our elderly and disabled--who are simply collecting the money they've paid in most of their lifetime--let's start by taking a look at our current welfare system...and better yet, why not put a cap on some of that wasteful spending in Washington, like our politician's $1,000 lunches, high-dollar "escorts," 30 mile helicopter flights, and other frivolous expenses which are submitted for reimbursement out of the 'tax-payer's' money every month!!??
Getting back to the subject at hand, the purpose of welfare should be to give people a hand up, to help them when they are down so they can again provide for themselves, not to keep them dependent upon the program, thereby keeping them down. Welfare is a safety net, but it should only be a "temporary" aid, not a permanent lifestyle. No one WANTS to be poor, but many CHOOSE to REMAIN poor.
I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he made the statement "welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence." It would have been an equally as effective and accurate statement had a Democrat said it.
The government has shown us time and time again how poorly run its current programs are--welfare is just one example where the government has "mucked things up." Why, then, would ANYONE trust the government to oversee their budget???
Over the years welfare has become a "crutch" for those who find themselves in need of it. The idea of helping your neighbor in a time of need has been around since biblical times. Modern welfare, however, has only been around since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Voluntary charities and organizations, such as friendly societies and churches that devoted themselves to helping those in need, flourished in the days before the welfare state turned charity into a government function. Why have we [as a nation] lost sight of the "neighbor helping neighbor" philosophy?
Because the policy of high taxes and the inflationary monetary policy imposed on the American people in order to finance welfare programs have reduced the income available for charitable giving. Many over-taxed Americans take the attitude toward private charity that "I gave at the [tax] office."
There are many reasons why a person chooses to work--ambition, money, social acceptance, or just an old-fashion work ethic. Many people who live off of the government dime lack the incentive to find a job if they are receiving a monthly stipend for doing little to better themselves, or society. There is too much money going to too many people in our country who are just too lazy or uncaring to find a job--not all, but many--those looking to get something for nothing. We need to "reform" the current program and induce a motivator to prevent long-term welfare abuse, and to limit the ease in which one can continue to receive welfare. We need to educate.
Consider implementing programs to educate children who are "products of welfare," those whose parents continue to abuse the current system. Offer incentives for completing high school and getting a job or going to college. Yes, it's bribing children to strive for better, but what else works with kids? If we don't break the cycle, those children will most likely grow up to abuse welfare as well.
Why not entice those currently receiveing welfare--especially those receiving long-term benefits--to earn their own living? Get a job, keep the job and stay off welfare for x number of years, and get rewarded with $2,500 toward the downpayment on a house, a car, etc...that's just a euphuistic example, of course...but you get the point. We make it too easy to "keep a man down."
And if we can't come up with a way to get and/or keep the impoverished off of welfare, then put them to work. The states/counties make prisoners clean up trash from highways, etc., why not expect the same of others for whom the government supports? That is not to say that I am referring to welfare recipients as being of the same social element as prisoners, but they are in essence "prisoners" of the current cycle. Teach them to work, teach them a trade/skill, and teach them to be self-sufficient. There's an ancient Chinese proverb that most are already familiar with, "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime"--Author unknown.
It is my experiences in life that have shaped my political views. I will cite another example here:
My former daughter-in-law became pregnant at age 14, and my step-son was just 17 (at that time, 1993). They married, had a child, and went on public assistance (this was in the state of California). By age 20, she had birthed two more children. My step-son, who was bright, educated, and 23 chose to remain on AFDC, (aid for families with dependant children) MediCal, and foodstamps rather than work the daily grind. Why would someone purposely choose to remain in "poverty" rather than aspire to something better?
Because the government makes it so easy. Here's how:
My daughter-in-law/step-son/grandkids were receiving $764 in AFDC (keep in mind this was in the 1990s); $371 in FOODSTAMPS; MEDICAL which paid all necessary medical and dental care--without a deductible or co-pays; WIC (a food supplement program that provides milk, cheese, juice, cereal, and/or infant formula for Women, Infant, Children who fall within the income guidelines--the women must be pregnant or nursing, and children up to age 5); COMMODITIES(a government-funded monthly food dispursement program for low low-income families and Native Americans); low-income PHONE SERVICE (a reduced phone bill for low income families); low-income ELECTRIC (a reduced electric bill for low-income families); and even SUBSIDIZED HOUSING (their rent was $117 monthly). THEY LIVED QUITE COMFORTABLY WITHOUT HAVING TO WORK...AND THE "WORKING FOLKS" PAID FOR IT!
This is a true example of why so many welfare recipients become dependent upon "free government money." And there are many "single moms" receiving assistance who have live-in boyfriends who work...so those cases are "double-dipping." And let's not forget those individuals who sell drugs "under the radar" and bring unreported income into these government funded homes. Don't even bother saying it doesn't happen, because I KNOW it does. My ex-husband was a "die-hard" junkie.
My husband and I have had to work long, hard days to live not much better than my step-son/daughter-in-law did on welfare. Sometimes I wonder "why bother, why not just go on welfare and have the peace of mind that you will always have money, food, and medical care each month, instead of worrying about lay-offs and sales quotas, and can I pay the house payment?" And guess what, here it is 2011...18 years later, and my daughter-in-law (now divorced from my step-son) is still receiving welfare benefits for the three remaining children in her home. Add that up over 18 years, then multiply it by the millions just like her who are living off the welfare system and that amounts to a whole lot of your hard-earned tax dollars.
IT IS A FLAWED SYSTEM. OUR ADMINISTRATION SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON FIXING-or REFORMING, as it were-THE CURRENT FAILURES THAT ARE IN PLACE, RATHER THAN IMPOSE NEW FAILURES--THEREBY CREATING MORE DEBT...AND MORE TAX!