Welfare reform welcomed

Social welfare is meant to be a safety net for people who fall on hard times.
Apr 29, 2013

Formed out of FDR’s New Deal, it offered a glimmer of hope for starving families during the Great Depression. It offered them a way to feed their children while they worked toward a better life.

For many Americans, welfare has served to do just that — give them a leg up when life has dealt them unforeseen blows.

Unfortunately, for some, welfare has served as a long-term, several-generations solution to their money problems.

Roughly 45 percent of the more than 51 million families on food stamps or welfare are on assistance for two or more years. By comparison, 19 percent are on it for less than seven months.

Some of these able-bodied men and women choose to forego work so they can stay on welfare. Others are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Welfare enables their addictions and cheats taxpayers out of their hard-earned money.

This is not pennies we’re talking about, either. The U.S. Department of Commerce clocks the welfare program’s yearly expenses at $131.9 billion, not including food stamps.

No one who has fallen on hard times and truly needs welfare should ever be turned away. But it should also not be a long-term crutch for users and abusers.

That’s why legislation recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature is timely and necessary. Sen. Joe Hune, a Republican from Livingston County, has proposed bills that would require welfare recipients to perform community service if they’re not already participating in work or training programs. It also would require drug testing for welfare recipients if there’s “reasonable suspicion” they are using drugs.

These are common-sense measures that legislators should approve, and never look back. Far too long has welfare been abused because there hasn’t been that hindsight or foresight with the program.

If someone is abusing drugs, they should not be allowed to receive welfare checks. If someone is not working, or is unable to work to get themselves out of the hole in which they’ve fallen, then community service might be the right answer. It could give them crucial resume-building experience, as well as connect them in service to the community that is putting meals on their tables and roofs over their heads.

Let’s deal the abusers a new deal: Stop leeching off society. Start giving back. Find your solutions and way to a better, self-sustaining life.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.
 

Comments

Lanivan

Sigh. For one, nothing either MM or I said even remotely follows socialist thought, and you know it, so please don't exacerbate your weaker position by suggesting it. Secondly, MM and I acknowledge reality as we see and live it. I think it's quite obvious MM is not a low information voter, as clearly he possesses a keen intellect; among my peers, I spend a significant amount of time on political issues. It doesn't help your case whatsoever to imply either one of us is naive, or are idiots, socialists, pawns, spawns, or illegal drug users when it comes to our political thought - it's best that you don't rely on those magic tricks, beans and smoke and mirrors to refute.

I happen to have similar opinions regarding your extreme views, but although sorely tempted to fall back on slurs, usually rethink and fall forward via links, sources, and rational common sense to counter your attacks on Obamacare (which, btw, is wholly a capitalistic free market approach that has nothing whatsoever in any way to do with a socialistic health care program), welfare, and/or drug testing.

Vladtheimp

Wah! Wah! Mommy, MM called me pathetic, ill-informed, disgusting, disingenuous, and obtuse, and Lanny agreed with him. Can you make them stop, please?

And Mommy, will you explain to Lanny that spreading things around by taking from some and giving to others, whether it be money, health insurance, housing, or paying for gambling, booze, and strip clubs in furtherance of the philosophy "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is Socialism?

There would be so much more peace in this family if people owned up to what they believed in, instead of pretending to be something that they're not, it would be a blessing!

Mystic Michael

Vlad, when will you ever learn to accept personal responsibility for your own behavior? Such as your chronic habit of baiting us with outrageously provocative nonsense...then crying foul when someone calls you out on it?

Vladtheimp

Did I quote you correctly or not? In the alternative I was characterized as one or more of the adjectives you used, supported by Lanny. I try to be honest about my philosophy. I suspect you are not hesitant to identify yourself as a liberal/progressive/socialist, as I am not hesitant to identify myself as a conservative/small government/constitutionalist. It appears to me that Lanny wants to be a mugwump - with the mug on one side of the fence and the wump on the other. Strangely (or not) I respect people who honestly characterize themselves (like James Carville, Paul Begala, Bernie Sanders), and the like rather than both Clintons, the Bush's, and Lanny Davis, You are a true believer on one side - I am a true believer on the other side. Anyone like us but pretending to be something else annoys me. I suspect you would proudly proclaim yourself as having a liberal/progressive/big government political philosophy. I proudly proclaim myself to be a believer in conservative/small government/capitalist philosophy. Do we have an argument here?

Wingmaster

Careful, don't trim the weeds to close to the swamp, they won't have any place to hide!

Lanivan

Ah - how deliciously tempting, what instant gratification to label, simplify, box in, marginalize, stereotype - everything neat, tidy, under control. So analytical, so cut and dried, so non-liminal.

Since my name was mentioned, I'd like to say a few words....(no - I'll be good and refrain from Dick Cheney quotes) Where did you come up with the term 'mugwump'? And since I've never heard of this before, how could I possibly want to be one? And does this mean that not only do you think I'm dishonest and supercilious, I'm not worthy of your respect? O - what's an Independent centrist to do!!

Vladtheimp

You merely confirm what I said about liberals accusing us of what they themselves are guilty of - the labeling, simplifying, marginalizing, etc. was in MM's post, to which you added.

Anyone who can state that Obamacare "is wholly a capitalistic free market approach that has nothing whatsoever in any way to do with a socialistic health care program), welfare, and/or drug testing." cannot be an independent centrist, and yes, I would have more respect for you if you would emerge from the cloak of centrist and proudly fly the flag of socialism which is exemplified in so many of your statements, comments, and criticisms - to quote Jason Colins, you may find it liberating.

Lanivan

I fear my fate is to be forever denied Vlad's respect....to be so one-dimensional, so stereotypical, so predictable that I could declare myself to be of any one political persuasion at all times, in all circumstances, for all reasons. Over the years, similar attempts to pigeon-hole have met with failure - curse or blessing? No matter how much you declare it, I am unable to be a sock puppet. Liberation is a wonderful state of affairs, and I am blessed to possess it in many of it's manifestations.

Perhaps your need to label me as socialist is linked to the fact that I just might have a greater sense of social connection than the conservative mindset. In the case of Obamacare, (and we've already had our showdown over that that didn't end well), to me, it boils down to the conservative belief that basic health care is an earned privilege, versus a basic right. I don't think society has a right to flat-screen teevees, but I do believe that deprivation of basic medical care is a moral issue, a humanitarian issue, a social issue, but not necessarily a form of political socialism.

I think I'm correct in saying you believe rights are an entitlement that are to be free of interference. This may drive you to label the ACA a form of socialism, but a government program requiring the support of for-profit insurance companies does not meet my definition of same.

Vladtheimp

Not at all, Lanny, I truly respect your valor in constantly bringing knives to gun fights (before you swoon again, recall BHO punch them harder exhortation).

If basic health care is a basic right, why not housing that meets one's requirements? Why not a diet that meets one's individual desires or requirements? Why not transportation that satisfies one's wants? Why not the right to spend one's valuable time as they wish (http://youtu.be/TRY7Wvim8-8). Where does it stop for you - at flat screen t.v.'s (how cheap)

As far as the Obamacare showdown and not turning out well - "not turning out well" has to refer to the majority of taxpayers in the country - sources - Max Baucus, Harry Reid.

You clearly don't need or want my respect, but for your own well-being, I think it would be helpful if you finally accepted the fact that your liberal-progressive philosophy has to end, in fact, in socialism. Your comment about the failure of being pigeon holed indicates, what I have thought since I started commenting here, that there is hope for you yet. I don't waste my time casting pearls among swine (Mystics, maybe.

Lanivan

I think your interaction with MM and me is good for YOUR well-being, as it appears you could benefit from reading what progressives think. I appreciate MM because when he writes on political or societal issues, he mirrors my own and expresses those thoughts far better than me (except for the libertarian streak). As for your casting pearls, that's nice to read, although trust issues have cropped up since you labeled several hours of my time a composite of meaningless verbiage signifying nothing and threatened retirement from me.

As for the childish socialist nonsense, you have pushed me to it: "Wah, Wah - Daddy! Even though I have asked nicely, Vladtheimpossible keeps calling me names! Make him stop, Daddy, or I'll run away!

Vladtheimp

As far as that matter of trust, it appears that my "stream of consciousness" reaction was more wounding than intended. Believe it or not, the fact is that some of your observations flow so smoothly off the keyboard (and some repetitive), that I never considered it took you a great deal of time to compose that particular comment. That is actually a complement, since I was P.O.'d that I took a lot of time to locate links to sources, and figured I had been chumped when you sat down and composed your comment with no particular effort. Clearly, I was mistaken, and I apologize for characterizing your effort as I did. With respect to retirement - been there done that - just trying to say I was through with that thread for the moment (how wrong was that)?

As far as Obamacare, I'm sure that its implementation under Queen Sibelius will provide much fertilizer to enhance further discussion.

Lanivan

Even (especially) when you play nice, I still find myself waiting for the other foot to drop. Do I tease, poke, prod, insult, boreass? Yes! Chump - never.

The significance of this comment being #101 under a column titled 'Welfare reform welcomed' shows us that "enhanced further discussion" on Obamacare is in our future whether we play nice or not, or run away. Can hardly wait....

Mystic Michael

We do in fact have an argument here. Believe it or not, you don't get to define me or my views, Vlad. I retain that privilege for myself - you do NOT have my permission.

I do in fact identify as progressive - proudly so. But that doesn't necessarily entail "socialism" or "big government" - no matter how hard you may try to push me into that box. In principle, I favor libertarian approaches to policy problems, because they're simpler and more elegant. In practice, they usually don't work very well - because the real world isn't like a Libertarian think tank. Thus, I am actually far more pragmatic than you will ever realize - let alone acknowledge.

Moreover, you and your ideological cohorts have no monopoly whatsoever on the US Constitution - no more so than on the flag. It appears that your presumptuousness and your chutzpah knows no bounds.

If you wish to continue playing your little game of feigning personal offense, and indeed of trying to make the entire dialogue personal rather than policy-oriented, whenever I challenge you on the irrationality and inconsistency of your statements - to say nothing of the desperate diversionary tactics you employ whenever you're getting pinned down - then feel free. Knock yourself out. But don't think for a moment that I can't see through your facade...or that I'm in any danger of being conned by all your malarkey.

MM

Vladtheimp

I agree - I can't define you and didn't intend to - that's why I said "I suspect that you." I suppose we can define ourselves any way we want, even if the definitions we use run contrary to the ideas we express elsewhere in the comments - if Lanny can define herself as an independent centrist while espousing every liberal and socialist scheme Obama presents, you can certainly define yourself as a Progressive Libertarian, although I doubt many at CATO would welcome your opinions with open arms regarding your support of big, intrusive government.

I have a pretty thick hide - and don't personalize more than the next person, who might be you (presumptuousness, chutzpah,). By the way, I neither seek nor need your permission to define you or your views, and you do not get to attempt to limit my speech and my conclusions so get over it.

Wingmaster

Maybe a definition by name calling (you chose it MM) might help here if I can so boldly offer my blunt force common sense approach.

Mystic [ˈmɪstɪk]

n. a person who claims insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy.

adj. characterized by esoteric, otherworldly, or symbolic practices or content, as certain religious ceremonies and art.

Give up Vlad, you are just a mere mortal here. Puff the magic dragon will soon bore with trying to communicate down to your level as you will not be able to comprehend his superior thought process and knowledge.

Vladtheimp

You're right - I should know better than to question the views of a higher authority. On the other hand, his erratic appearances may indicate breaks from tossing pizza dough in Connecticut.

Lanivan

Geez you guys - can anyone say "testosterone"?

Wingmaster

“If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Lanivan

Uummmm....MM~Extraordinary Elevation + Vlad~Unique Challenges + Wing~Lip and Laughter = Fourth Dhyana is achieved......mmmmmmmm

Lanivan

So are you refuting the above description, or just trying to detract from and/or marginalize MM's and my comments?

Actually, pre-ACA health care in this country was socialistic. The spreading of the costs of free-rider unpaid bills throughout the community (socialism) leads to higher insurance premiums as costs are embedded in insurance services, and in higher taxes. The ACA removes the socialization of those costs and will save money via free markets.

ghjhs

Their is much more Abuse of taxpayer money by the politisions and they have the guts to threten to takeaway food stamps from a familey with children!and I dont know to many drug dealers that except Bridge cards.

Wingmaster

Ah ghjhs, they convert their Bridge card benefits to cash fraudulently .

See this is the problem people, no one pays close enough attention to what is going on in society or the issues of the day, then they cast a vote based on misinformation or the best 10 second sound bite.

You get the politicians you vote for!

Lanivan

Do you have the stats on how often this happens? (fraudulent use of Bridge card) Do you think it's widespread? Are their ways to close this loophole and tighten up on restrictions?

Wingmaster

Don't need stats Lan...I have eyes. I see it weekly and report it to the state when habitual cases happen. That's how you tighten it up. Careful what shiny objects you chase, sometimes its a train heading straight at you.

Lanivan

Ok. Is it widespread? About 1/3, 1/4, 1/2 the time? What I'm after here is, in your experience, is it a problem of epidemic proportions, or an occasional abuse of the system that can be remedied with the type of follow-up you describe.

Wingmaster

Lets take your the low number of your choice because you infer it is not wide spread. Go do your google search and multiple the total we spend in this state by that low number of your choice. Then let me know if that wasted money is satisfactory to you.

Lanivan

Ok. Common sense, rational thought, and your evasiveness tell me it's an occasional abuse of the system rather than an epidemic. Thank you for your clear, concise, and direct response.

Wingmaster

Glad your so comfortable sweeping all that under the rug as I suspected. Thanks once again for confirming your liberal thinking.

Mystic Michael

"Liberal thinking" = evidence-based decision making

Lanivan

Conservative thinking: "We create our own reality". (Sorry to be repetitive MM - it's just so da@n good..)

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