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

gordbzz231

Let’s deal the abusers a new deal: thats a fine idea,lets start by giving them a chance to finish high school, not much but a start, anyone remember when you got unemployed and had to go down to employment office and apply in person, then you where referred to another person to help find work, if you refused the consulting or work, you where denied unemplyment, then you have the option to get your degree financed by the goverment and pay latter, hey, hey

Walking Alive

Let's put in that bill that ALL politicians get randomly tested for drugs also. Let's also remove pensions for all politicians (welfare?), make them pay for their own insurance, and test them for life if they receive a pension. They do nothing for their money anyway and get away with murder...

Vladtheimp

Since you seem to equate people who are receiving state checks for doing nothing with people who are receiving state checks for doing a job but you disagree with the job they are doing, let's take your proposition to its logical conclusion and pass legislation that ALL public employees get randomly tested for drugs, remove their pensions (welfare?),make them pay for their own insurance, and test them for life if they receive a pension.

Then we will have achieved liberal/progressive nirvana - everyone receiving a check from the state treated equally; working people treated the same as the human sucker fish permanently affixed to the taxpayer's wallet. We could even extend it to private sector entities that receive all of their income from the state - maybe even to professional students working on advanced degrees using public student loans. I think you're on to something here -

Walking Alive

sounds about right... or get rid of testing altogether.

Vladtheimp

Why stop at testing? Why not institute the rest of the program - ALL public employees get their pensions removed(welfare?),make them pay for their own insurance, and test them for life if they receive a pension; private sector entities that receive all of their income from the state; professional students working on advanced degrees using public student loans?

You posited a great idea - no need to walk it back.

Grand Haven Happy

Vladtheimp has it so right! fail the substance abuse mandated tests, total end of any and all taxpayer funded freebies, pensions, welfare, or anything else bestowed upon any receiver. This includes retired or laidoff etc teachers, postal employees, law enforcement, etc. Absolutely not one dime can be given to any illegal person or child living in the U.S.A. and nothing to any guest worker or their family, also documented alien guests are NOT able to receive and state or government welfare, food stamps, or any taxpayer funded handouts for the first 10 years after they are first documented as legal to even be or live in the U.S.A. Watch how quickly our welfare rolls food stamps, and handouts shrink and conversely how fast our U.S. citizen employment numbers rise while the unemployment numbers virtually disappear. The thick delicious icing on the cake is seeing our insane choking national debt change into a surplus in only a few year's of time! What are we waiting for????

GrandHavenTaxpayers

Agree! For those who need help for a short period of time, help them by expecting them to be drug-free citizens. Don't just hand them a fish, teach them to fish.

Could we also include those on disability in this? I am so tired of seeing people who draw disability doing things they supposedly 'can't do' while drawing money. Drug test them and expect them to show up daily for vocational rehabilitation until they can work in another field. Of course, there are those who are truly disabled and need medical care, but there are many more claiming disability simply because they cannot do that which they used to do.

Lanivan

Of course, drug testing costs money - lots of it. And who owns the drug- testing companies? And who owns stock in those companies?

Oh geez....no links....

ghjhs

Most of the people with a Bridge card have children..so what your all saying is if the parent test positive for smoking a little dope your going to take away the food..yea sounds like a Republican politision trickey Rickey Snyder will jump all over this.

Vladtheimp

Let's see - irresponsible parents continue mainlining, skin popping, whatever while depending on me and people like me (taxpayers) to take care of them and their kids (on top of taking care of ourselves and OUR kids) leads you to conclude that there is something wrong with me? Do you pay taxes? Do you have kids? Do you take care of yourself and your kids? Do you collect welfare? How long do you expect me to jeopardize my family for felons who are breaking our drug laws? I guess it should be an easy answer for you.

BTL2A

Sounds like these taxes are putting you dangerously close to not being able to provide for your family..sorry to hear about your tough luck. Allthough at least you have the safety of knowing thy I'd these taxes bury you too much there is a program that will help you put food on your table.

Yes I am a tax payer too and I will be one if you need to go on a program. There are always going to be people taking advantage of anything they can, it's not a poor thing, not a political party thing. It's a individual person thing. Good luck to you and your family.

GrandHavenTaxpayers

NO child deserves a parent on drugs! If a parent wants to keep parenting, stay clean!

There is rarely such a thing as 'a little dope.'

No excuses.

Wingmaster

Here we go again folks. Every conversation we blather about on here comes back to personal responsibility and accountability.

Absolutely no one wants to deny someone or some family the help they need during hard times. What pees what's left of the hard working American off is the abuse of the system that WE fund while trying to make our own way and support or own families. We point out the abuse and ways to fix it and get labeled as mean Republicans trying to take food from babies.

I see the abuse of the system nearly every day in my line of work. These slugs think nothing of taking money away from their own kids because they are not responsible or accountable adults. If someone cannot give up a vice or legal pleasure and save or use that money to take care of their kids, THAT is the problem and it just repeats itself with the next generation. These babies learn food/money comes from the gubment. When they bump into someone responsible, they cuss them out for being rich. Some are taught to loath these successful people!

We are so far down this slippery slope I'm not sure if it can be turned around. At some point the middle class collapses into the poor and joins those on welfare and the rich are not rich enough and cannot possible support all of the poor.

Bleeding hearts better start waking up, your not helping anyone. You are enabling the abuse of the system to continue and you are also helping the breaking down of the work ethic in the country.

We are doomed to repeat the path of the Roman empire if we cannot get ahold of the ills we face in society and the politicians that are taking us down this path. Difference is we are only 237 years into out time.

Kudos Trib for writing an article that focuses on the problem.

Lanivan

Well said, Wing.

GrandHavenTaxpayers

agree!

Alan9074

There is another form of welfare abuse, and that is the corporations who employ Americans at minimum wage, and the workers of those companies are forced to rely on food stamps, medicaid, head-start, and other various "program" to survive, even though the companies that practice this business model (Walmart, McDonalds, etc) make BILLIONS in profits every year. One last note, can you imagine what America would look like right now if we didn't have "food stamps" or "bridge cards"? What would it look like if the 47 MILLION people receiving food stamps right now had to wait in line at actual soup kitchens? Can you say depression?

Wingmaster

Can you imagine what America would look like and we took the nipple out of the mouth of perfectly capable people and taught them how to go out and work and be productive members of "the Village"!

Again, no one wants to deny a helping hand up for people that need it, we just want an end to the known abuse of the system. He!!, there would be more money for those that really need it because you know gubment never gives back what they already took from us!

Vladtheimp

Can you imagine a world without balloons? http://youtu.be/8dP_IzmgW0s

Wingmaster

Think he may have sucked in too much helium! Can you imagine a world without low information politicians!

Lanivan

Laugh all you want - It seems helium is a bigger balloon than you think, and it's getting ready to burst.....http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/0...

GrandHavenTaxpayers

Disagree! Let's go back to Economics 101. An employee is paid what he or she is worth in the marketplace. If they want to make more money, they need to become more valuable.

It is interesting how many minimum wage workers have luxuries they consider necessities. Necessities include food, shelter, clothing, utilities, and transportation, including bicycles and public transit. Yes, they may have to share housing and buy used clothing. That is how many survived before public assistance.

Lanivan

I'll never understand how the poor continue to turn down those full time jobs offering a living wage, benefits, all with no special requirements. Why do they continue to choose lives of chronic dysfunction, mental illness and other mental disorders, handicaps, and disabilities? I guess we should institute classes on how to live in shanty's with no running water or indoor plumbing, subsisting on turtle soup, and falling victim to whatever epidemic blows through town.

Even with the bump in numbers due to the millions who lost their jobs, homes, cars, and healthcare during the Bush Recession of 2007-09 and are currently unemployed or under-employed, a great many due to things completely unrelated to generational welfare moochers syndrome, the number of people on welfare is about 60% less than before the major welfare overhaul in the 19990's. Federal and state governments have made major changes to welfare requirements since then, tightening up on restrictions and closing loopholes (sound familiar? - of course, being poor is not a Constitutional Right).

What doesn't seem to crop up on these pages (except for Alan9074), is the Republican obsession for social engineering instead of that which has been proven to improve the fate of the poor - a stable and healthy economy. Super-rich corporate America has been busy exporting jobs, R&D, machinery, investment money, and know-how - essentially the American economy- for years. The middle class have experienced wage and job stagnation for decades. Super rich Americans are joining with their global brethren, making the offshore money haven industry a major government competitor with anywhere from 21-33 Trillion dollars being tucked away while austerity measures are being embraced and the citizenry is being riled up about a small percentage of people on welfare.

We are living history of the destiny of American decline, guided by the slippery corporate slide of first the poor, and then the middle class, into the poor house.

Wingmaster

...and how does class warfare solve this?

Lanivan

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning", Warren Buffett.

When light is shined on the dark forces of wealth inequality, the Class Warfare game board is pulled out. The game goes like this: Call for sacrifices on the part of the poor and the middle class while lavishing tax cuts on the super-rich. Then hoodwink citizens into thinking the resulting problems due to lack of revenue can only be solved by making cuts to social nets. Propagandize the situation by implying tearing down and attacking is an American trait, not moving forward, creating, building, reforming, or progressing. Finally, set the game up so that even those gamers directly affected will yell 'class warfare' while losing.

Class warfare is the solution for those creating and perpetrating it.

Mystic Michael

Right on the mark as usual, Lanny!

Lanivan

Right back at ya, MM.....your reality is always so uplifting to me. Thanks.

Hoofhearted

If you can't feed em then don't breed em!

Lanivan

Sorry - every effort is being made to keep them weak, vulnerable, and susceptible to breeding through the de-funding of women's reproductive health options, and keeping access to birth control, birth control options, and education out of reach. Ignore the fact that many of those babies are conceived in abusive/dysfunctional/hostile environments. Then, once poor women inevitably have those babies, every effort is made to de-fund baby care, child nutrition, child and mother health care so that the young child is handicapped right out the gate.

Finally, set up those poor women with young children on the road to chronic dependency by de-funding educational/training options and de-stabilizing the economy so their fate consists of working at minimum wage jobs with no benefits and reduced hours with no chance of paying for necessary child care let alone the rent and food.

And then blame the welfare conundrum on the women for having those babies, ignoring the fact that some man was on the other side of the coin, and the deck was stacked from the beginning of the game..

Wingmaster

Oh boy, too many shiny objects to bat around in one reply. I will show you later how you are the pawn in this game as well.

To keep focus, personal responsiblity and accountability would sure go a long way in resolving the issues of our time. That keeps getting shoved under the rug during all of this chatter.

Vladtheimp

Ah Lanivan - you should have been a lawyer! What a brilliant idea - melding the criminal law violation of spousal abuse with the psychological aspects of "dysfunctional" relationships, with the civil law concept of a hostile work environment, with rights for the handicapped under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For each child born to a poor woman, who clearly has neither free will nor played a part in the miraculous birth, a lawyer could sue the abusive sperm donor for his welfare payments, the government for not correcting dysfunctional personal relationships and for allowing a hostile environment permitting unchecked copulations among the government's workers (since not working is the equivalent of working in the liberal universe) resulting in handicapped babies in violation of the ADA and voila, redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to the lawyers, with a trickle down to their poor women and handicapped baby clients.

This is especially attractive to the lawyers since federal and state welfare rolls have increased by well over 13 millions souls and federal and state welfare spending has increased 18.8% under Obama. Holy Pigford, what a concept!

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