I read an article today about proposed legislation in the House for welfare reform by Jim Jordan (R)-Ohio. He proposes that the welfare system needs some major revision and that it is time for some "tough-love" for the recipients. I agree. The system as it currently stands, is designed to keep people dependent on the government and never let them stand on their own two feet. This is simply not the proper design. Welfare should be an assistance program, not a dependency program.
I believe that welfare should be temporary and that the recipients should be encouraged and required to work. True, I have never been on welfare, but I have friends and family with experience in the system. If a person finds himself unemployed and in need of government assistance, the system should be there to help. After all, we pay taxes for this kind of thing. When the person begins receiving assistance, he should be required to reciprocate by performing community service or job training, if full-time work in their field is unavailable. The way the system currently works is to provide assistance while it is needed and it will even supply money for job training and childcare while the training is going on. However, as soon as the needy person achieves the level of training needed to secure gainful employment, it ceases all assistance, including food stamps and Medicaid for the children.
On the surface this appears to work as it should as it moved the person from welfare to work. The problem arises when the now employed person does not earn enough to support the family. If all assistance comes to an end before the person earns enough to maintain a household, the person usually has to resort to quitting the job and decides it is better to stay home and collect a check. This happens all too often and should not be the case. Welfare should be incremental in its amount of assistance. If the needy person has young children requiring childcare, it should be provided or supplemented until the assistance is no longer needed. The same is true of the Medicaid assistance. This type of system would encourage people to continue to work and provide for their family.
If a person is employed and is no longer fully dependent on the government to make ends meet, a sense of accomplishment is achieved and they receive a boost in their self esteem. This serves as continued encouragement to strive for more and become a productive member of society. It also helps to keep families from inheriting the welfare state. There are thousands of examples of former welfare recipients becoming extremely successful people and more than providing for their families. This should be the goal of welfare - to move recipients off the welfare rolls onto the private sector employment rolls. This is what Jordan's bill proposes.
Of course, the House will probably pass it, among party lines, but it will never see the light of day in the Democrat-controlled Senate. This begs the question why wouldn't legislators of any party want to provide people with a path to success? The answer - if welfare recipients realize that they CAN provide for themselves and their families without being dependent on the government, then they also might wake up to the reality that the Democrats have never done anything for them except keep them chained to a broken system. Of course, this would send shockwaves through the party as they are dependent on this economic class in elections.
Jordan says that it is time for some "tough-love" and incentives to succeed and he is right. This legislation needs all the support it can get from the public so that the Democrats will be forced to bring it up for a vote in the Senate. America can no longer afford to support able-bodied people who refuse to work. Also, he says that there are 77 programs at the federal and state level responsible for welfare and there must be some redundancy. If we remove the redundant programs it will save money and streamline the welfare system.
At this time of economic uncertainty and wasteful spending we need to do all we can to eliminate unnecessary government spending. Jordan summarized his bill very well by saying, "This bill begins to treat all American families with the respect they deserve. We're giving the taxpayers, who are supporting the system, the facts of where your dollars are actually going, and showing this is why it needs change. And, for the families stuck in the system, we're going to give them tough love incentives they need for a better life." All I can say is, it's about time.