Make the Able Bodied Work for Food Stamps

The AP reported, “The House is poised to vote on cutting $4 billion a year from food stamp assistance, now used by one in seven Americans.” To that, Nancy Pelosi said, “Maybe I’m just hoping for divine intervention, but I really do believe that there are enough Republicans that will not identify themselves with such a brutal cut in feeding the American people.” Well Nancy, I’m sure you’re right. There will most likely be plenty of squishy, scared of their own shadow Republicans to kill or seriously watered-down the proposed bill. And as for the “brutal cut” as you describe it; proposing a one-dollar cut would be considered brutal for money-grubbing statists such as you. And another thing: what would Pelosi know about “divine” intervention? Always remember the progressive creed: government can never do with less … ever.

What the Democrats and RINOs won’t tell us is that the cuts are targeted. They are targeted at those recipients who are able-bodied and without dependents. The bill will actually have work requirements similar to the welfare reform act of 1996 that forced those who were able, back to work. Shocking! How mean-spirited. But worry not all you bleeding heart liberals and big government progressives. Regardless of what happens in the House, the bill will die in the Senate. Harry Reid has assured us of this. But what of us who don’t think the House reforms go far enough? Is there any model, any state that is trying to do something about the well-known waste and abuse of the entitlement system? Funny you should ask. The state of Michigan, of all places, is attempting just that. The Michigan Senate recently passed a bill that will make those on public assistance do, at minimum, volunteer work. The Michigan House has upped the ante. Their bill will require benefit recipients to be drug tested.

Those testing positive will have their benefits revoked and new applicants, or those current recipients who refuse testing will be denied benefits. State Senator Joe Hune, the work-bill sponsor said: “The whole intention is to make some folks have some skin in the game, and I don’t feel there’s any problem with making folks go out and do some kind of community service in order to receive their cash assistance.” There was of course the typical Democrat response saying that the bill was intrusive and mean.

Vincent Gregory, a Senate Democrat, explained that, “a lot of people are embarrassed to even be there (asking for benefits) and they have this put on them. It’s this feeling that this is what the public wants, but the public doesn’t want to see people beaten down.” You’re absolutely correct Senator. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to see anyone beaten down, but when an applicant for employment at my company tells me, “I make more in benefits than I could working for you,” where is the incentive to work?! I agree with Sen. Hune.

Everyone needs a little “skin in the game.” What’s wrong with drug testing them and having them go out and clean up a park or something? Once again we can count on one of the founders to provide us guidance. Ben Franklin’s famously wrote in “On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor” in 1766 in The London Chronicle:Benjamin-Franklin

“For my own part, I am not so well satisfied of the goodness of this thing. I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. — I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

“In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

“There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor.

“Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? — On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent.”