Tags: Gov. Paul LePage | Kansas | Oregon | WIC

Finally, Welfare Measures That Make Sense

Friday, 10 April 2015 11:49 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that the trial of her “best of the best” son, Dzhokhar has concluded with a guilty verdict on all 30 counts, Zubeidat Tsarnaev — mother of the Boston Marathon bombing duo — observed, “America is the real terrorist and everyone knows that.”

Tsarnaev probably would’ve preferred to make her observation on the steps of the Boston courthouse surrounded by sympathetic media poodles, but an outstanding warrant for shoplifting limited her to making her announcement via a text message.

Absent or not, her observation is an excellent starting point for an examination of welfare in the U.S. According to a report in the Boston Herald in only 10 years the family collected more than $100,000 in welfare largess. One source said, “The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning.”

Tsarnaev handouts included cash, city of Cambridge scholarships, food stamps, Section 8 housing, WIC vouchers, transitional aid to families with dependent children, MassHealth, and other welfare benefits.

In states run by leftist Democrats giveaways like this are the price non-welfare recipients are forced to pay to satisfy some social theorist’s sense of justice. But in states run by Republicans welfare spending is evolving from a permanent chaise lounge back to a temporary safety net as originally intended.

Beginning in January of this year the administration of Gov. Paul LePage implemented the novel concept of enforcing work and volunteer requirements for welfare recipients that had been previously ignored by the concern–at–taxpayer–expense clique.

The total of non-disabled adults in the Maine food stamp program plummeted from 12,000 to 2,680 in only three months.

Some probably were merely indolent, but other dropouts may have been scamming the system and were afraid an administration that finally paid attention would catch them.

Other GOP–led states are limiting how welfare money is spent, presumably on the principle that taxpayer–supplied funding is for necessities, and if you want frills, you can get a job.

In Kansas both houses of the legislature passed a bill banning spending welfare money on body piercing, massages, spas, tobacco, nail salons, lingerie, cruise ships, psychics, and tattoos. The psychics saw it coming, but Democrats were outraged.

One legislator quoted by The Associated Press complained, “If you are asking for assistance in this state, you’re sort of less than other people, and we’re going to tell you how and where to spend your money.”

I don’t know about the “less than other people” but they are certainly making less, and it stands to reason if taxpayers are giving them money for necessities, that money should be spent on necessities. You can’t be dependent for money and expect total independence in how you spend it.

Kansas has been successful on other fronts, too. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families enrollment has been cut in half. (To give you an idea of how Uncle Sam defines “temporary” the nation fought and won World War II in less time than is allowed for TANF recipients to get on their feet.) Enrollment dropped from 38,900 in 2011 to 17,600 in 2014.

Democrats claim the reduction is families “slipping between the cracks,” which is how they interpret becoming responsible for your own economic welfare.

The situation is a bit more granular in Missouri. Legislators want to prevent food stamp recipients from buying junk food and luxury food. Cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, lobster, and filet mignon would be forbidden.

Professor Mark Rank, of Washington University, quoted by the Washington Post whined, “It just seems really repressive.” On the other hand, Michelle Obama’s meddling with school lunches, purchased with diners' own money, is celebrated as progressive nutrition policy.

Even Oregon, a state not previously known for protecting the taxpayer dollar, has decided to ban winners of large lottery payouts from collecting food stamps. The IRS finds time to touch base with me regarding my income on a yearly basis, but evidently Oregon welfare bureaucrats can't be bothered.

Far as they're concerned it's one and done after the application process is complete.
Even this blindingly obvious reform will no doubt will strike the Post’s Wonk Blog welfare double standard police as unfair, since homeowners don’t forfeit their mortgage tax deduction when they win the lottery.

This Republican activity at the state level is important and it’s saving tax dollars. The question now: Are Speaker of the House Boehner, R–Ohio, and Majority Leader McConnell, R–Ky., paying attention?

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.



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In states run by Republicans welfare spending is evolving from a permanent chaise lounge back to a temporary safety net as originally intended.
Gov. Paul LePage, Kansas, Oregon, WIC
Friday, 10 April 2015 11:49 AM
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