Welfare Reform . . .

The Trump economy is strong. The stock market is at record highs and the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low. This is thanks largely to the Trump Administration’s aggressive regulatory reforms and the passage of historic tax cuts. Business after business is celebrating the passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by announcing new investments, bonuses, and pay raises. But despite soaring business confidence and a strong economy, businesses are scrambling to find workers to fill six-million open jobs. And now, their primary challenge is to get people who have been sitting on the sidelines back to work.

President Trump knows our broken welfare system is a major barrier to achieving this goal, and he has vowed to tackle welfare reform next. And it’s a good thing, because welfare definitely is, as the President put it, “out of control.”

In 2000, over 17-million Americans received food stamps, officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. That number has swelled to more than 42 million today. As a result of Obama Administration’s policies, the number of Americans on food stamps is now greater than the population of Canada.

The sad truth is that many have elected to exit the workforce and to live a shallow life on public assistance. I regularly encounter basically healthy people who are living at the bottom of the food chain because they simply don’t want to work. As an example, I recently learned of a 50-year-old fellow who lives with his aged mother, and has not been gainfully employed in several years. Actually, one of my employees goes to Church with the guy’s mom and she asked my employee to see about helping her son get a job with us . . . the only problem—the dude doesn’t want a job. He is perfectly content to get food stamps and a welfare check (and of course, live rent-free in mom’s house and mooch off her and her little Social Security check).

Here is the blunt, honest truth: there is something seriously wrong with a man who consciously chooses to live in that manner! Here is a second blunt, honest truth: there is something seriously wrong with a system that rewards such laziness! We have strayed far away from Cap. John Smith’s declaration, “If you don’t work, you won’t eat!”

I grew up in a low-income family with eight kids. We pretty much always lived below the poverty level, but we never even considered going on the dole. Most of us kids started working early in life . . . boys mowing yards, shining shoes, selling newspapers . . . girls baby-sitting, housekeeping, and such. The truth is that has served us well, and we all have been successful adults. I read recently that under the Obama Administration the USDA issued regulations that prevent kids from working on the farm . . . even if they are the children of the farmer.

I recently saw a poster that sums it up pretty well. It showed a little girl of perhaps 10- or 12-years with a puzzled look on her face, with the caption being, “You mean if I get a job, the government is going to take taxes out of my paycheck, but if I refuse to get a job, the government will send me a check and provide me with coupons for free food?”

The Department of the Interior posts signs in federal parks prohibiting feeding the bears and explains the danger of the bears becoming dependent on handouts and the danger of them not feeding themselves.  I wonder why it is that the folks in government get it about the bears, but can’t apply the same logic to people.

It has become a regular sight to see someone standing at a traffic signal holding a sign pleading for financial help. It is common place to encounter a panhandler in the parking lots of stores and malls.

Forty-two million folks drawing food stamps . . . six million open jobs and no takers? I think I can see a pattern here. I am all for helping the needy, but it is just jacked up for healthy, able-bodied people to just live off of the system. It is a social illness which must be addressed . . . and the sooner the better!

It is a good and healthy thing for folks to be productive . . . it increases self-esteem and that is something seriously needed in this culture.

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