California is in financial trouble and that is an understatement. The state is near bankruptcy and has no viable plan for reducing debt and getting back on sound financial ground. Generous pension plans, unions and out of control spending as well as a welfare mentality has led this state to the precipice of insolvency.
Welfare should be for those who absolutely need a helping hand, or a hand up as opposed to a hand out. It should be sufficient to help people get on their feet and it should be short in duration. The longer people are on welfare the less likely they are to actually go out and make their own money. This leads to generational welfare where the entitlement mentality is passed from one generation the the next.
One would think that people who receive benefits because of the generosity of taxpayers (as if taxpayers actually have a say) would be responsible as to how the money is spent but that is just a pipe dream. Those who receive something for nothing usually care little about how they get “their checks” as long as they get them.
The aftermath of Katrina demonstrated the welfare entitlement mentality as the federal government issued $5000 ATM cards so that people could get necessities and make it during the turmoil. Instead of taking care of their families, many folks used the money to buy alcohol, tobacco products and other non necessities. Some folks spent the money are bars and strip clubs.
Why not? After all, it is free money…
California is experiencing the same issue with its welfare program. At least 1.8 million taxpayer welfare dollars were withdrawn from casino ATM machines. While one can argue that there is no evidence that the money was spent in the casinos a thinking person would have to ask why use the casino ATM when there are plenty of ATM machines around?
Welfare recipients used taxpayer money to gamble, that is the only conclusion that can be reached and while $1.8 million is a small amount of money when compared to California’s entire welfare expenditures, it is a substantial misuse of the money and puts a huge burden on an insolvent system.
The fraud is also not the only that is in the system. How many people use the welfare money to buy booze or cigarettes? Elaborate scams have been developed by welfare recipients and unscrupulous business people to circumvent the system and allow taxpayer provided money to be used for things that are not permitted by law.
Taxpayers in California should be outraged at the fraud in the system and should demand change. Governor Schwarzenegger has put a halt to use of welfare cards in casinos but this will not prevent people who can get cash for the cards from getting the cash and going to the casinos anyway (or from participating in the myriad of fraud schemes that run rampant in such a system).
The state needs to reevaluate the situation of every person on welfare and tighten up on those who should not be in the system or are abusing it. People should sign a contract when entering welfare so that they are clear on what is allowed and what the penalties will be if they defraud the system. Start by removing illegal aliens from the system and working to get them deported.
In addition, people who can work should be forced to get a job. If a job is advertised and they are able to do it (NO MATTER WHAT IT IS) they should be forced to take it. If they get fired or quit they are ineligible for welfare. People on welfare should be randomly tested for drug use and if they test positive they should be removed from the program. People who use welfare money for alcohol, tobacco, or gambling (and this is not an all inclusive list) should be removed and prosecuted. All fraud should be prosecuted in order to foster an environment of fear. People on welfare should fear being caught doing something wrong.
In addition, business people who assist in defrauding the system must be prosecuted. If workers in a business devise a scheme to defraud then they must serve mandatory jail time. If business owners are knowingly part of the scheme they should have their business licenses revoked and their businesses seized and sold to pay restitution. Obviously, they should serve jail time.
Continually rewarding people with “free” money makes them less willing to work and more willing to devise schemes to keep that money coming. They lose the desire to work for something and to contribute to society. Ignoring the illegal things that take place in the welfare system helps to foster this attitude and further degrades the system. It also makes it much tougher for people who actually need welfare assistance.
One more thing that should be considered. California should require people on welfare to work for the money. Obviously there are some people who will not be able (the truly disabled) but most will be able to participate. The state has plenty of roads and parks that need to be cleaned of litter. There are plenty of housing projects and parks that need the grass cut. There is a lot that can be done to earn the money from taxpayers and it is time we forced welfare recipients to do something to earn the money.
Sitting on the couch watching Jerry Springer or Oprah while waiting to squirt out another entitlement baby is not productive work.
And California is not the only state that should be doing these things.
Imagine how much money could have been saved if welfare recipients were required to shovel all the snow from this past winter’s brutal storms…
If we make welfare an uncomfortable way of life fewer people will be willing to go on it.
Who knows, maybe they can get a job at one of the casinos…
Never surrender, never submit.