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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Debate of the Week 7: Welfare

I had planned on doing a debate about homosexuality this week. However, I have just wrapped up debating this topic on another blog for the third time this month, and hundreds of comments later I have said all that I care to say, and have grown tired of it for now.

Therefore this week we shall debate Welfare, good or bad?

Here’s what I think: Welfare is good only in very limited situations, and only for a limited time. Other than that it does far more harm than good.

By giving greater entitlements to single moms that to married couples with the same income t has served to undermine the American family and has raised three generations of fatherless children.

It keeps the poor impoverished by stripping them of the urgent need to work for their own betterment. Who needs to work when the government will feed, clothe, and shelter you anyway? We now have third generation welfare recipients. By third generation I mean never worked at all in three generations.

Since it keeps the poor poor, and a disproportionate number of American poor are minorities, it is a racist system that keeps minorities under the feet of the wealthier whites, and dependent on deceitful politicians for their livelihood.

It encourages a sense of entitlement that is contrary to the American way of life, and to the American dream. We earn our way in the world. By handing out for nothing that which should be earned we create a generation of people who think they deserve everything they want, and are upset when they don’t get it. Just look to the massive crime rate in poor, welfare ridden neighborhoods. These people are filthy rich compared to the rest of the worlds poor, and even when compared to much of the world’s middle class, but they still want more enough to steal, sell drugs, or engage in other crimes to get it.

On the other hand, a housewife with children whose husband dies unexpectedly without insurance, or whose husband leaves her suddenly needs help to get on her feet. She needs money, vocational training, and a job so she can care for her family. In this situation I think welfare is most justified as a temporary measure to give a truly needy person a leg up to self sufficiency.

What do you think?

36 Comments:

  • I think the basic idea of welfare as a temporary assistance is good, but it has become a way of life for so many in this country. There are professional welfare recipients who know exactly how to work the system to create a life for themselves that is in the middle class level - multiple names and post office boxes, etc.

    I liked this Benjamin Franklin quote...

    "I am for doing good to the poor, but...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. I observed ... 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."

    By Blogger Fish, at 7:40 PM  

  • Excellent quote there Fish. I'll have to remember it.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:01 PM  

  • "Welfare is good only in very limited situations, and only for a limited time. Other than that it does far more harm than good."

    I totally agree with you.

    I believe in limits. There should be a limit on everything.

    If someone physically cannot take care of themselves then it is the duty of a good Christian community to see that the person is cared for.
    On the other hand if people are capable and refuse to do so, then it is NOT the duty of the community to do it for them.
    Limits, it's all about limits.

    By Blogger wanda, at 8:56 PM  

  • Yes.
    Helping is good.
    Enabling sloth is not.
    Generations of dependency is not an acceptable outcome for a system.
    It needs to be fixed.

    By Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy, at 4:13 AM  

  • OK, we're all for limits. But what of the welfare mother (for instance) who after her allotted time on welfare is still in no better shape to care for herself or her family? Regardless of the reason, whether she's of limited mental facility or just lazy, her time's up and she has no job nor job prospects and two children to feed.

    What then?

    Kicking her off and she becomes marginalized, a homeless mother with children on the streets or in a shelter. Leave them there and there's an excellent chance you'll have the mother to deal with either in court or on the streets PLUS, you'll have two children who grow up with the chance of replicating her behavior.

    All of which will require money (likely more money than what we would have been paying in welfare).

    Or, what if we take the children from her? Well, that's going to require investments (ie, MONEY) in our foster/adoptive/orphanage programs. And, of course, you still have the mother out there on the streets or in the court system.

    So, what am I saying? Limitations, by all means. But let's be wise about how we deal with these issues. If we simply cut off welfare and create larger childcare, societal and court problems, we're only costing ourselves more money and resources, plus we're failing to resolve a serious problem.

    I, my wife and many of our friends deal with these issues regularly. The truth is, there are some hard cases that require more effort and more resources. Am I talking about coddling them? No.

    But I'm also suggesting that it is wise not to cut off one's nose to spite one's face.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 5:13 AM  

  • Daniel, you said: "...hundreds of comments later I have said all that I care to say, and have grown tired of it for now." Yep. You and Dan Trabue had quite a debate going! I can see how you might have become tired of the subject.

    And it looks as though you both may have another one. Enjoy! :)

    Dan Trabue has a good point regarding the welfare Mom who gets kicked off welfare and is still in no better shape to take care of herself or her kids, except I don't think he has thought it through:

    My contention is this: Unless "Mom" has such a low IQ she is incapable of doing anything she can find work of some sort. Wall Mart hires people with low IQ's all the time. Almost anyone can be trained in some sort of capacity.

    My daughter works at a grocery store for $7.00 per hour and is a full time senior in High School. On the other side of the coin, she (and I) know many girls who have dropped out of highschool, have had babies and aren't even looking for work because they know the government will give them foodstamps and the wick program! They still live at home with their Moms who are also on government handouts and are not looking for work! Okay, Mom can watch the baby while daughter goes to work, or daughter can watch the baby while Mom goes to work. But no... they both happily stay at home watching the baby and by the looks of those homes, watching tv more than anything else. Of course they have televisions, automobiles, computers and cell phones! This small town I thankfully live several miles outside of is rampant with slothful and lazy people with no ambition. You and I support them with our tax dollars. I agree (obviously) with Daniel's take on this and will let him take it from here.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 7:02 AM  

  • Well, like Affirmative Action, welfare sounds good in theory, and may be good in very limited circumstances. I emphasise 'very'.

    I think Hurricane Katrina showed us what can happen when the entitlement mentality takes over a city.

    Welfare, like Communism, keeps people down. I mean, why should you try to save money, when your food stamps will be cut off if you have savings?

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 7:29 AM  

  • Well, Dan, I have to disagree with your point about welfare mother who can't find work.

    "Or, what if we take the children from her? Well, that's going to require investments (ie, MONEY) in our foster/adoptive/orphanage programs. And, of course, you still have the mother out there on the streets or in the court system."


    Should a mother given three months (or some ample amount of time) to find a job but can't still be raising children? I would think not. Your point doesn't wash.

    Beyond that, setting limits and enforcing consequences on violating those limits might marginalize some people, but it will motivate many more to get a job, and take care of themselves.

    When there is a group of people (i.e. welfare recipients) exhibiting undesirable behavior (i.e. not taking care of themselves) an example must be made of a few (i.e. taking their children, or simply weaning them from the government's teat) to break the minset of "they do it this way, so I'll do it this way."

    By Blogger fmragtops, at 7:48 AM  

  • In order to address the problem of the mother who cannot find a job on her own I have prposed the following in a past article about welfare:

    Rather than paying someone to stay on welfare for simply because he/she can't find adequate employment a leg up must be offered. I reccommend vocational training with free chilcare during the course, followed by paid relocation to live reasonably close to a job that is found for the welfare recipient.

    I suggest this because a disturbingly high number of welfare recipients are high school dropouts. Job corps is a wonderful program that is underutilized simply because so many welfare are unmotivated to better themselves. This way we can help solve the problem of poverty while improving the workforce and reducing the long-term tax burden on the rest of us.

    As for those who choose not to complete the program. Wal-Mart is alwats hiring. So is Mc Donalds, Burger King, Denny's, and a whole bunch of other low paying, unskilled labor jobs. High paying labor jobs exist as well, but it is unlikely someone who is too lazy to complete a free vocational program would work hard enough to stay employed at a job like construction anyway.

    As for the children, in extreme cases I would rather pay to put them in a home where they will be taught proper social values, hard work, and such, so they can succeed in thier own lives than let them starve with a single parent who refuses to work and has run out of time on the welfare payroll. I have no problem of any kind investing whatever it takes in our children because not only are they fairly helpless, they are the future of this great nation.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:44 AM  

  • I knew a young couple with two kids that were living in brand new welfare apartments free. They were given food stamps, some sort of medical care, he was given money for gasoline, tax and insurance on his car so he could look for jobs. Of course he was required to list at least three places he'd applied for a job each week. He would pick places he was sure weren't hiring, and if he inadvertantly found a place hiring he left and would go to a fourth place just so he could list three places that hadn't hired him that week. His attitude was, if he took a job he would lose all the benefits, have to actually work and would have to move out of the new apartment. Of course that isn't necessarily representative of all or even most on welfare, but it's just one example I know up close and personal.

    I'm sure if I'm aware of the many such people, there have to be a large percentage of recipients doing the same sort of thing.

    By Blogger Fish, at 8:56 AM  

  • I am a single mother of 5 who has been seperated from her husband for some time now. I graduated from high school and grew up in foster care. Some people are dealt rotten hands and while welfare reform is good for many it hurts in some ways as well. Case in point. I work 40+ hours weekly by the time I get home I have enough time to give baths, feed dinner check homework which is done at day care before starting the day all over again. My children don't enjoy that quality time that they deserve and as a result some act out. I don't have time for therapy for them, I don't have time for parenting classes, I barely have time to take them to the Doctor. I feel that society may better by limiting the amount of reform, by treating each case on the individual bases and then maybe the reform will start to work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:39 AM  

  • Sounds like there's some basic misinformation about welfare out there. A little info:

    Besides the fact that a lot of welfare recipients are American working people, a study in Massachusetts showed that vendors committed 93% of welfare fraud. This aspect of the welfare system drastically needs reform: it is harming recipients as well as taxpayers. But all of the political attention is on limiting the amount of money going to recipients.

    And although the fraud by welfare vendors is terrible, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the burdens on the American taxpayer of military fraud, government waste, and corporate welfare. The Savings and Loan bailout alone cost $132 billion.

    The largest single group "on welfare" is children -- about one in every four children under the age of 18 receives welfare benefits.

    In Washington State a two person household receives $440/month; a three person household receives $546/month ($6,552 a year).

    ======
    As you can see from these figures, noone is choosing welfare as a get rich scheme. Nor are most doing it because they're lazy.

    I live in the inner city, go to church with many homeless and welfare recipients. Folk are poor for a variety of reasons including shiftlessness, laziness, bad choices, mental or drug issues and just plain bad fortune.

    For the most part, though, in my experience, the moms on welfare are just struggling to make it however they can. They may need some discipline or guidance, but they don't need us to give them grief or make it impossible for them to raise their kids. As I said before, that will only serve to punish us as a society.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 11:28 AM  

  • There are plenty of people who NEED welfare, who ARE looking for employment. Many people have said that Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and janitorial positions are wide-open. Do you honestly expect somebody to support a family off of a Wal-Mart salary? Be realisitc.

    Daniel L., you mention that welfare keeps the poor "under the lion's paw" so to speak. Your point is well-made, but our entire economic system does the same thing. I say you reform business law so that the "little people" get a more fair shake than the suits do before you reform welfare.

    I can sympathize with someone that works hard and sacrifices being aggravated by seeing welfare recepients having a higher quality of life than they do, but taking someone off of welfare only to work at Wal-Mart will not help them at all. They will still be "under the lion's paw".

    America is a place where people can pull themselves up by their own boot straps. The misconception is that hard work will always do the trick.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 11:33 AM  

  • Acutally $500 a month without having to pay rent, insurance, or food sounds pretty good. I guess that's why I see new cars in the housing projects as I drive by.

    By Blogger Dr. Phat Tony, at 11:34 AM  

  • That would be another myth. Welfare recipients just don't drive new cars. For the most part (in my experience) they walk, take bus or drive old raggedy cars that work sometimes and sometimes not.

    But if it sounds so appealing to anyone here, feel free to sign up.

    The thing is, most of us just want to make it on our own if we can.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:04 PM  

  • You can walk into a McDonald's or Wendy's or any grocery store in New Hampshire and start at $12.00 PART TIME with more if you pan out to full time . The part time jobs come with benefits.

    They're crying for help in NH. There's more business than they can handle.
    Why? Tourism, no sales or income tax. Property tax ($14.1000 in the highest disctric, Rye) and a 13percent room/meal tax pay it all.

    In Portsmouth, right next to Hannafords, there is a temp agency
    that will pay CASH every day for all kinds of labor, and it's $100.00. Tax is deducted.

    Walmart here starts at $8.00 and that's almost 2 bucks above minimum wage.

    So if you live in a state not currently in the rest of the economic boom brought forth by Bush' tax cuts, (blue states) get your butt up to NH.

    There is no excuse. Trailways will take you there for $79 anywhere in the country.

    Hooah!

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 12:21 PM  

  • Phantom brings up an excellent point. Just because low wages aren't good enough for some areas, like the inner cities in places like LA and New York, there are many places you can do far more than simply "get by" on minimum wage.

    Before coming to Alaska I a was stationed at Fort Riley Knasas. While I was there I had the opportunity to by a 1/4 acre plot of land with a 3 bedroom 1500+ square foot house, AND a 2 bedroom 900 square foot house for a grand total of $35,000. Milk was $1.25 a gallon, and eggs topped out at $0.50 a dozen. Plenty of people had single or double income hoseholds with minimum, or near minimum wages and were doing well for themselves.

    Anonomys. I applaud you for working so hard to provide for your family. I sincerely hope things improve for you. But your situation is not unique to single mothers. in douoble income households both parents typically work 40+ hours each week as well and share your problem of not having enough time for their children. It is one reason so many families are making the financial sacrifice of having one parent cut back to part time work or full-time parenting. I realize that in your situation this is not possible. Rest assured though that your children are watching you, and they see how hard you work to take care of them. Unlike the children of many welfare moms they will grow up knowing the value of hard work and will more than liekly become at least moderately sucessful in their lives. I know it's hard, but it's a good thing you are doing. You have my prayers, for what it's worth.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 1:25 PM  

  • We live pretty close to some run-down, poor neighborhoods. Driving by on weekdays, not once do you fail to see young, able bodied people out there doing nothing.

    And yes, their cars are expensive.

    As for the Wal-Mart thing, well,
    nearly any store pays more than welfare. And if you have ambition(something welfare tends to kill) you can move up from an unskilled job.

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 1:54 PM  

  • Anonymous, FIVE children?

    I'm sorry if this sounds cold and snobbish, but do you think maybe you should have thought about the rotten hand you were dealt BEFORE you had FIVE children? One, even two I can understand, but FIVE? Geesh lady do you NOT know about birth control? No wonder your husband left.

    When I see situations like this I have to wonder if maybe China doesn't have the right idea. Maybe people do need limits set on just how many children they can bring into this world.

    By Blogger wanda, at 1:58 PM  

  • Dan,

    Take the welfare mother off the dole, put her kids in foster care, and tell her when she can handle herself, she can have them back.

    We already have to deal with her on welfare, so the slight added expense of a little foster care isn't that bad.

    We should also stop increasing welfare payments based on family size. You sign up with 1 kids, that's all the money you get, even if you pop out half a dozen more.

    Daniel L.,

    Many states already have those laws. Charlie Sykes (linked on my page) had a great letter from a listener who used just those programs (while working) to get out of poverty.

    By Blogger Crazy Politico, at 2:37 PM  

  • Rebekkah:

    Chances are those new cars belong to the "dealahs" in the "projects" who lurk there to ply their trade.

    The drug dealers and users are the curse of public housing.

    But somehow, someone here is going to blame Bush, and not the Mob that brings in the poisons.

    Just watch for shill replies [grin]

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 2:44 PM  

  • We definitely need some sort of Welfare reform. The lazy bums are bleeding us dry.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 3:30 PM  

  • Don't get me wrong. I have witnessed quite a bit of welfare abuse. I live beside a Salvation Army and see numerous Cadillac Escalades pull up at Christmas, loading up on goodies for the family.

    But those people are in the MINORITY.

    It's true that people get into the groove of "I'm taken care of so I don't have to work." See Paris Hilton and the Bush twins.

    Those that use their welfare money to buy fancy cars need to be reprimanded. Those that cheat the system to get money not due to them deserved to be reprimanded. But too many drastic overhauls in an innately good system could be more destructive than constructive.

    We've agreed that we would be willing to pay for foster care so that children are taken care of. Would you be willing to pay for more jails? More people off of welfare could lead to more people on the street, potentially more crime.

    How many back-alley rapings are you willing to put up with so that people on welfare can "get off their asses?" How many robberies?

    I know that most people on welfare--at least most people I know on welfare--are good, honest people. But there are those, as with all social circles, who if put on the streets to fend for themselves would do so BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

    With that being said, my mother took on a second job to make ends meet. Because her income was too high--though most of it went to bills--she lost the free health insurance for my little brother, who has Tourette Syndrome.

    So yes, I agree, welfare needs reform. But my idea of reform is a socialist economy, at least in the same vein as England.

    But that's a whole other debate all together.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 3:57 PM  

  • Welfare ruins people more than it helps. Welfare is the reason New Orleans suffered so many deaths and had so many stranded.

    If you don't believe me, look at Houston and that area. They take care of themselves and depend on their skills and education to help them

    New Orleans depends on the federal government and blames them when something goes wrong.

    And my opinion has nothing to do with race.

    By Anonymous republican vet, at 6:39 PM  

  • daniel, i had to be on food stamps for a few months after i had to take my 1 yr old daughter & leave her father in 1985. yeah, i know it was forever ago, but...i can't believe the welfare system has changed much if at all, except for the number of people who don't look at it as temporary help, but a permanent way of life! i worked in grocery stores for the 10 years after that, worked up into a management position within a year, & off any kind of gov't help. The very best idea in the whole public assistance 'debacle' is the child care that was available for me so i could work as many hours as i could get, and it got paid for by the gov't! working in grocery stores, i had the pleasure of seeing families come in once a month, & every year the mom was pregnant again, then after a few years the oldest daughter would come in pregnant too, with her family. all the while i was thinking how unfair it was that i could only AFFORD one child!! BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

    By Blogger Libby, at 6:46 PM  

  • "How many back-alley rapings are you willing to put up with so that people on welfare can "get off their asses?" How many robberies?"

    I don't tolerate rape at all would see every rapist put to death. As far the robberies go, I sincerely doubt there would be a significant long-term increase in theft, and I would wager that giving people a leg up to get off welafre and out of poverty would lead to far less crime in the long run.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 7:03 PM  

  • Some more real facts instead of "They're all poor and lazy" sort of generalizations:

    While they may return for a period of time within five years, 70% of women receive welfare for less than 2 years.

    And a quote from St. Jimmy of Buffet:

    I have been out wandering
    I have traveled far
    One conclusion I have made
    Is God don't own a car

    God don't wear no fancy clothes
    He'd rather take the bus
    God would pay a tourist fare
    So She could sit with us...

    ====
    I know that it's tempting to mock or belittle those who rely on assistance, but the facts are that
    1. nobody much wants to live on sub-poverty level, in a roach-infested house, scrambling to get by.
    2. Those who receive assistance generally get off it soon.
    3. There is a need to make welfare better, with less dependency built in, but there's not a need to get rid of it unless we want larger expenses down the road.

    Why don't we spread truth and understanding just for the fun of it?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 4:58 AM  

  • Dan,
    It's not the 70% who get off welfare that I am conserned with. It is the 30% and growing number who are permanently dependent on it abuse it. And what of the men who are on welfare? Everyone here has been dicussing mothers, so what about the men, and childles women who could work, but choose to live on welfare?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 5:57 AM  

  • Wanda,
    Maybe you don't understand the definition of married. At some point in my life things were going great and my kids were fine and my married life was fine. The last two of my children were conceived while on birth control, the first was the monthly shot which has since been taken off the market, the second, with an IUD which has less than a 1% failure rate, which happens to be the same failure rate as getting your tubes tied. SO, yeah you do sound snobbish and as closed minded as they come. I have a decent job and I make $5 more than minimum wage, but after my husband left its really hard to raise 5 kids on that. So yes, I do need help.

    I also have another comment I see people saying that welfare recepients should move to areas where they can live on minimum wage, but do you guys really beleive that their families can uprooted and hope that they can find a job and place to stay at the drop of a hat?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 AM  

  • Anonomys,
    Actually, I could easily go for a government relocation assistance program for families that need to make just such a move. It's a bigger one-time investment, but in the long run it would have far more benefit than keeping people on welfare in an expensive urban area.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 7:20 AM  

  • Daniel L,

    I agree with you a government relocation program could help a lot of families. But it has to be a program, you can't expect people who are barley getting by to just do something like that on their own and pray that everything is taken care of.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 AM  

  • The men on welfare are usually full-time employees at a sub-standard job. The childless mothers, the same.

    Again, those that abuse the system are IN THE MINORITY. Unlike CEOs and corporation owners with exploitive and unethical business practices, who are IN THE MAJORITY.

    Again, deal with the big problem before you deal with the little one.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 8:15 AM  

  • RE: Daniel's question about men on welfare...some more facts:

    Women and their children are the vast majority of people living on welfare (approximately 95%) and in poverty (approximately 85%).

    You're talking small percentages of the people on welfare.

    So can we agree on working on the small percentage that are misusing welfare while we still hold on to the actual assistance?

    And I agree with Brandon and Mac Morgan who said:

    "If we're going to end welfare, the rich should be the first to lose it."

    Welfare abuse is a big problem. But it's not the poor who are the large part of the problem.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 8:55 AM  

  • Well, we seem to agree on one thing. Nobody who doesn't need welfare should be on it. The big debatehas been over those who need it. I have been arguing this whole time for asistance to help people get off of welfare entirely. Some people are only arguing that the unneedy shouldn't get it while it should be left pretty much alone for those who do need it.

    I still say it is a far beter thing to help people work their way out of poverty than to simply give them just enough handouts to keep them dependent on the system. That, in my opinon, is unethical.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:59 PM  

  • I know of no one arguing to keep people dependent upon the system, least of all those folk who are actually involved in helping the needy.

    So, if that is what you've heard me say, then I must have expressed myself unclearly. The system needs to remain in place to help those who need it get back on their own feet.

    I'm just saying that I was hearing an awful lot of misinformation or misrepresentation of the issues and people involved and wanted to clarify things.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 4:50 AM  

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