“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.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has recently signed legislation that caps welfare benefits at 48 months. You’d better get out your tissue boxes and get ready to cry because according to liberal bloggers, cutting welfare benefits is apocalyptic. Just look at some of the titles of these articles that are designed to tug on your heart:
If you are for these cuts, you are a heartless, dirty, rotten, non-caring-for-poor person. I would argue that if you are for economic slavery and cycles of government dependency, you have become the very thing you accuse conservatives of being.
The truth of the matter is that ending dependency on the state is exponentially better for the poor. Remember what happened in 1996 when the Republican controlled Congress pushed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act to President Clinton’s desk? Liberals were doing what they do best, posing for more emotional sob-story articles back in 1995. (See: Do It Right—Don’t Hurt the Children: Avoiding Disasters With Much Needed Welfare Reform) This is just a sample of some of the welfare reforms that they claimed opposed:
-Lifetime limit of 5 years on receiving aid to families with dependent children
-Required able-bodied adults to work after 2 years of assistance
-Empowered states to reduce the federal limitation of 5 years if deemed necessary
-Denied benefits to non-citizens
The Children’s Defense Fund predicted that child poverty would increase by 12% and that 2.6 million more people would be pushed into poverty (Urban Institute Study Confirms that Welfare Bills Would Increase Child Poverty,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 26, 1996.)
The National Organization for women predicted that the Republican led welfare reform would “place 12.8 million people on welfare at risk of sinking further into poverty.” (“Welfare Bill Further Endangers Domestic Violence Survivor,” National NOW Times, January 1997.)
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) asserted that welfare reform was “the most brutal act of social policy since Reconstruction.” (Arianna Huffington, “Where Liberals Fear to Tread,” August 26, 1996, athttp://www.arianaonline.com/columns/files/082696.html.)
The Centerof Budget and Policy Priorities proclaimed that the bill would “make many children who are already poor poorer” and that welfare reform increase “severity of poverty so sharply. (David A. Super, Sharon Parrott, Susan Steinmetz, and Cindy Mann, “The New Welfare Law,”Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 13, 1996.)
The 12% rise in poverty never came to pass. The 2.6 million people who were supposed to be pushed into poverty statistic did not occur. History clearly tells a different story.
In contrast, 3.5 million fewer people were living in poverty by 2003 according to the US Bureau Census Reports. Additionally, welfare rolls drop by a whopping 50% as more people were motivated to find employment. This was not supposed to happen according to liberals.
Quite naturally, others will insist that Governor Rick Snyder’s legislation will be a lot harder to implement because of Michigan’s current unemployment rate. I would insist that 48 months is a great opportunity to learn a trade, go back to school or relocate to a more job-friendly state to find work as others are doing. Besides, we all know that not everyone has a gloom and doom picture. Some of the current welfare recipients are guilty of fraud and need to be removed from the tax payer’s burden. I applaud Governor Snyder for his efforts. The time to break the generational cycle of welfare is as good as now.
Even Booker T. Washington understood the dangers of government dependency when he said,
“Among a large class there seemed to be a dependence upon the government for every conceivable thing. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the Federal officials to create one for them.”
Mr. Washington saw in his day the dangers that dependency posed to ambition and incentives. Don’t fall for the emotional hog wash. You are not heartless for advocating self-responsibility. History and facts are on your side.