Recruitment for Government Programs is Crux of the Problem: Efforts Should Also Focus on Those “helping” Applicants

April 19, 2012
By

For far too long, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) has been the Christmas card that has given year round.

The move last week by State Legislators from a broad range of communities – both rich and poor – to reform the welfare program that encompasses programs such as cash benefits and food stamps (now called SNAP for some reason) is a refreshing new direction, but one that comes about 10 years too late.

House Speaker Bob DeLeo has bravely led the fight – which in a Democratic state like Massachusetts is tantamount to walking the plank on a pirate ship.

You might end up all alone and in a place that’s impossible to escape.

However, even representatives from Boston’s inner city have backed DeLeo initially, as have Republicans from the suburbs.

Honestly, that part is refreshing.

However, the endless abuses all of us have seen with our own eyes and read about in news reports will be tough lumber to saw through.

Many have struggled as they watch others in the grocery store, at the convenience store or in department stores as they pull out their EBT card and purchase all kinds of things that aren’t exactly essential.

I watched with disdain one time a few years ago as a woman ahead of me at the supermarket – who wore a badge identifying her as a nurse at a nearby hospital – purchased lobsters, scallops and a couple of birthday cakes with a state card. She tossed in a tabloid magazine to the order at the last minute for good measure.

Then, for the rest of her order, she pulled out a thick roll of cash and paid the difference.

As I looked in my own cart, I had only the essentials, and I was going to have to put some of it back because I had exceeded my budget.

Such things are infuriating for the blue-collar crowd and the middle class families who are relegated to and intent to pay their own way. It’s outrageous when one works very hard and still struggles to make ends meet, while another person on state assistance appears to be living an easier life. That is particularly true at tax time, when the bill comes to those paying their own way, and not to those who only take.

Therein lies the outrage that has stoked the recent appetite for reform.

That outrage doesn’t come from the rich, as they support such programs.

Nor does it come from the poorer communities, as they benefit from such programs.

It comes from those directly in the middle, but those who are there in the middle and the reformers ought to consider where to focus their attention.

After several years of contemplation, I believe the key here is that lawmakers and the public cannot simply set out against those who abuse the system. That situation is terrible, but it’s about a mindset that was set in stone more than a generation ago – and it will not be changed.

The fight has to be focused on the source.

This won’t be a popular opinion, but a good deal of the problem lies in the human services industry – the “non-profit community” and the government workers who administer these programs and aggressively recruit people to go on the dole.

In my opinion, they are frequently the problem.

I have seen so many individuals who set out to work hard, to carve out their own slice of freedom and pay their own way, only to have someone whisper in their ear that they don’t have to work so hard.

“You can get all that for free; it’s easy, just fill out this paper,” many are told.

Innovation and hard work are quickly extinguished, and I believe people are frequently led to fill out forms incorrectly so that they can qualify for a benefit or for the largest benefit.

I would like to know how many people have indicated that they were in and “emergency” situation; probably thousands upon thousands.

I have personally watched multiple people be coerced by government workers into saying they weren’t married so that they would qualify for certain welfare programs. The rationale was that the office needed to sign up as many people as possible so they could increase their budget for the next year, and that no one really checked any of the paperwork anyway.

Recruitment is a problem. There’s even an advertising budget at the state level to produce ads encouraging people to apply for welfare. We’ve all heard those ads.

Get the information out there, sure, but don’t actively recruit people who otherwise might not be interested or for whom such help is not essential. This is supposed to be a safety net system for those on the edge.

What many don’t realize is that being paid and supported by the government is to give up one’s freedom, and that’s just the way some would like it. It has been said that when people are scared of the government and what it can do to them, then that’s tyranny; but when the government is scared of the people and what they can do, then that’s freedom.

No one is free when the government feeds them, clothes them and shelters them for years on end.

  • Fraud is everywhere. So instead of trying to waste time restricted everything why not find ways to keep people from wanting to be on the welfare program, say freeing up more jobs so people can get back to work and be independent again? Just a thought.

    http://www.ebtcardbalance.com/

  • Hyalite

    Hunger in America: The
    Myth

     

    One
    should imbibe alarms about pervasive hunger skeptically.

     

    ·       
    Free
    school lunch kids waste 46% more food than regular price kids. How can poor
    kids be hungrier?

    ·       
    School
    lunch waste is about 30%. Where’s the hunger?

    ·       
    School
    lunch provides all the calories a kid needs; then poor kids go home and eat the
    food stamp pop, candy bars, take-and-bake pizza and donuts.

    ·       
    A
    family of 6 can get $23,900 per year in food stamps, free school food and food
    bank food. A non-recipient family of 6 usually spends $11,500 per year on food.

    ·       
    A
    family of 6 can earn up to $55,000 and qualify for food stamps and Women,
    Infants and Children, WIC.

    ·       
    The
    poor are adding weight faster than the non-poor.

    ·       
    Arguments
    as to why the poor make bad choices with food stamps do not stand scrutiny.

    ·       
    The
    food stamp program this year costs $77 billion. Mr. Obama wants to add $9
    billion to that. A healthy food list reform, along the lines of the WIC
    program, could cut spending in half; no recipient would go hungry and the
    nation’s deficit would be substantially reduced.

    ·       
    At
    least 57% of food stamp spending is for foods high in high fructose corn syrup,
    cholesterol, fat and sodium. Food stamps buy unhealthy food.

    ·       
    The
    USDA and the Obama Administration are aggressively expanding food stamps, free
    school lunch and after school supper.

    ·       
     The USDA rebuffed New York City’s request to drop soda pop from
    permissible food stamp purchases.

     

     
     


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