Teaching A Work Ethic

America‘s welfare programs have lost their way. They have become a bureaucracy that leaves people in poverty instead of helping them achieve success. There is no incentive for either the recipient of welfare or the welfare administrator to help the recipient end their dependency on the government. The welfare recipient is supported by a check from the government, the welfare administrator is supported in her job by the necessity of overseeing the distribution of that check. That is a simplification, but essentially the recipient and the administrator are mutually dependent upon each other. Neither has an incentive to change the system. However, because welfare is one of the budget busters in federal spending, the system needs to change.

On Tuesday, The Daily Signal posted an article offering a proven solution to helping people escape government dependency.

The article reports:

Most Americans believe able-bodied adults receiving welfare should be required to at least seriously look for work.

A new piece of legislation in the House promises to advance that majority view in federal law.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996), which would provide a much-needed reform to the food stamp program (SNAP). The bill would strengthen work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

H.R. 2996 would establish the principle that welfare assistance should not be a one-way handout. Assistance should definitely be given to those in need, but recipients should be required in exchange to take steps to support themselves.

The article reminds us that SNAP already has work requirements for adults without dependent children, but there is a way for counties to obtain waivers to opt out of the work requirement. In this bill, those waivers would be eliminated.

The article cites what happened in Maine when work requirements were added to welfare programs:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

The article states:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 establishes a federal work requirement for this same category of individuals, similar to the one established in Maine.

If enacted, this policy would save taxpayers around $90 billion over the next 10 years, or roughly 13 percent of the program’s 2018-2027 projected spending.

No one wants to deny help to those who need it, but we have reached the point where there are two many Americans riding in the wagon and too few Americans pulling it. A work requirement is one way to slash the SNAP program by 13 percent and still provide help to those people who need it.

A Good Idea Whose Time Has Come

On Friday, CNS News posted a story about one area of President Trump’s proposed budget–the area of food stamps.

Here are some numbers from The Gateway Pundit in 2015:

Under Obama the poverty rate has stood at greater than 15% for three consecutive years (2010-12), the first time that has happened since the mid-1960’s.  A record number of people have been on Medicaid (72 million or 1 out of 4 Americans) and Medicare (more than 47 million Americans) during Obama’s presidency.  When Obama entered office in 2009, 31.9 million individuals received food stamp benefits. As of January 2015, 46 million people received food stamps for a 44% increase in food stamp usage since Obama took over and record numbers.  Food stamp users had topped 46 million for 38 straight months as of January 2015.  (People don’t reach out for food stamps when good paying jobs are plentiful.) Due in part to the increase in food stamps, Welfare spending  (not counting social security) reached nearly $1 trillion in 2013.

Obviously change is needed. The article at CNS News details some of the suggested changes:

In reality, the president’s proposed policy is based on two principles: requiring able-bodied adult recipients to work or prepare for work in exchange for benefits, and restoring minimal fiscal responsibility to state governments for the welfare programs they operate.

The president’s budget reasserts the basic concept that welfare should not be a one-way handout. Welfare should, instead, be based on reciprocal obligations between recipients and taxpayers.

Government should definitely support those who need assistance, but should expect recipients to engage in constructive activity in exchange for that assistance.

Work Requirements

Under the Trump reform, recipients who cannot immediately find a job would be expected to engage in “work activation,” including supervised job searching, training, and community service.

This idea of a quid pro quo between welfare recipients and society has nearly universal support among the public.

Nearly 90 percent of the public agree that “able-bodied adults that receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.”

It is time for those sitting in the economic wagon being pulled by working people to get out of the wagon and help pull.

The article reminds us that when Maine placed a work requirement on food stamp recipients, the number of people collecting food stamps dropped sharply. I believe Americans are basically generous people who want to help the less fortunate, but I also believe that Americans do not like being taken advantage of.

The article reports what happened in Maine:

In December 2014, Maine imposed a work requirement on this category of recipients. Under the policy, no recipient had his benefits simply cut. Instead, recipients were required to undertake state-provided training or to work in community service six hours per week.

Nearly all affected recipients chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service. As a result, the Maine caseload of able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months.

We need to learn from Maine’s experience.

I Don’t Understand How This Is Legal

The Common Core Diva posted an article today about the money being spent on the data mining of our students under Common Core. The article includes the following:

commoncoreushouse-appropriationsI guess I just don’t understand how this works–how is it legal to use Medicaid funds for education.

The article explains what is going on:

If you’re not sure how the Library and Museum Grants are going to be used against us and help shift our community culture to an aligned ‘one for all’ compliant group:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/hitting-the-books-part-2/

Related and  a bit dated (2015), I exposed how Medicaid would be used to help align our students via loans, education, and all kinds of other federal overreach (for example: American Apprenticeships). At the crux? Sen. Lamar Alexander! See:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/weekend-news-tracking-the-ccsscteworkforce-aligned-society/

So, what else is this Report hiding? Below is a short list of hidden federal overreaches in education.
a) Continued use of taxpayer money  without our consent. Congress covered its backside with this excerpt: “Within the funds provided, the Committee has focused increases on priority areas and reduced funding for programs that are no longer authorized, are of limited scope or effectiveness, or do not have a clear Federal role.”

b) Topping the priorities: biomedical research. Biggest ‘winner’? NIH (National Institutes of Health) I first wrote about the educational overreach via the NIH back in 2014. It has not only continued since then, but has increased its overreach, thanks to Congress. What is becoming more obvious is that the Affordable Health Care is being embedded in not only education, but every aspect of our lives.
See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/sic-em-saturday-more-fed-budget-watch/

c) The Brain Initiative is among the top priorities. It’s yet another White House led plan of overreach. Learn more: https://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Knowing how ESSA and its mandates include using students, teachers, and families as research subjects, this is a very big area of concern!

d) CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) also get boosts of taxpayer money. Thanks to ESSA and its abuse of Title One funding in addition to the RTIs (Responses to Intervention) and Behavior Intervention and Management, as well as the data mining/tracking, our schools are absolutely in harm’s way of more federal overreach in education. How? ESSA plainly states that anything and everything..as long as its in the name of ‘student success’ is permissible; thereby open to being funded..with OUR money!

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The government overreach into our children’s minds is frightening. Parents need to wake up and see what is happening to our schools. Our children are not being educated–they are being indoctrinated and physiologically manipulated into becoming compliant citizens. Please carefully check your candidates to see where they stand on Common Core and the government takeover of education.

Taxpayers Are Waking Up

No one denies that we need a social safety net. The discussion centers on the size and the use of that safety net. It is meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Many states, including North Carolina, are beginning to revise their safety nets in order to encourage people to work, to abstain from drugs, and to become productive members of society rather than constantly depending on the safety net.

On Saturday, the News & Observer posted an article detailing coming changes in the North Carolina food stamp laws. Food stamp recipients in North Carolina will soon be required to either work, volunteer, or take classes for at least 20 hours a week.

This is a chart showing the number of Americans on food stamps:

http://www.rightwinggranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/food-stamps-yearly-do-not-hotlink.jpg

The number has almost doubled since President Obama took office.

The article at the News & Observer continues:

That federal requirement (work, school, or volunteering) – which applies to adults under 50 who don’t have children – was suspended in 2008 as the recession hit and unemployment rates rose. But the exemption ended Jan. 1 for 23 mostly urban counties across the state, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg.

While the 77 other counties are seeing a slower economic recovery and could continue the federal exemption, the state legislature acted last year to restore the work and education requirement statewide starting July 1.

The change affects 115,000 North Carolinians who will have to document work, volunteer or education activities or lose their food stamp benefits. Recipients can still get up to three months of benefits without meeting the requirement.

Opponents of the change claim that it will rip away the safety net. There are some of us who feel that the change will simply sort out the people who genuinely need food stamps and those who are happy to take advantage of ‘the system.’

In April of last year, I posted a story about what happened in Maine when people who received food stamps were required to either work or volunteer.

The story included the results of that action:

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesman tells the Associated Press that 12,000 non-disabled adults were in Maine’s SNAP program before Jan. 1 – a number that dropped to 2,680 by the end of March.

More than 9,000 Maine residents have been removed from the state’s food stamp program since Republican Gov. Paul LePage‘s administration began enforcing work and volunteer requirements.

The goal of a safety net is to help people who need help. Changing the rules will allow North Carolina to continue to help those in need while providing some relief to the taxpayers of the State who also have needs.

Making Welfare Work

The budget for food stamps and other public welfare programs has gotten totally out of hand both at the state and the federal level. There are many people who have learned how to take advantage of the welfare system over the years, and the problem has been how to separate those who truly need assistance from those who don’t. Well, it seems as if the State of Maine has found at least a partial answer to the problem.

CNS News reported the following yesterday:

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesman tells the Associated Press that 12,000 non-disabled adults were in Maine’s SNAP program before Jan. 1 – a number that dropped to 2,680 by the end of March.

More than 9,000 Maine residents have been removed from the state’s food stamp program since Republican Gov. Paul LePage‘s administration began enforcing work and volunteer requirements.

The article further reports:

State Rep. Scott Hamann (D –South Portland) has introduced a bill that would direct the administration to seek a waiver for certain counties with high unemployment or a lack of jobs.

The measure may not gain support from LePage’s administration. HHS spokesperson David Sorensen says, recipients only need to volunteer for 24 hours a month to comply with the requirements and the administration believes there are enough opportunities even in the most economically depressed regions.

No one wants to deny food to the needy, but the time has come to realize that there are people who are taking advantage of the various welfare programs available. The government really does not help anyone by giving them food without requiring them to work (unless that person is truly disabled in some way). The action that Governor LePage has taken will encourage the work ethic that has been lost in America since the Great Society laws were passed by Congress.

 

A Really Dumb Law That Is Putting Americans At Risk

Today’s Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about problems New Jersey is having getting road salt. The supply of road salt in a few New Jersey communities is very low because of the recent snow storms. The problem in getting the road salt has nothing to do with its availability or proximity–the problem has to do with union workers.

The article reports:

Townsquare Media reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied the state’s request for a waiver of the Jones Act, a 1920 law requiring that all cargo and passengers moving between points in the United States be transported on American vessels.

A waiver would have allowed New Jersey to get the salt within days from a foreign transport in Searsport, Maine.

New Jersey Department of Transportation Spokesman Joe Dee told the Washington Free Beacon that a waiver from the Jones Act appears “unlikely.”

“We were pursuing a waiver, but we’ve been advised we wouldn’t get one,” Dee said. “It seems unlikely we will get it.”

Jersey City, New Jersey, is expecting snow tonight and tomorrow morning, and then possibly more snow on Wednesday. This has been a very harsh winter in the northeast, and it is really silly to put people’s lives at risk because the salt needed does not happen to be on an American ship. There at least needs to be a waiver of the Jones Act granted. It would also be a good idea to pass a law making sure that when public safety is at stake, the law would be quickly waived.

 

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About That Civility Thing…

Today’s Washington Examiner reported some comments made by a Maine state legislator on twitter.

The article reports:

“Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam,” Kruger tweeted, according to the Maine Wire. “Hope there are cell cams,” he added, indicating a desire to watch Cheney die.

Today, after local media noticed the comment, Krugertweeted, “Twitter is no place for lousy attempts at humor” along with the hashtag “#mepolitics,” in what seems to be an allusion to the Cheney/Saddam tweet.

I’m afraid I fail to see the humor in any of that. Comments like that deserve to have consequences. I doubt there will be any, but Mr. Kruger was totally out of line.

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Does This Spending Represent Your Priorities ?

CBN News posted an article today listing some of the things that our government is currently spending money on. Remember, this is a time when we are borrowing one out of every four dollars we spend and Congress is saying that it is impossible to cut spending without seriously hurting certain sectors or our economy.

Please follow the link above to read all of the article, but here are a few highlights:

Like the $120 million for federal retirement benefits to retirees who are already dead. Patrick Knudsen, The Heritage Foundation’s senior federal budget expert, pointed showed CBN News a recent example.

“After a retiree had died, his son continued cashing his checks for 37 years. And it didn’t stop until 2008 when the son himself died,” he said.

…More federal funding in the amount of $593,000 went to a primate research center to study where in chimpanzees’ brains they get the idea to throw their feces.

…A Virginia university received $55,000 to study Jordanian students’ water pipe smoking habits.

…A new grant of $176,000 joined $350,000 already spent to study how cocaine hurts or helps the sex drive of Japanese quail.

Some other gems:

…A museum of magic received $147,000 to study the audiences of magic shows.

…More than $550,000 of U.S. taxes went to the production of a documentary on how rock bands contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire.

…A television production of a Pakistani version of PBS’ “Sesame Street” has already cost tax payers $10 million and $20 million more has already been budgeted.

…IPad 2s were purchased for $96,000 for students in Maine, where 96 percent of their parents said the cost wasn’t worth it.

…Nevada’s Western Folklife Center received $50,000 for cowboys and cowgirls to gather once a year to recite cowboy poetry.

Somehow, I think we can find some room for spending cuts in these programs.

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Do Politics Influence Where People Choose To Live ?

Map of USA showing states with no state income...

Image via Wikipedia

Yahoo Finance posted an article yesterday entitled, “States Where No One Wants To Buy A New Home.” Since I live in one of the states on the list (Massachusetts is listed as number 7 of 10), I read the article.

The map above shows all the states with no state income tax in red and the states that tax only interest and dividend income in yellow. I am not sure how much of a factor this is in the number of housing starts. It is interesting, though, that none of the states with no state income tax are on the list of states with the lowest number of housing starts.

The article reports:

Surprisingly, our list of states where few permits have been issued recently is different from the typical list of the worst housing markets. California, Nevada and Florida are always on those lists because homes are vacant and home values continue to drop. But the three are not on this list. It may be that prices have dropped so low in these markets that home inventory has begun to move, even if only tentatively. Instead, markets where housing permits are very small in relation to total homes are markets in which builders have abandoned any hope of near-term sales.

In case all you really wanted to do was see the list, here it is:

  1. Rhode Island
  2. West Virginia
  3. Illinois
  4. Michigan
  5. Connecticut
  6. Ohio
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New York
  9. Maine
  10. Pennsylvania

What in the world do these states have in common? I suspect there are a lot of reasons for the number of building permits to decrease in these states. Michigan for instance has lost a lot of businesses due to the tax policies of recent state administrations. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have state income taxes and business environments that do not necessarily encourage businesses to migrate there. New York is a very expensive place to live, although I believe the current governor is trying to ease the burden on the state’s taxpayers. It is interesting to me that these are all states in the northern areas of the country. Could it be that as the baby boomers age, they are simply looking for warmer places to live?

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