Welfare used to be a nasty word. Some folks were ashamed to apply for it, much less admit they were receiving it. But now, for many, it has become a way of life.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

And why not. If someone handed you money every month to sit on your couch and watch soap operas, would you bother to go look for a job?

Neither would 60 percent of Arizona welfare families who have at least one adult in the house who is able to work, according to a news release from a Goldwater Institute. And those stats are from 2007.

Not only is that adult able to work, but he or she is supposed to be out finding work, as per the welfare-to-work reforms Congress passed in 1996.

These reforms dictated that states must try to get people off their couches and into job training or at least a part-time job.

Yes, we know. Now is not the greatest time to get a job. But folks have a better chance of nabbing one if they at least go through the motions.

The welfare-to-work program had great success in its first nine years – reducing welfare recipients from 4.4 million to 1.7 million across the nation. Arizona even cut its welfare rolls by 50 percent.

“But once the state reduced its welfare enrollment by half,” the release said, “the federal government no longer held Arizona accountable for additional progress.”

Please pass the remote. Days of Our Lives is starting.

We need to start a fire beneath the recipients, give them a little motivation to get off the couch.

Just as some folks busted for DUI have had a breathalizer attached to their ignitions, welfare recipients should have a block on their TV sets. Unless they can enter the secret code they receive after spending a reasonable amount of time (i.e. more than 30 minutes) each week in training or trying to get a job, their boob tube won’t function.

Now the only boobs are the tax payers who merrily fund all this television viewing.

Using that same secret code should also be the only way they can pick up their welfare checks.

Other ideal solutions come from The Heritage Foundation’s Katherine K. Bradley:

· Set higher targets for getting welfare recipients into jobs or training. Hold staff at Department of Economic Security accountable for reaching those benchmarks.
· Require able-bodied recipients to immediately begin a four-week job search program. Recipients should report daily to a training site and log at least 30 hours a week of job search and training activity.
· Deny an entire welfare check the first time someone fails to report for work or job training.
· Require all parents of children receiving welfare payments to work. Illegal immigrants aren’t eligible for TANF checks, but their U.S.-born children are. U.S. citizens and immigrants alike should be required to work to support their children.
· Rely on private employers and community groups to manage work training and job placement.

The Heritage Foundation also points out some simple math: as more and more people depend on welfare, fewer and fewer are paying taxes to fund government programs.

“Despite the famed 1996 Welfare Reform Act and the more recent welfare adjustments in 2006, 60.8 million Americans remain dependent on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care,” the Heritage Foundation said. The latest prediction on Social Security gives us less than six years to fix this mess:

Starting in 2016, Social Security will not collect enough in taxes to pay all of the promised benefits – which is a problem for all workers, but especially for the roughly half of the American workforce that has no other retirement program.”

Call it a cynical view, but perhaps some welfare recipients not only see welfare as a way of life, but as a badge of honor: “Just look at what I can get away with.”

When does Bold and the Beautiful go on?

[tnipoll]

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What do you think?

Do you agree with the solutions put forth? Can you think of others?

Have you ever been on welfare? Are you still on welfare?

Do you know anyone on welfare who should be out looking for work?

Do you know anyone who is honestly trying to get off welfare?

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