Patrick J. Lawlor, Editor in Chief
The most important moral problem facing our country is the reform of our welfare program. Today, many Americans receive tax-dollar funded welfare checks and housing subsidies. I think that it is an important American ideal to help those in times of need, but as Americans we are exaggerating that time of need and enabling a broken system to spiral out of control. While helping veterans, the disabled and mentally ill should be a priority; helping the indolent should not be.
We have created a system in which Americans can receive superfluous benefits without any accountability or hard work. Many have taken advantage of this system and have made little or no effort in advancing their lives beyond the welfare system. At this point, a harsh cut of our human service programs would not be the answer.
I am not proposing we evict single mothers or rip the checks out of the hands of those who have been laid off — that would cripple our already troubled economy. What we need, however, is a serious assessment of the term of the benefits being provided and to whom the benefits are being provided.
We need to invest in serious case managers who can give attention to those in need. By incorporating community colleges in trade skill instruction, and providing professional interview coaching or resume writing, there can be no more excuses.
If all of this doesn’t work and there are still no private sector jobs available, that’s when the government can step in. There is no reason that those receiving government aid could not work entry-level jobs for the city, state or federal government.
This initiative will hold those receiving welfare accountable to a certain amount of work, as well as providing a civil service—contribute to speeding up government processes. We need to invest in our future by reminding Americans that nothing worth having will come easy.
The American Dream must come back. That passion and yearning to succeed that we once had. Once that is fulfilled, our country will be the success it once was. Before our country can understand what success is, our citizens need to.
Perhaps we need to take step back and find out what is the reason people have become so comfortable receiving welfare. If we need to spend some money before we can save some money, so be it. Investing in the greater good is the best money we can spend.
Making sure young kids have the direction they need at home, and investing in programs for our future generations so that they have something to look forward to, is how we can get this country back on the right track.
Cutting human services spending is not the answer; re-allocating it is. Let’s get that pep back into our step, let’s bring back the American Dream, let’s show people what it means to be an American. Our newly elected senator, Elizabeth Warren, has experience in consumer protection. We are all consumers of the American product. I hope she protects our investment and echoes her battle cry all over the Capitol.