Meg Whitman has a commercial out, stating the ways that she will change the welfare system. She uses an example of welfare recipients using their state money in casinos, and states that her policy is “get caught stealing from the taxpayers, go to jail”.
Frankly, Meg Whitman scares the bejeezus out of me. As an extremely rich woman, I feel like she has no concept of what it is like to be poor and out of work here in America. To restructure the welfare system, her plan is to allow recipients to only receive aid for two years. After that, they are cut off. I don’t know how many underprivileged families she knows, but I can’t think of any welfare recipients, even those who find jobs, who are magically able to get off welfare after only two years and be able to survive financially. It goes so much deeper than money, it’s more the way they were brought up in their quality of life. Born into poverty? It’s a hard way of life to break free from.
And comparing casino spending to stealing? While gambling is not exactly the way to get rich quick (quite the opposite, actually), when you are that poor and are trying to make ends meet, you will do anything to double your money – even gambling it away. Yes, the process is skewed. And those families will more likely than not go with less because of that decision. Wouldn’t it make more sense to not allow benefit cards to be used in ALL casinos?
So I am not a big fan of Meg Whitman and her blind sense of what California needs.
But then I hear about more than $69 million in California taxpayer money being used for vacations alone from January 2007 through May 2010. And suddenly, even I have to admit that Meg Whitman isn’t so far off her rocker on this whole welfare crackdown. $69 million??? Imagine how many diapers that would buy. How about how much rent that would help subsidize? There are hungry kids whose families are only drawing in the bare minimum in benefits that doesn’t even pretend to cover enough to support them, and people are spending our state’s taxpayer money out of state.
“Welfare recipients must prove they can’t afford life’s necessities without government aid: A single parent with two children generally must earn less than $14,436 a year to qualify for the cash assistance and becomes ineligible once his or her income exceeds about $20,000, said Lizelda Lopez, spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services.” LA Times
Our poverty line is drawn at a level way below what it should be, making it impossible for many families in need to even qualify for funding, and others who are cheating the system are treating themselves to a holiday? Nice.
While this frivolous spending of taxpayer money accounts for less than 1% of money being given out in benefits, it’s still dismaying to know that there are families going without while a small percentage “steals from the taxpayers.”
If you could change the welfare system, what would you do?