Last week I posted on the concept of the Social Contract. Specifically on the fact that a contracts binds folks into reciprocal obligations – a quid pro quo if you will. But rare is the liberal democrat that will agree with this simple obvious fact.
At its very core, the concept of a give and take is the argument the democrat makes; from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The idea that someone sits idly by while the rest of society labor for his largess SHOULD offend the liberal.
Alas, any debate that suggests those receiving ought to contribute as they can is met with labels of ‘hate’ and ‘bigot’.
As it stands, the US government spends north of $1 trillion annual on means tested welfare. That’s a number even the most ardent Bernie supporter would find unbelievable – a massive transfer of wealth from those that have to those that have not. In fact, if Bernie had been asked what his goal in such transfer programs were back in the 60’s, he would have been happy enough with that number to retire and call it a success.
Back to the contract. What if we limited compliance of that contract not to those in need, caring for others and perhaps unable to care for themselves. What if instead we went after those with no dependents and were fully capable of fending for themselves?
In response to the growth in food stamp dependence, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, recently established work requirements on recipients who are without dependents and able-bodied. In Maine, all able-bodied adults without dependents in the food stamp program are now required to take a job, participate in training, or perform community service.
Job openings for lower-skill workers are abundant in Maine, and for those ABAWD recipients who cannot find immediate employment, Maine offers both training and community service slots. But despite vigorous outreach efforts by the government to encourage participation, most childless adult recipients in Maine refused to participate in training or even to perform community service for six hours per week. When ABAWD recipients refused to participate, their food stamp benefits ceased.
In the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents plummeted by 80 percent, falling from 13,332 recipients in Dec. 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015.
Now THAT is a win!