There is a new political joke going around.
Question: What is the difference between Romney supporters and Obama supporters?
Answer: Romney supporters sign the front of their checks. Obama supporters sign the back of their checks.
It would not be funny, if it were not oh so true. It is a sad fact that, today, more than half of our population is cashing Uncle Sam’s checks. Some of those people work for the government. Others live off the government.
We keep hiring more of the former to take care of more of the latter. Each of these groups has a vested interest in protecting the size of the other. It is a vicious cycle that is not easily broken.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has just completed a two-step process that gutted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, worked out between President Clinton and Republicans leaders of Congress, that led to a dramatic reduction in dependency and child poverty.
The key elements of this historic bill consisted of giving block grants to the states instead of paying states for the number of welfare recipients they were able to enroll. The second element was to require all able-bodied adults to work or prepare for work in order to receive financial aid.
Obama successfully abolished part one with the 2009 stimulus bill by restoring the perverse incentives that states had to increase the size of their welfare rolls. Obama abolished part two just last week by gutting the work requirements.
Some say this last move is unlawful. Nevertheless, in an election year, the weak-kneed leaders of Congress are unlikely to challenge the administration, lest they be demonized by the left as heartless and out of touch.
What a pity! Even with a down economy, we could have helped those who are truly in need without gutting the welfare reform law that helped so many to learn to stand on their own! The extra money that was funneled into welfare could have been funneled to the states with the highest number of unemployed, not simply given to the states that were able to lure more people onto their welfare rolls.
By waiving the work requirements, the Obama administration has cut the last leg out from under the most important legislative achievement of the 1990s. As a result, the welfare rolls will continue to spiral out of control. More and more Americans will be trapped in a cycle of dependency. The tax burden will increase on the working class and our national debt will continue to climb, which will be a noose around the next generation.
Water flows downhill. Trees grow in the direction the wind is blowing. When the government offers to pay people for doing nothing (no strings attached), more and more people will take the money and stay home.
Likewise, when your livelihood depends on ensnaring more people into the welfare bureaucracy, you will do whatever it takes to sign them up.
Meanwhile, Obama wants to increase taxes on the so-called “rich,” those making more than $200,000 per year, to pay for more government workers. Unfortunately, his “rich” are the job creators, the very people who have the ability and the means to put people back to work.
News flash: If you have a small business, filing as an individual and making $200,000 per year, you aren’t rich. In many states, you are struggling to stay alive.
Think I’m kidding? Walk around the shopping centers and industrial parks in your city and look at all the vacant spaces. Obama’s tax increase on the “rich” will ensure that there are more vacant spaces. This tax increase would cover government spending for all of eight days, so what is the point with all of this class warfare rhetoric?
And what is the point of gutting the 1996 welfare reform law? Some say, it is to decrease the number of people working or actively looking for work, which would artificially improve the unemployment rate to help him get re-elected.
Unfortunately, the end result of gutting welfare reform will be more people whose basic needs are met but whose hope of having a better life is lost forever. No-strings welfare is a cruel trap from which escape is all but impossible. The longer one stays on welfare, the more his or her skills erode. Over time, the welfare recipient becomes less confident. Dreams fade, and all incentive is lost.
The end result of Obama’s policies will be fewer people signing the fronts of checks and more people signing the backs.
It’s no laughing matter.