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“If a man is not a socialist in his youth, he has no heart.
If he is not a conservative by the time he is 30, he has no head.”

– Georges Clemenceau, former French prime minister and one-time radical

In my last column, I made a case for a modern-day equivalent of the “poorhouse,” a place of last resort for my father’s generation.

From the comments on that column and elsewhere it appears we have a lot of immature citizens in this country who will never grow up and use their heads.

Clearly, our practice of handing out free money, free food, free housing, free health care and a myriad of other goods and services to people with no accountability isn’t working. It isn’t helping the poor, and it is dragging our nation down into an economic abyss from which, if not corrected, there will be no escape.

Our government is serving as an enabler to those who prefer not to work, or at least not to work until such time that one can find the job of his or her dreams with a salary to go along with it.

My poorhouse would be a safe place where individuals and families who are down or their luck and have no resources can go to be cared for until they can get back on their feet. It, however, would not be a place where one is free to do as one pleases. All able-bodied residents would be required to pull their own weight and share chores. Free time would not be spent in front of the television. It would be spent learning the skills necessary to gain and hold down a job.

Their paychecks and their savings accounts would be their ticket back to independent living.

Liberals hated this idea.

When they have no argument, they call you names, make unwarranted assumptions and question your character.

I was accused of wanting to abolish child labor laws and women’s suffrage. One suggested that I wanted to spread disease among the poor in order to kill them off so I would not have to deal with them. Another said that it was obvious from this column that I was not a Christian, equating a government handout with old-fashioned Christian charity.

Christian charity is an act of love that is undermined by our ever-increasing welfare state. Presently, we are spending a trillion dollars a year on welfare, or four times the amount needed to lift every man, woman and child above the poverty level. What’s wrong with this picture?

In addition to creating more welfare recipients, we have created an ever expanding group of “poverty pimps” – those individuals inside and outside of government who make a cushy living by putting and keeping more and more people on the public dole. This has to stop!

No more grants to quasi-charities that make money signing up welfare recipients! Also, state and federal workers should be rewarded with bonuses for ever person they help make the transition from welfare to work, not the other way around.

One of the big flaws in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act was something called “maintenance of effort.” That simply means that we have to keep spending what we are spending on welfare – adjusted upward each year for inflation – even if there is only one person in the whole country left on the rolls. This is nuts!

Let states keep the savings that come from transitioning people from welfare to work. We hear so much about our crumbling infrastructure. Let states spend this money on roads and bridges, or, better still, give it back to the taxpayers.

What would happen to all those welfare workers who worked themselves right out of their jobs? Reward them with golden parachutes so that they can start their own small businesses.

Another tactic of the left is to skew the facts or pick just one fact that, by itself, would seem to make the case that our welfare system works.

Here’s the left’s favorite example: “The average time on welfare is less than two years.” This is true. However, what these welfare activists won’t tell you is that 65 percent of the people on welfare have been on those rolls for eight years or longer.

We’ve created a permanent underclass, and it’s growing each and every day. This not only robs the taxpayers, it robs those on the receiving end of these handouts of their self-respect and undermines their confidence and ambition.

What a waste! We should be hanging our heads in shame.

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