The DuffMan Plan To Reform Welfare
Welfare programs are designed to provide a safety net - not a pseudo-career.
First, we need to segregate (yes, I said segregate) potential welfare recipients by the reason for their situation.
Group A: People with one or more permanent issues that prevent them from being self-sufficient. The key word here is prevent.
Group B: People with one or more termporary issues that prevent them from being self-sufficient. Again, "prevent".
Group C: People with nothing preventing them from being self-sufficient.
Group A people are in need of long-term assistance and training/education that will enable some of them to be moved to Group B. Because of the culture of entitlement and dependency we've created, many people will aspire to Group A, so a key portion of the reformed welfare program will be a network of people actively and continually evaluating and screening Group A people to weed out the unqualified.
The level of assistance provided Group A people will enable them to live a dignified life, albeit one lacking luxuries. Cars, cable television, and other consumer goods are not necessities. Basic health care will be provided. People scamming the system will be removed from the system and will be ineligible to recieve benefits in the future.
Group B people would receive the same level of assistance as Group A. The difference is that an end date for their assistance would be established when benefits commenced. This date would not be flexible, except in rare, exceptional circumstances, and would be limited to no more than 0.1% of the population per year (to keep it truly "1 out of 1000"). They will be provided access to prgrams and facilities that allow them to develop the necessary skills to enable their movement out of the program by the specificed date. Those that successfully exit the program will be required to repay a portion of their benefits (interest-free over a suitable period of time) on an inverted sliding scale, where less time in the program means less $ to repay, incentivizing them to exit the program on time (or early) and builds self-esteem through accomplishment.
Group C people would receive assistance for a period not to exceed 370 days over their entire lifetime. While receiving assistance, they will be required to participate in activities that identify their skills and abilities, and a nationwide job search will be conducted. Once Group C people are employed, they will be required to reimburse (interest-free, over a suitable period of time) the program for all benefits they received. This way, it's not a free lunch, but "a helping hand" that will enable people to have some pride.
For all three groups:
You will be required to participate in the program to receive benefits. Participation may take the form of education, skill development, rehabilitation, or work programs. Failure to participate will lead to termination of benefits.
You may be required to move to obtain employment. Part of the greatness of this country is due to people who left home and struck out on their own to make a better life. People who go into debt to obtain college educations are often required to move to obtain suitable employment, and so should everyone else. If you want more control over where you live, you'll need to develop marketable skills.
Productive people rarely receive pay raises or increased employee benefits because they have children - neither will people on welfare. Should you decide to have children, expect to share your scarce resources with them.
Part of breaking the cycle of dependency is to provide people with skills. This means a large investment in education and training programs - especially a rebirth of vocational education. This doesn't mean 4 or 5 years at a large (or small) university on the people's tab.
People who successfully complete programs and "graduate" from Groups B or C will receive preferential treatment in terms of civil service jobs, and other programs such as mortgage and college loan programs.
Wherever possible (and practical/economically favorable), benefits need to be provided in the form of direct payments to service providers rather than to the beneficiaries to reduce fraud.
Work programs need to be revisited for areas where economic problems are acute (like Detroit). If an area is experiencing high unemployment, enact work programs using that available labor. Instead of paying people to sit around, put them to work improving their communities (building self-esteem, pride in accomplishment, and improving their environemnt) or other areas that need help (i.e. displacing illegal immigrants working to rebuild New Orleans).
This is the Pub. Leave common sense at the door.