July 29, 2009 2 Comments
This is the topic of a poll question that has been making the rounds on Facebook lately. Several of my friends have answered that yes, they would want welfare recipients to pass a drug test before receiving money.
My comment to one friend on Facebook was that I if I could change the question, I would not want anyone to receive welfare at all. This prompted a number of responses from others, so I thought I might elaborate on why I said such a thing.
First of all, we must acknowledge that there are people in need. Some have disabilities, others may just be down on their luck. And yes, some may have alcohol and/or drug addiction problems.
When I say that they should not receive a welfare check, I am not saying they should not receive help.
Having experience working in a Rescue Mission, I encountered a wide range of people in need. Some were welfare recipients, some had addiction problems, some were homeless, others were families going through hard times and needed help filling their kitchen pantry for the week.
The organization I worked with did a good job stretching resources to the maximum extent possible. It survived on the genorosity of the community, through donations and also through funds raised through thrift stores. (I worked in the industrial and thrift store operations that the Mission had.) The Mission did not take any government or United Way funds. They did not want the conditions that come with grants. They were seen as infringements on the religous freedoms enjoyed by the staff and volunteers working there.
Government programs are by their very nature more wasteful and inefficient than private enterprise. Faith based addiction recovery programs have a significantly higher success rate that secular ones. The ability to make spending decisions on a localized basis ensures resources go to where they are most needed. Allowing people of faith to express their beliefs openly is something our founding fathers would not have objected to.
However, in the modern era, we have large numbers of people turning to government for answers to everyday problems. Government workers are prohibited from saying that they believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or any other religious views they may have. Spiritual needs go unmet. These same government workers are prohibited from telling someone to go away and sober up before they come and ask for aid.
Many homeless shelters ask the residents to help cook and clean, or to attend devotional or life skills classes in order to stay there. This helps cover the cost of operation for the shelter, as well as offers oppurtunities to teach the residents things that will hopefully get them to a better place in life.
Government programs offer aid with little or no conditions. Seldom are welfare recipients required to work for the aid they receive. These are not good life lessons to teach.
Another issue I have with welfare is that it forcibly takes money from productive members of society (the taxpayers) and gives it to those who are not contributing. This is morally wrong.
I support my local church, thrift stores, shelters, and other charities by choice. I resent it when the government takes money from my check and gives it away on programs that are wasteful, ineffective, or conflict with my personal values and beliefs.
These are just a few of the reasons I am opposed to giving someone a welfare check. However, we in America have a long tradition of helping those in need. I believe it should be done outside of the government, especially the Federal government.