Back in the day, St. Ronald Reagan, used to talk a lot about welfare reform. To him, everybody on welfare was making $150,000/year cheating the system. That he couldn’t actually point to a real case was no matter. He simply knew it was the case. So, the best solution was to hack the system to pieces.
Reagan didn’t deal the big blow to the welfare system that he had really wanted, that was to be left to the “New Democrats.” He did find plenty of time to eliminate mental health care and toss thousands of veterans on to the street, so don’t you worry about St. Ronny.
But those who decided that the system needed to be exploded talked about the need to get the poor into jobs. Those lazy “welfare queens” needed to stop sitting at home with their children and go to work. That child care often costs more than their wages was no matter. But, in a perfect world, we would be able to provide affordable Head Start style preschool programs to all. And, in the end, getting people into the workforce is generally a good thing if done properly. We need to work to ensure that we don’t end up putting children into a situation where they have nobody to care for them and no food.
If these are your goals, then CalWORKS, California’s Welfare to Work program would be something worth doing, right? CalWORKS helps out needy families who are living below the poverty line while requiring that the recipients work. But, Arnold has once again slated CalWORKS for elimination, which would make California the only state in the nation without a welfare to work program.
What does it say if we so lightly consider tossing aside help for California’s working poor? Are we really concerned about getting people into the workforce, or simply cutting the social safety net?
On another note, is there an argument that somehow the jobs situation would be better if we cut CalWorks while not increasing upper income taxes? Money to CalWORKS recipients is spent, churning money through our economy.
But this isn’t really about what’s best for the state any more. We’re in the business of moving wealth upwards these days. We can’t let something as trivial as a child going to school hungry get in the way of that.