When did “work” turn into a four-letter word?
Did I miss something? I thought working, so you could be independent and not have to rely on others, was a good thing; apparently not according my colleague Erika Smith at the Indy Star.
Smith penned a column about changes that are coming to Indiana’s food stamp program. The big change is that if you are an able-bodied adult with no kids, you can only get food stamps for three months out of a three-year period, unless you’re working or in a job training program for at least 20 hours a week.
The federal government had waived work requirement for Indiana, but the state decided not to reapply. However, if the economy heads south, it can. It’s estimated this would impact about 65,000 of the 877,000 people on food stamps to the tune of about $102 million annually.
Smith laments this change, saying we’re picking on the poor, and because there’s no living wage, there’s no incentive for people to go to work. Here’s an incentive to work, survival. If you want to eat, you’ll work.
Work is also not just good for body, but it’s good for the soul. Remember your first paycheck and how you felt that it was money that you earned and the feeling of independence that came with it? I still have a photocopy of my first check from my first full-time broadcaster job.
And on top of that, if you don’t give people a reason to get off the dole, they never will. It’s the family member who stays on your couch and keeps telling you that eventually he will look for a job. If you don’t light a fire under his rear end, eventually he will take root.
And by the way, this isn’t the first time the state has had to light the fire under folks. A couple years ago, the Department of Workforce Development changed the rules so that when you filed for unemployment you had to report to Work One center on a regular basis to prove you were looking for work. Guess what? A few thousand people dropped off the unemployment rolls. Imagine that. Even in the latest HIP 2.0 proposed expansion the state has incorporated a jobs element so individuals can become self-sufficient.
So requiring someone who is able-bodied to either get a job or let the state help them find one in order to get assistance is not a bad thing. And yes, we should look at removing some of those barriers that keep those who made a mistake decades ago from finding stable work. But don’t tell me that it’s better for an able-bodied person to get government assistance rather than gainful employment.
The last time I checked, welfare and food stamps were supposed to act as trampolines, not hammocks. Work is not a four-letter word, but lazy is.