A weekish ago, I made a trek to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, home of the Fightin' Texas Aggies ~WHOOP!~ for a fall ritual: Tailgate Saturday! Listen to the Texas Aggie's War Hymn HERE and sing along!!! In all honesty, I can't remember who they played (some florida team?!), but I'll never forget the lively political conversation I had with a few of the students.
Because it was Tailgate Saturday! I didn't really expect the conversation to turn towards politics. Momma rarely brings up such things in such settings because let's face it, I likes to escape the reality of what I immerse myself in 5 days a week. I needs to shake off that stench on the weekends, if I can.
But, when offered the rare opportunity to do a listening tour of my very own, I pounced. That I had a beer in my hand, my family and friends close by, and surrounded by Texas Aggies, some of my very favorite peeps, made it all that more delicious. Speak students, Wonk is listening....
One student wanted to talk of illegal immigration. His mom is Mexican and he is a first generation American, as am I (how can you people forget the german?!). He was against amnesty and thought it a travesty, a slap in the face, to all those, such as our own mothers, who had worked so hard for the right to be American. He was appalled by those who believed that we owed them anything other than the opportunity to work for what they got.
I listened to his passion and agreed with him, but mostly he made me proud to be called a first generation American. He was young enough to be my son and I was thankful that as a young man he hadn't become apathetic to the fight we are facing as a nation, but why should he? After all, I am sure his mother, like The German, drummed into him the privilege of being an American by birth or otherwise.
The talk turned from illegals (and let me say here, this was not a bash on immigrants. these fine young folk had compassion and ideas that had merit...one of which I am about to share) to Americans, particularly Americans on welfare.
There was much talk of wanting to help those that need it. To help parents feed their kids. To help people train for better jobs. To help those who were willing to help themselves.
There was also talk of the laziness and greed rampant in the welfare system.
I wrote a post over a year ago about the Stimulus bill basically repealing the good work of the 1996 Welfare Reform bill. Read about it HERE.
In part I wrote: "This undoing of all the hard work of welfare reform will make us weaker as a nation. Those who want something for nothing will grow. Entitlement will be be expected. There will be less who are dreaming and working hard towards anything except procreation as a means to an end for the almighty buck. There will be fewer who believe in dreaming at all. The burden for those of us not on the teat will spiral out of control. The government will grow it's programs.
It's a sinister and chilling Washington plan."
Still gives me chills.
The students understood the problem of the entrenched welfare slacker, and they had a plan they happily shared with me, and now I you.
For those who truly need welfare, let's make it available, but with a twist. No longer will you get a EBT (electronics benefits transfer) card that can actually be used in casinos, if that's how a welfare recipient wanted to use it. No longer could you buy cigarettes or beer or even trade it in for cash back. Nope that would all change under this new welfare plan (inspired hat tip to students: sam and hb).
So, how do you get around offering cash or an EBT card? Anyone here old enough to remember Green Stamps and Green Stamps books? (ah, i see the lights coming on!) It would be a play on that, except there would no stamps to lick and stick, just a catalog offering benefits, including food packages.
You're a single mom/dad just laid off and need groceries? Well, according to your benefit level, you would have a choice of pre-packaged food boxes. You choose from the catalog, then pick up your package at a distribution center at your convenience.
This option helps out mom/dad until they can get a job or receive training to help them find a job. No embarrassing card to whip out in the grocery store, no one judging you in line, no more nutrition deficient junk food or harmful cigarettes on the country's dime. You get the real help you need, but not so much what you want. You keep your dignity and we are happy to be able to help.
As you can imagine, the plan gets more stringent as the recipients get less enthused about finding a jobby job and wants to continue their life of delicious and abundant government cheese.
You're a single dad with 13 children, still reproducing and need a place to stay or maybe even some furniture?
No problem, we're here to help. Thing is, you get the special catalog from which to choose your benefits, entitled Shitty or Shittier. Because it's not good for the country, nor anyone, to be on welfare too long, to make an actual living off of the system, this portion of the new plan serves as incentive to GET A JOB.
You need a phone to "receive calls from prospective employers?" Instead of the cell phones now handed out in Texas with 200 minutes and all features (it's horrifying, i know), you get to leaf through the catalog to the phone section where you will find two choices: Shitty or Shittier. One phone might be a rotary and the other a banana style with a two-foot twisty cord, yet they will both be landlines and you will need to pay the bill.
WHAT?! You're outraged? Listen, welfare is supposed to be a momentary help while you find work. If you want a cell phone, you'll need to work for that yourself. What do you think the country's made out of...money trees?!
You need a sofa? A end table? Clothes? Section-8 housing?
If you've been in the system that long, your choice is Shitty or Shitter. If you don't like it, well, go get a job like the rest of us.
Personally, I think their plan is frickin' genius. While I was bent over from laughing, listening to them explain the choices for hard-core welfare bilkers, each getting more extreme, it dawned on me that if this was the reality of welfare, where we treat you with respect until you start bending us over and stealing our wallets, it WOULD SOLVE a growing problem that we have tried to fix in so many other ways. Once hard-core welfare rats understood that they were no longer allowed free access to our hard-earned money, they would be out. Even with minimal effort, everyone can do better than Shitty or Shittier.
Tough love, baby. And this would only be the beginning. I'm sure Americans all over the country have wonderful, common sense, ideas we could add to this plan.
Can you imagine? A program for those in need and a boot up the ass for those who try to take advantage. Nirvana.
Thanks Sam and HB, you guys made my weekend with your wisdom and wit and I hope someone in Washington is paying attention.
Gig 'em Aggies!