In theory, no one wants to be on welfare.
While everyone is keenly aware that life can have some rough patches, no one wants to live in a society where families are dependent on public assistance. We can all dream of a utopian society in which no child ever feels the pangs of hunger, no mother struggles to make a rent payment, and the bureaucracy functions as a beacon of efficacy, ensuring that resources are indeed given to those in need; a system where people are given a hand up, not a hand-out.
But we live in the dystopian province of North Carolina.
It is indisputable that public assistance, Food and Nutrition Assistance, welfare or whatever rebranded program name has its flaws. Certainly, it has failed to ensure that the most deserving are given aid. Not because the needy are denied, but because the few who abuse the system have tainted it for the rest. The animosity towards welfare programs comes directly from those few, those who receive “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,” cash payments with virtually no restrictions on spending and intended to cover the costs of food and housing but are sometimes spent on the other “necessities,” such as liquor and drugs.
On Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina Senate took a bold step in combating the brokenness of our assistance programming by approving HB 392 by a 43-6 margin. The bill requires both that applicants undergo criminal background checks through their local Department of Social Services offices as well as passing a drug test in order to receive assistance.
Taxpayers, try to hold your applause.
This may seem like a victory for the citizens who have diligently paid taxes just to have their hard-earned monies given to people that seem content living off of the government. However, HB 392 now still needs to be acted upon by the full House and Senate.
Still, this is really a victory for those on public assistance.
The stipulations encourage recipients to take the time to gather themselves, get their heads together, get cleaned up, and get back into the job market. If a recipient falls into the category of someone who may lose their benefits under the proposed bill, it detracts from those recipients who want to overcome their hardships. These requirements allow for those who truly need help to be given the assistance they need, not only by encouraging good financial decision making but also by encouraging responsible behavior. Legitimate, hard-working men and women who want better lives should not be burdened by the lifestyle choices of other recipients who willingly choose to abuse an opportunity for improvement.