California has a $24.3 billion deficit. That’s more that the Gross Domestic Product of at least half of the countries in the world. The governator finally has come up with a good idea. Instead of rasing taxes again, which depresses revenue and kills jobs, Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to cut spending. Imagine that!
The terminator even wants to terminate welfare!
This has been called the “doomsday scenario.” While it may be a ploy to get the Democrat legislators to agree to cut other programs, it’s not a bad idea. Here’s why: California’s welfare program is not working! In fact, it is the worst in the entire country.
Scheduled for the chopping block is CalWORKs, an acronym for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids. It is the state’s so-called welfare-to-work program, which replaced Aid to Families With Dependent Children, as part of the 1997 welfare reform plan.
AFDC is now known as TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
While TANF initially was successful because of the perceived work requirements, the program had holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through and California has exploited all those holes. Yes, CalWORKs is now a joke, a cruelty joke, that saps money from taxpayers – not just in California but the entire nation — encourages, fraud, abuse and slothfulness.
California’s caseloads have grown to 525,000 which represents more than a fourth of the caseloads for the entire country. That’s because the work requirements are the weakest in the country. Also, welfare administrators have engaged in some slight-of-hand.
Welfare advocates argue that the program is successful but Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, one of this country’s leading experts on poverty and welfare, says, “When you examine the statistics, that argument breaks down faster than an ice cube on Santa Monica Boulevard.”
I ran the numbers using the latest figures from the Department of Human Services. (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/particip/2006/tab3a.htm) What an eye opener! In 2006, California had 449,971 total caseloads, but of those, there were only 169,333 families. A whopping 263,797 of those caseloads are listed as “child only” families. If the adult in the family fails to cooperate, he or she is simply eliminated from the program and the check goes directly to the child who, of course, is not required to work. Think I’m making this up? In California, the number of persons receiving this money who are subject to sanction for not cooperating (the politically correct term is participating) is blank. In other words, the state isn’t even trying to enforce the work requirements. It doesn’t care!
Here is the bottom line. The number of “participating families” (working or preparing for work) is only 37,244 or roughly 22 percent, which is dismal. However, when you compare the 37,244 to the actual number of caseloads, it is roughly only 8 percent, which is an outrage.
Is it unreasonable to expect someone taking welfare money to actually work or prepare for work? Some 97 percent of Americans say, “No!” In fact, most people expect those requirements to be enforced.
Of course, many of the welfare recipients in California are the children of illegals, whose parents come to the welfare office to sign them up and should be deported, along with their child, back to their country of origin.
Many of their parents are actually working illegally in this country so they are costing the state and the country many times over by taking the jobs of citizens or legal residents, by working under the table and not paying taxes and by taking this additional “free” money for their child or children because they can.
Rector says that if the TANF recipient, or a parent of the recipient, were required to report to the welfare office for work, even in this down economy, the majority will readily find work. The rest will begin preparing for work or will disappear simply because they are already working off the books or living with the father of their children or someone else who is supporting them. Bear in mind, these TANF funds represent only about five percent of the welfare money available to poor families so it is hardly a doomsday scenario but it is a good place to start.
This time, Schwarzenegger – though he may not know it – is not that far off base.
California does not deserve a bailout. It deserves a sharp kick in the pants. If California where a human being, the foot could be applied in the area around Sacramento.