Here’s something yr. obdt. has been saying for years: Bring Back the Welfare Stigma. Excerpt:
At one time, public assistance was looked upon as a moderate failure—not an irredeemable sin or uncorrectable wrong, but something you wanted to avoid if possible. European socialists realized a long time ago that such well-intentioned opprobrium served to weaken the dependent bond between citizen and state, which is why you can find single mothers on 20 years of welfare across the pond: continental leftists figured this game out a long time ago, well before the sad sacks at Richmond Public Schools. If you want to see the future of American welfare in the hands of people like Superintendent Bedden, look to Europe, where many countries have de-stigmatized their way into astronomical debt levels and widespread, chronic citizen helplessness.
Here’s a relative excerpt from my own Animal’s Manifesto:
It is not the proper role of government to shield people from the consequences of their bad decisions. There will always be a need for a modern, prosperous society to care for the truly helpless, such as people disabled through no fault of their own, children with no adults to care for them, and so forth. But the lazy, the indigent, the irresponsible – they have no moral claim on the fruits of the labor of the industrious. Government, and only government, has the power to tax – to claim a portion of your resources with force of law, with the implied threat of armed force if you try to abstain. In our age of ever-increasing welfare entitlements, that government has claimed a portion of every taxpayer’s proceeds toward just such a shield – requiring the industrious to toil longer and harder to support the indigent.
To add to that – yes, there should be some stigma attached to taking a handout from the taxpayers. Food stamps, for example; here are some conditions recipients should face:
- Do away with the EBT cards. Food stamps should be a variation on their original form – large, paper, clearly marked “Food Assistance Voucher.”
- And vouchers they should be, limited to only certain items. Bulk rice, beans, potatoes, lean chicken, ground beef, and so on. No prepared foods, no frozen foods, no soda pop, no candy. And for those who cry “you can’t tell people what they can and can’t eat,” the only reply is “if they are spending other people’s money, we sure as hell can.”
- Locations should likewise be strictly limited. No convenience stores, no oven-ready pizza places, no premium meat shops. Only traditional grocery stores – Safeway, Kroger, Super Walmarts and the like.
As stated in the Manifesto and many other times in these pages, it is not the role of government (read that: the taxpayers, and read that: productive citizens) to shield people from the consequences of their own bad decisions.
The linked article concludes:
Those who have truly fallen on hard times deserve our genuine sympathy, and we should not snarl at them for turning to as easy and accessible a source of relief as government welfare. Yet we should also avoid making needy people feel comfortable being dependent upon the government. To do so is would not be merely bad public policy—it would be disingenuous and harmful to poor people, who more than anything need the mental and emotional drive to be free from government dependence.
Hear hear! And add this to a long, long list of bad policies to come out of the Imperial City in the last couple of decades.