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Larry's Welfare Reform Idea


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Just for all the folks who're convinced I'm an anti-american, commie, liberal., I present Larry's thoughts on Welfare. (I knew you all wanted to hear them.)

Problems with the existing system:

  • Too much of the money spent is being spent on administration and overhead.
  • It's too easy for people to cheat: Either collecting multiple times, or collecting while getting other income under the table, or claiming non-existant children, or whatever. People converting the aid (food stamps) to other uses (cash or beer). People who aren't qualified (the legendary stories about people with food stamps and new cars.)
  • People who should be qualified, but may not be able to. (Homeless people: How do you prove you're not really collecting welfare under another name?).
  • Insuffecient motivation for people to get off welfare. If people go out and get a job, then the welfare cuts off. (It's possible to actually take a pay cut if you get a job.)

Larry's proposal: re-institute the "poor house". A place where people can go, who have nowhere else to go, where food and shelter will be provided, no questions asked.


[*]An immediate reduction in administrative costs. Since the Welfare agency isn't handing out cash (or things like food stamps, that're easily converted to cash), then the cost of verifying that people are entitled to the aid, and aren't collecting twice, can be eliminated. (What're cheats going to do: Eat twice?)

Stop checking to see if people are really entitled to the aid. If some tightwad wants to eat government chow while socking away his earnings in a 401k, let him, it's cheaper to feed him than it is to check up on everybody in the place. (And, at least, he's paying for it.)

[*]More effecient use of the funds that actually do go to the poor.

Under the current system, if you're mission is to provide food and shelter to 100 single people, then you're handing them enough cash every day to go to the grocery store and buy enough food to make 100 single-person meals, then take them home to 100 single-person apartments (with 100 bathrooms and 100 kitchens), all of which you're paying retail prices for.

A barracks for 100 people costs less than 100 apartments. And a cafeteria can feed 100 people for a lot less than 100 individual shoppers will cost. So you can still meet the goal (food and shelter for 100), with less money.

(Don't want to split up families? Your house will also have individual rooms with, say, two bunk beds each, and bathrooms at the end of the hall.)

[*]No "self-help" penalty. People who get up and get a job won't lose aid. (Whenever they're back on their feet, then they'll leave on their own.)


Possible "but what about" 's, (and counter arguments)

Q: With all those bum, I mean, unfortunates in one place, might there be a crime problem?

A: There's already a crime problem, wherever there's a welfare presence, if you will. At least, with all the "bad eggs" in one place, you know where to send the cops.

And, with all these people needing help in one place, it becomes possible to offer them other assistance, like day care and education. (Set up a class downstairs in how to not fix a customer's computer. Maybe you can take a job away from sombody in India.) Maybe you can hire a bunch of people to work in the kitchen, or clean up.

Q: Is it right to tell someone that, if they want aid from the government, they have to move into some special building? Maybe sleep in a room with a bunch of other guys (or women)? Share bathrooms? Sell their furnature (or pay storage on it)?

A1: The government isn't obligated to even do that much for you. The american people have chosen to offer you some aid, but we'd actually prefer it if you turned it down. But, we've established a simple form of "needs testing": If you need it, it's there.

A2: If it's good enough for a PFC in the Army, then it's good enough for somebody who doesn't have a job. Don't approve of the living conditions? Then raise the PFC's standard of living, first, then we'll talk about the poor unemployed people.


Now, is this better than talking about the Skins?

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For just one brief second there, I thought you said 'Ho-house'.

Our motto? We can't do a damn thing about your financial situation, but we GUARANTEE you leave here feeling better than when you came in.

Hell, that alone would make it the most effective and productive Government program in history.

Sorry, but I'm just too damn tired today to give a serious reply. But I bet someone will ;)

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What happens when the poor house gets full? Could people raise their families there if they wanted?

Giving away free food AND housing on a mass scale seems like it might suffer from over-demand.

If you think there's a lot of Mexicans sneaking into this country now, think how many there will be if there's a place they can live where there's free food and nobody will be checking their qualifications...

There will need to be some level of administration, and when you add that with the costs of real estate and staff, I'm not sure this will be cheaper than welfare.

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I have a far more simple solution. Immediately end all social income security programs, like welfare. Immediately return the excess money to individuals. Encourage government employees who are now out of work to found charities. Encourage people with extra cash to donate. Let community exist again and care for those in need. Costs nothing. No adminstative needs. And the world actually gets better.

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