Let me start out by stating that I am in favor of having a Welfare type program and helping people in need. With that said … there is huge room for improvement on the current system.
I might start out with a story that was related to me by a co-worker the other day.
So my friend was at a local grocery superstore, and standing in line to pay for his purchases. He happens to be behind a gentleman who seems to be buying a few jugs of juice. My friend though is a little irritated, He says the said gentleman was in line and speaking quite loud on his …. cellphone…. nothing to strange right? So it is now the gentleman’s turn to pay and he is continuing to chat on his … cellphone… quite loudly. The cashier rings him up and the gentleman hands her his Bridge card. ( the bridge card is Michigan’s debit card used for welfare assistance) The cashier informs said gentleman that he does not have enough to pay for his juice, the card was declined. The gentleman then proceeds to start yelling at the cashier (while still on his …. cellphone…) demanding to know what he is supposed to do?? He also reveals that he has 4 people waiting for him at home, and he needs the juice to make …. wait for it…. “apple pie shooters” …. For those who do not know what a “shooter” is… it is an alcoholic drink usually consumed in small shot glass sized containers. obviously the cashier could do nothing about it and asked him if he had another way to pay. The gentleman proceeded to inform the cashier, and not very politely, that in fact he had no other form of payment.
I suppose the real problem here is that the gentleman was negligent in keeping track of his balance after buying all the healthy foods and necessities he and his family needed with the rest of the money that was on his card. or maybe the state of Michigan is at fault for not putting more money on his card. Honestly I have no idea.
Now, I personally do not feel like the State of Michigan should be paying for anyones juice for shooters, but how do you regulate or prevent this from happening? Again something I have no answer for.
- Hire more enforcement agents?
- Make the requirements tougher?
- Maybe code foodstuffs and necessities much like the FSA and HSA programs?
I wish I had the answers. I do know that it seems that any attempt to prevent fraud or misuse of such programs usually invites cries of “racism” or “class warfare” or “discrimination”. Speaking of discrimination…. since when is it discrimination to be drug tested as a condition of receiving benefits for anything? I know I cannot fail a drug test at my place of employment and then still expect to keep my job. And imagine trying to file a lawsuit for discrimination over it. Do you Belive drug testing for welfare benefits is a good thing?
I would like and encourage and comment, ideas or points of view on this topic.
- Five-Year Welfare Cap Hits Michigan Supreme Court (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- Drug testing for food stamp, welfare recipients on legislative agenda (valleycentral.com)
- Perry: Drug tests before welfare (txwclp.org)