Thursday, August 18, 2016

Welfare Reform Rant

(Cut from today's Link Log due to length.)

The Honorable Sam Brownback of Kansas...I have no reason to doubt that he's an honorable man, and his office as a U.S. Representative is certainly honorable...needs to read this blog more often. Here is a well written argument, apart from its being straight out of 1990, in favor of requiring welfare recipients to work or take job training classes in order to keep their benefits. This was a good idea for many, probably for most, welfare recipients when Bill Clinton signed it, and it still is a good idea. Why is it not working in my corner of the world? Because the social workers, the enablers of welfare cheats, can prove that there aren't enough entry-level jobs for these people. That's an undisputed fact. People who are willing to hire an able-bodied welfare cheat aren't willing to pay him or her for twenty hours a week; most people are neither willing nor able to hire the welfare cheat, period.

I know a woman who would, I believe, rather do a pink-collar job than welfare-cheat, in order to be allowed even weekend visits with her children. (Yes, Congressman Brownback, fear it not, Tennessee punishes welfare cheats with one hand, while enabling them with the other.) That woman is still forty years old; she's still competing for work as a cashier, for which she was trained long ago, with slim, perky, sexy nineteen-year-olds; stores that can use cashiers are still hiring the nineteen-year-olds with the gleaming white grins, and the forty-year-old is still a tired, discouraged old pillhead with bad teeth. The only "program" that would have a prayer of changing that would be to think beyond the "jobs" box and allow the welfare cheat to pursue honest self-employment during the transition to an honest, independent lifestyle...in which she might even be able to choose to spend some of her cash on dental work.

I have known, since about age 21, that entry-level jobs for females are nothing more nor less than the highest echelon of sex work--jobs that may allow a girl to get paid for "the sizzle not the steak," and save her "steak" for marriage, but the basis for her employment in those jobs is still the dang-blang-blasted sizzle. I've even been heard to say that this fact of life made me a sex worker; not that I hadn't figured out either how or why to hold on to my physical virginity, but let's face it, nobody has ever hired a girl as a tour guide, salesman, hostess, receptionist, cashier, etc. etc., on the basis of intelligence, work experience, or character. If she thought they did, let her wait for the day when someone guesses her age to be thirty (even if she's forty by that time). She will learn. In those fields, you're hired based on either desperation, relationship to the store owner, or sex appeal.

For males...what I'm seeing is similar. Despite the demise of factories, there are still entry-level jobs for men that are based on physical strength, at least, rather than sex appeal. Advantage the guys. And those jobs are unlikely to be open to a man over age forty, either, even if he's not already written off his ability to do the jobs by having overdone them at twenty-five. Disadvantage the mature men. And I've not hung around where the needy young parents hang out, but most of the people I see welfare-cheating around my town have grey or white hair.

So in my part of the world, "job training" is just another boondoggle that will not accomplish one thing...for poor people. Just another make-work job to keep somebody's useless relative from joining the welfare class. Feh. I don't think the social workers are one bit better than the welfare cheats, morally. I think, as a class, they're worse.

https://medium.com/2016-index-of-culture-and-opportunity/poverty-dependence-introduction-b4cb2acd412a#.fpxtqcwz5