Monday, April 26, 2004

Where is the bottom?

An editorial blurb in a local rag talks about "The Welfare Cycle"
Welfare cycle
For four years in the late 1990s, welfare reform in the United States enjoyed a sort of virtuous circle. Welfare caseloads dropped sharply, leaving states and counties with more money, which they used to help remaining recipients find jobs more quickly. Since the recession of 2001, however, the virtuous circle has changed to a vicious cycle: Caseloads are rising and states are cutting budgets. Because of a reorganization and budget pressures in Ramsey County, for example, one major nonprofit employment agency has seen its welfare caseload rise from 800 to 3,600 families, while its counseling staff has actually gone down.
Where is the bottom? I ask my Right Wing friends and they say there will always be somewhere to cut to save the taxpayers money.

I guess I am not so sure. At some point there has to be a bottom to this. Just like there is a bottom to any economic environment. At some point, which many believe is now, we are trading funds to assist the unfortunate and under peforming, to pay for their incarceration.

See, the bottom can be identified when we realize that there is no more money to be saved. That we will not have a choice but to spend money on the growing population in our penal system OR to spend it on those who need guidance and assistance to remain productive tax paying members of our society.

Less government is a great buzz word during a campaign, but at what cost do we want to restrict the ability of government to keep our streets safer, our society more productive, and our homeland more secure!


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