Fixing Our Welfare System Starts By Doing This One Simple Thing – But Republicans Won’t Like It

ebtAs cuts to SNAP benefits for millions of Americans have been on the forefront of the news lately, it never ceases to amaze me how simple an issue this is.

Yes, we spend a lot on government programs to help poor Americans.  Programs that I wholeheartedly support.  That being said, major reforms do need to be made to help eliminate much of the abuse that goes on within these programs.  Reforms that would save millions, if not billions (in the long term), of taxpayer dollars.

But the reforms I speak of aren’t so much with the programs themselves, but the implementation.  See, how Republicans want to deal with this issue is by simply cutting funding.  But what does that really do?  Does it stop abuse?  No.  Does it stop fraud?  No.  They accomplish nothing but hurting millions of Americans who genuinely need help.

But fixing the problem of welfare abuse is simple, though Republicans won’t like the answer: We need to spend more money on these programs.

I can already feel the outrage emanating from millions of conservative Americans at the thought of investing more money in our welfare systems.

Though by “more” I don’t mean more money dished out to welfare recipients.  Nope — what I mean is that we need more money to hire more employees to oversee these programs.  Trust me, as someone who’s met plenty of “welfare abusers,” taking unfair advantage of these programs is not a hard feat to accomplish.  And the root of this abuse lies in the fact that there’s simply not the quality, nor quantity, of workers in the offices of the departments in charge of oversight to properly ensure that those receiving these benefits actually need them.

Most of the offices charged with the responsibility of verifying applicants to qualify for benefits are simply overworked.  Also, there are far too many loopholes in the system that people who abuse these programs are well aware of.

If we spent more money, invested in better people and ensured we had the best possible oversight governing these programs, a lot of the abuse would be eliminated.  Heck, much of it would be prevented altogether as people trying to abuse these systems would quickly learn that they would no longer be allowed to do so.

To me, it’s very simple.  When the departments responsible for ensuring these programs aren’t abused become severely overworked, are undermanned and their budgets continue to get cut—how are they supposed to properly do their jobs?

It makes absolutely no sense.

And it’s not just with programs like SNAP or Medicaid, there’s rampant abuse of Social Security Disability as well.  It’s people that know how to game the system—gaming the system.  I’ve seen it first hand, and it’s apparently (sadly) easy to do.

But solidifying oversight of these programs requires investment in these programs, which is something Republicans mentally can’t grasp.  In their shortsighted ideology, everything is cut, cut, cut.  But cutting funding to these programs in some haphazard way is like taking a meat cleaver to the operating room to deal with a blown out knee.  Sure, cutting off the leg takes care of the messed up knee, but why do that when you could use a scalpel to fix the knee?

All these cuts do is hurt everyone on the program instead of targeting those who are abusing the system.

This isn’t rocket science.  If abuse is the problem (as Republicans often claim), then abuse is what you need to target—and you can’t do that through a mass reduction of benefits going to people who actually need them.  We’re simply never going to do anything to prevent abuse by simply cutting the funding for these programs and continually reducing the money given to the departments charged with the responsibility of implementing their oversight.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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