Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Manufacturing Homeless

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a 4-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits for Michigan residents. According to Michigan’s Department of Human Services, on October 1 over 29,000 children will be affected by the new regulation. On a side note, Michigan’s unemployment currently stands at 10.9% which is the third worse in the nation. Of course this number does not take into account people who have exhausted unemployment benefits or those who are underemployed. Trust me when I say, the situation in Michigan is much worse.

I am not going to talk about the stereotypes that conservatives give to people on welfare. I would rather discuss solutions. There is no easy solution to the welfare issue. What I will say is that simply throwing money at a problem rarely makes it go away. There are two ways to make certain that the cost of welfare is as low as possible. First, there needs to be jobs to apply for. You don’t cut off the oxygen until a person can breathe by themselves. Secondly, you need to train people to do the jobs. Not just random training, but specific useful training in areas of need. Until these two standards are met, Governor Snyder has no business limiting lifetime limits on welfare benefits.

I have written countless times to members of Congress about potential job creating ideas. Unfortunately, conservatives believe that the federal and state governments should not be spending money to stimulate the economy. Instead, they just keep providing tax breaks to businesses that simply hoard their profits. If you want more jobs let’s start with the following: Create mass transit systems in every city (linked to suburbs) with a population over 500,000 people. Create high speed trains to allow people to affordably travel between major cities. Expand the Department of Education in order to repair schools, hire a lot more teachers (to reduce class size), pay teachers more money and provide an equal and high level of education to every child in this country.

As for the concerns about those who actually are on a “free ride”, there is a simple answer. Require a certain amount of volunteer hours in order to get aid. The volunteers could beautify neighborhoods, assist local homeless shelters or help out in schools. In addition to the benefits reaped by the community, the welfare recipient will feel good about their contributions and may even make new connections that could lead to permanent work.

Yes, I do believe that welfare recipients should be monitored to ensure that they are not taking advantage of the system. You might even be surprised to hear that I don’t mind mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients. However, let’s stop focusing on the victims as the problem and let’s start trying to fix the real issues facing this country. I would like to end this entry with a final thought. A large amount of the items we purchase were made in China (hell, I just found out that the mushrooms I buy were made in China). Isn’t it time to discuss the problem that companies in the U.S. simply cannot compete with the prices offered by companies who manufacture products overseas. Shouldn’t we be looking to level the playing field?

Orbson Going Postal: The U.S. Postal Service is about to go bankrupt. Still delivering 6 days a week? Yeah, really smart people we have in government.

Orbson’s Not Tripping: Scientists say that dolphin’s “talk like humans”. Thank Orbson! I was beginning to think someone had dropped some Ecstasy in my Absinthe during my last visit to Seaworld. Now I know the dolphins really were talking to me!

Orbson at the Oscar’s: Eddie Murphy is hosting the next Academy Awards. I was really hoping for Neil Patrick Harris. Still, it should be fun listening to Eddie say “*bleep* *bleepity* *bleep* Kate Winslet, *bleepity* bleepity* bleep* *bleep*”

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