The title isn’t hyperbole. With California’s lenient CalWORKs program, you can remain on welfare for up to 18 years. The Sacramento Bee has a nice article on our expansive system. But don’t take our word for it:
"Technically, you could be on (welfare) aid for 18 years," said John Wagner, director of the state's Department of Social Services [DSS]. "With our current system, an adult could either work 130 hours or face $139 in sanctions. That's very little incentive to participate in activities, including work, that lead to a family's self-sufficiency."
Yes, that’s the director of DSS speaking. When even Mr. Wagner points out the ridiculousness of a system his department administers, you know something is amiss. Work 130 hours or pay a fine of roughly one dollar per hour for not working? Hmm … Tough choice for the unmotivated. Perhaps they should change the slogan from “Welfare to Work” to “Welfare not Work.”
Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors of California (CWDC), claims CalWORKs has been "one of the most successful programs the state has had in the past decade." Now, Frank is a respectable guy. In fact, his organization supports Paul Cook’s landmark Native American Adoption bill. But he’s ignoring the numbers (not to mention California’s budget problem). And asking the CWDC if welfare works is a bit like asking a chef if the food is good.
How many of you live in communities where you struggle to make ends meet, but some welfare recipients drive better cars, have better clothes, and, much to their delight, have a hell of a lot more free time than you?
Admittedly, California’s system allows the children to stay on welfare, even if the parent violates the rules of CalWORKs (which, eventually, in a roundabout way, asks you very nicely to please find a job). Theoretically, that’s a good thing (though we’re one of only six states to offer such a generous benefit). On paper, it means that while California has just 12 percent of the nation’s population, it has 30 percent of the welfare recipients. At home, it means that the state needs more of your tax dollars. And when it gets those dollars, they might be handed to someone well into his or her second decade on welfare. Meanwhile, your roads crumble.
Drink up the socialism folks. Is it any wonder California is often the slowest to recover from recession?