Additional welfare reform is needed
In a recent letter (“A guest worker program could help,” Letters to the Editor, Nov. 20 edition), H.K. Miller supports a guest worker system based on a program that was in effect during WWII, and asks why such a program is not viable today.
Simply put, things have changed radically in the last 60 years.
Back then, most able bodied men were in the military, and most able bodied women were in the factories and other places of employment supporting the war effort.
Today, while we are at war it is not anywhere near the same scale. Yet we seem to have a shortage of workers to fill entry level and unskilled positions.
The answer to this situation is not to allow foreign workers, even temporarily, into the country.
Instead we have to address the programs and mindset that has evolved in recent generations which allows the shortage of legitimate American workers to not only exist but expand.
Over the last several decades we have implemented many programs that actually encourage people not to work. Ten years ago we mandated necessary restrictions on some of these social/welfare programs, but that was only the first step.
When limits were placed on welfare, many recipients found jobs and began making a living for themselves. Unfortunately, many others simply changed lines at the local government office, stepping from welfare to disability, despite the fact they have nothing wrong with them, beyond an acute case of sloth.
The next series of reforms needs to be based on disability benefit abuse as well as further restrictions on welfare programs. Such changes would include:
No long term (five years over a lifetime) disability benefits for anyone who is not homebound or institutionalized. There are millions of Americans who claim to be unable to work but can do virtually everything but hold a job.
No government benefits for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or has legitimately applied for citizenship at least a full year prior to applying for benefits.
Subsidized housing units will be communal (i.e. one kitchen/dining area per unit) and will have a five year lifetime limit for residents. Cable/satellite TV, personal computers, video games, etc. as well as personal autos would be prohibited.
The food stamp program will be limited to the most basic essentials only.
Essentially, only when we make welfare a true safety net, and take away the ability for so many to treat it as a hammock, will we have Americans filling the positions now staffed by illegal or so called guest workers.
This system worked once before, and there is no legitimate reason it cannot do so again.