• Polito's Take: It's a safety net, not a hammock


    (MyFoxBoston.com) -- I support a safety net. Some form of publicly funded assistance for people who can't help themselves. Unfortunately, our government has turned that safety net into a hammock. This is especially true in the Commonwealth where we rank third in the country as the most generous state when it comes to welfare assistance. A study by the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. says the average Massachusetts welfare recipient gets more than $42,500 a year. The study claims welfare pays out more than a job with an hourly wage of $12 in Massachusetts. This is more confirmation that we've created an incentive for people to go on welfare.

    It's no fun to be on welfare or working in a job that pays the minimum wage. Frankly, I can understand, but not condone why some people would chose public assistance over working for less money and benefits than they can receive doing nothing. The Cato report says there's no evidence that able-bodied people on welfare are lazy and don't want to work. That's the good news. The bad news is the report also says they have few marketable job skills. How does one get job skills? You go to work. See? It's a trap.

    The individuals who choose a low-paying job over welfare may appear to be the fool, but they're doing the right thing. Not just morally, these people have a better chance of working themselves out of poverty. They can develop job skills that provide upward mobility. These people are creating opportunities for themselves; they have some hope to break a cycle of poverty that is often handed down from generation to generation.

    The only hope for advancement among the welfare recipients caught in the cycle of dependence is that they may someday receive an increase in benefits or some new form of aid. That's all they have to look forward too. It's truly sad when you think about people who need assistance for a valid reason and have no other choice. It's a tragedy when you consider the waste of the lives of healthy people who have potential for personal improvement.

    We created the welfare state to help lift the poor, not keep them and their children and their children's children in a perpetual holding pattern. That's the real disease spread by the welfare system. Welfare fraud and mismanagement are just symptoms.

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