Welfare Reform

Too many Americans are dependent on government assistance.  I'm not going to bog you down with statistics like the trillions of dollars we spend, or the negative effects on our economy, but we should agree the problem needs to be solved.  Our goal of welfare reform is to spend less on government assistance by reducing the cost of administration, and transferring those who rely on government assistance into sustainable employment.

We can reduce the cost of administration by implementing the plan of consolidation which is detailed in the chapter about our Federal Budget Deficit.  We can reduce the number of individuals who rely on assistance by implementing a welfare-to-work program which will create opportunities for sustainable employment.  Achieving this goal will significantly decrease our budget deficit, trigger significant growth in our economy, and provide for our long-term growth and stability as a nation.

Our welfare-to-work program should address all of the issues related to an individual's need for assistance, and create opportunities for individual growth that will qualify the individual for sustainable employment.  This welfare-to-work (WTW) program should provide free education and workforce training, while addressing other barriers to employment including child care, transportation, and relocation.  Our WTW program should encourage the growth of existing private businesses where available, and create new industries in areas which have suffered job losses with no opportunities for new growth.

Our WTW program should be easy to access, providing support for those who are shifting from unemployment or government assistance to sustainable employment.  Most importantly, our WTW program should have complete online functionality to simplify the process and reduce administrative costs.  We should also implement a system of accountability and time limits to encourage individuals to reduce or eliminate their need for government assistance.

I believe we should create a partnership between our federal government and small businesses to encourage the creation of new jobs.  We will not be able to provide enough opportunities for everyone in the WTW program to attend college or a trade school, nor will they be able to join a workforce training program in their area.  Other opportunities must exist if we hope to reach our goals.

We should implement a program of employment for those individuals who have no other opportunity available to them.  This program should provide employment with an adequate income while the WTW participant is trying to reach their goal of sustainable employment.

We can create new jobs for these folks by having them help us achieve our other goals, including public school renovation and construction, water and sewer infrastructure projects, public works projects, renewable energy projects, internships in existing industries, and hundreds of other places where workers are needed.  Existing businesses who hire WTW participants should be reimbursed for wages paid during the first 90 days to encourage new job creation.  If the participant does not become a permanent employee of the business, only a portion of the wages paid will be reimbursed.

Businesses who chose to move their manufacturing operations from overseas into the United States will benefit from an unlimited supply of qualified workers, available at a minimal cost through the WTW Works program.  I believe we can re-establish ourselves as the world’s manufacturing center by implementing this WTW Works program and our Tax Code Reform plan.

Any individual who is participating in the WTW Works program should have access to assistance for relocation expenses, housing, child care, transportation, clothing and tools, and all other necessities to meet the requirements of the job.  We should also allow a limited amount of overlap between the last payment of government assistance and the beginning of sustainable employment.  In other words, we should keep paying monthly government assistance for at least 90 days after the person has started working in a sustainable career.

We should have a goal of eliminating most of the walk-in offices which process benefits after we have implemented a program of online functionality.  Most of the processes which require office visits can be performed via computer or smart phone, so administrative costs can be reduced significantly both in personnel and physical locations.  Most folks who receive WTW benefits will maintain their account via a smart phone, and will rarely need to visit an office about their benefits.

What I'm proposing is a major shift from what we're doing now.  I'm talking about consolidating dozens of programs and departments, and putting all government assistance under one roof.  I believe we should abandon the one-size-fits-all programs which do not address the issues of why the individual is suffering from poverty or unemployment.  We should actively pursue the simple goal of putting every American back to work in sustainable employment, one person at a time.  If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

For full details about welfare reform, please read my book "I Can Rebuild America: The 21st Century Contract With America" available now at Amazon.