You know its getting bad…

… when Marion Barry is out there decrying welfare and its corrosive effects.  (H/T Michael Tanner @NRO)

It was largely lost amid the glut of post-election news, but last week an important political figure called for a major cutback in social-welfare benefits. In doing so, he denounced welfare as a program that created “a cycle of generational poverty, government dependency, and economic disparity.”

It was not a newly elected Republican or a leader of the Tea Party movement, nor was it a conservative talk-radio host or a Fox News commentator. It didn’t even come from analysts at the Cato Institute. Instead that pronouncement, and the legislation to back it up, came from former Washington mayor Marion Barry, currently a city councilman, who has introduced a bill to impose a strict five-year time limit on welfare benefits in the District of Columbia.

Now, I know it was a big news week and I know that it didn’t get any more coverage when the down-spiral started, but how many times does someone have to point out that the Emperor has no clothes?

Quote of the week: “It is reprehensible that anyone would use taxpayer money for anything other than its intended purpose”

Got a good chuckle today when I read California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) comment concerning welfare recipients using state-funded debit cards at casino ATMs across the state.

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Free cars for welfare recipients – now with AAA!

The Commonwealth of  Massachusetts has a program providing automobiles to welfare recipients – including taxpayer funded insurance, auto repairs and a AAA membership – as an incentive to get them to go to work and stay off welfare.

Granted, these are not new cars, but the program costs the commonwealth more than $400,000 per year since Massachusetts covers insurance, registration, taxes, repairs and the AAA membership.

About 20 percent of the program participants end up back on welfare and keep the car. Massachusetts penalizes them by making them cover their own insurance and repairs, but they keep the car.

No word on the AAA membership, which is paid a year in advance.

Here’s part of the story from the Boston Herald.

The program, which started in 2006, distributes cars donated by non-profit charities such as Good News Garage, a Lutheran charity, which also does the repair work on the car and bills the state.

Kehoe defended the program, saying the state breaks even by cutting welfare payments to the family – about $6,000 a year.

“If you look at the overall picture, this helps make sure people aren’t staying on cash assistance. It’s a relatively short payment for a long-term benefit,” Kehoe said.

But Kehoe admitted about 20 percent of those who received a car ended up back on welfare, and while they lose the insurance and other benefits, they don’t have to return the car. …

Applicants for cars must have a job or prove they could get one if they had the car in order to qualify. Once they have the wheels, they must send DTA their pay stubs to prove they are employed.

To get the cars, they must be unable to reach work by public transportation and have a clean driving record. The program is only available to families on welfare with children.

So these people could go to work if they really wanted to, but the commonwealth needs to nudge them a little and provide them with a free car to get them to go to work?

I’m all for helping people in need, but where does this stop? This culture is driving citizens to depend on the government for everything – and that seems to be the goal of many.

The New Welfare State – video added

When new is old … and scary too. Two stories jumped out at me this morning and they are worth noting. Read more