Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welfare to work or involentary servitude?

There has been, in the last fifteen years, a nationwide attempt to reform the Wefare system and end the cycle of poverty. There are programs throughout the country that are working miracles in people's lives. The welfare rolls are shrinking and more people are getting on with successful lives.
There is a right way to create a system that enables people to change their lives. There is also a wrong way, and that is what i want to address. The state of Tennessee works with the Maximus program, a worldwide, nonprofit organization which, when used correctly, can fascilitate positive change. Maximus helps by providing educational opportunities, helping custodial parents to obtain child support from absent parents and encouraging growth and self sufficiency.
However, the interpretation of rules in the program needs to be closely monitered to prevent abuse of the system by those who are charged with the responcibility of effecting those positive changes.
The states which are utilizing this system seem to be overlooking thirteenth amendment rights in its attempt to decrease the numbers on their welfare rolls.
There are requirements that make perfect sense. Able recipients are required to put in thirty hours a week in a combination of job search, education programs and work.
It is the work part of this program that concerns me.
A program called WEX {work exprience} is a blatant abuse of the thirteenth amendment. Recipients of benefits are being told they must participate in the WEX program or face "sanction" and a loss of benefits. Nothing wrong with that, right? One would think there would be close montering of employers participating in this program. They would be willing and ready to hire participants who show that they are ready and willing to work and leave welfare behind. Unfortunately, the overseers of this program are sending people to work sites that are seeking only volenteers. They are allowing employers who have no intention to hire participants and they are telling recipients that their benefits are their paychecks.
A family of four recieves $226 in cash benefits in Tennessee. Has anyone explained how this pays for ever increasing utility bills, buys household and personal care products and other necessities? Participants are required to work a minimum of 10 hours per week for the WEX program without compensation. Tennessee is only one of many states participating in this program and I wonder who is watching out for the impoverished people whoe constitutional rights are being violated.

Thirteenth ammendment:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Since when is being poor a crime?
How many rights do we have to lose before all of the United States of America stands and says NO MORE? I am all for welfare reform, but not at the expence of our constittional rights. Why is there no outcry for these poverty stricken casualties of the Bush administration’s seemingly endless trashing of our constitutional rights?

No comments:

Post a Comment