At What Point do Government “Benefits” Become Welfare?

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The headline in the newspaper blared “House votes for more jobless benefits”. The story reported that a bill to continue providing unemployment checks to people out of work for more than six months passed the House by a vote of 215-204 “after elimination of $ 24 billion in aid to states and $ 7 billion for health insurance subsidies for laid off workers” (Orange County Register, May 29, 2010). It also said these cuts were demanded by Democrats unhappy about voting to increase the federal deficit.

So, there you have it – the federal government is moving to use deficit financing to pay for a “benefit”. That means this is not a benefit that is paid for, with money set aside for a rainy day now being used. No, that money has already been used, and now all of us are being asked to shoulder a bit more national debt to continue these “benefits”.

This is not to say those who find themselves unemployed in these tough times are unworthy of our compassion and help. It is, however, to question why this is reported as a “benefit” when it is really a form of a government give-away to a particular group of people. I have tried to see it differently but to me it is what it is – government welfare being passed along under a more politically correct name. Somehow, it has become more acceptable to be a recipient of government “benefits” than welfare. I wonder why we as a society are in such denial about what welfare is and is not. Maybe we can even get back to calling Food Stamps what they are – Food Stamps – instead of spinning this program as “nutrition assistance” as is the current spin.

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.