Cure the Wound, Don't Rip Off the Bandage

Although I grew up in conditions that would be described as poverty, my mother refused to go on welfare. She thought of it as a demeaning way to survive. She told me that once you're on it, you've changed your lifestyle from independent to financially incarcerated. Welfare has done nothing for the people I know who have received it. It was designed to get people on their feet, but it seems like it just knocks them down.Despite my negative feelings towards welfare, I think cutting it off right now is very dangerous. The streets show me that welfare is only a band-aid for a wound that has been bleeding for years. But if a wound is not healing, ripping off the bandage isn't the answer. You need to keep the bandage on until you can heal the injury--which, for many on welfare, is lacking the capability or opportunity to do for self to survive. If this wound isn't cared for, infection may occur.Say you are the proud owner of a farm somewhere in the Idaho area. Things are going well for you, but you realize that there are hungry wolves outside your farm area who have their eyes on your livestock. You begin leaving food out for the wolves to distract them from your animals.This works for a while. Then you notice that the wolves are introducing this new food source to their children, and so and so on. As time passes and new generations learn to eat what you leave, the wolves lose their own hunting and food-gathering abilities. Young wolves no longer learn these skills from their parents, and you find more and more wolves circling your back door.One day you get fed up and you take away the food. Lacking the hunting skills once passed down through generations, the wolves starve to death. Similarly, a generation of young people raised on welfare has lost the ability to function in society. Who knows what will happen when their source of survival is taken away.Welfare locks recipients in a trap of dependency. I don't believe people should stay on welfare their whole lives, nor do I believe cutting welfare will make things better. We need to find ways to help people learn how to survive on their own, instead of turning our backs and walking away.

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