Welfare card use restricted


It has now been a week since Governor Schwarzenegger issued a mandate prohibiting the use of state issued welfare cards in businesses deemed, "inconsistent with the goals of the program." On the short list of these establishments are medical marijuana dispensaries, gun shops, cruise lines and psychics. Unless the recipients of these welfare cards were trying to summon a spirit to tell them how to get a job, the obvious question is why didn't the government step in sooner?


Here's a number to start things off: $1.8 million – the approximate amount withdrawn on welfare cards from ATMs in Las Vegas in the time between Oct. 2009 and May 2010. In a period of only eight months welfare recipients have given strength to the arguments of hard-line conservatives that our countries welfare system is mismanaged and inefficient.


Another number to consider: $69 million – the amount of welfare money spent or withdrawn outside the state between Jan. 2007 through May 2010. This type of irresponsible spending is hardly surprising given that in many cases this same recklessness is exactly what landed these families on the welfare program in the first place. Mandating provisions that restrict such spending would seem like the best option.


However all of that seems like a drastic approach when considering the last number: .64 percent – the rounded up proportion of impetuous out of state spending – in comparison to the state's $10.8 billion welfare fund. While it is less than desirable for families to be using welfare funds on vacations to Tahiti, make no mistake; the population exploiting this fund is more of a minority than a dreadlocked albino.           


Perhaps if people want to examine an audacious misappropriation of funds they should focus on the $182 billion dollars wasted on the AIG bailout, something our country is actually suffering from rather than some out of work veteran who just wants to buy a drink to forget how bad his situation has become.


In the meantime, approximately 99.46 percent of the welfare receiving population continues to use their share on the bare essentials, exactly what the program was created for.


It appears to me that this is simply a matter of a group of people who already have it bad enough getting further shafted. These people are on welfare, which means that most likely they have very little to rejoice in.  If that single mom or out of work dad wants to blow a few bucks on the ponies, or buy that super-cool hemp beanie, let them. The government has bigger fish to fry – remember the banks and bailouts

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