It’s time to apply the ’96 model more widely. That’s why Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) advocates linking food stamps to work -- those receiving it should either have a job or be actively seeking one. “The aim of welfare should be to help people reach the point where they no longer need it,” Jordan says.
There’s a scene in the movie “Cinderella Man,” the true-life story of boxer Jimmy Braddock, where we see him pay back the welfare funds that helped his family when they were desperately poor. “I believe we live in a great country … great enough to help a man financially when he's in trouble,” he tells a reporter who asks him why. “I’m back in the black. And I just thought I should return it.”
That’s the spirit that should animate any new efforts to reform welfare. We can’t solve our fiscal crisis if we ignore it. And we can’t truly help those on welfare if we don’t fix it so that it is, in fact, a hand up -- and not a handout.