Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: Let’s change word ‘welfare’ to ‘transitional living fund’

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: Let’s change word ‘welfare’ to ‘transitional living fund’

Remember man-caused disasters? How about kinetic military action? If you enjoyed those examples of the Obama administration’s reliance on Newspeak, you’ll love the latest coinage. Its creator is the lovely and talented Sheila Jackson Lee. CNSNews writes:

In a brief speech on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) hailed the war on poverty, endorsed government welfare programs, and said the ‘safety net has to be something for all of us.’

‘Maybe the word welfare should be changed to something of, “a transitional living fund.” For that is what it is — for people to be able to live,’ she said.

And live they do! In December of 2011, the feds raided a $1.2 million home in a wealthy lakefront community near Seattle whose owner had been the recipient of more than $1,200 per month in public housing vouchers, federal and state disability stipends, and food stamps, according to station KING. Granted that case is the exception rather than the rule, but examples of welfare fraud are rampant. TV station WMC in Memphis reported in July 2012 that taxpayer dollars were being spent on everything from booze to hair to concert tickets. Justin Owen, who represents a consumer watchdog group in Nashville, told reporters:

We looked at Memphis in particular and over a three month period we surveyed $140,000 different transactions and found some very interesting expenditures.

[…]

When you’re taking taxpayer money to go on a tour of Graceland, that tells you there’s something wrong with our welfare system.

[…]

You can literally walk into a liquor store for instance, swipe the card, get cash back and then purchase whatever you want, including liquor.

But the abuse is not limited to the recipients. The government is an abettor in this process. In the last five years, the U.S. spent $3.7 trillion on welfare. A skeptic might assume that when that amount is divvied up among families, each receives a pittance. But a report released by the libertarian Cato Institute last August found that in 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.

With Obama’s relaxation of “workfare” rules and fondness for handing out food stamps, there is little incentive for those on the dole to look for gainful employment.

None of these facts deterred Jackson Lee from trotting out a photo of people in a long line “who are possibly looking for work.” Possibly is the operant word in that observation. She added:

Quite frankly, of all the wealthy nations, we have the lowest safety net and the highest poverty, because we’re not willing to accept the fact that sometimes an American needs help. Even a veteran — even a soldier.

That is doubtless true. But it is also true that sometimes an American needs a nudge. You’ll never hear Jackson Lee admitting to that.


LU Staff

LU Staff

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