Not a crime to require people to work to get benefits

The old saying, which according to the internet is a quote from Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I’m not a follower of Taoism but it seems like solid advice to me.

I wish our elected officials in Washington would keep that in mind as they are deciding on whether to add work or schooling requirements to beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

They need to remember that these requirements were in place during former President Bill Clinton’s presidency and people were not dying in the streets any more than they were before those rules were enacted.

I don’t think people who are unable to work should be forced to, because there are many people with mental or physical issues that keep them out of the workplace.

But if you are an able-bodied adult, you should be able to work or be enrolled in a college or university in search of a degree so that you can eventually get a job. That doesn’t mean you can’t collect SNAP or other benefits; it just means that you can get benefits if you are working or striving to work. And eventually, you may even be able to survive without those benefits.

How do I know this can happen? Because when I was young, I had two daughters, no husband, no child support and no college degree. So, I applied for benefits and was told (this was during the Clinton administration) that I needed to get a job or go to school.

I enrolled at the University of North Dakota, lived in family housing on campus, found some wonderful daycare providers on campus and eventually earned my degree after five years of working my butt off.

That led to me to a job that paid enough where I didn’t need those benefits anymore, and I guess the rest is history. I can’t put into words how good that felt.

Those who desire to go to school free, might want to consider going into the military. Both of my daughters did that and earned free education. And, in the case of my oldest and her husband who just retired from the military, their children will also have a free education.  

We live in the greatest country in the world, that means hard work, dedication and a good heart will get you far. You may have to knock on a lot of doors and it may take time, but in the end it is well worth the struggle.

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