The Federal government provides the majority share of welfare cash benefits and individual states add to that money. So federal law has to be implemented if states wants to keep receiving funding. But it seems fatuous to make rules that can't be enforced.More states are enacting or considering laws that prohibit people who get welfare cash from spending it on liquor, cigarettes, strip clubs, gambling and guns -- laws that even supporters say are difficult to enforce.Ten states have passed such laws, and at least 14 are considering them, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.Under a new federal law, all states must prevent the use of cash benefits in liquor stores, gambling establishments and adult entertainment businesses by 2014. States that fail to establish policies face cuts in federal support.Welfare recipients use debit cards to buy things or get cash at ATMs. A report by the House Ways and Means committee cited news reports in eight states about people with welfare debit cards withdrawing thousands of dollars from ATMs in casinos, liquor stores and strip clubs.
So what to do? Well we get back to the whole problem with state welfare on a vast scale. The system becomes so large and the players in it so anonymous the room for misuse is enormous.
Localised, personal assistance through charities etc allow the giver to know recipient. Envisage the Wellington City Mission. They know the people they are helping and no doubt can decide if and when to withdraw that help. They also know when help (cash for instance) is only hindering or exacerbating a problem.
Anyway, that's the ideal world. Back in the real world NZ will probably go down this path in the near future. Oh. I forget. We already are with the new youth benefit which restricts how much cash and where it can be spent for 16 and 17 year-olds, plus 18 year-old sole parents. And in lieu of better I'd have to support this move. But I am saying 'yes' and shaking my head all at once. Politically popular legislation but highly problematic in its execution.