“State Officials Cancel Access to Welfare Benefits on Cruise Ships and at All Casinos”

–headline of the day

Well, gee, let’s hope so.

The story is pretty shocking. California welfare recipients get debit cards for their so-called needs, and it appears that many of these cards have shown charges in Las Vegas, South Beach and on cruise ships. The state had previously cut off welfare debit charges to strip clubs, and I guess now the cruise ships are next in the austerity story.

 The story reports:

More than $69 million meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children was accessed in all 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, according to data obtained by The Times from the California Department of Social Services.

I would quibble with the term needy. What they need is a job-and the work ethic to pay their rent and clothe their children. At the risk of sounding hard-hearted, I don’t think any of these responsibilities should devolve onto the taxpayer except in extraordinary circumstances.

What this story also shows is how badly government functions. We get a lot of palaver these days about how government programs are going to become solvent by cutting waste and fraud. But we all know that is just rhetoric. Moreover, the basis of many assistance programs is just all wrong–if you don’t hold people responsible for taking care of their own families, they won’t take care of their own families.