The liberal Atlantic magazine published this story about Oregon's Welfare Utopia with a confusing headline, leaving you with the impression that Oregon either has achieved Nirvana or we have gone way overboard.
The reality is that we haven't achieved welfare Nirvana, but that we are on the path to becoming Illinois or Detroit and it's actually worse than you think.
Oregon's generous welfare policy traps recipients into accepting the crumbs from the government table instead of going out an getting a job, paying taxes, feeling good about themselves and moving up the ladder of success. Why are they trapped? Because they get more in welfare benefits than what they will earn in a job.
Last night I talked to a person who places the poor, the young, felons and those coming off welfare into jobs. He lamented that so many of those he works with have no work ethic and often quit soon after getting a job because they realize they are going to have to work hard for less than they are getting from welfare. I have heard this story from several employers and employment organizations like NFIB, over the last few years also so it is clearly a quantifiable trend.
Common sense tells us that if people had to work (instead of sitting around in their section 8 housing playing Xbox all day, getting free medical care, cash and food stamps), they would develop good work habits, increase their self esteem and start participating in society in a way that is beneficial to all.
While the article's slant is that more conservative states which have lesser benefits than Oregon offers are racist, mean spirited and purposefully hurt poor people, the author does inadvertently makes the case for welfare to work (Jobs Plus) programs instead of the progressive idea of "safety net" which is nothing more than total dependence on government handouts. Oregon's Jobs Plus program was started by Republicans in the legislature as the pet project of the manufacturing giant, the late Dick Wendt and despite several attempts to kill it, has survived even during Democrat legislative control, primarily because it works.
The real story of Oregon's welfare utopia is the tremendous negative societal effects are going to only get worse as people move here for the welfare benefits, as they have done historically in other states that had generous welfare programs.
Serious welfare reform is needed immediately in Oregon before the damage done to those dependent on government becomes so great that we become Greece. Perhaps the people will rise up and demand Oregon's leaders reverse their horrible welfare policy that hurts the very people they purport to help.