Robert Gehl reports that Georgia has decided there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Not anymore, anyway.
The state’s work requirements for food stamps – currently in three Atlanta-area counties – will be expanded to 24 counties across the state.
The new work mandate only affects able-bodied adults without children, in other words, precisely the type of people who should be working.
Of course, this is incredibly controversial because liberals don’t think that lazy people who can work, should work. Just because they don’t want to get a job doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get money, right?
Of course, those with more than two or three brain cells to rub together see it differently. “No one who is able-bodied and able to work should be drawing food stamps, period,” State Rep. Greg Morris of Vidalia said.
This expansion will cover 10,000 current food stamp recipients. And here are the requirements to continue to receive benefits. They’re so easy.
- You must work at least 20 hours per week.
- Can’t find a job? You must be looking for a job.
- Don’t want to look for a job? You can participate in job training.
- Don’t want to do job training? You can go to school.
- Don’t want job training? You can volunteer for 20 hours per week at a non-profit or charity.
Could it be any easier?
There’s even a right to appeal if someone is stricken from the rolls and doesn’t think it’s fair.
Still, liberals are apoplectic over this, claiming that people will be dying in the streets. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
“There are a lot of people who cannot find jobs based on criminal records, a lack of education, the availability of jobs and impairments,” said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur. She added, “I believe we should have a safety net for those people.”
Of the 1.7 million Georgians on food stamps, only 113,000 are listed as “childless” and “able-bodied.” That’s less than ten percent of all recipients.
Still, some people can use any excuse to continue giving benefits to anyone.
Ed Bolen, senior policy analyst with the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said that even childless adults who are deemed “able bodied” might have an undiagnosed medical condition therefore they can’t work.
“Many of these individuals find barriers to work, even if they have no children and meet the definition of able-bodied,” Bolen said.
The planned expansion of the work requirements, largely clustered in North Georgia, includes the Atlanta area counties of Coweta, Forsyth, Paulding, Bartow, Barrow and Fayette as well as more outlying counties such as Walton, Jackson and Oconee. The counties were chosen because they had a relatively favorable unemployment rate, which officials believe means people will have a greater chance of scoring jobs there.
Georgia has an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, slightly above the national average of 4.9 percent.
The food stamp work mandate was introduced in the welfare reforms of 1996 but was waived in many states during the recent years of economic strife. Georgia is among numerous states to bring it back online. Under the rules, able-bodied, childless recipients can receive food stamps for only three months in any three-year period, unless they meet the work requirements.