Gohmert: Let’s Give Welfare Recipients Land for Subsistence Farming
Yesterday, speaking on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested an offensive, if creative, form of welfare reform. Via Media Matters’ Political Correction, the Congressman argued:
We have people on welfare and I know there’s some that just don’t wanna work, but there’s some that do. How ’bout if instead of the welfare, we give ‘em an alternative. We’ll give you so many acres that can provide land where you can live off of it, make a living and we’ll give you seed money to start, but you have to sign an agreement that you’ll never accept welfare again. How ’bout that? We got plenty of land.
Here’s the video:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — the program the term “welfare” most often refers to — provides funds to help very low-income households pay for food, utilities, rent and other necessities. (Children are major beneficiaries of the program, something welfare critics always seem to forget.) To receive the benefit, which lasts for a maximum of five years in an individual’s lifetime, recipients need* *to be working or looking for work, with few exceptions. The federal government requires that 50 percent of recipients (90 percent in two-parent families) work.
There are holes and failures and exceptions, of course. TANF is a complicated program, and not a perfect one. But it does help thousands of people become self-sufficient and economically productive to boot. More importantly, it helps make sure that kids remain with their parents, in safe environments, with their most basic needs met.
But apparently Gohmert would prefer that all of those children would be moved from their communities, with their parents, to subsistence-farm. Charming.