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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

There's a limit

This seems quite reasonable to me, but I suspect we're so deep into the welfare-state mentality that it will seem cruel and coldhearted to a lot of people:

WASHINGTON – Indiana will begin cutting off food stamp benefits next year to tens of thousands of people who fail to get a job or train for work.

Beginning in the spring, the state will limit benefits to no more than three months during a three-year period for able-bodied adults without children who don't work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week. The time limit is a requirement for the federally funded program, but states can ask for a waiver if jobs are scarce in all or part of the state.

Although Indiana is among the majority of states that qualify for a waiver, the state plans to reinstate the requirement.

"We view the re-establishment of the ... time-limited benefits in Indiana as an opportunity to help improve the skills of our fellow Hoosiers and advance their prospects for meaningful employment, while at the same time establishing a pool of better-prepared candidates for the Indiana workforce," Lance Rhodes, director of the division of family resources for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There has to be a middle path between the extremes of eternal handouts and not giving the downtrodden a damn thing. Maybe this is the right path, maybe you'd suggest a slightly different alternative.

And note that this applies only to able-bodied adults without children, so we're not talking about starving the tykes here. The story notes that "advocates for the poor" say it would be better to first make sure it has sufficient programs to help the unemployed find jobs or new skills. Well, knowing they have a food stamp time limit might just encourage their search for those jobs and/or skills.