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Opening Arguments


The lefty blogs and websites are piling on Gov. Mike Pence for the state's plan to require some food stamp recipients to meet certain conditions. Here's the Crooks and Liars site:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) explained on Tuesday that a new policy that could cut off food stamps for thousands of people in his state would be "ennobling" for poor people.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced last month that beginning in 2015, it would no longer request a waiver to the federal work requirement for certain people who use the SNAP program. Up to 65,000 single Hoosiers could lose food stamp benefits unless they are working 20 hours a week or attending job training.

And Daily Kos:

I'm not sure lower-income Americans are going to be able to survive all the "ennobling" things Republicans are doing for them. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker already explained how preventing Americans from obtaining live-saving health insurance will help them "live the American Dream"; now fellow Republican governor and do-gooder Mike Pence wants to further "ennoble" state residents by cutting off their food stamps.

Actually, here's the quote in full context:

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Pence argued that 50,000 people had joined the Indiana workforce since 2008 so it was time to return to a "core principle" of welfare reform.

"How do you feel about people who say you are targeting poor people?" Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked the governor.

"I'm someone that believes there's nothing more ennobling to a person than a job," Pence insisted. "And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependants at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success."

"You know, it's the old story," he continued. "Give someone a fish, and they'll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they'll eat for a lifetime. I think this is an idea whose time has come here in the state of Indiana."

Doesn't seem quite that callous and clueless when you see the whole thing. This is the age-old liberal/conservative divide over whether just to give people stuff or encourage them to self-sufficiency. When you consider it from that perspective, getting a job is ennobling. Far better to know you can provide for yourself than to have to depend of the kindness of strangers.

And not to beat a dead horse, this applies only go able-bodied adults who have no children. The critics are a little slow in acknowledging that.