I recently saw a sign posted in the window of a convenience store: “We have worms and live bait—EBT Cards accepted.” Something about that sign struck me as odd, but it took a minute for the full meaning of what I had read to sink in. EBT cards are the welfare recipient’s version of a debit card. EBT cards replaced the old paper food stamps, the use of which apparently embarrassed welfare recipients. A whole column could be written about that phenomenon—people being too proud to be seen using food stamps but not too proud to accept welfare—but that is grist for another mill on another day.

My first thought was that worms and live bait are not food. How, then, is a welfare recipient allowed to purchase fishing bait using an EBT card? I thought EBT cards were to be used only for selected and approved food items. My second thought was, if welfare recipients have time to go fishing, they have time to go job hunting. I am not sure I like the idea of a welfare recipient idly fishing instead of making a concerted effort to get off of welfare. My view on welfare is that people on it should be trying to get off of it. Anything we do for an extended period of time tends to become a way of life. That is human nature, and it is why people in America who get on welfare tend to stay on it. It is also why welfare as a way of life is passed down from generation to generation. The biggest challenge faced by welfare reformers is finding ways to break the cycle of dependence.

Breaking the cycle of dependence is why Republicans in Congress forced President Bill Clinton to adopt a work component for welfare recipients, a component that proved effective in breaking the cycle of dependence. The work component of welfare showed recipients that there is another and better way of life while at the same time discouraging freeloaders who are too lazy to work. As a result, the number of people on welfare plummeted during the time when the work component was in effect. That time stopped with the election of Barack Obama—the Welfare President. By dropping the work component and initiating a major marketing campaign to sign up new recipients, President Obama quickly doubled the number of people collecting welfare benefits and, in so doing, doubled the number of dependable voters for the Democrat Party. Let’s face it, Americans vote with their wallet. If it is government handouts that fill your wallet, you will vote for the party that guarantees the most handouts.

At a time when America needed a president who could lead and who would be a statesman, what it got was a cynical Chicago operator who makes every decision on the basis of crass political considerations and the country be damned. Does anyone—self-serving liberals included—really believe that encouraging welfare recipients to go fishing at the expense of the American taxpayer rather than looking for a job is doing them any good? Can someone—anyone—explain to me how becoming a slave to the federal government is a good thing for American citizens? Can anyone explain to me how having an ever-growing number of entitled people sitting idly in the economic wagon and expecting to be pulled by an ever-decreasing number of productive people is a good thing? Is there no one in Washington, D.C.—Democrat or Republican—who cannot see that reducing the number of productive people for short-term political gain is a one-way street to economic disaster?   One day in the not too distant future, a welfare recipient is going to plunk down his EBT card to buy some live bait for fishing and the card is going to be rejected because the federal government will be broke.