Wednesday, April 3

North Carolina approves new measure to require background checks to receive government assistance

The House Health and Human Services committee in North Carolina approved new requirements for getting food stamps, and welfare benefits. Now people applying for benefits will have to submit to a criminal background check. In addition to requiring the background check, the new measure would require that the department of Social Security would have to report to law enforcement agencies any person who applied that was a fugitive or wanted.  The current laws allow the department of social services to simply ask if the person is a fugitive from justice.
Food stamp card
“We absolutely have to make sure our aid goes to law-abiding citizens first,” said Rep. Dean Arp, (R union)  who is one of the bills primary sponsors.   North Carolina says their Department of Social services is already strapped for cash and cannot afford to keep giving benefits to criminals. However the new measure has drawn criticism from some.  Lori Ann Harris, a lobbyist representing the North Carolina Association of County Directors of Social Service stated: “If people think they’re going to be punished or arrested for even coming to seek our services, then that’s a big concern for us. We look to be friendly, not adversarial.”
Naturally, some of the Democrats are against this measure. Some of the concerns voiced were that someone with a grudge could harm a persons status by simply going to the magistrate’s office and taking out a warrant in order to prevent them from qualifying. That little gem was voiced by Democrat, Nathan Baskerville, who opposed the new law.  Rep. Arp argued that they would still be eligible for benefits once the arrest warrant was canceled and that the legislation would not prevent other members of the household qualifying for benefits.
OK now my take on this is that it is absolutely a GREAT idea. Why should we pay for criminals to have food stamps? Why should people who have arrest warrants or are fugitives from justice receive benefits that other Americans work so hard for?  I find Nathan Baskerville’s premise that people will go take out warrants on others to prevent them from getting food stamps ridiculous. I mean really. WHAT? First they would have to know that the person was going to apply for them. They would have to know before they went to apply. The background checks aren’t run every week for the duration of the benefit period. Secondly it is a criminal offense to take out a warrant on someone intentionally, if you know they are innocent. Not only would their timing have to be perfect but they would risk jail, and would certainly be found out. I think this is way to much work for your average person seeking to extract a little revenge.
no crooks
Another plus to the measure is that it would possibly keep dangerous criminals from applying and coming into the offices in the first place, making the workers there a bit safer and less exposed to volatile people. I think you would be a lot less likely to be assaulted if they knew that, that arrest warrant could keep them from getting the benefits they wish. I don’t see any drawback other than the cost of the background checks, which some estimates put at 38 dollars each. I find that number to be a little high, but if it is so, the state would need to weigh if the savings of getting crooks off the rolls would outweigh the cost of the background check.
Lets face it people, government assistance programs need serious reform. We have people who claim to not be able to afford to eat, buying drugs and trading food stamps for alcohol. We also have criminals who are getting free access to healthy food and good medical care while the rest of the public works their butts off for the same benefits. It is a costly waste of money, and people who can afford drugs can afford food.  I think the hypocrisy of people claiming privacy violation is apparent for most to see.  Many people who work have to submit to background checks, and drug testing to work, why should people getting those same privileges without working be any exception? If it is good for the working public then it is good for the welfare recipient.
Applause for North Carolina for taking a step in the RIGHT direction.

1 comment:

steve said...

Great post!! thinkin' about using it ... linking back here.

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