Opinion

Aren’t you embarrassed to be on the dole?

By BRETT DAVIS
For the Independent

Washington state has pinched 9,000 people on unemployment for not looking for work, and is seeking the return of the $23 million it paid-out to those people.

Those receiving unemployment benefits are required by the state to apply for a minimum of three jobs a week.

Looking for work thrice weekly and documenting it as such is hardly a herculean task — and I should know, because in the past I somewhat reluctantly took unemployment insurance after losing a job.

In the meantime, I took temporary jobs and looked for full-time permanent work in my field — as well as work outside my field — applying for far more than three positions per week.

I was randomly selected by the Employment Security Department to come in for a review of my job search. Needless to say, I “passed” with flying colors.

In fact, the person I spoke with at Employment Security actually complimented me on the breadth and thoroughness of my well-documented job search.

The point is, even though I was appreciative, I was also embarrassed to be on the government dole and did everything I could to get off of any sort of public assistance.

That doesn’t seem to be the case with the 9,000 couch potatoes who should’ve been looking for work while receiving taxpayer-financed benefits.

Not that there shouldn’t be any sort of government assistance for those truly in need who cannot help themselves. But it’s this abuse of unemployment benefits and the like that make a lot of people wary of government programs as the remedy for poverty.

What the government has succeeded in, unfortunately, is erasing the embarrassment or stigma previously associated with taking public money, and thus encouraging a culture of dependence.

To the 9,000 people nabbed for collecting unemployment benefits and not looking for a job: Aren’t you embarrassed to be receiving taxpayer money for sitting on your rear-end?

If not, why not? What ever happened to the notion of self-reliance?

Brett Davis is a Port Orchard resident and the managing editor of the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation.

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