“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” wrote William Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet, but in this case it would be welfare by any other name would smell as failure.
During a speech on the House floor Wednesday, Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee endorsed government welfare programs and provided her full support for the war on poverty. Citing President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s numerous economic and social policies – omitting that poverty rates haven’t fallen – the Texas representative called for an increase in the safety net “for all of us.”
Of course, this isn’t what garnered headlines, but rather her suggestion to revise the term “welfare” to “Transitional Living Fund.”
“Maybe the word welfare should be changed to something of, ‘a transitional living fund.’ For that is what it is — for people to be able to live,” said Lee.
In her remarks, she also pressed Congress to pass emergency unemployment insurance, an initiative that can be likened to a “transitional outreach to individuals who are chronically unemployed.”
“So the safety net has to be something for all of us. And as I borrow this from my good friend from California, just to show you a line of Americans possibly looking for work, we cannot point out and we cannot know at this point which one of these are near the edge of poverty or living in poverty simply because they cannot find work,” stated Lee.
“So, it is important to note that there are elements that many discard, the earned income tax credit, supplemental nutrition program, the huge job training and educational investment that President Johnson made on the war on poverty. Medicare and Medicaid. Huge safety nets, not handouts, but safety nets. Maybe the word welfare should be changed to something of a transitional living fund. For that is what it is, for people to be able to live.”
The term welfare has become a negative connotation because of the abuse of the program, the insinuation that it is a front for the lazy, the individuals who want to work the system and those who are incapable of looking after themselves and practicing self-responsibility. There have been numerous stories over the years of welfare abuse and fraud.
Essentially, Lee is taking a page out of the Obama administration’s playbook, which changed the name of the war on terror to the “Overseas Contingency Operations.” It makes sense considering that President Obama wants to pretend he is different from his predecessor and that the American people usually thought of former President George W. Bush when hearing the term war on terror.
If Lee wants to make drastic changes in poverty then abolish minimum wage laws, lower taxes, eliminate the pages and pages of regulations and get the government out of the way.