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Ceretto Pushes Bill to Curb Abuse of Welfare Benefits

By Frank Parlato

John Ceretto: For once a man who takes the time to consider that real people work very hard to pay taxes, something that liberals in New York City, who control the state assembly, could never imagine to be true.

Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.
~ Benjamin Franklin

As government expands, liberty contracts.
~ Ronald Reagan

Idleness and lack of occupation tend -- nay are dragged -- towards evil.
~ Hippocrates

The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.
~ Plutarch

The more is given the less the people will work for themselves, and the less they work the more their poverty will increase.
~ Leo Tolstoi

The one predominant duty is to find one's work and do it.
~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I am always for the man who wishes to work.
Work, work, work, is the main thing.
~ Abraham Lincoln

If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nations grow corrupt, love bondage more than liberty; bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.
~ John Milton

Welfare rights are pseudo-rights: They rely on the force of law to take private property for the use of others without compensation and without consent. Public charity is forced charity; it is not a virtue but a vice.
~ James A. Dorn

The more one considers the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State.
~ Bertrand de Jouvenel

Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.
~ Ayn Rand

The fundamental fact in the lives of the poor in most parts of America is that the wages of common labor are far below the benefits of AFDC, Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, public defenders, leisure time and all the other goods and services of the welfare state.
~ George Gilder

Assemblyman John Ceretto is sponsoring the bipartisan Public Assistance Integrity Act in the New York State Assembly. The bill is designed to prevent public assistance money from being spent at casinos, liquor stores, tobacco retailers and adult entertainment facilities.

Last year, it passed the Senate 56-3 but the Assembly didn’t act on it. It is being reintroduced this year, with six Democrats and 11 Republican sponsors in the Assembly, including Ceretto, who represents Niagara Falls, Lewiston and Grand Island, and Assemblywoman Jane Corwin who represents Wilson, Porter, Newfane, Lockport and Royalton.

As a result of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, states that don't prohibit welfare money from going towards "sin activities" by 2014 will lose five percent of their federal welfare funding.

Ceretto noted the bill’s intent is to ensure that public funds are used to help families provide the basic necessities for their children, and not spent on non-essential goods.

After all, if a welfare recipient, by his or her own admission, is incompetent to earn money, it is logical to assume they are incompetent to spend money.

If taxes are forcibly extracted from workers to support people who do not work, then it is only fair that the money be spent on essentials, as is the entire philosophy behind welfare is that it serves as a safety net.

It is an insult to working people, struggling themselves to get by, to fund welfare recipients to drink, gamble and get lap dances. If a person wants to enjoy these, stop whining, get a job and go to work.

“The Public Assistance Integrity Act needs to be passed to establish an important safeguard against the abuse of public assistance funds," Ceretto said. "Public assistance is intended to help families pay for basic essentials while they get back on their feet….Taxpayers get ripped off (when) the use of these funds (are) for non-essential purposes"

If the bill becomes law, anyone busted using welfare money for "sin activities" will lose their benefits for a month. A second offense will cost welfare recipients three months of benefits. Strike three will permanently ban a recipient from the program.

Public assistance benefits are typically given through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which function similar to debit cards. As state law currently stands, there are no protections in place to keep people from spending this money on non-essentials and entertainment.

On the federal level, the Public Assistance Protection Act requires states to enact policies that prevent misuse of public assistance money provided through federal programs. The Public Assistance Integrity Act is required to bring New York State law into compliance with federal law.

Liberal lawmakers from New York are often accused of pandering to welfare voters and their families, some of whom think that welfare is an entitlement that taxpayers owe them.

As Thomas Sowell once observed, “One of the consequences of such notions as 'entitlements' is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

Despite the fact that federal law requires that states only provide welfare benefits for five years, New York liberals elected to extend that to lifetime benefits, helping to foster generational welfare dependence in New York State.

By becoming the perfect enabler, New York cripples the incentive of people lulled into a lifetime of dependence, when working, having to work, would rescue them from their thralldom that makes them say, "I am too weak to work and support myself."

New York increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work.

This bill supported by Ceretto is a step in the right direction.

State Sen. Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat, said not allowing people to spend taxpayer money given to them by society on booze and cigarettes is "prejudice."

"It's a prejudice, I think, about poor people that we are seeing represented more than any statistical or study of behavior."

Ten other states have already ruled social services can’t be spent on items from beer to guns.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Apr23, 2013