Refocus on farm labor shortage: Welfare recipients

March 3, 2013 

I noted with exasperation several responses in the recent Fast Focus on the farm labor shortage that advocated for putting those "darned" people to work.

It surprises me that so many people still believe that welfare equates to lazy or "gaming the system." Here are a few facts: Most welfare recipients are children under the age 10. Many public assistance recipients already work a job, but it doesn't pay enough to feed and house their family. Many are single women with few child care options who don't keep churning out children to "game the system." In fact, the average family receiving assistance has 1.9 children. Welfare recipients are not mostly minority women who never leave the welfare system.

Actually, over a third of welfare recipients are white and most people receive welfare for less than five years. Almost 10 percent of those receiving assistance are elderly. If we're OK with our toddlers and grandmothers working in the fields for substandard pay, let's put those folks to work right now, or maybe learn a few facts before rushing to judgement.

Didn't someone say, "Judge not lest ye be judged," and "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." I know I've read that somewhere!

GEORGIA A. BOATMAN, Kennewick

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