In Amsterdam some homeless alcoholics are given beer in exchange for keeping the city streets clean!
Good idea or bad idea and is there any takeaway for US entitlement policy including the program of requiring able bodied recipients of government aid to do some kind of work for said aid?
Workfare: a program in which people must do work in order to receive money from the government for food, housing, medical costs, etc. (Source)
As far as the program in Amsterdam goes, I would have to say that the idea of plying alcoholics with beer in order to get them to do clean-up work around a city seems to go against typical government policy of trying to save individuals from doing harm to themselves (however government chooses to define destructive activities).
Instead it seems to be tacit approval for such destructive behavior.
That said, the statistical evidence apparently points to the fact that in the neighborhood of Amsterdam where this policy is in place there is a lower incidence of some violent crimes than those where beer handouts is not the policy.
"It's quite difficult to get these people off the alcohol completely. We have tried everything else. Now this is the only thing that works. We might not make them better, but we are giving them a better quality of life and it's better for the neighbourhood, they're giving something back to society." (BBC)
Workfare in the US as a requirement to receive certain entitlements!
I remember a time when workfare in the United States was an idea that most agreed had a place in entitlement policy.
This was the case for many reasons including maintaining a positive and proactive attitude among the unemployed along with a desire to once again gain full employment (this argument is also consistent with the thinking against unlimited unemployment benefits that may remove some of the incentive to find work).
The strength of the idea for workfare helps to explain the outcry from the Left against it.
And, under the leadership vacuum of Barack Obama, there has been further dilution to the idea of workfare to the point that waivers exempt the great majority of those who might otherwise be required to be participants.
With the Left now prepared to wage political war based on its premise that the GOP cares little about the unemployed based on a desire to limit the very longterm unemployment benefits that do more to harm than good, this entire issue promises to drag on through the 2016 presidential election.
Is it all a smokescreen designed to take the publics eye off of the disaster that is Obamacare?
It is but unfortunately the implementation of the ACA is going to be so detrimental to the literal health of Americans that no fight, actual or made up, is going to accomplish the feat of taking healthcare off of the front-burner.
So drink up you subset of alcoholic Amsterdamian's! Yours is the type of plan tailored to unemployment benefits that will not truly find its way into the United States until such time as far-left liberals are out of leadership roles in Washington.
Until that time and for purely political reasons the Democrats will seek to do harm to the very people that they claim to be trying to help!