Guest Editorial: Something earned is better than something given
Tell the truth, which means more to you — something you earned through hard work and effort or something you were given for little or no effort?
We believe the majority of readers would say the first option, something earned. We can think of examples at many levels. For instance, for many people the first car they got to drive was their parent's car. It wasn't earned, it was simply provided. While we were grateful to have it, we didn't consider it a prized possession.
Oh, but when we got our first vehicle that we bought with our own money — paid for with the proceeds of years of cutting grass, doing odd jobs and then finally a real paycheck — the sense of pride was enormous. We washed and waxed the car regularly, parked far away from other cars in parking lots, and did everything we could to prevent getting that first dent or scratch. We would even ban passengers from bringing in food trying to prolong the new car smell.
Another example would be sports awards. It's not uncommon for "participation" trophies to get lost in the shuffle of time. But a real championship trophy, earned through years of hard work and sweat and the product of the athlete giving his or her best to have that special season, those don't get lost or misplaced.
It's that understanding of human nature that leads us to support efforts to encourage able-bodied adults receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, more commonly referred to as food stamps, to work or participate in some job or community service related activity to qualify.
The idea of requiring those who can work to do so has been promoted for a while, predominantly by Republican lawmakers. Currently, there is language requiring the work requirement in the 2018 Farm Bill being discussed in Washington and supported by La. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto).
"SNAP provides an important safety net for many Americans, but I want it to be an on-ramp to success, not a lifestyle for work-capable adults," Abraham said explaining his support of the effort. "These changes will help people break out of the cycle of poverty and climb the economic ladder."
We agree. Benefit programs such as SNAP are important and should be in place to benefit those in need. As technology advancements and other factors have led to many businesses reducing the number of people they need to fill jobs, many hard-working Americans have — through no fault of their own — found themselves without a job and in need of benefits until they can find new work. They need and deserve the support SNAP provides.
But the key is that SNAP should be there as a stop-gap support while they are actively seeking new work to support themselves. It shouldn't become a long-term solution. That may not feel like the most popular choice for politicians seeking votes, but it is what we believe is in the best interest of the people served. And that, bottom line, is what our leaders should be focused on doing.
The Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, April 14