My Solutions. You’re Welcome.

My Time at Walmart” looked at the incredible and outrageous abuses of the welfare system that I observed while working summers at Walmart.  My follow-up looked at how those who didn’t like my message made me the message.  This one will blow your mind.

Some like to make the issue of welfare a complicated mess, filled with statistical anomalies and outliers.  The solutions, while not always politically correct, are simple.  And they meet the standards of common sense.

1. Welfare recipients should pass a drug test before they receive benefits of any kind.

I had to be drug tested to get a job at Walmart, and my parents had to be drug tested to get their jobs too.  If I had been injured on the job, I would have had to submit to another drug test, and I would have lost my job if I had failed it.

If taxpayer dollars are going to be distributed to someone claiming to need help, it would be nice to know that the person isn’t doing drugs. Despite what progressives may say, welfare benefits are a temporary privilege, not an absolute right.

A person who has nothing to hide has nothing to worry about.  If one is truly destitute, they shouldn’t be spending money on drugs.  Bottom line: if a person fails the welfare drug test, they should have to complete rehabilitation or sober up, and pass a test before receiving anything. Period.

2. Require photo identification to use an EBT card.

Some stores require a photo ID to use a regular credit card. The Walmart I worked at would prompt for an ID at random times on the register after a credit card was swiped; I don’t think an EBT card should be any different. There have been reports of EBT cards from states like Missouri and Florida being used as far away as New York, Alaska, and Hawaii.  Either the person using the EBT card isn’t being honest about their income, has a rich relative, or the card is being sold. I think options one and three are more likely.

A photo I.D. requirement would also significantly diminish the chances of an EBT card being sold.  If the user is elderly or homebound, a proxy individual could be assigned and given permission to use the card, similar to how WIC works.

3. Restrict the items that one can buy with an EBT/SNAP card.

I think WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is a great program when used correctly, and I don’t see why its ideas and conditions can’t be applied to SNAP.  If SNAP were reformed so that benefits were earmarked for vegetables, milk, bread, peanut butter, etc. (all items that can be purchased with WIC in Maine) healthy eating would be encouraged, as would responsible use of the card.  When food stamps were first implemented, Twinkies, frozen pizzas, and energy drinks didn’t exist.  A person doesn’t need them to survive, and as tasty as Twinkies may be, they’re not healthy food.  If a person wishes to buy something outside of the list, they can use their own money.

The program does not encourage healthy, sustainable food consumption, as it should.  A person who is permitted to buy unhealthy items with government money is likely to have additional health problems.  If this person happens to also be on Medicare, their unhealthy consumption would eventually cost the state even more money. One of the administration’s focuses during the debate over healthcare reform was preventative care. Encouraging responsible consumption would go far and actually be effective in that arena.

4. Reform TANF so women would be encouraged to marry before having children.

TANF currently aids women who are living without a husband or man in the home.  TANF was developed as a more restrictive version of AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), which was originally intended to help widows, but was expanded as part of Johnson’s Great Society program to include unmarried mothers. The statistics speak for themselves.  Since AFDC was modified, the rate of out-of-wedlock births has skyrocketed, and the majority of AFDC recipients were no longer widows. This is incredibly troubling.

Today, nearly one out of three white children, half of all Hispanic children, and three out of four black children are born out of wedlock.  Those statistics are mind-boggling.  That’s a lot of children growing up without a father figure in the house. Statistics overwhelmingly support that marriage is one of the greatest weapons in the fight against child poverty. Conservatives should use these statistics to make a more concerted effort to promote marriage and a stable home life as an effective means of combating poverty.

The singer of the famous satire, “It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT” song, Chapter, grew up with a single mother and witnessed the potential for welfare abuse firsthand. She believes that her mother had her and her siblings simply to get more money from the state.  That’s incredibly sad.  A child is not a cash cow.  A child is a child, and should be cherished and loved, not viewed as a source of income.

5. Cut Medicaid to better align Maine with the rest of the nation.

We have all heard the horror stories about people losing their health insurance.  The reality of the situation is that the majority of the people who would potentially lose coverage would not be covered in many other states, including neighboring New Hampshire.  Most states do not cover adults that are not disabled and do not have children.  They’ve managed to survive so far. The state of Maine cannot afford to cover these people.  Maine’s Medicaid system has grown way too fast.  The state’s Medicaid population has increased 78% in recent years, without a similar rise in the poverty rate.  Something is not right.  Maine’s unemployment level and poverty rate are consistently below national averages, yet the state spends more on welfare than most other states. The “Obamacare” bill that prevents any new changes to Medicaid eligibility now traps the state into paying for people it can no longer afford to cover.

6. Tie benefits to work.

The federal government operates around 77 separate welfare programs, and thanks to the Republicans’ efforts in 1996 to “end welfare as we know it,” one (TANF) is currently tied to work. That legislation was enormously successful. After its passage, welfare caseloads were cut in half and overall poverty levels dropped significantly.

The widespread abuse evident in both state and federal welfare programs demonstrates the need for much greater reform. Republicans in Congress are now working to pass The Welfare Reform Act of 2011 which would expend the reforms of twelve years ago, including tying the SNAP program to work programs or job training. As Newt Gingrich articulated in the debate the other night, conservatives seek to help people become independent and self-reliant, not more reliant on the government.

“We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”  – Ronald Reagan

The welfare system is broken. Someone needs to fix it. Nanny states don’t work, and I don’t want to see my country go the way of Europe.

Christine Rousselle :: Providence College :: Providence, Rhode Island :: @Crousselle



  1. Well written Christine. NIce job.

  2. Another well written article. Thank you Christine. Keep up the great work!

  3. Thank you Christine. You say what’s on most folk’s minds yet they are either afraid to say it for fear of some agonizing PC argument or don’t have a avenue to express their thoughts in a manner such as The College Conservative. In my travels I find that there is a silent majority who are conservative, who want what’s right for all people and know and understand that some people need aid.

  4. Great job again Christine. I do have one minor suggestion to make. I try to avoid using the term “government money” when writing/speaking about money that comes from those who pay taxes. It is tax-payer money!

    Thanks again, you are doing a great job and providing a great service.

  5. Great job! Keep it up!

  6. Dawnsearlylight says:

    Go Girl! Independence is punished through taxation and dependence is rewarded with so called entitlements. It is no wonder that this country is crumbling right before our eyes. When you want less of something… tax it. Keeping men out of the homes increases poverty rates and crime. Runaway Slave is a new documentary about the bondage these so called “caring” programs lead to. Families, churches and private charities need to play a larger role again to help those in need ( and anyone of us could be in that situation during our lifetime) to get back up and be even better stronger.

  7. ParatrooperJJ says:

    For the record requiring ID to use a signed credit card violates Visa’s, Amex’s, and Mastercard’s merchant agreements and should be reported.

  8. Mark Purdin says:

    Generally agree, people on welfare know how to work the system and pass it on down to their children, don’t worry about doing well in school or how to work we will show you how the government will take care of you.
    I think we should shut down welfare benefits to a small group at a time to allow time for bureaucrats to process and qualify applicants from scratch, do a complete background check, drug testing regiment and health physical and history. End result you qualify for this program. Now start the next group thru the process at start of the pipeline. Ask do you like working supporting someone elses kid while they don’t even try to better themselves when you know they have had plenty of opportunity. Don’t give them fish, show them how to fish. If you don’t, we are all going down the tubes.

  9. Another reform I would recommend: End ALL public assistance (save maybe emergency medical care) to convicted felons. Could you get a job at Wal-Mart with a record of assault or grand theft? I don’t think so.
    Why should criminals get public assistance?

  10. In short, what you are asking for is a complete reversal of, “Women’s Liberation”, ibstitution of checks and balances and everything the feminists destroyed that obce was in a well-balanced society we had some 40 years ago.

    You are also advocating for equal child custody in divorce matters whereas that would eliminate the cash cow of the child support industry.

    So, If I read this correctly, you are demanding that women start actring responsibly and to quit sponging off the taxpayers?

  11. Great article! Solid points and was very clear. Now, we just need someone to implement it!

  12. Christine: You have laid out the problems along with your suggested solutions.
    I think you may find that the SNAP program allows what it does due to the influence of the various trade association groups lobbying for their products to be included. Laws passed in Washington result from any numbers of advocates ensuring that their interests are protected. What begins as a good idea often goes awry in its translation to law.
    Responding to a previous comment, it seems that convicted felons who have discharged their sentence completely should not be punished further.
    Given the penchant for lawmakers to make laws, limiting their time in Washington to part-time and with term limits might end some of the abuses we see on both sides of the aisle.
    An end to our subsidy-based ethic in Washington would also require all entities (read subsidized industries, farmers, etc) to make their own way in our capitalistic economy. It would also reduce the need for lobbyists skulking around the halls of congress to ensure they got their clients’ next subsidy or loophole or favored treatment.

  13. Valerie P says:

    You should send your project results to OReillyFactor! Its very pertinent to all the issues he’s talking about regarding the election!

  14. Chris Hewitt says:

    Newsflash: Some women’ don’t want to get married. Some women are raped. Some women are left by their husbands. You’re blaming the mothers. You may be a woman, Christine, but you don’t have mothers’ best interests in mind.

    Also, I hope you agree that these rehabilitation programs are provided by the state, then, because if a person can’t afford food I don’t see how they could afford rehab.

    In that video interview of you, you aligned being “pro-life” and “traditional marriage” as being Good Catholic Values. Have you ever taken Catholic Social Thought? I’m sorry, but last time I check, Jesus would not have told someone starving and suffering from a drug addiction to go get sober before they could have some bread. And I don’t think he would tell a mother with two children to get married before she could get what she needed to feed and take care of her children.

    I also want to let you know that people on welfare celebrate birthdays. Their kids want sugary treats once in a while. They aren’t all drug addicts and whores and cheats and liars like you are making them out to be. Those criminals, as you would probably call them, are the minority. Maybe you should consider an Americorps position after graduation, so you can know what it’s like to live on $500 a month with food stamps.

    Get off your high horse and look poverty in the face before you continue to bs like you know what’s right. We’re all sick of it.

  15. Chris…maybe single women should be taught morality and told to consider closing their legs and not becoming a mother that can’t afford to feed the litters of children they produce and therefore expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for their irresponsible choices. You’re obviously a liberal so you should know if a woman is raped….she has a ‘choice’ you liberals fought so hard for to abort, so that ends that stupid argument for needing welfare.

    Dear Christine, you did an amazing job with your research, observations and solutions. I just hope someone is listening! Don’t pay attention to the negative comments by people like Chris who believe government has the responsibility of supporting irresponsible people who make bad choices. God Bless you young lady! You are the future of our great country and we need more of you with your thinking, ideas and solutions! God Bless you! Your parents must be so proud raising a young lady such as yourself!

  16. Find them a job says:

    Christine, I admire your ability to do the research and make the comments on how to implement change! As I read through the other comments, I realize that taking an objective view of some of the recipients of welfare, it would take a huge amount of people to police this mess as it now is. I remember an old friend who was working in the State Welfare Office and it was her job to go out and do surprise visits to the homes of the welfare recipients to see how things were going for them and to see if they needed further help with education, etc. She said she was completely baffled by some of the conditions she happened upon. They tried to make certain that the homes were being kept clean, children dressed and clean and healthy. There had been several cases where a woman had four to six children, had never married, each of her children had a different father and those children were not clean and fed properly and the mother was smoking, cans of beer or soda in the fridge and the homes in shambles while the TV was on and the mother was watching while her kids, lethargic, lounged listlessly on the dirty floor. Needless to say, that wasn’t the norm but it happens. She said that in those cases she had to send out Health and Welfare to make demands and some of the children were removed from the homes. She also told me there were cases where it was reported that the mothers would trade food stamps for booze and smokes or trade food she’d bought with food stamps for such things. Sorry to say, because of some dishonest, immoral people, something has to be done to ensure that children are being taken care of. I don’t believe in abortion but some of these women should be volunteering to have their tubes tied if they are going to be breeding just to get welfare. After all, the taxpayer should not be forced to support such horrific abuse of the reproduction systems. There are way too many honest people willing to work who’ve lost their jobs and can’t find employment who need help but can’t get it because of the abuse of the welfare system!

  17. Christine, after reading your columns, I have really started thinking about a trend I’ve been seeing with the military. I am currently working in Afghanistan with the Army and am seeing an increased occurrence of soldiers who are planning their futures around disability payments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other disability claims, some legitimate, but most just ways to get paid after leaving the military (hopefully, early). As a disabled vet myself, I find this alarming. I was considering writing about it, and was wondering if you could offer any insight into tackling something of this magnitude.

  18. Chris from Scotland says:

    A very common sense article. Well written.

    As always their are exceptions to everything and no one way of looking at something will ever satisfy everyones needs or satisfy what it was intended for. We have created a rod for our own back, rules (benefits) created for one are abused by many and it’s about time we stopped making excuses for those who choose to abuse society. Their will always be unfortunate souls who are in need and they should never be ignored, we just need to be a little more clinical cutting through the shit to get to them! Win win.

    And your right, Europe doesn’t work, the UK doesn’t work, I work hard and pay my taxes and I watch people come to my country and abuse my society and take my taxes. It leaves a bit of a bitter taste.

  19. Laurie Larkin says:

    I am on board with Christine, except for one thing. There are many adults whose disability does not hinder them from doing some kind of work, and that is a good and reasonable thing for them to do. I do have to say, though, as I have a disabled brother who has a brain injury and will never work again and needs 24/7 care, that it would be impossible for him to survive and get therapy if not for state assistance. I know several disabled folks who have jobs and want to work and contribute, but not every single disabled person can do that.

  20. While I am not of any persuasion politically, least of all conservative, I think most of the points you make are relevant and something that I agree with. I look forward to reading more from you.

  21. very valid points there. dont you think though that you draged this article out more then needed to be?

  22. Christine, keep up the good work. I agree with you 100%. I am a landlord in the Bangor area and I witness such abuses of the system everyday. Drug testing for welfare has been a discussion between myself and the co-workers for a long time now. We see many tenants receive welfare benefits, but have continuous problems with their drug and alcohol abuse.
    I am also extremely tired of seeing people straight of prison coming to us with state vouchers that pay their security deposit and their rent until they can “adapt to the outside world”. I’m sorry, but if someone spends time in prison for BREAKING THE LAW then why should it be our bill to foot to help them?

    As for healthcare benefits, I am hardworking, and earn a sufficient paycheck, so I do not qualify for government funded healthcare. However, I don’t make enough to afford health care. So why should a single, healthy and capable of work, but opts not to, receive benefits when someone like me can’t? I put in well over 50 hours a week at work. I am on call 24/7. If I get sick, I can’t afford to go the doctor. I keep working so my tax dollars can give these people a better life than I have.

    I can’t even count how many single tenants we have on general assistance who have the newest tech gadgets and nice cars. All things I have to work hard to pay for. Its time to end this corruption. The government seems to reward the unambitious people and punish us who do nothing but work. Its time for change.

  23. Honestly, if any of you knew Christine personally (which unfortunately, I do) you would see that she is not, in fact, a well-educated young woman. She is irrational, patronizing, narrow-minded and a poor writer. I mean, give me a break. Her writing is similar to most high school students: short, non-compound sentences; lack of descriptive wording; and no creativity. The fact that she is getting so much attention for a poorly written, rather boring article is astounding. Haven’t a million other people come before her and argued for these same reforms? THIS ISN’T REVOLUTIONARY NEWS!! There are many other deserving college students who are producing vastly more creative, thoughtful, and superior work. I look forward to seeing her next article…I bet it will be more of the same “I’m-going-to-regurgitate-everything-other-people-have-told-me-and-pass-it-along-as-my-own-creative-thoughts”. And please, choose another topic other than Welfare Reform.

  24. To Anonymous,
    You are a troll if I ever saw one. You sound like the jealous type. What, you can’t write anything of your own so you criticize others? What contributions have you made to society. Stop being an oxygen thief and start being a productive citizen. For starters, don’t be ANONYMOUS, act like an adult.

  25. crousselle says:

    My next article is going to be about the March for Life! Stay tuned.

  26. @ January 19 anonymous: One of the problems in our society is that of a lack of taking responsibility for one’s actions! You model this perfectly by taking pot shots at this writer and doing so without taking responsibility for your work.

    Have you no shame?

    Behave as an adult and don’t hide behind “anonymous”. As I read any anonymous comments anywhere, I give them less weight because the person has chosen to hide who they are.

    In an era crying out for transparency, stop hiding and behaving like a sniper!

  27. Great article, Christine!

    Anonymous doesn’t like Christine but makes an effort to comment. Cowardly stalker?

  28. LaQuita Carter says:

    Why is it always the rich little white kids that think they can solve the welfare problem? Some things you say just make no sense. For instance…Have you EVER had to show ID to use a pin based debit card? So why would you propose showing ID to use a pin based EBT card? Obviously if someone knows the PIN then they were meant to use it.
    I also strobgly object to your statistics on how many children are born out of wedlock. Like I said earlier, you seem like a somewhat smart girl, so you should know that stats are number based facts. Where are your numbers? Reference your material so people can look up the info for themselves, because I promise you there is nothing you could provide that would support your conjecture. I mean, really? 3 out of 4 black children born out of wedlock? You are at best a comedian, and at worst a bigot. So people, please stop boosting her ego by telling her she’s doing a good job. If anything, make her a stronger writer. Unless this is an editorial piece, then i would like to see people demand factual information.

  29. crousselle says:

    For future reference (apparently a few people missed this) the blue text refers to a link where my information came from.

  30. Christine: I’d be interested in your thoughts, after research, on the potential positive/negative effects of large amounts of money being funneled into the political process due to the Citizens United case. Along with this is the issue of shareholder’s rights when corporations give money to Superpacs as allowed under the law.

  31. Seriously, encourage woman to get married before having children?? How about this, Educate our women and make sure they have careers by keeping the cost of education lower so that we have more professional woman. So when they divorce these lazy, dead beat dad’s, they can provide. Oh, hey, maybe educate young women about birth control and make it affordable and easy to get! Getting married is NOT the answer to reduce welfare. I make more money than many men I know. I DOUBLE my bf income and would not consider marriage! If anyone is so stupid to think that marriage is going to save you from Welfare, then they will most certainly end up trapped in an unhappy, probably abusive marriage. This writer is creating a bad Karma for herself and her future children. 25 years from now, her daughter could be in a bad marriage, with 2 kids and needing help from the state. I hope that this woman and her “Husband” make enough money to never need help for themselves or their children or grandchildren.
    If this woman thinks that drug testing is the answer, take a look at the money Florida has spent on that exact program and only 2% have tested positive!
    I can bet you 1000. right now, that this child has grown up with an opinionated father and submissive mother who all think they are “Conservative”. But live the dream that they might someday be part of the 1%.
    These articles are written to please her Daddy and get some sort of attention that she has not gotten in this lifetime.
    Get some education honey, grow up and become an independent woman who sees all sides of a situation. Compassion, education and independence will take you further than any kind of husband!
    When you put this kind of energy and Karma out into the universe,it will certainly come back to bite you. You have no idea what your future holds and you are quite cocky to think that you do.

  32. Another great article!…..Something happened to me at my own ‘menial’ cashier job at a major supermarket chain I recently began working for. It immediately flashed me back to the repetitive proviso expressed in the commentary to all of these articles. (That proviso being:…”Of course, there are those who DO need the assistance….these are the people hurt most by those who abuse the system”)…

    What ‘happened’ was that, upon posting the work schedule for the next work week, my manager pointed out that, due to training events and a few terminations, she had scheduled me for 41 hours. I was astounded that her main concern was, instead of my affirming I would be available to work the posted hours, was, rather, whether I had an OBJECTION to a full-time work week!.

    “I scheduled you for 41 hours….is that OK?”, she asked. “Of course!”, I responded.
    “Why would you think that I had an objection to more hours?” (My view was that this was a bonus to one hired on as “part-time”, with gradual enhancement to “full-time” after periodic performance assessment).

    Her response:…”Most people just don’t want to work more hours because it might mess up their benefits……I always have to make sure before I post the schedule…A lot of them just won’t do it”

    So, particularly in this type and level of employment, one finds the issues discussed here on BOTH sides of the register:… Ringing up chips; soda and donuts for EBT card-bearing clientele on one side; and, beneficially or not, having one’s work schedule being affected by the benefit status of co-workers to a degree greater than current ‘business/market needs’.

    I need the hours and am happy to work them. The deductions to the federal government from my check, seem to have the dual purpose of paying for my co-workers’ benefits AND assuring that they can be FULL-time enjoyers of their personal lifestyles.

  33. That is the best article I’ve ever read! Well done and your honest observations are just right on. I own a 5 location business. Completely opposite from what wal-mart offers but I have see what you described for over 30 years now. You have a wonderful future in front of you as you get it! Look forward to reading more of your stories! Best wishes to you!

  34. anonymous said “Honestly, if any of you knew Christine personally (which unfortunately, I do) you would see that she is not”

    kid…You should be the poster child for whats wrong with this country. Your stupid, immature critique of Christine’s article sounds like Huffington Post trash. Rather then disagree with the context you go after her writing skills.. Sad. You actually said she was “deceptive” in your comment. You libs can’t stand fact. Attack and condemn the messenger. I have never worked in a wal-mart but I have SEEN just what she describes. That includes many grocery stores in general. Why don’t you take your inexperienced self to wal-mart and do what she did. Take a walk in her shoes and pay attention. You might just lean something.


  1. […] at The College Conservative, Christine Rousselle of Providence College looks at a few simple ways to improve the welfare […]

  2. […] My Solutions. You’re Welcome. ( […]

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