Yellow School Bus closeup (copy)

Schools cancel field trips in Colorado Springs because of a bus driver shortage. The labor shortage has Denver's RTD canceling light rail trips. Construction worker shortages make housing expensive and scarce. Meanwhile, Senate candidate John Hickenlooper defends decisions by able-bodied adults to avoid taking jobs. (iStock)

Able-bodied adults who refuse to work cause harm for themselves and those most vulnerable.

Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, a mature former businessman, must know this. Yet, he strives to sound like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a 30-year-old socialist media sensation short on meaningful public policy experience. It is not a good look for Colorado's former governor.

Just like Cortez, Hickenlooper advocates for those who choose against work. Taking things further than AOC, he suggests — in writing — the disgusting belief that minorities are especially bothered by work.

When politicians advocate for people unwilling to work, consider the disabled woman on Social Security who takes public transit to her medical appointments. She arrives at an Aurora RTD station only to hear her train is among 100 canceled that day in metro Denver. Too many able-bodied adults — white, black and other — decline $20-an-hour starting wages and the training RTD offers.

Consider children in Colorado Springs missing field trips because unemployed able-bodied adults won't drive buses.

Think about a young working couple seeking a home in Colorado Springs. Soaring prices dash their hopes. Why don’t builders produce enough homes to meet demand, the couple wants to know.

A realtor shows them a 2019 survey that finds nine in 10 Colorado Contractors cannot fill positions for craft workers. Seven in 10 cannot fill salaried positions.

All over the country, business owners are raising wages and begging for help. We need everyone to work who is able to work — rich and poor, black and white, skilled and unskilled.

Amid worsening labor shortages, the Trump administration announced last week the restoration of work requirements for "able-bodied adults" on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — more known as “food stamps” or “EBT.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will restore requirements initiated by former Democratic President Bill Clinton. Childless able-bodied adults between 18 and 49 will receive assistance for three months in a three-year period unless they work or acquire training for at least 20 hours a week. This demographic probably represents a small percentage of SNAP recipients, but the country needs all the labor it can get.

The new rules are a win for the poor. The requirement might get a few buses running and houses built. Additionally, it will focus benefits on those who need them most. Unlike non-finite free-market resources, government help for one comes at the expense of another. We have social benefits only because able-bodied adults provide for themselves and others by paying taxes and/or funding charities.

Despite the social safety net’s full reliance on private-sector effort, work is optional in the philosophy of AOC and Hickenlooper. They seem to view dependence as a virtue and a right. Workers should pay for those who willfully decline good jobs.

“Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work,” states a promise in the “overview” of AOC’s Green New Deal.

Her Twitter comments blasting the new SNAP rules include this.

“A person who needs their car to drive to work gets denied food,” AOC tweeted.

How ignorant. People who drive to work likely meet the low-bar work requirement.

Hickenlooper chimed in with a more vacuous tweet.

“This move by the Trump Administration would take away food from 33,000 Coloradans—just before the holidays too. It hits children, seniors, people of color, and our most vulnerable the hardest. This is wrong.”

Hickenlooper’s points are 100% false and offensive. Tell a blind person how "able-bodied adults between 18 and 49" are the "most vulnerable" among us. Colorado Public Radio ran the numbers and found the requirement will affect “hundreds” in Colorado, “not the tens of thousands reported by some politicians.”

The new rules hit no one “just before the holidays.” Unless that is, Hickenlooper worries about California Poppy Day (April 6), Hug a Newsman Day (April 4), or Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day (April 3). The new rules begin April 1, making Hickenlooper's tweet a premature April Fools joke.

Hickelooper's claim about the elderly and children is an outright lie. The rule expressly exempts them.

It gets worse. Hickenlooper’s pander to “people of color” indicates a supposition that minorities resent working more than whites oppose work. This nonsense disparages “people of color" for no apparent reason. Minorities have a rich history of providing for themselves and others and fighting for the right to do so.

Work is good for individuals and society. Hickenlooper should stop excusing avoidance of work by able-bodied adults  Society needs them to produce and stop consuming benefits intended for the most vulnerable among us.


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