Concerns of overuse and abuse of available government welfare programs aren’t exclusive to the United States.
According to The Telegraph, the issue is a hot topic in Italy, and the country’s newly-elected conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is seemingly set on making a massive dent in the gross overuse of Italian welfare programs by enacting strict measures to make sure it’s not being exploited in a post-COVID-19 world.
One of those measures includes instituting a simple rule to combat abuse of the country’s “citizens’ income” welfare plan. If a person on the program refuses a viable job offer, they lose their social benefits, plain and simple.
Meloni didn’t describe the problem in complex terms, simply echoing a common theme we hear in the United States — too many able-bodied individuals are gaming the system and collecting government checks when they could be working and contributing to society.
The problem seems to have worsened significantly during the pandemic when COVID relief checks and available government welfare programs were funded and plentiful by multiple, massive spending bills. Similar situations occurred in other Western nations.
It was noted by The Telegraph that roughly 3.5 million Italians are currently enrolled in the citizen’s wage program, which was instituted in 2019 by an Italian populist party called the Five Star Movement to combat poverty. Some 2.3 million government income recipients reside in the poorer, southern half of the boot-shaped nation.
According to Reuters, the plan to dismantle that particular Italian welfare program came as part of Meloni’s first budget package, which includes several conservative measures to combat inflation and bring Italy back to its pre-COVID-19 levels of economic prosperity.
“Proud of the work of this government and of a maneuver written in record time. A courageous and concrete #leggedibilancio that looks to the point and offers a vision on economic priorities,” a translated tweet from Meloni last week read.
Orgogliosa del lavoro di questo Governo e di una manovra scritta in tempi record. Una #leggedibilancio coraggiosa e concreta, che bada al sodo e offre una visione sulle priorità economiche. pic.twitter.com/e6J0DwgbgY
— Giorgia Meloni (@GiorgiaMeloni) November 23, 2022
Meloni’s budget proposal was celebrated and bashed by her fans and opposition, respectively. One Twitter user said Meloni’s proposal, especially the new rules regarding the government welfare program, shouldn’t be up for debate.
“Italy’s new PM Giorgia Meloni revealed her first economic initiatives with a budget of 21 billion euros. The Italian government will no longer provide free handouts to those who simply refuse to work. This should not be controversial,” the Twitter user wrote.
Italy’s new PM Giorgia Meloni revealed her first economic initiatives with a budget of 21 billion euros. The Italian government will no longer provide free handouts to those who simply refuse to work. This should not be controversial. pic.twitter.com/6cxLzai76Z
— Daniel Anderberg (@SvarfvarSea) November 26, 2022
Just like Democrats would likely respond in America to such a conservative-minded, commonsense budget, Meloni’s critics slammed her new budget with claims that it targets the poor.
Meloni disagreed, calling it a “courageous” budget package that the country currently needs.
“I consider it a courageous and coherent budget, courageous in the sense that it bets on the future,” Meloni told reporters, according to Reuters.
The Republican Party, especially conservatives, are often demonized and ridiculed for wanting less available government assistance, as such programs are routinely abused. Republicans are not anti-welfare but anti-welfare abuse, a distinct difference.
Strong measures must be taken to root out the bad actors who have become used to taking advantage of free government money, such as what Meloni has put forth in her first budget for Italy.
It might sting in the short term, but as Meloni said, she’s betting on such moves making Italy stronger in the long run.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.