Shortly before his State of the State address, Gov. Scott Walker released a report detailing the findings of a review board he commissioned, which consisted of lawmakers and small-business owners. As a result of the board’s recommendations, Walker has urged state lawmakers to consider a major overhaul of the rules and regulations of the state.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the report details a grand total of 307 recommendations to 218 chapters of state rules. While the suggestions cover a wide range of topics, from animal diseases to prescription drug monitoring, the major reasons the recommendations are under fire are the proposed changes for receiving unemployment benefits.

Walker listed several of the changes to unemployment benefits he would like to see lawmakers pass. Such changes would include tightening regulations for receiving unemployment in order to cut down on fraud, restricting the number of reasons for receiving jobless benefits and decreasing the number of reasons an employee can quit their job and still go on unemployment.

These proposals are a welcome change to the state of Wisconsin.

The most important of these proposed changes is cutting back on the amount of fraud that takes place in giving out unemployment benefits. It is of the utmost importance we distinguish between a person who deserves jobless benefits and one who is trying to get by doing the least amount of work possible.

Beyond this, it is also important the requirements for those on unemployment benefits help them get back to work as quickly as possible. Walker’s proposal would require those receiving jobless benefits to submit four job applications every week, as opposed to the current weekly requirement of two.

This proposal is a step in the right direction for helping people get back to work – it should be the job of those on unemployment to seek employment. The State of Wisconsin must encourage its unemployed citizens to seek jobs as vigorously as possible. As a state, we must also make it clear while we are more than willing to help citizens who are down on their luck, we are not willing to give out money freely to people who are unwilling to work or are trying to cheat the system.

Walker is not seeking to pull the rug out from under the state’s unemployed and send them into desperate poverty. He is trying to make the unemployment process more thorough and efficient in determining who has earned their unemployment check.

It is the job of the government to protect the interests and well-being of its citizens. However, this does not entitle the people to take advantage of their government by doing as little as possible in order to grab at whatever free benefit may float their way. The people of Wisconsin must begin to get back to work, and as the economy of the nation continues to recover, it is important for the state of Wisconsin to motivate its citizens to seek employment.

 

Jared Mehre (mehre@wisc.edu) is a sophomore majoring in political science.