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Once there was a kindly old elf named Santa Claus, who knew when everyone was sleeping, who knew when they were awake and who knew whether they’d been bad or good, and would leave them a gift if they’d been good, and nothing if they’d been bad. Thus he was the one who set up the first welfare performance-based contract.

This kindly old elf also noticed that the elves were happy-go-lucky; living off a few dewdrops and moonbeams hanging out contently with the fairies and unicorns; so he put them to work making toys, at the cold North Pole yet. So he was also the one who set up the first Workfirst program.

Snow White was a young woman who lived in a cabin with the seven dwarfs, taking, care of them and cooking their meals and cleaning their house; so she claimed them as, dependents on her application for welfare – Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). But when they set up a fraud unit they discovered they weren’t related and so she was the first to be cut off from TANF.

Sleeping Beauty was a beautiful princess on General Assistance (no income), who went to sleep for a hundred years after pricking her finger with a needle. So then the welfare office called her to come in and report, and they called and they called, and then they sent her an appointment letter, and when she didn’t report for her appointment, they cut her off welfare, and sent her the first sanction letter.

Old Mother Hubbard was a single woman who lived with her dog, and one day when she went to the cupboard to get her dog a bone there was none, because her food stamps were all gone. So when the authorities found out, they arrested her for cruelty to animals.

And then there was an old woman who lived in a shoe because she had so many children she didn’t know what to do; but when they found out about that, they prosecuted her for inadequate housing and child neglect. Then this old woman filed the first complaint against a husband for failure to pay child support. His name was Rumpelstiltskin, and instead of working he was spending all his time chasing around after another woman and trying to spin straw into gold.