Governor Sam Brownback knows he must do something to save Kansas. The state is hemorrhaging money, looking for ways to make up for a 2012 tax cut that had unforeseen effects on the state economy. Brownback, a Republican, thinks some of the likeliest ways to fill the coffers involve cutting public welfare assistance. To that end, he has implemented a new rule that prohibits those on welfare from withdrawing more than $25 a day from an ATM. And, naturally, liberals are in a tizzy.

The effort is the latest of many, among several states, to restrict both the amount of public assistance given out and the ways in which it can be used. The Kansas law restricting ATM use will also forbid those on the dole from using public funds at video arcades, swimming pools, and tattoo parlors. Democrats and their liberal champions think there should be no such restrictions. They see no problem with people on welfare using that money for any kind of entertainment they choose.

That is the big difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to welfare. Liberals think the money belongs to those who receive it, and government shouldn’t put strings on it. Conservatives believe that money belongs to the taxpayers. They think the goal is to get as many people off public assistance as possible, as fast as possible. Democrats, who would be hurting for votes if there was no such thing as welfare, want to keep people on the dole for the rest of their lives.

Bloomberg News interviewed Shannon Cotsoradis, the president of Kansas Action for Children. She said Republicans were swayed by “anecdotes” about welfare abuse, and that they were taking harsh action in the absence of any data.

But what data is needed? If Kansas’ welfare recipients aren’t using their public assistance funds in inappropriate ways, the law won’t affect them. If they are, then there is no need for further study. Liberals see these measures as somehow unfair and mean to the poor. They’re already getting free money, aren’t they? Now it’s mean to tell them that they have to use it for necessities? How utterly absurd.

The purpose of a social safety net should be to help people when they are down on their luck. It should not become an alternative lifestyle, funded by the taxpayers. Republicans have the right and the duty to clear the rolls. It is not incumbent upon hard-working Americans to support those who would prefer not to do anything with their lives.