Welfare Queen Myth is Alive and well…and still a complete lie

You’ve Heard: 

The number of people on Welfare now surpasses the number of people working full-time.

The Facts:

Oddly enough, this is actually true.

Now here’s the part where raving lunatic conservatives shout “I TOLD YOU SO!”

And here’s the part where I tell them that they are still wrong.

You see, the study only counts those who are employed more than 35-40 hours a week. If you haven’t been in the market for a low wage service job lately–which make up more than half of the available jobs in the US–let me explain a few things

Full time work just isn’t available.

In July of last year we saw a jump in the number of jobs added to the market…and more than half of those were only part time, poverty wage, jobs.

Since about 2000 the availability of full time work in the service sector has been steadily dropping. Now, everyone shouts that “Obamacare” is the reason for this, but I personally experienced this trend as it developed more than a decade ago. Say Obamacare all you want, but the real reason has more to do with taxes than anything else. Simply put, you pay less in taxes if you only hire part time workers. So the biggest service employers are only offering part time work because it’s cheaper for them.

The fact is that more than 22 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed, meaning that they took a job so that they were working instead of being unemployed. And a disproportionate number of those are women with children.

Being poor and being on welfare doesn’t mean you aren’t working.

You’ve Heard:

This woman called in to ____ radio show and bragged about being on Welfare and said she’d never get off of it.

The Facts:

The story is fake. The station even admitted as much by giving the following statement: “it was on a talk show, not news.”

See, the fact is, 91% of all welfare recipients are either disabled, young, elderly, or actually holding down a shitty job. In fact, more than half of the recipients are over age 65.

On top of that, the laws and reforms instated during Bill Clinton’s time in office greatly reduced how long you can stay on cash benefits so that the number who are able to receive TANF checks for more than five years is less than 20%…roughly the same number who are either permanently disabled or too old to work anymore. And that’s not 20% of all Americans, it’s 20% of the few people able to qualify for cash benefits. And cash benefits are only available to people with ZERO income. Even borrowing $5 from a friend can cancel you out of cash benefits.

If you don’t want to follow the link, here’s the basic breakdown of time spent on AFDC/TANF (cash benefits)…

19% used it for less than 7 months

15.2% for 7-12 months

19.3% for 1-2 years

26.9% 2-5 years

19.6% for more than 5 years

Oh, and did I mention that part of Clinton’s reforms set limits concerning the number of children you can have before your benefits max out? How about that it also included a lifetime cash benefit cap? 5 years is the max, and this is a cumulative number. Meaning that if you lost your job in 2000 and got cash for six months, the next time you need it, you will only have 4 1/2 years left to use. But that 4+ years is then further broken down into two year stints. Clinton’s 1996 reform clearly states that benefits end in two years even if you haven’t found a job yet.

SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits have no such time limit. You can be on SNAP for your entire life…and nearly half of all Americans are right now. The newest numbers have roughly 1 in 3 working Americans on some sort of welfare; and nearly all of it is SNAP.

Meaning that if you are at work giving a rant about how stupid and unworthy people on welfare are to two co-workers…it’s really likely that you’re insulting someone who works with you as being a lazy, worthless, leach.

How considerate.

You’ve Heard:

Blah, Blah, Welfare Queen, Blah, Blah

The Facts:

Her name was Linda Taylor, in Chicago, she was charged in 1974 and convicted in 1977. The Chicago Tribune was the first to coin the phrase “Welfare Queen” when she was first apprehended. Ronald Reagan, upon hearing the story during his 1976 run for the White House, jumped on it as the definitive proof that everyone on welfare was defrauding the system.

These days Fox News is really jumping on this disco-era stereotype, even after all of the reforms I outlined above.

If all of the facts I gave above don’t do it then here’s some information from the front (welfare) lines…. it’s really, REALLY, hard to defraud the system.

There are hundreds of things that can keep you from ever seeing one red (Socialist pun) cent. Here are a few:

No social security card/number, no benefits (Undocumented workers can’t get welfare because of this.)

No address, no benefits (The homeless usually go without aid for this reason)

No vagina, no benefits (Men, even men with children, have to work twice as hard to prove their need)

No job, no benefits (Can’t find work before the two year mark, too bad)

You see, once you are in the benefits system your SSN is marked. If that SSN is hit as being employed your wages are sent to them automatically. Being able to work under the table is a rare thing, I know, I have an ex who’s been trying to live that way for 18 years in order to avoid child support payments. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t avoid his responsibility for long.

You are mapped by your SSN, and every SSN attached to your case, for the rest of your life and your SSN travels through a shit ton of government databases.

“But they all deal drugs” you say.

Really? To whom are they dealing said drugs in order to make these fraudulent riches? The other poor people in their neighborhood who can’t even afford things like food and rent?

Look, I grew up in the ghetto. Yes, some people sold drugs. And yes, some people bought drugs. Of course they did, poverty leads to escapism in any way you can get it. But the rich dealers were dealing to high end nightclubs, strip clubs, and other places where people already have money to spend. The dealers who dealt in my area were usually dealing to supplement their employment income. Or, they sold a few ounces of pot to their friends in order to support their own habit.

Those hardcore drug slingers you see in movies and on TV didn’t exist in my neighborhoods simply because basic math proves they couldn’t have become big time dealers selling dimes and quarters on payday to a bunch of working poor people. The people who make ghetto drug dealers rich are other people with money…something that you don’t find in the ghetto.

Yes, like anything else, people do occasionally defraud the welfare system. But the number is very small, somewhere between 2-5% of all recipients.

Oh, and that 2-5% mostly counts people that did things like forgetting to report changes if they got a pay raise or not reporting it if their household size changed. Their discrepancies are usually around about $100…not the $150,000 level that Linda Taylor was charged over. And with computers being utilized more and more often, you don’t even have to report changes anymore because your SSN will do it for you.

Final Thoughts

Lately I’ve heard this asinine idea that since so many people are on welfare, we can solve the problem by ending welfare.

What?

Granted, this might work. After all, if there are hundreds of thousands of people starving and you stop giving them food, most of them will eventually die of starvation, leaving you with far fewer people to feed.

The first to go will be the children and the elderly. Good plan since these people aren’t contributing anything significant anyway.

But how about instead we:

Allow and encourage good information on birth-control and family planning so we can stop making more people than we can feed.

Make it illegal for companies like WalMart and McDonald’s to set their wages and hours so low that taxpayers are left footing the bill for the discrepancies.

Give people hope for a future free from poverty and starvation by giving them a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, instead of pushing in favor of corporate welfare.

Re-educate people on how easy it actually is to grow their own food, even in an inner-city apartment. (More on my efforts to do this very soon).

Embrace community instead of making it every man for himself.

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About pynomrah

I like stuff, and things.
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