Welfare Queens

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Culture, Debate, Economics, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

I received an e-mail with the usual ranting about some travesty by an anonymous Internet troll. These are always forwarded to me by a family member. I can’t decide whether this rant (grammatical and punctuation errors uncorrected) is more nearly economic or social. We should have a word like socioeconomic to cover both. Oh, wait … My counter-rant follows.

This is why  people are supporting TRUMP! From a Florida ER doctor:

I live and work in a state overrun with Illegal’s. They make more money having kids than we earn working full-time.

Today I had a 25-year old with 8 kids – that’s right 8, all Illegal Anchor Babies and she had the nicest nails, cell phone, hand bag, clothing, etc. She makes about $1,500 monthly for each; you do the math.

I used to say, “We are the dumbest nation on earth,” Now I must say and sadly admit: WE are the dumbest people on earth (that includes ME) for we Elected the Idiot Ideologues who have passed the Bills that allow this. Sorry, but we need a Revolution,

If the Illegal Immigrant is over 65, they can apply for SSI and Medicaid and get more than a woman on Social Security, who worked from 1944 until 2004. She is only getting $791 per month because she was born in 1924 and there’s a ‘catch 22’ (notch) for her. It is interesting that the Federal Government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890. Each can also obtain an additional $580 in Social Assistance, for a total of $2,470 a month. This compares to a single pensioner, who after contributing to the growth and development of America for 40 to 50 years, can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012 in Old Age Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement. Maybe our Pensioners should apply as Refugees!

Consider sending this to all your American friends, so we can all be ticked off and maybe get the Refugees cut back to $1,012 and the Pensioners up to $2,470. Then we can enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the Government over the last 40 or 50 or 60 years.

PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERY AMERICAN TAXPAYER YOU  KNOW! We need a real change that will be healthy for America!

No way was that penned by a Florida ER doc. Educated, licensed professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers, CPAs) do not speak or write incoherent screed and straight-up lies like that — at least until they become presidential candidates. The mention of Florida should invalidate that bogus appeal to authority all by itself, considering what sorts of craziness come out of that state. It’s far more likely that it was written by some anonymous Tea Party supporter, typically a cranky old white person who can feel him- or herself being overwhelmed by an unstoppable demographic wave (just like the rest of us).

Sanctimonious indignation over the “welfare queen” living high on the hog is based on a risible canard. It’s similar to having been sold the idea (back in the day) that the Reds are coming (they never did), or that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (it never did) aimed right at us! So naturally we had to attack preemptively. Repeat the lie for long enough, it takes on a life of its own and never dies. The Iraq lie is still going strong among a certain paranoid cohort despite having been wholly invalidated subsequent to better intelligence being gather one we rolled in with our unilateral regime change. Guileless insistence on the lie was part of the Edward Bernays playbook, the father of American marketing and propaganda. That tactic has been in use for centuries, but it took a public relations specialist and mass media to refine it and turn it into a phenomenon. The Soviets, Nazis, and Chinese got nothing on Americans in that regard.

So rather than the infinite regress of “I know a guy whose best friend has a sister who …” how about a few facts? The e-mail said that the mother of 8 kids got $1,500 monthly for each kid. Even if it’s true, which I seriously doubt, 8 kids * $1,500 * 12 months = $144,000 yearly, which is not exactly a kingly sum after taxes, food, clothing, and housing are all paid for.

2015 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Persons in family/household — poverty guideline
1 …………………………………… $11,770
2 …………………………………….. 15,930
3 …………………………………….. 20,090
4 …………………………………….. 24,250
5 …………………………………….. 28,410
6 …………………………………….. 32,570
7 …………………………………….. 36,730
8 …………………………………….. 40,890

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each additional person.

Thus, the Federal Register indicates that poverty level for a family of 9 (mother and 8 kids) would be $45,050. That meager sum is truly ridiculous. So this notional “welfare queen” is well above the putative poverty line, but that line is drawn so low that it’s meaningless except for how government agencies figure payouts, meaning that if a recipient’s income somehow manages to rise above the line, he or she is removed from welfare rolls. I haven’t bothered to discover similar publicly available information with respect to refugees, but I suspect it’s out there to dispel the above lies.

Would it be better if those kids and refugees’ kids lived in penury and grew up desperate for care, scrambling (probably criminally) to fend for themselves after being cast aside by society that offers little or no social safety net? If a revolution is coming, as the writer of that e-mail hopes, it will not be fomented by those protecting what they have. That would be more like a coup. Rather, it will be waged by people with so little that they have nothing left to lose. And who loses more when stable societies fracture and collapse into failed states?

A better characterization of the U.S. welfare system as it currently stands was published in the Oct. 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine: “Getting Jobbed” by Virginia Sole-Smith. Here are a few worthwhile quotes:

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 rebranded the welfare system as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF (pronounced “tanif”), and required recipients to participate in a designated set of “work activities” for twenty to thirty-five hours per week in exchange for cash assistance.

So much for welfare queens sitting on their asses watching premium cable TV, eating chocolates, letting their kids runs wild, while cashing those fat, fat checks.

In Pennsylvania, a family of three can qualify for a TANF grant only if they earn no more than $677 a month. In many states, once a person starts working, fifty cents of every dollar earned are deducted from the TANF grant. In order to emphasize the “temporary” in the program’s name, the law also imposed a five-year limit on the amount of time a family can receive federal assistance. Many states instituted much harsher limits; Arizona’s latest state budget will allow assistance for just one year.

So much for welfare queens collecting those fat, fat checks for decades until all the kids are grown and out of the house.

Welfare reform has been successful by one measure alone: it has reduced government spending. In 1995, about 14 million Americans were on welfare; today, that number is down to 4.2 million. Meanwhile, the benefits received by families with no other cash income now bring them to less than half the federal poverty line, according to research by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In 2014, the median family of three on welfare received a monthly check of just $428, and other government assistance programs have seen their budgets slashed even further. For every hundred families with children that are living in poverty, sixty-eight were able to access cash assistance before Bill Clinton’s welfare reform. By 2013, that number had fallen to twenty-six.

That’s the far better characterization than the storied “welfare queen” someone who knows someone else told yet someone else about. If a few manipulators manage to outmaneuver a system set up to discard them, well, bully for them, I say. That’s tough work — not gainful, perhaps, but worthy of some goddamned compassion.

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