All Articles Tagged "republicans welfare"
Craig Harrington, an economic researcher, slammed the researchers behind “The Work Versus Welfare” report, which claims that welfare recipients make more than entry-level workers. “Unfortunately…Tanner [the study’s lead author] nor his counterparts in the right-wing media seem to have any clue how anti-poverty programs function,” Media Matters reports.
As MN has reported before, the study insinuates that federal assistance is much too attractive. Welfare pays its recipients more than the minimum wage in more than 30 states. According to the report, government assistance pays more than a $15 per hour job — Hawaii dishes out $29.13 an hour to welfare-dependent Americans, it said.
Harrington is questioning the credibility of the study. Tanner’s research falsely assumes “that recipients take full advantage of every single benefit program that is potentially available to them,” he added.
“Right-wing media are promoting a flawed study that claims it is more lucrative for low-income Americans to accept government benefits than take low-paying jobs,” Harrington said. “[A] notion that reveals the conservative sphere’s ignorance on how anti-poverty programs work.”
While Republican rhetoric has worked to convince constituents that welfare checks are too appealing and therefore discourage job search, previous studies have debunked this argument. More than 90 percent of federal and state benefits have gone to the elderly, disabled, or working households, “not able-bodied working-age Americans who choose not to work.” Those who are not aged, handicapped, or employed only received nine percent of distributed benefits.
Among that nine percent, recipients are using government assistance for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits, which only supports individuals with significant work history, and Social Security benefits.
“If you’re making, in California, $44,000 a year and your boss offers you a raise to $50,000, you would probably say, ‘No thanks. Cause I don’t want to lose out on things like food stamp benefits…’” Charles Payne, a Fox Business News commentator said.
Well that’s funny, because a California family that earns $44,000 would “almost never qualify for food stamps,” Media Matters adds. Secondly, studies have shown that government safety nets aren’t keeping Americans poor, they’re actually keeping them out of poverty. “[T]he poverty rate in 2010 would have been twice as high without a social safety net,” Media Matters said. Welfare recipients are more, not less, likely to experience income mobility and escape poverty.
Tanner, the lead researcher, points to welfare as the culprit behind unemployment in poor households, but he neglects to take the poor economic climate into account. “Bad” positions are plaguing the job market. About 47 percent of workers didn’t have health insurance coverage in 2010 while 53 percent of employees had jobs that paid less than $37,000 a year.
Tanner believes that raising wages for workers would only increase unemployment. “This conclusion, of course, flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary and simply futhers conservative attacks against living wages,” Harrington said.
While Tanner’s flawed study is spreading like wildfire, this proves just how the malleable public is easily fed fallacious information — and believes it.
Some of you all may have seen that EBT (It’s Free Swipe your EBT) song, which has been going viral over the last week, right. All have to say on that one is that there is a special type of ignorant, which thinks it’s okay to mock people, who rely on public assistance for their daily assistance. Most particularly now since the right wing is doing everything in its power to strip away the very safety nets for the working class, the poor and even the middle class (when they need them), which has gotten folks through some very tough times.
For many folks, the stigmatization of public assistance continues with uninformed claims about welfare and its recipients in this country. Folks may see, read or hear about some extreme case of public assistance abuse and believe that it applies to the 45 million people, or 12 percent of U.S population, who use the plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese. Few will actually sit and mull over the fact that food stamp usage is now at record highs and climbing every month. This program now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.
Likewise, this new face of poverty in America includes more than the Tawanqie and the Shanifas of the world; the new face of poverty, mostly the result of the economic crisis and the ever weakening economy, also includes the married couples, struggling college students, the newly jobless, who have seen their unemployment benefits lapse, and workers whose slender wages leave them making the hard choice between rent and food. And still, the Republicans and Democrats who nearly eliminated welfare in the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan and again through the 90s, under Bill Clinton, through ineffective welfare reform acts, have not only unfairly targeted these safety nets but basically are in denial of the very policies and structural causes that have contributed to the need for welfare and other public assistance in the first place.
Policies including tax cuts for the rich and corporations, who send jobs overseas more than they provide employment for Americans here at home. Common place policies include providing billions in property tax breaks, free land and other kind of subsidies to attract or retain big box businesses, which do more to exploit workers than they do to provide livable and sustainable wages. And let us not forget the trillions in bailout money, including an array of other financial programs, which provided support to banks, car companies and now chicken factory farmers, who gave us little to no assurance that they will not engage in the very same practices, which caused the economic crisis to begin with.
But yet, with the economy in the condition it is in, we only want to discuss whether or not Latoya is smoking weed in her Section 8 approved apartment or has “schemed” her way into buying a $5 sandwich from Subways with her EBT card.
Last week marked the 15th anniversary of welfare reform, signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The goal of the reform was to move struggling Americans into job training and employment (also known as welfare to work). After the economy weakened, states are continuing to push people off welfare, even while fewer and fewer jobs are being created. Likewise, housing foreclosure has contributed to record levels of homelessness in some places, food cupboards nationwide are struggling for funding and 15 percent of American households in general are experiencing “food insecurity” at some point. Meanwhile our elected leaders including Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan are pushing budget proposals for deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and even more fundamental changes to how it is administered, particularly turning SNAP into a block grant program, which would allow individual states to set the criteria and stipulations for how the money would be distributed.
SO yeah, with most Americans living about a paycheck and a half away from financial ruin, I find it distasteful, to say the least, to mock through song the very safety net programs, which could mean the difference between hunger, homelessness and even death. And quite frankly, I have grown weary of this aspirational mindset, which seems to sings praises of the rich while making scapegoats of the working poor. I’m sayin’, when did genuine concern over the welfare over our own citizens become a negative trait?
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.