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I think my coworkers believe that every single man, woman, and child who receives public assistance today is perfectly capable of getting off their asses and getting jobs. Forget the fact that minimum wage won't begin to pay rent in many cities, or that people with mental issues or health problems may not be capable of working... the secret to running the government properly would be to abolish welfare once and for all. Having a few people milking the system ruins it... toss it out, regardless of whether it's saving some people who can't work.

Conservatives accuse liberals of wanting to re-distribute all wealth so everyone is "equal"... I'm not for that. I don't think many liberals are, actually. But I would like to keep people from starving to death or dying of curable medical conditions... is that so much to ask?

what's worse...

A welfare system that's too open, so some freeloaders who could work find it easier to milk the system.
A welfare system that's not open enough, so people who aren't capable of working starve in the streets.
I don't think this is a realistic question, we could have the perfect system.
I don't think we should have any kind of government-run welfare or public assistance.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
I think that people who have mental issues or health problems that prevent them from getting jobs are on Social Security. I know that is what my mother went on after her car accident. I think that it is good to have system that helps people who really can't work. My mom wants to have a job. Being a pharmacist was apart of her identity, and coping with the fact that she was forced into retirement was difficult for her. She had started to save, but most people don't have enough money to live on the rest of their lives at 45. Getting a social security check each month means she can continue to live in her home.

I am currently getting unemployment. This is very helpful to Mark and I. I guess if I was more responsible I would have saved several months worth of money just in case, but that is difficult when your budget is tight. It is really nice to get help while I am looking for a job. Being laid-off is already really stressful without the thought of getting evicted.

I don't see these programs as "me supporting other people". I see them as something that I pay money into when I do have a job (through taxes), and it is there for me just in case the worst happens.

I am not sure how welfare works, and have not know many people who were on it. I did know a single mother when I was in college who got food stamps. She was able to complete her classes, and has a really good job now and is a great mother (although no longer single) to boot. But I really don't have a clue about what situations put you on welfare or how easy it is to 'milk the system'.
Apr. 20th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Unemployement and social security are different because those are things that you personally pay into in order to draw from it later. A little part of your previous paychecks were going to unemployement, and your employer was paying in as well.

Welfare is set up for everyone else... especially the disabled, and unpaid workers (parents or caregivers) who've never made enough to pay into the system first.
Apr. 20th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
Unemployment is different in every state. In Wisconsin, the employers pay into the company's unemployment account with the state (and the state determines how much money each company needs to keep in that account), with no employee portion at all.
Apr. 20th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
well yeah, but if the money is coming from a company that the employee works for, you could argue that it's still an employee portion, even if it's not shown on your paycheck. It's money your employer could have given you, but it went to the state instead.
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
Certainly. But the major difference is, you could work at a place for 2 weeks and draw unemployment, and collect WAY more than you would be able to otherwise, because it's the company's fund and not a personal fund.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
See, that's why you go and have a bunch of kids, so you can get mo' money.
Apr. 21st, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, having a kid gets you a whole $322 a month.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
(If you hadn't guessed, I was being sarcastic. I really don't see why people would believe that people ("welfare queens") have more babies on purpose. Kids are expensive! The extra money can't cover the increased cost.)
Apr. 20th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
As someone who probably would have been in foster care or worse without welfare and medicaid when I was a kid, I appreciate the system. And thus, I have a hard time saying it shouldn't exist. Especially for the kids - it's not the kids fault they were born to parents who are either unable to work or too... um... lazy? And want to take advantage of the system. Or like my mom, who just lived in a place with a crap economy and had to support two kids on her own, $30,000 a year is a lot of money where I'm from, but it doesn't begin to support a family - especially now with gas prices and having to truck evereything out there to the middle of nowhere.

Then again, I knew people who took advatage. However, I really think a lot of that could be stopped if people were really doing their jobs and checking up on these people. If they're on welfare but affording a big screen TV and three cars (one of which is a convertable) - that tells me there is a problem. Or, like one person I knew, if the unemployment office (I know you said this is different, but still) actually checked up ... he would write down "Mark's lumber yard" as a place he tried to get employment - Mark was his 15 year old son, and the phone number he supplied for the business was his son's cell phone. he did this for YEARS (with made up businesses run by his friends and family members) and never got caught. These are -fixable- problems.
Apr. 20th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
I don't really have an opinion on this, but I think your quiz wording is biased against option #2. The part after the comma implies that without a govenrment welfare program all people unable to work will starve, when the government's welfare program is not the only thing feeding people who can't work. Unless we're also getting rid of the Red Cross and community homeless shelters and food pantries and church missions, etc., I think that's an exaggeration that will lead to slanted results.
Apr. 20th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Damn your triple negatives, I ticked the wrong one first try.
Apr. 20th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)

ALL people will not starve, but some people WILL starve. Because the Red Cross, homeless shelter and food pantries and church missions? All good, all helpful, but cannot reach everyone. Just the other day on mainstream t.v., I was watching a report on how local food pantries had empty shelves. Donations were dropping since food was getting so expensive. The elderly were having to choose between food or medicine.

Every little bit helps. I'm not saying the government can reach everyone either. They can't. But people die on the streets all the time. Take away welfare and a few more people will die. It doesn't take much.

I'd also like to add that a lot of welfare is not going to people who can't work. It's going to people who do work and can't make ends meet. Huge difference.

For example, New York is the biggest city in the country and we are also the most expensive city to live in. If my household is pulling in over 100k a year and we can only afford the "gentrifying" (not gentrified) neighborhoods in BK (two cop shootings in my hood on the same block, mine, in one year, yay!) how are my clients, who are living under the poverty level gonna make it? I have clients who carpool with other people, commuting over an hour to get to work. And they also get welfare. It is still not enough.

It's a jacked up system and there are free-loaders and there are also good people needing to work the system because the system won't let you live in an honest way. $1200 rent a month, 3 kids, 2 bedrooms (maybe) and the help you get is less than a 1/3 of what you pay in housing alone. So you gotta hustle. God forbid you get sick. Or you lose your childcare. Make a little too much, which isn't very hard, and suddenly you get no welfare, the hole gets deeper. It's a lot hard to go up the economic ladder than it is to go down.

People are walking a fine line every day and most of us don't realize it or see it. People are resilient and resourceful, but also mortal. Poverty Kills.

--dreago, social worker and former welfare kid.
Apr. 21st, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
I'd also like to add that a lot of welfare is not going to people who can't work. It's going to people who do work and can't make ends meet. Huge difference.

Exactly. That's the situation my mother was in - raising two kids all by herself in an economically shitty place. She worked, but got about $16,000 a year for most of my childhood working as a receptionist at an insurance agency. Which... just isn't enough for HER really, let alone two kids.

That's my biggest problem though - it wasn't MY fault I was born into a shitty situation. I surely didn't ask for it. But taking away welfare/medicaid would have punished me, either by having me live on the streets with no medical care, or by taking me away from my mother, which would have really, really pissed me off. Yeah.

It's true there are people who take advantage of the system, but I really think there can be things put into place to prevent more of it than is currently being done. Don't punish the people who are just trying to earn an honest living and supporting a family.
Apr. 21st, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
The worst thing is to answer a statement.
Apr. 21st, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Hmm... I think the way this is phrased is sort of biased. I definitely don't want people who are physically unable to work or their children to starve in the streets. That's horrible. So I don't know how I could check the second option, even though I don't think a perfect system is possible and I don't want it to be "easy" to milk the system. Isn't there something in-between?
Apr. 21st, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
there's a lot of in-between, but there's always a line... you either leave some people out, or you include people who shouldn't be there. Our current system is one version of the middle, because it probably does a little of both, but there are millions of people trying to push it one way or the other because their idea of where we should compromise doesn't match someone else's.
Apr. 21st, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Not that I want to be a dirty socialist…well, okay…maybe I do…but the big problem with our social services now is that they’re totally piecemeal and, as a result, totally inefficient. In my work, I know a lot of women who could work at higher paying jobs but keep their low-paying jobs because they need to be able to qualify for medical cards. Universal health care would help with that. I know a lot of women staying at home who would prefer to work but can’t find a job that pays for the child care they would need. Government-provided child care would help with that. We’re so afraid of government programs that we try to do the minimum, and end up with totally nonsensical policies that don’t give people the support they need to be successful.

Am I totally pinko now? More and more each day, I know.

Apr. 21st, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
I don't think I would be willing to live in a country without a good welfare system.

It is a mark of advancement and I have seen the difference that it can make.

I thanks my lucky starts that I was born into a community that gave me a very strong work ethic and am smart enough to be able to turn that into an income that I hope will support a family.

But in my community there was a lot of seasonal work and some years there would be not roads being built so those guys would be out of work as well, a good system meant the difference between them feeling the pinch a bit and acrtual poverty.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2008 10:30 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if people in the states are worse than other people in the world, but here we tend to watch one episode of a news-magazine type show that tells a story of some obstinate, lazy jerk wasting taxpayer money by sitting around on welfare, and then we judge the entire system based on that.

we're also very separated by distance here... if you live out in the suburbs where there aren't people on public assistance (or at least, not obvious people), you can live your whole life never knowing someone who truly needed welfare, got it, and then was helped out by it.
Apr. 21st, 2008 11:00 am (UTC)
I don't believe in total wealth redistribution - it's a nice idea but unfortunately some people aren't going to do any work unless there is an incentive offered.

On the other hand I *do* believe in sufficient wealth redistribution that everyone has a waterproof roof over their heads, 3 meals a day made up of nutritious food that isn't past its use-by date and access to medical care and education. I don't much care why it is that people don't have income - whether they are too ill to work, or there are no jobs, or jobs pay too little (better minimum wage!) or they are just too lazy; I think they still deserve that minimum level of income.

Welfare systems that penalise you for getting a poorly paid job (that is, if you get a job you loose more in benefit than you gain in pay) are useless and should not be allowed.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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