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Welfare and the like. Thoughts?
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laurapalmer



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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futuristxen wrote:
Is the welfare system really the place to be looking to save money first though? There's more meaningful corruption to fix in corporate tax loopholes, and defense spending.


Buy this girl breakfast.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:23 am
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icarus502
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Sage Francis wrote:
Icarus,
If you have the time, I'd really like for you to provide more to this discussion and the #Occupy discussion other than offering quick jabs and picture links. Because you can. It's almost like you're egging on fights or fishing around for petty arguments just to let people know that you're frustrated. But man...that's my job! haha. Nah, but...you have a lot of experience with the topics at hand and you're a strong writer. I know it's easy to get frustrated or feel like you're just getting trapped into troll wars that goes nowhere. But if you're posting at all, then, to me, it means you're itching to get some shit off your chest. If nothing else, I'd like to know if there's a blog or a place online where you post you writings.


I thought that I was in the #Occupy discussion for substance. I read peoples' responses and posted replies. When someone made the claim that I was evading the topic, I asked them what it was they wanted to know and replied with like 600 words (that never got a response, btw). The picture I posted, I thought, was illustrative and funny.

LP has it right, though. As you allude, no I'm not writing anywhere right now except on my dissertation (and the rare mainstream spot, more of which will be coming up soon). I talk about this stuff on facebook a lot, but there it's generally clear that the people I'm engaged with are acting in good faith. This thread right here is a little different. It's Reagan-era "welfare cheat" ideology that's either 1) trolling or 2) too fucking stupid to engage. I'm busy. I don't have enough hours in my day.

I mean, really. The number of people living below the poverty line is increasing every single day. And the working poor are so often the lucky ones. A lot of people can't find jobs at all. And then, you know, there's the fact that a full percent of the population (predominantly culled from the poor) are imprisoned. Wages have stagnated while productivity has skyrocketed. We simply live in an epoch in which the wealthy simply have no use for a large portion of our society and are in position to demand that many of those they do have a use for are often still struggling to make ends meet, either because their wages are too low or because they were seduced into taking on debts for things (like homes or education, for instance) that were historically considered good investments, vehicles to class upward mobility (or, for the middle class, stability) but are now primary contributors to their precarity.

And part of the reason that this is all even possible is that first, supply-siders came in and did as much damage as they could to the social contract cutting or altogether eliminating taxes on the wealthy and corporations, doing their best to demonize and dissolve workers' unions, and rhetorically (with full-throated racism, usually) demonizing social safety nets for the poor, citing welfare queens just like the assholes in this thread, like they didn't learn that shit from Reagan. And after the reign of supply-siders, neoliberals domestically "ended welfare as we know it" while forging trade agreements that had the primary goal/effect of introducing the domestic underclasses into the global underclass. Then there were wars, the real estate bubble, the recession. We know this fucking story.

And in this fucking environment this fucking environment?! Hot on the heels of a debate whether the developing movement to actually address everything in the past few paragraphs the same cat who was in that thread pretending that this basic history is inconceivable and that the protests aren't clearly about anything (like Seinfeid, LOL!) comes in here talking about welfare cheats? All anecdotally, again, like he didn't learn this bullshit from Reagan. At some point, like I said, time being so scarce, you have to decide whether this is coming from a position of foolishness or pure villainy.

You really have no idea what someone's situation is like when they're using food stamps. I've been on them shits before. I've been off them shits when I should have been on them because the meetings with the social workers are designed to be shaming. This cost me, literally, thousands of dollars at the time, much of which went into more debt. But at least some POS behind me in line doesn't see my late model vehicle with alumnus decals, or the private school logo on my kids' shirt (nevermind how much I actually pay in tuition), or the contents of my cart and use that for ammunition to complain to their racist buddies about welfare abusers. But the meetings are run by suspicious professionals. You have to both document whatever income you get and that you're looking for work. One time, my mother-in-law paid me back for something I'd bought for her. It was like $50 or something. I got a letter from the government asking who this person was and why a check from them would appear in my bank account. You have to forfeit some privacy to receive benefits, and that was long before the recent 4th Amendment violating laws in southern states designed to catch people "cheating" on welfare by being addicted to drugs. Of course, those programs cost a lot more than they'd ostensibly save (such a small number of benefits recipients are drug addicts, they're just poor people) but the cost, as most critics don't understand, is something the American right is more than willing to pay. The more they can make the experience humiliating, the more people will go into debt to pay for food, the more people are willing to work for unfair wages, the more people go to corporate prisons, the more you can demonize them demographically, the more structure-based solutions seem unrealistic or stupid, the more profits for rich people.

---

On the contents of the cart and the asshole judgment that it provokes. I read an article once in which a guy on food stamps (one of those Joe the Plumber "I'm a white man in America! How did this happen?! I just know I'm one of the good ones, not like THOSE people" types) was talking about how he'd feel too embarrassed to purchase nice food with food stamps so he instead sticks to non-uppity foods like hotdogs and such. Little does dude know that there are plenty of people who'd judge him for that too! When people think, again like the assholes in this thread, that "I'm paying for this guy's food" they feel like they have an imprimatur to police his body and what goes into it and to survey the effects. Is the guy eating gross, processed poor people food like Doritos, hot dogs, and soda? There's a judgment for that! Are his dinners looking more exotic than yours, indicative perhaps of a taste in ethnic fare, perceived worldliness, or a "useless" Humanities degree (duh, everyone should have gone to business school to learn to be an oppressor too!)? And what about the eggs, are they cage-free? Free-roaming? They'd better not be, goddammit. Is the guy fat? Is he cooler than you? Is he a woman? Does she have kids? Where's their daddy? Were they married? To avoid judgment, it'd better be clear that you're getting that hamburger in 5 lb rolls with canned peas and corn. And you'd better be dressed like a depression era itinerant farmer and look like Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with the appropriate mixture of quiet humility, sadness, and "Oh My Fucking God, I Never Want To Be Like That Guy." Obviously, this entails being white and a man before you even pass go.



Last edited by icarus502 on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:22 am
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Limbs



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
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I wasn't really coming from a place of "I think this will help fix things!". That's why I didn't post it in the occupy thread.

I was thinking more how it specifically affects our psyche. Does it breed too much irresponsibility and dependency?

I could have been more thought out and clearer. I blame it on the exhaustion. And driving too much. *shrug*.

Ic, I like jabs but I think you can be funnier.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:30 am
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Limbs



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I also absolutely was not trying to insight any guilt. I don't have any guilt about it.

I was trying to show my perspective and admit it's biased. I really didn't mean "share the time you were on welfare!", but again I could have presented the discussion better.

Maybe some statistics are helpful here just none that have been presented so far. Everyone here knows people are broke. Everyone here knows how welfare is demonized.

I definitely didn't think people would get so pissy, but again, I could have been clearer. But man, is this how people are at these occupy events? Snooty assholes dissmissing everyone? (no, of course not).

So is it the demonization or the system itself that breeds poor qualities for generations? Does it breed poor qualities at all? Is that just a bullshit talking point for opposers that got stuck in my head?
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:00 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


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laurapalmer wrote:
Sage Francis wrote:
Icarus,
If you have the time, I'd really like for you to provide more to this discussion and the #Occupy discussion other than offering quick jabs and picture links. Because you can. It's almost like you're egging on fights or fishing around for petty arguments just to let people know that you're frustrated. But man...that's my job! haha. Nah, but...you have a lot of experience with the topics at hand and you're a strong writer. I know it's easy to get frustrated or feel like you're just getting trapped into troll wars that goes nowhere. But if you're posting at all, then, to me, it means you're itching to get some shit off your chest. If nothing else, I'd like to know if there's a blog or a place online where you post you writings.


I would normally agree, but lotta welfare guilt in here providing a stunning lack of perspective. Seems like quick jabs and picture links is the rightly measured response. For the objectivity we have going on so far, we might as well start a Christianity thread.

21% of all children living in the United States are living in poverty. The number of children living in poverty increased by 33 percent between 2000 and 2009. Isn't that alarming enough? We have passed 1/5 and are working on 1/4. The discussion shouldn't be anywhere around if welfare is ok or not, or if it works, it should be purely around how have we let a system thrive in which so many people are crushed.

Should we move on from welfare, does it work? How are those even questions to have?

Let's be real, Jake's viewpoint is exactly the problem. NH is at 5.3% unemployment. The worst peak in decades was in January through July 1992 in NH. The state poverty level is at 10%. Those are the facts. Jake's situation is actually an anomaly, statistically, in NH. And yet, somehow, his conclusion is that people don't have a job and just live off the system. Just like you, right Jake? If you would have maybe worked more than 60 hours, maybe you wouldn't have been such a fucking burden on the great state of NH. Funnily enough, if you look at the poverty numbers, most people are actually employed. However, due to lack of assets, family support systems, and well paying jobs, they are still in poverty. The sad fact is, people are more like Jake than not, working and not getting by.

Jake isn't a fucking special snowflake. Jake is actually the rule more than the exception, and that is what is so goddamn sad about this. See, Jake be letting emotions cloud reality like a motherfucker. Jake thinks fuck, a perfect storm of shit put him into the situation, and he is working, so how possibly, could the majority of motherfuckers work as hard or HARDER than him and still be fucked. Can't be. Must be that fuckers aren't trying. They don't have a job. Or they have 7 kids by 9 fathers and are a welfare queen. Or they are just scamming the system. That is exactly the bullshit that was dispelled in this fucking thread, is shown statistically to be inaccurate, and is completely and patently false by even the smell test. If,however, you wanted to argue the other side, you could look at the numbers, and argue in fact, that Jake actually IS THE EXCEPTION. Jake had a temporary setback, a short term problem. In fact, most of the problems are not temporary, and in fact, they are a long term problem with no hope for resolution as things are presently constructed.

Yet, somehow, the rugged individualism and self-reliance spouted by the tea party and republicans comes from the states with the worst levels of children in poverty and poverty in general. And somehow some welfare guilt is letting an intelligent group here get caught up in dogma that isn't true.

So, minus the rant, and assuming that I have it wrong and Jake lives in AR and I confused him with someone else, I think my frustration in these threads is that people don't seem to use any data or actual facts and we get into goofy circular arguments or personal anecdotes. We have data, we can look at that and outline the problem, but it takes going into rant or quick jab mode to even catch anyone's attention to move the conversation.

I mean, holy shit, though, it started with "Welfare, in it's current state, is too easy to abuse. For every success story you will find just as many "failed" stories. It's a system that could use an overhaul, but politicians won't touch it for fear of losing the next election cycle, or missing some big contribution because they caused some beneficiary too much grief. " Holy. fucking. shit. That's the conclusion you came too? THAT. Actually, no. Not even close.

But. not to put words in Icarus' mouth, maybe he just wanted to thrown some jabs and drop some hijinks into the thread.


I didn't bother to tell the story of the person I know that has abused the system, that would have lent to the "for each positive there's a negative" line. Is it OK to have people who use their EBT cards to buy macaroni for their kids so they can sit at home and play video games all day? There are only so many hours in a day I can spend on the SFR forum. I never said I thought we should do away with welfare, I don't think my post came across that way. Maybe Welfare is a great system, rarely abused, my situation is the norm, and I'm way off base. It's not like I sit around looking at welfare statistics all day. Is it working?

How do we resolve the issue in your post? Tell everyone to be nicer? Don't judge that person buying $100 in lottery tickets with cash then turn around and use their EBT card for the groceries? It's kind of hard not to, isn't it? Do away with Welfare to expose the truth that 1/3 of the country or more can't afford to live for whatever reason and when people start starving hope that something is done fast? Train social workers to be more compassionate? Stand on the Brooklyn Bridge so people can't get home for a day, then walk around Wall Street in a zombie costume?

I've been boycotting Walmart for more than 5 years, where are my motherfuckers at?
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:01 am
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Sage Francis
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Ask and ye shall receive. Heck, I even got a rare laurapalmer appearance to boot! Thank you's.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:51 am
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IAmNiki



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Welfare needs to be reformed. There's not any shame in saying that, nor in saying that the people that abuse the system, or simply don't need to be on it, shouldn't be getting government assistance. I know plenty of people, personally, that abuse welfare. They are all single without children (except for one that comes to mind) under thirty five and struggling to find employment (or otherwise not really looking at all.) They sell the food stamps that they don't need for cash, usually for weed or alcohol. They sure as fuck aren't self conscious about the food they DO buy when they use their food stamp card to buy food with it in the first place, or at the very least, show absolutely no evidence of it. In fact, you can just go through most self-checkout lanes at the grocery store and pay with your stamp card.. where's the judgement there?

I feel like in an economy like this one there is a lot less emphasis on how the guy at the checkout lane pays for his hotdogs.. or if he's buying hot dogs, canned spaghetti, or all of the ingredients for a give course meal. When my mother and I were on welfare I never experienced any of those problems, nor did the children I hung out with that were all on government assistance, or any of the white trash families on the white trash middle-of-nowhere neighborhood I grew up in. I'm really interested to see what kind of studies have been done to point to welfare recipients having to curb their type of food choice or if that is something maybe a little bit isolated to the guy that wrote the article?

I just think that, like happens sometimes on this forum, people are afraid to 'demonize' a 'liberal' idea because they might get called names like 'conservative' or 'republican.'

With all of that said? I think it's a lot better to keep taking care of the people that need it rather than ruin it for everyone. Because, let's face it, the majority of people are off in a five year time frame and the majority of them are not abusing the system. Taking care of the "abusive" minority group within welfare is worth the cost to make sure everyone else gets the care they need.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:02 am
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icarus502
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Look, assholes. Can I call you assholes?
Just because you know someone who "abuses" the system (presumably by being poor and spending money on things that you think aren't useful?) doesn't mean there's anything particularly broken about the system that warrants "reform." Seriously, what are you proposing? That the criteria for receiving food stamps be changed? That people who receive them get less? That the system be more evasive than the government having access to peoples' banks accounts, that the system be more humiliating to poor people?

Look. I get it. On a basic lizard brain level, you feel yourself struggling and you see someone else who, in your mind, has it much easier than you while not working as hard as you do. They have money in their pocket that you don't have in yours because your money is going to necessities (also: whatever the fuck you want that you can afford) while they get government assistance that helps them afford whatever the fuck they want and spend less money on food.

But. So just so we know what we're talking about, how much money we're talking about. I just made up a guy. His name is James, he lives in Rhode Island. He's single, 31, no kids. He gets $250/week from his job. Not a lot of money but whatever. It's enough for his rent and groceries are tight if he wants to enjoy his pot or whatever. He decides to cheat the system (He'll pretend to be actually poor! He makes $1000/month! That's not poor!) and apply for food stamps. He has a car he's still paying on it's worth $10000 but he still owes $5000 on it and $300 in the bank. It turns out he's eligible for food stamps, according to the government's SNAP pre-screening tool.

Johnny, tell him what he's won!


Quote:

It appears that you may be eligible for SNAP benefits. Based on the information you provided, you may be eligible for between $38 to $48 in SNAP benefits per month.



But wait, I'm talking about a guy with a job. Working poor type fella. What if he had no job and no car and no money in the bank (I'm still saying he pays $500 in rent somehow).


Quote:

It appears that you may be eligible for SNAP benefits. Based on the information you provided, you may be eligible for between $117 to $127 in SNAP benefits per month.




Baby you're a rich man!

SOURCE: http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/

In summary, you assholes are assholes. And you're complaining over a very small amount of money that is used to help the poor. I don't see you people complaining about the fact that the government subsidized a large amount of your student loans while you were in college. That's something we can all relate to, right. The Stafford loan program subsidizes the interest rates on your loans for the entire time you're in college, or while you're working on graduate school. At 6.8% APR that's no small chunk of change. I've benefited from this particular government welfare program much more than I have from the brief time I was on food stamps. Between my wife and I, we're approximately four degrees in on our subsidized loans. Thankfully, we haven't had to borrow much but even if I'd only borrowed $25000 through the program, that would come out to $1700/year. Every year, until I'm done with all my advanced degrees (which increase income and longterm earning potential nearly tenfold). That's more money than our guy Jimmy the Pothead Slacker gets from food stamps even when he has ZERO assets and income.

Imagine how many young professionals like so many of us are "cheating the system" and getting all this aid when we don't even "need" it. And there's no shame. Nobody on our backs to pay it off (yet). No professional gatekeepers interested in shaming us for doing it. No politicians would dare suggest getting rid of the student loan program, which has benefited damn near every middle class professional in the country, to a one. But it's expensive. It's typical of the sort of "aid" the middle class gets that the poor don't even have access to. And it's off-site. Nobody has to even know. It's not like you have a brightly colored card on you whenever you get groceries that points out "yeah, I'm currently receiving thousands of dollars in government aid right now."

And we have to make a basic distinction here: the loan program is "improve your earning potential, edify yourself, and stabilize the middle class" money. This is probably a good thing, but it pales in comparison, morally speaking, to using the same money to ensure that somebody (or their kid) doesn't starve to death in the streets.

And this isn't the only "benefit" that so many of us receive, many of which compare favorably to the tax burden of the TANF/SNAP. And this is to say nothing of corporate taxes and the regressive nature of the tax structure for the super rich.

So, yeah, I get the lizard brain jealousy aspect of it. But be a fucking primate. Think about it. Pull your head out of your classist assholes, people. And get a fucking life. Do you. Stop judging other people's groceries.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:03 pm
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anomaly
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you make great points, but you sound angry.

judging us for judging
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:30 pm
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Raoul DeGroot



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I originally thought this thread said "Waffles and the like. Your thoughts." and I wish that's what it had been.

White people stop thinking about welfare all the time. fuuuck...
Why do you guys love thinking about other people getting free cheetos n shit all the damn time?
It's okay. We can spare red drink and fuckin' Oscar Mayer bologna n dumb bullshit.

I know it all adds up in the end, but this should really be an essential test of will for all white people (and non-white white people). -Just as basic priority management training and anti-dorkness skills.

Ha. Just be cool. Don't you guys know how to be cool? :/ I use emoticons. Thats cool.

Think about waffles. Your own waffles. You'll be less dumber.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:39 pm
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


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Raoul DeGroot wrote:
I originally thought this thread said "Waffles and the like. Your thoughts." and I wish that's what it had been.

White people stop thinking about welfare all the time. fuuuck...
Why do you guys love thinking about other people getting free cheetos n shit all the damn time?
It's okay. We can spare red drink and fuckin' Oscar Mayer bologna n dumb bullshit.

I know it all adds up in the end, but this should really be an essential test of will for all white people (and non-white white people). -Just as basic priority management training and anti-dorkness skills.

Think about waffles. Your own waffles. You'll be less dumber.


Word. Also, another point on welfare cheats. So my dad's an attorney who used to work in the state disability office. He once told me a funny story about a guy he knew from the hood who comes in to the office for his disability check. Every time he sees the guy in the office, the guy's like "yeah, I'm going to get back to work real soon, it's just that my neck is still killing me." And it's a big joke. Because, unbeknownst to the guy, he's not getting a disability check because of the neck injury he got like six years ago on the job, but because a psychologist has determined that his alcoholism makes him psychologically unfit to work. So the guy thinks that he's getting one over on the system by faking injury, when in reality they've already given him a terminal diagnosis.

Alls this is to say, if you see someone that you think is cheating the system (esp if they're bragging about it), there's a good chance you're missing large parts of the story. They might be too.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:47 pm
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futuristxen



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laurapalmer wrote:
futuristxen wrote:
Is the welfare system really the place to be looking to save money first though? There's more meaningful corruption to fix in corporate tax loopholes, and defense spending.


Buy this girl breakfast.


No seriously. Someone buy me breakfast. It's going to be a week of ramen this week otherwise...

Can I do a kickstarter project for breakfast?
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:02 pm
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Limbs



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Limbs wrote:
So is it the demonization or the system itself that breeds poor qualities for generations? Does it breed poor qualities at all? Is that just a bullshit talking point for opposers that got stuck in my head?


Ok, good talk. Did you say something about money or no?

No? Ok. Yeah man, people are totally broke.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:00 pm
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futuristxen



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I vote bullshit talking point.

No wait... #bullshittalkingpoint
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:29 pm
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Raoul DeGroot



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Welfare is a dumb substitute for living wages and a healthy social structure and it probably is pretty demoralizing...

But worrying about it too much is like worrying about people who overuse bandaids because they keep getting stabbed/stabbing themselves in the finger.
Once people are more frequently avoiding stabs to the finger is the time to worry about how many band aids are getting used up. And whether they are generic band-aids or spongebob deluxe bandaids.

Don't worry your pretty head about it.
Post Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:31 pm
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