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Welfare and the like. Thoughts?
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mlanifesto



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 354
Location: UK>Head Like a Fucking Orange County>San Francisco
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Wonder if the anecdotal stories of people in stupid new cars with foodstamps will die down now there has been slight crimp on predatory loans, and the obvious reposessions that followed.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:10 am
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T-Wrex
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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I wonder if a net profit is made by Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle, Tyson, Archer-Daniels, ConAgra, Cargill, Smithfield, Kroger, WinnDixie, Monsanto, etc., after all the welfare taxes are taken out of the white collar salaries... while, at the same time, all their crap food is being bought by the poor people on welfare?
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:12 am
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redball



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Location: Northern New Jersey
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MP3D wrote:
whats sad is the generations that have grown up 100% dependent on government assistance.


While I agree that this probably happens, do you know why? Is it the availability of Government assistance, or structural unemployment, racism, or general lack of opportunity? Did these people finish school? Did their children?

MP3D wrote:
i live in a pretty poor neighborhood. most of my neighbors have no jobs, stay at home all days , have tons of children and drive nicer cars than i do. as to anomoly's point, i see it 80% of the time too. lonestar card in checkout line, $80K SUV in the parking lot.


How did they get these SUVs? They did not get an $80k SUV purely from welfare funds, that's for sure. Did they get the vehicle before entering the welfare system? Is it perhaps not theirs? Are they working on top of receiving welfare, and if so doesn't that help to invalidate the claim that welfare removes motivation?

MP3D wrote:
the system is broken. its said that its easier to obtain a lonestar card in texas if you are an illegal immigrant, than a TX citizen.


This may be true, but it is likely because of other reasons than a broken welfare system. The problem here lies in the unwillingness to provide a safe, legal environment for immigrants to work in. This creates a system by which business owners can take advantage of cheap labor and immigrants can take advantage of welfare because they are being paid off the books. You're blaming the immigrants for using the situation to the fullest, only to still live in low income areas, and you're mad because they have good cars.

MP3D wrote:
what irritates me is the lack of motivation these families have. out on the curb drinking beer everyday when i come home for lunch. no ambition. happy to live off others hard work. contribute!!!


What about those people with $80k SUVs? Surely they contributed. They did something to get those vehicles. But, what if we were to "reform" welfare assistance to make it more difficult to get or even cut assistance? Would that motivate people? Or, would it lower living standards back to levels not seen on a wide scale for at least 50 years? Did you know that poor people spend a higher percentage of their income than the rich do? When poor people can't spend then less money goes into retail. The rich do not suddenly spend more when they get more money, instead they save more and the only way to make use of that savings is for other rich people to get loans. So, using macroeconomic theories, which scenario is more likely to help the economy: more or less assistance?

MP3D wrote:
yes, i agree. but seriously, a lot of families are dependent on the government for everything. its so easy to be controlled when this occurs. what will happens when the country is no longer offering such programs. people with no skills or job experience are pretty much fucked.


Well, if we apply previous logic, won't these people magically start to contribute? Do we lower assistance levels until we start seeing people become completely broken and homeless, then pick the ones that can't make it up and only then provide more assistance? How do you change a system so that people who have no marketable skills, are discriminated against, and have been driven completely out of the workforce are suddenly made whole again? Then again, what evidence do you have that these people were whole to begin with? Were their great grandparents better off in the 1920's, or were they living in a slum then as well? Are these the same people who own $80k SUVs, if so, how did they get them with no skills beyond obtaining government assistance?

MP3D wrote:
its almost out of a twisted envy that i get so mad about this. "why dont they have to work, and i do?" mentality. i know thats not a healthy viewpoint, but im surrounded by this a lot here in my neighborhood and TX in general. on one side they have reached the top..they will not climb any higher on any ladder, but as long as they are comfortable living on fixed means, i dont see them trying to better themselves.


The grass is always greener, my friend. I'll offer their viewpoint: "Look at him, he is so lucky to have a job. Why won't anyone hire me, so I can't work, and he can? This $80k SUV is the only truly nice thing I have in life." Slightly more seriously, how do you know these people have not tried to better themselves? Why is a system that doesn't throw them out on the street worse than the alternative? Do we want our streets littered with homeless people? Will those people be more likely to better themselves?

AdamBomb wrote:
phataccino wrote:
Did mp3d just say 80 percent of people he sees on the Lonestar card drive $80,000 SUVs? I'm gonna call bullshit on that one.


I will say when I worked at a grocery store for about 3 years, a significant amount of the customers who used WIC or the Lone Star Card had brand new cars and trucks. You don't try to judge, but the Lone Star card would require going to a remote panel to run the card so it was obvious when folks were using one. Then you carry the groceries out and there is a brand new F250 with all the bells and whistles you think...wtf? This happened often enough, where it was pretty much a running joke amongst the grocery store employees. Then you see some dude who brings a bunch of change in like he dug in his couch or broke his piggy bank just to buy generic bologna hop in his 89 Celica with no hubcaps (maybe needs a jump). I don't know what the right answer is, but what I saw was pretty fucked up. I want to help that Celica dude out...not greedy McGee.


I highlighted a key section of your post, and I want to call that out. You say that you're trying not to judge, but you are doing so much judging it's laughable to say that you even tried. Without knowing anything more than the groceries a person buys, what they look like, and what vehicle brought them there you have formed a narrative in which they are a welfare cheat and are less deserving of help than the next person. Maybe you've read Blink! and think that snap judgments are better than not, but I don't think this is a great example of their usage.


I would like to offer a different theory: The state of Texas is not good at managing its welfare programs. It has structural problems that are unique to the area. Texas has 10% lower average income compared to the national average, a 20% higher poverty rate compared to the national average, a large population of veterans, a large hispanic population with a significant undocumented population. These things are all correlated strongly with welfare usage, some with obvious causation. [source: census.gov] Texas has a large caseload of welfare recipients, third in the nation, which makes people on welfare more prevalant and easily accessed. The cases where a welfare recipient, or someone thought to be a recipient, appears to be defrauding the system or over-reliant on the system are somewhat more obvious than the average welfare case, and so it becomes easy to generate an availability hueristic that overrepresents these cases. [source: this site, which claims it comes from the ACF but I can't verify right now]

mlanifesto wrote:
Wonder if the anecdotal stories of people in stupid new cars with foodstamps will die down now there has been slight crimp on predatory loans, and the obvious reposessions that followed.


I wouldn't doubt that some of these cases involve predatory loans, but we have only the feigntist idea how these people came to drive those vehicles.

T-Wrex wrote:
I wonder if a net profit is made by Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle, Tyson, Archer-Daniels, ConAgra, Cargill, Smithfield, Kroger, WinnDixie, Monsanto, etc., after all the welfare taxes are taken out of the white collar salaries... while, at the same time, all their crap food is being bought by the poor people on welfare?


I live in one of the richest areas in the country and our grocery store carries products by all of these companies. I get to see the carts of the people who live in this area and they are not devoid of these products. Are we now going to make some anti-corporate stance against welfare after going all the way through the stance that people on welfare buy too much expensive food? If nothing else, what can we learn from a discussion in which the views of welfare recipients vary so widely that we can treat both views (that they buy too much expensive food and too much cheap crap) can be expressed earnestly within such a short period of time.


One of the things I tried to do in this post was to demonstrate that alternative explanations are easily available. Since the narratives expressed in the posts I replied to are based not on solid evidence, but circumstantial evidence, assumptions, and hearsay I think counter narratives are important. Why? Unless you can prove a counter narrative wrong then it shows that your narrative is no more valid. You can say, "but this is what I see, it's where I live!" Yet, your problem is just that: you do not see everything nor do you know everything. The world is perceived and anecdotal evidence is the most easily skewed by biases, logical fallacies, and poor sampling.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:10 am
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Also, I'm going to second the "bullshit" call about the $80k SUVs!
I mean, Escalades and Cayennes, which are the most expensive SUV that I see on a regular basis (in the carpool lane of a $20k/year private grade school, not so much in the hood) are around $65k! I'm going to suggest that not only do you not know what you're talking about when it comes to how much assistance people are receiving, you have no idea how much cars costs.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:23 am
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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redball wrote:
MP3D wrote:
whats sad is the generations that have grown up 100% dependent on government assistance.


While I agree that this probably happens, do you know why? Is it the availability of Government assistance, or structural unemployment, racism, or general lack of opportunity? Did these people finish school? Did their children?

MP3D wrote:
i live in a pretty poor neighborhood. most of my neighbors have no jobs, stay at home all days , have tons of children and drive nicer cars than i do. as to anomoly's point, i see it 80% of the time too. lonestar card in checkout line, $80K SUV in the parking lot.


How did they get these SUVs? They did not get an $80k SUV purely from welfare funds, that's for sure. Did they get the vehicle before entering the welfare system? Is it perhaps not theirs? Are they working on top of receiving welfare, and if so doesn't that help to invalidate the claim that welfare removes motivation?

MP3D wrote:
the system is broken. its said that its easier to obtain a lonestar card in texas if you are an illegal immigrant, than a TX citizen.


This may be true, but it is likely because of other reasons than a broken welfare system. The problem here lies in the unwillingness to provide a safe, legal environment for immigrants to work in. This creates a system by which business owners can take advantage of cheap labor and immigrants can take advantage of welfare because they are being paid off the books. You're blaming the immigrants for using the situation to the fullest, only to still live in low income areas, and you're mad because they have good cars.

MP3D wrote:
what irritates me is the lack of motivation these families have. out on the curb drinking beer everyday when i come home for lunch. no ambition. happy to live off others hard work. contribute!!!


What about those people with $80k SUVs? Surely they contributed. They did something to get those vehicles. But, what if we were to "reform" welfare assistance to make it more difficult to get or even cut assistance? Would that motivate people? Or, would it lower living standards back to levels not seen on a wide scale for at least 50 years? Did you know that poor people spend a higher percentage of their income than the rich do? When poor people can't spend then less money goes into retail. The rich do not suddenly spend more when they get more money, instead they save more and the only way to make use of that savings is for other rich people to get loans. So, using macroeconomic theories, which scenario is more likely to help the economy: more or less assistance?

MP3D wrote:
yes, i agree. but seriously, a lot of families are dependent on the government for everything. its so easy to be controlled when this occurs. what will happens when the country is no longer offering such programs. people with no skills or job experience are pretty much fucked.


Well, if we apply previous logic, won't these people magically start to contribute? Do we lower assistance levels until we start seeing people become completely broken and homeless, then pick the ones that can't make it up and only then provide more assistance? How do you change a system so that people who have no marketable skills, are discriminated against, and have been driven completely out of the workforce are suddenly made whole again? Then again, what evidence do you have that these people were whole to begin with? Were their great grandparents better off in the 1920's, or were they living in a slum then as well? Are these the same people who own $80k SUVs, if so, how did they get them with no skills beyond obtaining government assistance?

MP3D wrote:
its almost out of a twisted envy that i get so mad about this. "why dont they have to work, and i do?" mentality. i know thats not a healthy viewpoint, but im surrounded by this a lot here in my neighborhood and TX in general. on one side they have reached the top..they will not climb any higher on any ladder, but as long as they are comfortable living on fixed means, i dont see them trying to better themselves.


The grass is always greener, my friend. I'll offer their viewpoint: "Look at him, he is so lucky to have a job. Why won't anyone hire me, so I can't work, and he can? This $80k SUV is the only truly nice thing I have in life." Slightly more seriously, how do you know these people have not tried to better themselves? Why is a system that doesn't throw them out on the street worse than the alternative? Do we want our streets littered with homeless people? Will those people be more likely to better themselves?

AdamBomb wrote:
phataccino wrote:
Did mp3d just say 80 percent of people he sees on the Lonestar card drive $80,000 SUVs? I'm gonna call bullshit on that one.


I will say when I worked at a grocery store for about 3 years, a significant amount of the customers who used WIC or the Lone Star Card had brand new cars and trucks. You don't try to judge, but the Lone Star card would require going to a remote panel to run the card so it was obvious when folks were using one. Then you carry the groceries out and there is a brand new F250 with all the bells and whistles you think...wtf? This happened often enough, where it was pretty much a running joke amongst the grocery store employees. Then you see some dude who brings a bunch of change in like he dug in his couch or broke his piggy bank just to buy generic bologna hop in his 89 Celica with no hubcaps (maybe needs a jump). I don't know what the right answer is, but what I saw was pretty fucked up. I want to help that Celica dude out...not greedy McGee.


I highlighted a key section of your post, and I want to call that out. You say that you're trying not to judge, but you are doing so much judging it's laughable to say that you even tried. Without knowing anything more than the groceries a person buys, what they look like, and what vehicle brought them there you have formed a narrative in which they are a welfare cheat and are less deserving of help than the next person. Maybe you've read Blink! and think that snap judgments are better than not, but I don't think this is a great example of their usage.


I would like to offer a different theory: The state of Texas is not good at managing its welfare programs. It has structural problems that are unique to the area. Texas has 10% lower average income compared to the national average, a 20% higher poverty rate compared to the national average, a large population of veterans, a large hispanic population with a significant undocumented population. These things are all correlated strongly with welfare usage, some with obvious causation. [source: census.gov] Texas has a large caseload of welfare recipients, third in the nation, which makes people on welfare more prevalant and easily accessed. The cases where a welfare recipient, or someone thought to be a recipient, appears to be defrauding the system or over-reliant on the system are somewhat more obvious than the average welfare case, and so it becomes easy to generate an availability hueristic that overrepresents these cases. [source: this site, which claims it comes from the ACF but I can't verify right now]

mlanifesto wrote:
Wonder if the anecdotal stories of people in stupid new cars with foodstamps will die down now there has been slight crimp on predatory loans, and the obvious reposessions that followed.


I wouldn't doubt that some of these cases involve predatory loans, but we have only the feigntist idea how these people came to drive those vehicles.

T-Wrex wrote:
I wonder if a net profit is made by Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle, Tyson, Archer-Daniels, ConAgra, Cargill, Smithfield, Kroger, WinnDixie, Monsanto, etc., after all the welfare taxes are taken out of the white collar salaries... while, at the same time, all their crap food is being bought by the poor people on welfare?


I live in one of the richest areas in the country and our grocery store carries products by all of these companies. I get to see the carts of the people who live in this area and they are not devoid of these products. Are we now going to make some anti-corporate stance against welfare after going all the way through the stance that people on welfare buy too much expensive food? If nothing else, what can we learn from a discussion in which the views of welfare recipients vary so widely that we can treat both views (that they buy too much expensive food and too much cheap crap) can be expressed earnestly within such a short period of time.


One of the things I tried to do in this post was to demonstrate that alternative explanations are easily available. Since the narratives expressed in the posts I replied to are based not on solid evidence, but circumstantial evidence, assumptions, and hearsay I think counter narratives are important. Why? Unless you can prove a counter narrative wrong then it shows that your narrative is no more valid. You can say, "but this is what I see, it's where I live!" Yet, your problem is just that: you do not see everything nor do you know everything. The world is perceived and anecdotal evidence is the most easily skewed by biases, logical fallacies, and poor sampling.


Please read this, people. And respond, preferably without anecdotes about people you might have seen once or twice.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:24 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


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You really needed to quote the entire page just to say that? Are you as annoyingly smug in real life as you present yourself here? You could throw out the "it's even HARDER being black on welfare" card a few more times too. Since the fact that you and I basically lived on welfare in the same situation wasn't enough, instead of agreeing you had to make it a race issue just to make your point look stronger.

You all know people that abuse the welfare system, just like I do. Don't pretend it doesn't happen. I know a fucking spoiled brat that gets $200 a week handed to her by her grandma, in addition to a $50 gas card so she can drive around in the SUV her boyfriend gave her for free because he felt bad that she didn't have a car, she didn't even learn how to CUT HER OWN STEAK until she moved out of her grandma's at 22. She gets food stamps, along with her Gucci shoes and purse, because she lives with her BF and doesn't have a job, but gets cash from everyone she knows. Oh, not to mention, she wants child support from her last babydaddy because she spends the money she gets from her grandma (who watches the kid 5 days out of the week) on weed.

Whatever your statistics show, you know someone that is the exception to the rule. But please, tell me what the poverty rate is in Texas again while ignoring the fact that you know 5 people who don't bother to look for a job because they get everything paid for. Then tell me how well the system is working again.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:43 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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No one has pretended welfare abuse doesn't happen. I am saying, and I believe others are saying the same thing, that the abuse of welfare is over-represented by the popular method of anecdotal evidence based on availability. This over-representation of abuse and fraud causes people to judge the entire system poorly and ignore the larger percentage of people that it does actually help, as well as the overall economic and quality of life impact that it has on the country.

However, Jake, your example reminds me of another post I meant to reply to. The one saying, and I paraphrase out of some laziness, "what about the white middle class kids that abuse this and become lazy good-for-nothings?" I have a lot of questions for this scenario.

First, why do we especially care about people who have almost every advantage the world can throw at them yet they piss it away and become mooches on the system? These are the people I have the least pity for, and I will say that I've known people like this who have become mooches without the system, like my brother who collects no systemic benefits, was raised in the same house as me, and yet he still mooches off my retired mother rather than work. No pity for him when she's gone and he becomes homeless, or finally has to rely on the assistance that he so vehemently voted against as a staunch Republican.

Second, how do you not see the availability heuristic at work here? How often you go to government project housing and talk to single mothers who ride the bus? Of course a large percentage of people you will know who use will be white and middle class if that's the sample population! Most of the people I know are middle class, and most of my closer friends are white. I even know someone who has abused the system in the past (and he works on Wall St., omg!!!) but I know he's not representative. I know this because my availability is slightly different than yours, because my wife studies and works in this field and has actually gone to meet some of these people and read their case files.

Third, if you truly believe that someone is defrauding the system why don't you turn them in? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that because you think fraud is the norm rather than the exception you think that your friend should be no different. This is self-reinforcing, of course, because if everyone thinks this way then everyone will abuse the commons. While that is a problem with all commons, there are actually regulations that help keep this from happening in the majority of welfare cases. So, if your friends are doing something wrong and are the example of the system gone wrong, don't apply their story to the whole system but rather turn the fucking cheating bastards in.

Fourth, if you know that it's wrong why don't you say something to their families? Why is the family assistance okay but the government assistance is not? Why is it okay to say that people must be reliant on their families, or that their families must be supportive of them, but not that society has any stake in their survival?

Lastly, why are these case so important if we can show that they do not represent the majority? That's what all the statistics are for, to show that these are the fringes and that they may be obvious but there's not a good reason to hurt millions of people just to punish the few cheaters (this is a great example of fairness bias).

I have not argued that welfare wouldn't benefit from changes. However, I will disagree with the buzzword of "reform" or that "the system is flawed" or "the system must change." If reform consists of absolutely zero changes for 99% of the welfare receiving populace, while somehow simplifying itself so that it can be better and more efficiently managed while enforcing limitations more effectively on abusers, then I am for it. However, the buzzwords I just listed, the tone of the argument, and the lack of any real solutions leads me to believe that the desired outcome is to simply cut welfare due to the belief that it is harmful and too expensive due to fraud. I will fight these latter few assertions as much as I can.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:17 am
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Limbs



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Ok, I apologize for bringing up welfare at all. I really don't know what I was thinking. Poor poor example, really.

It's the spoiled whities I'm griping with. Spoiled whities that take advantage of a system that they don't need. Spoiled whities that screw themselves then claim foul. I've been surrounded by them lately and I got caught up in playing devil's advocate. Clouded my judgement.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:40 am
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redball



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Location: Northern New Jersey
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If anyone learned anything from all of this then there's no reason to be sorry for bringing it up. I think the frustration that none of these arguments permeate the popular culture assumption of rampant welfare fraud and abuse is what led to the initial backlash and anger.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:54 am
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laurapalmer



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jakethesnake wrote:
You really needed to quote the entire page just to say that? Are you as annoyingly smug in real life as you present yourself here? You could throw out the "it's even HARDER being black on welfare" card a few more times too. Since the fact that you and I basically lived on welfare in the same situation wasn't enough, instead of agreeing you had to make it a race issue just to make your point look stronger.

You all know people that abuse the welfare system, just like I do. Don't pretend it doesn't happen. I know a fucking spoiled brat that gets $200 a week handed to her by her grandma, in addition to a $50 gas card so she can drive around in the SUV her boyfriend gave her for free because he felt bad that she didn't have a car, she didn't even learn how to CUT HER OWN STEAK until she moved out of her grandma's at 22. She gets food stamps, along with her Gucci shoes and purse, because she lives with her BF and doesn't have a job, but gets cash from everyone she knows. Oh, not to mention, she wants child support from her last babydaddy because she spends the money she gets from her grandma (who watches the kid 5 days out of the week) on weed.

Whatever your statistics show, you know someone that is the exception to the rule. But please, tell me what the poverty rate is in Texas again while ignoring the fact that you know 5 people who don't bother to look for a job because they get everything paid for. Then tell me how well the system is working again.


Yep, shoulda stuck to throwing jabs.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:15 am
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anomaly
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:17 am
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tommi teardrop



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I met a guy one time that was on welfare, got food stamps, had medicaid and received unemployment benefits. This guy drove a SUV with 24s and DVD players in the head rests. He even had a caviar bar in the back.

And he would consistently turn down jobs (that he got offered over more deserving people due to affirmative action).

And he had like 13 kids. And all of those kids got their college payed for even when their test scores were lower than other kids who had to pay for their school.

Meanwhile, I have to work 3 minimum wage jobs even though I have a degree that I payed for all by myself while supporting my family.

Sometimes we are forced to eat ramen with ranch and pretend it's fettuccine alfredo. We use ketchup in place of marinara. One day a week I will cut up a slim jim and use it as sausage in our ramen dishes.

And then I have to see this lazy freeloader get everything he wants because of my tax dollars. I just don't think it's right.

The system is broken.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:30 am
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laurapalmer



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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anomaly wrote:
Anecdotal worldview...and blah blah.




Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:30 am
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anomaly
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I didn't say that and you know it.
Pick another word to overuse.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:07 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


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laurapalmer wrote:
jakethesnake wrote:
You really needed to quote the entire page just to say that? Are you as annoyingly smug in real life as you present yourself here? You could throw out the "it's even HARDER being black on welfare" card a few more times too. Since the fact that you and I basically lived on welfare in the same situation wasn't enough, instead of agreeing you had to make it a race issue just to make your point look stronger.

You all know people that abuse the welfare system, just like I do. Don't pretend it doesn't happen. I know a fucking spoiled brat that gets $200 a week handed to her by her grandma, in addition to a $50 gas card so she can drive around in the SUV her boyfriend gave her for free because he felt bad that she didn't have a car, she didn't even learn how to CUT HER OWN STEAK until she moved out of her grandma's at 22. She gets food stamps, along with her Gucci shoes and purse, because she lives with her BF and doesn't have a job, but gets cash from everyone she knows. Oh, not to mention, she wants child support from her last babydaddy because she spends the money she gets from her grandma (who watches the kid 5 days out of the week) on weed.

Whatever your statistics show, you know someone that is the exception to the rule. But please, tell me what the poverty rate is in Texas again while ignoring the fact that you know 5 people who don't bother to look for a job because they get everything paid for. Then tell me how well the system is working again.


Yep, shoulda stuck to throwing jabs.


See, once someone brings up real life experience, no one has any useful response other than "that's an anomaly".

Apparently, everything is a statistical anomaly unless it bodes well for your argument.
Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:32 am
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