Tuesday, January 24, 2012

8 Myths About "Welfare Queens", Debunked

We all know the stereotype:
            America is full of budget-devastating welfare queens- Escalade-driving, PlayStation-buying, boozing, smoking, drug-taking women who drink too much soda, eat too much McDonald's, refuse to work, and spend their entire lives freeloading on welfare while pumping out a new kid every year to up their payments- in short, being lazy, no good spendthrifts, living a lifestyle of luxury while you, the taxpayer, suffer an austere, self-disciplined, and generally morally superior existence.
      How did ideas about poor moms get so hysterical?
     Welfare programs in the United States originated in the 1930s with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and had two components:  social insurance (Social Security and unemployment insurance) and public assistance (Aid to Dependent Children, Aid to the Blind, etc.).  Distinction between different types of women was there from the start:  needy widows, seen as deserving, were given payments through Social Security, while needy divorced and single moms, seen as immoral and irresponsible, were put on the quickly stigmatized ADC (which later became AFDC and today is TANF- the assistance program whose cash benefit component is “bankrupting our country” and generally making racist, sexist citizens positively apoplectic). Monitoring and control of poor mothers was there from the start, too:  until the 1960s, several states dropped moms from ADC for having a relationship with a man (today, several states are seeking drug-testing of welfare recipients).
            By the early 1960s, popular media such as Reader's Digest were printing sensationalized stories about welfare fraud, but the myth of millions of dirty rotten welfare cheats fleecing the public seems, like so many of our nation's ills, to have really become entrenched with the rise to prominence of Ronald Reagan.  In 1976, Reagan made a speech in which he claimed a "welfare queen" from Chicago's South Side had been arrested for welfare fraud: 
            "She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting Veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands.  And she is collecting Social Security on her cards.  She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names.  Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."
            This woman did not exist, but with Reagan, the stigmatized poor mother of yore became the greedy, lazy, criminally fraudulent black poor mother of today.  With racist and sexist sentiments stirred, public hostility toward poor moms became ever more hysterical, eventually resulting in Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform legislation- the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, or, the War on Welfare.   But the entire War on Welfare is built on a boogeyman- that of the resource-draining, undeserving poor mom.
            The colorful stereotype of the lazy, fraudulent welfare mother relies on eight myths about welfare and poor moms:
1.     Myth: “Welfare” is comprised solely of cash handouts to poor moms.  In fact, welfare is provided to Americans of all income levels and especially to corporations.  Welfare includes Social Security, tax breaks, corporate subsidies and incentives, Wall Street bailouts, Medicare and Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the means-tested cash assistance or in-kind support (food stamps, housing, childcare vouchers) that we associate with welfare “queens.”  Of the means-tested public assistance programs for the poor, food stamps have the broadest reach- some 46 million Americans (about 15% of the population, and an all-time high) were receiving food stamps in 2011.  However, when most people talk about dodgy welfare moms, what they mean is the cash assistance and other meager benefits supplied (sometimes) under TANF.  TANF support sometimes includes vouchers for childcare, clothing, and other needs along with cash assistance, but this varies wildly from state to state (Southern states tend to be meanest when it comes to assistance for the poor).  For the purposes of this discussion, I will pretend that the only type of welfare is indeed the cash and in-kind support given (mostly) to poor moms through TANF. 
2.    Myth: Most poor moms are on welfare.  It is true that the majority of TANF’s clients are women and children, but most poor families never receive any assistance at all.  In 2010, there were about 78 million families in the United States.  Just over 9 million families (about 12%) were officially in poverty, but about 28% of families qualified as in poverty or near-poor.  While some 20-odd million families were poor or near-poor and thus arguably in need of some kind of assistance, very few were poor enough to be eligible for TANF, and of those families eligible for TANF, only 1.9 million were actually receiving TANF in 2011.  Since the welfare reform of 1996, participation by eligible families has plummeted:  84% of those families in need received ADC in 1995, dropping to 52% receiving TANF in 2000, and only 40% in 2005.  Most poor moms, whether single or married, are not on welfare.
3.  Myth: Moms on welfare take up a huge amount of the national budget.  Actually, each year, about 20% of the national budget goes to defense, and another 20% to Social Security.  Less than 1/3 of the $3.7 trillion dollar 2012 federal budget went to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers TANF and other programs.  Of the HHS’s 2012 budget, 54% went to Medicare, 30% to Medicaid, 14% to other programs, and 2%, or about $17 billion, to TANF.  Meanwhile, $13 billion was budgeted in 2012 for TARP- yet another welfare handout to bankers that nearly matches that of TANF recipients.  Speaking of welfare handouts for bankers, it’s worth noting that it would take about 42 years for our nation’s 1.9 million TANF recipients to equal the $700 billion dollar handout given to Wall Street in 2008.
4.  Myth: Poor moms spend decades, or even lifetimes, on welfare.  Since 1996, there has been a five-year lifetime cap on TANF assistance for adults.  In 2006, the average length of time families received TANF assistance was 35.4 months, and case closure data from 35 states indicated that less than one-half of one percent of cases were closed because families had hit the 5-year ceiling.
5.   Myth: Welfare moms refuse to work.  In fact, in 2006, 33% of TANF families were engaged in qualified work activities for at least 30 hours per week, and another 14% had some work hours (though not enough to qualify toward the work rate).  Looking at poor families more generally, in 2010, about 32% of single moms in poverty were working at least part time (compared to 17% of single dads in poverty), rising to 59% and 40%, respectively, for near-poor single moms and dads.  Poor and welfare moms rarely refuse to work, but are more likely to be laid off, to spend more time looking for work, and to be stuck in low-income, no-benefit junk jobs that make survival, perversely, more difficult.
7.   Myth: Loads of poor moms are committing welfare “fraud.” There is no statistical evidence to support the notion of an epidemic of women marauding as welfare frauds.  In fact, vendors commit a great deal of welfare fraud (and the real fraud game is in the military- perhaps poor moms should get into the defense contracting business if they want to get rich fraudulently on the taxpayer’s dime).
8.   Myth:  Most mothers on welfare are black.  In 2006, 36% of TANF families were black, 33% were white, and 26% were Hispanic.
            When we break down the myth of the lazy, freeloading welfare mom, we find that the real myth is that poor moms are getting help at all.  While longstanding sexist attitudes underpinned the stigmatization of poor mothers on welfare from it’s inception, today’s intense demonization of poor mothers- actually on welfare or no- probably has much to do with our society’s changing economic fortunes.  Over the last 30-odd years, we have seen our standard of living decline, our wages stagnate, our dependence on credit to survive intensify, and our jobs disappear, while the costs of education, healthcare, food, and housing have gone through the roof.  Many of us are only a tenuous thread above the very poor whom we demonize, and may all too soon find ourselves in need of a welfare "handout."  When the fear, stress, and insecurity of declining economic fortunes combine with powerful sexist and racist attitudes, people’s anger can end up misdirected toward a boogeyman of cheating, lazy, drug-addled poor minority moms.  This not only allows the real “welfare queens” (corporations and the rich) to continue truly wasting our money while ransacking our economy, our society, and our lives, but leads to a hysterical “off with their heads” sort of environment that has real and devastating consequences for poor moms and their children.

64 comments:

  1. This was perfection, Penny. I'm going to put a link to it on my FB. Mind if I share it on my blog?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! And of course not, I would love that! The more people faced with facts, the better. :)

    P.S. Glad EmoBoy's in Shitville (that sounds so wrong out of context).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great stats and writing, very interesting and helpful. My only suggestion is to revise so that it doesn't say saying 'In fact' after most of the myths.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this! Will be glad to have these stats at my fingertips next time I hear someone spouting that kind of nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just don't forget that the steoreotypical welfare queen is just as real as the corporate member of that royal family... The example in my town taught her first little government check to steal cigarettes as soon as he was walking. He was so short I couldn't see him go behind the counter when I was outside pumping gas. The second check was 'in the mail' at the time too... y, classy.

    Though you'd rather consider this other mother: I will not forget the 20-something girl who put up her hand as my gr 11 'economics' teacher ranted on about 'welfare moms' and said that she was a mother, one on welfare even. That her welfare check was the reason she was able to be in that class finishing high school, that welfare wasn't exactly glamorous, but otherwise she'd be screwed and have little hope of getting anywhere. That was awesome, and I'd bet much more in tune with the spirit of your 'average' single parent.... but realise that as soon as you claim the 'welfare queen' a myth, you have lost your argument with anyone who has ever known one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Renee! And I do hope it proves helpful sometime.

    Anon- You might learn something at this link- http://www.junkland.net/2010/12/junk-citizens-welfare-cheats.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also shared this on my Facebook. I predict approximately 1 person will click through.

    "Perhaps poor moms should get into the defense contracting business if they want to get rich fraudulently on the taxpayer’s dime." <- This.

    And to anonymous: the problem is that a single scrap of anecdotal evidence (like you presented) is often used, a la the Reagan speech quoted above, to justify vast racist, sexist edifices of thought and policy. I don't think PS would deny that there are some lazy shits "gaming the system." Although I have a feeling she would agree that the much more lucrative system is gamed by sleek financiers and military contractors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is that we ALL know these anecdotal examples and there are way too many. It has become a country of entitlement as opposed to a country of opportunity
      What I work for they should not feel that they should have as well
      Wake up everyone. You are all only fooling yourselves

      Delete
    2. Actually, the problem is that we all know someone who knows the anecdote. And I've never actually seen someone back it up with a real person.

      Delete
    3. Actually, the problem is that people like you think anecdotes are a suitable substitute for evidence. Anecdotal evidence would prove the earth to be flat, after all. That's how we all experience it.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Eric- Thanks for sharing it- I'll let you know if I see a wild influx of fb traffic :).

    I was pretty snarky with that line, wasn't I? But it's true! And you are correct that I don't deny the possibility of a few lazy shits "gaming the system"- in fact, this post borrows the first and last bits of an old post I wrote about "how to respond to people who say there are lots of welfare frauds", in which I acknowledge the possibility and explain why it doesn't phase me- the link is above, in my response to Anon.

    Also, nice to see you and hope your New Year is off to a great start.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Delphiad- Thank you, and nice blog you've got! I'll look forward to exploring it more.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anon, that woman wasn't a welfare cheat, she was a thief. I've worked in retail and it is common for thieves who happen to be parents to use their children as either accomplices or cover. This is why "faginism" (ref. Oliver Twist) is a crime in and of itself. Most of these thieves are not on welfare, so using one as an example of a welfare mom is irrelevant to the point of idiocy.

    It's like finding a Mexican who happens to be lazy and using him to "prove" the stereotype. It's only "proof" because you already believe it. _I'm_ lazy, and I'm not only not Hispanic, I'm Canadian - 7th generation. Does that mean Canadians are lazy? Come on.

    It's easy to fall into these kinds of logic lapses because they reflect what you already "know." Just try to remember that what you think you know is, for the most part, just what you happen to believe.

    It's like this: which is a subset of what? I am lazy, I am Canadian, therefore Canadians are lazy? No. Lazy is a subset of me (there is more to me than just that) and I am a subset of Canadian. So the correct logic is: I am lazy, I am Canadian, therefore there is at least one Canadian who is lazy. _Maybe_ more (more proof required for a conclusion). That woman was a thief, she was on welfare, therefore there is at least one welfare mom who is a thief. Putting the sets backwards (I represent all of Canada and being lazy defines me, therefore all Canadians are lazy) is much easier to recognise if you spell out the chain to yourself instead of just assuming that what you believe is true.

    This is the core of why anecdotal evidence is derided in science; and it's also why the derision anecdotal evidence _automatically_ receives is equally foolish. Does a prove b or does b prove a? If you can't tell, it doesn't prove anything.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I see you failed to mention Child Support and Alimony anywhere in your article. Well played.

    ReplyDelete
  13. ugh this is a factual GOLD MINE! Working on a project to "Change the Conversation" and I could not be happier with this!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jamie- Thanks and glad it might be of some help!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is wonderful! I always get aggravated when I hear people make comments about people on assistance. As someone pointed out above, not all of us are lazy money seeking baby mamas looking for a handout. I had my son young and my ex was worthless. I used child care assistance, food stamps to squeak by with my son while I finished my bachelors degree. And I worked a full time job and cleaned offices two nights a week for extra cash. Would love to see the stats on how many of the people receiving assistance are enrolled in school.

    ReplyDelete
  16. So myth 8 isn't really a myth since your numbers state that 36% are black right?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anon- Sorry about your math skills. 59% of welfare recipients are either Hispanic or White, so, in fact, they are not black. They also aren't moms- many, many, many more children than moms are welfare recipients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nevertheless, the percentage of African-Americans on welfare is disproportionately high compared to their Hispanic and white counter parts. Whites make up around 72% of the population compared to blacks art 12. Anyone can mess with percentages to make their point.

      Delete
    2. The percentage of African-Americans in poverty is also disproportionately high, for historical socio-economic reasons, hence the number on welfare. QED.

      Delete
    3. But if, as you suggest, the percentage of AA in poverty is much higher than that of whites for historical resaons, then the number of POOR AA "using" the 'welfare' system is actually disproportionately LOWER than that of whites, true? And since the appropriate universe is poor persons, not persons, this also tends to completely fly in the face of Reagan's racist stereotype.

      Delete
  18. Awesome article Sharing on my facebook page :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks. I needed this data fast and you already gathered it. I'm read a bit more of your blog and am impressed; I've added it to the recommended blogs on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for reading and sharing, Dana and Nicholas!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just shared this on my FB page the other day too. The best article I've ever read about the myth of the Welfare Queen in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  22. WOW! This is great! I'm showing this to my friends on FB. Nice job! We need more people defending the people in need vs. the greedy. Again, nice job! And thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for reading and sharing, Anon!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great article; I was a little confused on item #4 - maybe b/c I take English as my second language; wish you could note that only 6.6% of families were receiving TANF beyond the 60 month limitation.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is the best article on this subject I have ever seen. Can I repost on my blog with credit to you + a back link?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Heather- Thank you! And yes, absolutely, please do!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello, I think that this is organized very well, I believe that your argument is sound. One suggestion is when you say, "and the real fraud game is in the military- perhaps poor moms should get into the defense contracting business if they want to get rich fraudulently on the taxpayer’s dime", Its not that I disagree, its just that its a very bold statement that I feel shouldn't be hidden by parenthesis. I think it would be better if it was really put out there and then backed up with evidence I feel that it would be much stronger that way. As it is I felt that it was more of an under the breath insult. other than that well done!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Anon- Thanks! I think you make a really great point/suggestion, and I think sometime soon (I hope), when I have time, I will take up your suggestion and flesh that point out in a bolder, evidence-based way. (Its not like there isn't plenty of evidence!). Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. great post!! another thing that frustrates me personally, is how so many use the myth of the 'welfare queen' to suggest that we cut funding altogether. we know there are cheats in ANY institution - just because there are those who do so, doesn't mean we should get rid of the system altogether. this argument applied to any other situation is ludicrous - "there are shoplifters who take from retail store!" "you're right - let's get rid of retail stores!" "kids cheat on tests in school." "you're right - let's get rid of public funding for schools, because there are cheats in these public schools who are, in essence, using public funds to cheat!!" in all other cases, you try to find ways to make it harder for cheaters to cheat. how is welfare any different? and white-collar cheaters aren't viewed nearly as harshly as welfare cheaters. so the enron execs who directly cheated their employees out of their hard-earned retirement $$, or the millionaire who takes advantage of "tax loopholes" - same thing; exploiting a hole in the system - and these guys have cost the taxpayers a LOT more than the non-mythical welfare cheats that do exist. likewise, it's so easy for that anecdotal evidence to carry disproportionate weight, when the equivalent on the corporate side doesn't really exist. people throw around the term "sense of entitlement" and the idea of them working hard, while others "don't want to." but when the banks/car mfrs make bad business decisions, they get to hold government and the taxpayers hostage and demand to be bailed out, because if they don't, look at all the americans they'll put out of work, look at the effect they'll have on the economy - they'll essentially take the economy down with them, unless they get $$. how is that different from the 'sense of entitlement' that welfare cheat supposedly demonstrate? and again, it's primarly bad business decisions, or lack of government regulation that got banks/car mfrs to this place, whereas those on welfare are often in dire circumstances due to factors beyond their control - e.g., getting laid off, being born into a family where drug use, lack of parental involvement, poverty. and even for those who DID make 'bad choices' along the way, are we really willing to say that the children of these parents should be the ones to pay the price?? many of these programs were started to help the children, who are obviously innocent. keep in mind too, that in states where abortion is unavailable, there are women who don't have babies just to get an extra $80 per month, but possibly because they don't have much other choice. sorry, that turned into a longer rant than i intended - all i meant to say was thank you for a great and informative post!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anon- Thanks! And thanks for your long rant- it was full of good points. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. The USA needs to wake up! Your Statistics mean nothing! Welfare fraud exists because of those in the government allowing it to happen- It is usually an inside job- NYC, FL, LA for example have a purchase-your-check plan usually run by the check issuers. I dont live in NY or FL, but I hear about people traveling back and forth from their country of Origin to collect their checks. It is very hard for a needy person to ask. The ones cheating the system have no problem, and they have made a joke out of it. It is heart breaking for me to hear how the poor is getting poorer and the cheaters are getting richer. Investigators are sitting on the job and that's all there is to it. When you speak of the poor on Welfare, it is only a small number. The rest are moochers. It is out of control just like drug trafficking. The immigration department is also at fault for allowing people to come into the country and not following up. They are usually sponsored by someone to supposedly prevent that person into becoming dependant of this country, but that is exactly what they become. The Welfare Department needs to hire people to oversee their own employees. How is it that I live in another state and hear how easy it is to get on the payroll in another. Anybody in the Latin Community can tell you where to go to buy your "qualification" yet the state cant find its way.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "Your statistics mean nothing!" Blah blah incoherent opinion blah blah....

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  33. yeah - statistics don't mean anything! just ask mitt romney!! and be sure to let bill clinton know that his statistical facts meant nothing as well, as he was actually LAUDED for including these sorts of "facts" in his speech at the DNC! what a world we live in, where statistics are actually entered into a debate to help prove one's point. thanks for your anti-statistical rant, filled with unsubstantiated, 3rd-/4th-party evidence to assert your case. you have totally won the debate and completely changed my mind here with your generalized (the poor on welfare are small in numbers), accusatory ("the rest are moochers), anecdotal ("i hear about people traveling back and forth . . . ") arguments!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I like stats. Using the ones given in point 6...

    Average children per family receiving assistance: 2.3
    Number of single child families receiving assistance: 50%
    Number of families with more 4 or more children: 10%

    So if we have 10 families on assistance, we would have 23 children to distribute to those families (10 families x 2.3 children per family).

    Since 50% of the 10 families only have one child, we remove 5 children from the pool of 23. This leaves us 18 children to distribute.

    Four of the remaining families can only have 2 or 3 children (i.e. more than one but not more than three per the stats).

    If we gave each of these 4 families the maximum number of 3 children each, that would account for 12 of the remaining 18 children. And that leaves us with 6 children in the last family.

    Keep in mind the above "6 child family" assumes that there are absolutely no 2 child families in the equation. The 10% family would be even larger if there were.

    That, to me, is an obvious balloon in the curve.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think you have setup a bit of a straw man fallacy with your post. You have based most of your statistics on TANF, which does not take into account the other social programs that can easily be taken advantage of. For example: Section 8, unemployment, food stamps, disability and social security benefits, etc.

    I know several people first hand that have taken advantage of the system. It is impossible to know how many are cheating the system, but I think it unwise to assume the numbers are low based on official statistics. If you could tell who was cheating based on the numbers.....then it would be easier to catch them!

    A couple of observations:
    I don't think many people believe that only black people take advantage of government programs. However, I don't think your statistic helps your argument on point 8. The problem is that when you look at the demographics of the US population (63% White, 16% Hispanic, 12% black) the numbers you provide (TANF users: 33% White, 26% Hispanic, 36% Black) actually work against your argument.

    Additionally, your statement that Reagan's "Welfare Queen" did not exist is incorrect. It seems to be a common misconception, here is some additional information:
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/08/chutzpa-king-chris-matthews-wrongly-accuses-reagan-of-making-up-welfare-queen-story/

    ReplyDelete
  36. Annonymous on Sept21@But how can we talk about citizens being moochers when banks got 700 billion?If just over 1 milion are on welfare, it means only 1 % of the cuntry qualifies for any assistance. Milions more are slightly above the requirement. Larger fmailies are also more likley to ned assistance because of the mouths they have to feed. , social security isn't welfare. It is a forced savings account taken out of your check each week. .

    ReplyDelete
  37. annonymousSept21@ How can we talk about citizens being moochers when Wallstreet got 700 billion?
    Another myth is all large families are on assistance. It may be true some of them are because they are more susbejcted to poverty. I believe they get help from other sources like from their churches which keeps them from neededing TANF.
    Anyway social security isn't welfare. It is a forced savings.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I dont know where you people are from but in chicago there are more women that abuse welfare than those who dont. My girlfriends friend has 4 kids 3 baby dadys drinks does not work and does not want to and is on welfare and some other programs this moms cousin also does this. I know people in the ghettos of chicago who are on welfare and public housing its a joke one of them is pregnant right now and she smokes crack. Yes this is all true i will name names and put them on blast. I dated a single mom on welfare who used the link card to buy junk food and smokes. My Current girlfriends friends that are single moms are ALL in welfare its almost like a right if passage as soon as they have a kid its off to the welfare. One of them said she would never go on welfare well she had a kid and i seen her on facebook telling another single mom to get on welfare. She said ( girl you need to get on that link card ) and all the other single welfare moms agread and said ( hell ya girl ) lol. I really honestly can say at least in chicago the moms on welfare that i and others know all abuse it. Its a joke and a insult to people who pay for these lazy moms.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice work. But have you looked at the "housing assistance" area?
    drive in at 3am stereo blasting that you get woke up at 3am bu a car that is outside the house, over the backyard. through the trees and to the far end of the parking lot.
    They have lots of booze on weekends as they stand outside fighting. screaming. shooting guns (sorry let me say it right. Bustn caps)to the point where even the police don't want to go there at night. the kids are allowed to break my fence open, to let my dogs out. so I get to pay a fine for "letting the dogs run wild".
    Meanwhile I am paying almost %23 in taxes. I am eating top ramen 3 nights a week. they have food to Grill, fireworks i cant afford and drive nicer cars. and I work 40 hours a week and make almost $9 an hour.
    Ok. i might be pathetic at balancing my budget, but when I work and you don't and you can afford all the stuff I cant.... there is something wrong.
    Im sure you will throw the "do you know for a fact that none of them work". No, I dont know them personally, but I sure do see a lot of the trash they throw over my fence.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Interesting read. My only suggestion is letting us know your sources for all those stats.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anon- Click the links, they'll take you to sources...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Many of the links are dead. The US DHHS site has apparently been redesigned & the articles aren't there anymore - at least at the linked page.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ah, so the DHHS has reorganized stuff. That's a pain, but alas this is a blog, not a job; I don't get emails from government departments every time they move stuff around, so that's the way it goes. Generally, this is what I do when I click a link to look at a source and it is dead: I look around the site until I find it. Or I google the numbers and they come back to me from other sources. It is pretty simple, so if you are genuinely interested, hop to it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. For example, it took about 30 seconds just now to find where they had moved the TANF annual report quoted in number 4, 5, 6, and 8: http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/data-reports/annualreport8/ar8index.htm

    A neat thing about most government links: the title of the report and date are usually embedded in the link address, so if they move it, it is even easier to find it....

    ReplyDelete
  45. Not sure where everyone else here thinks they live (we already know the author does not even live in the county being wrote about), but I know I live in the USA, a constitutional republic (not a democracy, please take some classes if you think the USA is a democracy). All “social” programs are just that socialist. They have NO place in the USA, any stereotyping does not matter; the whole program does not belong from day one. So congratulations on arguing over an article that has no merit.

    The USA came to be let just say in 1776, welfare 1930s… current year 2013… seems like to me people made it… for a hell of a long time without these programs. REMOVE THEM.

    Also “myth” 8 is proven in this very article, 36% is the largest number given thus yes MOST mothers on welfare are black (most does not mean over 50%), and again, if this article had any merit… seeing as in the general population blacks are a minority, the fact that the majority of welfare recipients are black just shows how badly slanted this article is.

    The bias here is strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. This article is far from scientific and wouldn't hold up under academic scrutiny. It is at best an undergrad essay.

      Delete
  46. We also survived for a century and a half without any kind of child labor laws. Does that mean we should go back to shoving Timmy's three fingered hand into a moving machine because their labor is cheap? And it's funny how you talk about welfare in the 1930's without pointing out how those same progressive policies pulled us out of the worst economic tragedy in the history of America. Before you start going off about how "America is a constitutional republic" and how "social programs have NO place in the USA" why don't you go back and examine the quality of life for the average American during our most maverick, free market days.

    You people drive me insane. I genuinely don't give a fuck what our founding fathers intended 200 years ago. They were brilliant, courageous men, but they also lived in a different world. We should do what is in the best interest of our country and its citizens regardless of what a bunch of middle aged, racist one percenters agreed upon.

    By the way, maybe you should take a class or two because socialism is not a political system. It is an economic system in the same way that capitalism is an economic system. It's possible to have both a constitutional republic and socialism in the same country. Hell, you could even have a constitutional republic driven by predominantly capitalistic principles with just sprinkling of socialist programs scattered throughout. I know. Crazy right? Sometimes reality is more nuanced than your monochromatic views would think. I'm just glad you know you live in the USA. Looks like somebody was paying attention in Geography class.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Great article, could you update the links? Many are no good.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks Joshua. No time to update links, I'm afraid, as I never really have time for this blog anymore at all! Maybe someday...

    ReplyDelete
  49. Don't know where u got ur evidence.in chicago blacks are the majority of welfare.they run most of the offices including welfare.projects are all or nearly all black.they do have many kids and dont work.thats in chicago.thats why we pay so many taxes. Somebody has to pay for all of it.thats a fact and dont lie.everybody knows it

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anon- You seriously make me despair for human society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for posting my comment.you obviously don't live in chicago but around here we know the truth.everybody is entitled to make comments,thanx again for posting mine.I'm not black and not on welfare.I'm proud to pull my own weigth and my family thank god.

      Delete
  51. I worked in a grocery store through high school and college. I bagged groceries, stocked shelves, swept the floors, and carried out groceries. This store was located in one of the poorest areas of my state, which in turn happens to be one of the poorest states. Needless to say, more than 50% of our town's residents are below the poverty line. Median income, including government assistance, is around $30,000.

    While working at this store I witnessed lots of welfare abuse. Check day was always the roughest time of the month, as starting at 7am there was always a line of people waiting to have checks cashed. Once these checks were cashed the store became filled with shoppers. Shopping carts overflowing with foods my parents could never afford. Sometimes people would have their kids push a second, or third cart to fill those up as well.

    Bagging groceries typically made me feel depressed and cheated. The vast majority of those with welfare would pile hundreds of dollars worth of meat into their carts. Most people would watch the screen to make sure they weren't overspending, and when they got close to their limit, they began removing itmes.

    The quality of food these people were taking home was far better than anything my family could afford. While I bagged these expensive groceries I kept thinking about how I had to go home and eat hot dogs, or rice and gravy, or spaghetti, or even just bologna sandwiches.

    ReplyDelete
  52. To say that welfare abuse is purely anecdotal is ignorance speaking. When you see first hand, every month, just how abused the system is, you start to really feel discouraged. When you see people buy $1000 worth of groceries, when you know your parents are only able to spend $300 a month for a family of 5, you start to wonder where the fairness lies.

    I'm not saying that there aren't those out there who truly do need help. I know everyone is capable of being in need at some point. The problem lies with those vast majority that do abuse the help, and actually do go out of their way to maintain as much assistance as allowed.

    The most depressing part of welfare day for me was carrying out the grocceries. Loading up brand new vehicles with piles of food. Rarely did I receive tips on welfare day.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Anonymous - Please at least recognize that you are using a personal experience (from how long ago?) to justify a deep-seated animosity toward government assistance programs that are different from those you experienced.

    ReplyDelete

Comments welcome! Junk comments will be deleted. While dissent and alternative points of view are welcome, those in which personal attacks are launched upon other commenters or Penny Sociologist are not.