Tag Archives | welfare

EBT System Glitch Shows Welfare Myths Just Won’t Die

nytimes_welfare_queenAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Glitches in the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system caused major problems for recipients of food stamps over the weekend in 17 states. The problems began on Saturday when Xerox, the company responsible for running the system, experienced “technical difficulties” during a “routine test” of its backup systems. In some cases, EBT beneficiaries were unable to use their cards. In others, the spending limit on the cards was removed, allowing EBT users to purchase as much as they wanted.

As typical with any big breaking news story, the internet was flooded with comments and conversation about the matter, and much of the storm was filled with anger at people who receive any kind of government assistance in getting food at all. It seems that the Reagan era myth of the “welfare queen” still lives and breathes along with many other myths about food stamps in America.… Read the rest

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Welfare Recipients are Mostly White and Less Likely to Use Drugs Than Average Americans

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s ethically challenged plan to test welfare recipients isn’t working out so well for bigots and drug warriors:220px-Rick_Scott_official_portrait

Gov. Rick Scott (who, not coincidentally, has a financial interest in a drug testing facility; he just transferred legal ownership of it to his WIFE) decided to drug test welfare recipients. This cost taxpayers millions of dollars and lined his wallet, and they found that only 2% of all welfare recipients tested actually tested positive for drugs. Of that 2%, ALL of them had family members who were eligible for welfare, so NO welfare money was saved by attempting to deny it to people on drugs. (I’ll also note that I heard nothing about getting people who tested positive into a rehab, or any concern for innocent minor children who rely on welfare to, you know, not starve.) Now considering that data exists that has found that 5% of Americans use illegal drugs (that’s the LOWEST percentage I have found; other data puts it at 22 million people, or 9% of the population), that means that, according to the findings in Florida where only 2% of the tested population tested positive, people on welfare are LESS LIKELY to use illegal drugs.

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The Forgotten History Of A Canadian Town’s Experiment With Guaranteed Income

A town in Canada tried the simplest method to end the ills associated with poverty: give everyone a minimum sum of money. Via the Dominion:

Try to imagine a town where the government paid each of the residents a living income, regardless of who they were and what they did. For a four-year period in the ’70s, the poorest families in Dauphin, Manitoba, were granted a guaranteed minimum income by the federal and provincial governments.

Until now little has been known about what unfolded over those years in the small rural town, since the government locked away the data that had been collected and prevented it from being analyzed.

But after a five year struggle, Evelyn Forget, a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, secured access to those boxes in 2009. Forget has begun to piece together the story by using the census, health records, and the testimony of the program’s participants.

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How Capitalism Creates the Welfare State

Andrew Sullivan writes:

The two concepts are usually seen in complete opposition in our political discourse. The more capitalism and wealth, the familiar argument goes, the better able we are to do without a safety net for the poor, elderly, sick and young. And that’s true so far as it goes. What it doesn’t get at is that the forces that free market capitalism unleashes are precisely the forces that undermine traditional forms of community and family that once served as a traditional safety net, free from government control. In the West, it happened slowly – with the welfare state emerging in 19th century Germany and spreading elsewhere, as individuals uprooted themselves from their home towns and forged new careers, lives and families in the big cities, with all the broken homes, deserted villages, and bewildered families they left behind. But in South Korea, the shift has been so sudden and so incomplete that you see just how powerfully anti-family capitalism can be:

[The] nation’s runaway economic success … has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries.

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The Myth Of Government Dependence

PolicyShop on the largely nonexistent scourge of able-bodied but lazy masses who mooch off of hardworking taxpayers:

The Great Recession has led to falling labor force participation and soaring social spending, particularly for food stamps and unemployment benefits. Never mind the economic causes of these trends; the United States, the right argues, has been drifting toward a country where a dwindling band of “makers” support a growing army of “takers,” with the most successful and hardest working people — wealthy job creators — paying much of the tab to subsidize a nation of freeloaders.

Now, the right’s Freeloader Nation critique has moved to the center of Mitt Romney’s campaign…in selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has chosen one of Congress’s most vociferous critics of the safety net.

Start with the big picture: Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance — less than 10 percent — goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

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Most Beneficiaries Of Government Programs Don’t Know They Use Government Programs

Via Sociological Images, an excerpt from research by Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler in which Americans were asked whether they had ever benefited from or participated in specific federal programs. As it turns out, a large number of people who have benefited from various federal programs or policies do not recognize themselves as having done so. This reveals something about people’s attitudes and framing, perhaps about whom they think government social programs “help”:

programbeneficiaries-500x297Read the rest

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