Photo from Library Of Congress
Welfare In America Is Almost Nonexistent!
One of the biggest misconceptions and disinformation campaigns that exists in America is a never ending belief shared by many Americans that there are “all these people on welfare who sit around getting paid for doing nothing”. Those of us who are socially conscious, compassionate people who have taken the time to get the correct information about what the lives of people are like who are on welfare in America know that being poor in America is not a position anyone would want to be in. In spite of that fact many middle class Americans who have fallen into being among the long-term unemployed because of the great recession are shocked to find that they do not have the safety net that they thought they were paying for all these years with the taxes they have paid when they were working.
It turns out it has been a great illusion. The systematic right wing bashing that has been taking place in America over the course of decades has taken its toll on the American poor and is now ravaging the lives of those who were formerly middle class Americans. The propaganda term for this has been for decades “Welfare Reform”. I myself have asked the question, “How long can conservative politicians keep on talking about welfare reform?” How can they keep reforming welfare over and over again decade after decade? Just as politicians all hopped on the band wagon of wanting to say they had helped to author “the toughest get tough on crime legislation” making it difficult for judges to be able to do their job correctly in handing out sentences corrupt politicians who have no other issue to run on keep talking about people being “paid to do nothing”.
Here in California if someone becomes one of the long-term unemployed and applies for “assistance” from the county social services department they will find that all they will get is $194 a month in food stamps. To do this they cannot have much in a bank account. They can get $93 in cash assistance but if they make even that amount from some source of income then there is no cash assistance. Food stamps, also known as EBT, can only be used for food and not soap, toilet paper, tissues, etc. A single person can only get $300 for rent and only if the person who is renting agrees to accept that amount for rent. The money has to be paid directly to the person being rented from. If a person reports getting any other income at all it will be deducted from the cash benefit and the rent. So if a person gets $100 in that month there is no cash benefit and the social services department will only give the person who is charging rent $200. All of the $100 has to go to make up the difference in rent.
How do people live you may ask? That is what a lot of people who were once middle class working Americans are asking. The fact is that the truly poor understand the system. The middle class find themselves in a dilemma. Any loan they may get from family has to be reported and is considered income. So if family helps with rent there is no food stamps, no cash assistance and no subsidizing of the rent payment. This means those who understand the system know they have to stick together with other people who all live together in a household so one will say they are renting for the $300.
Photo by publicphoto.org
Under this system it is painfully obvious that welfare mainly exists in California for immigrant farm workers who work seasonally. In this system then big agribusiness that depends on migrant workers is being subsidized by the tax payers so it can make its huge profits. A person does not have to be a legal resident to get food stamps or to apply for a family member such as their own child. This of course is so that people will not go hungry in this “great” country or go without healthcare. This is a good thing but some people know how to earn money that is not reported and that is another way that they are able to survive. The social services system in effect turns honest people into committing welfare fraud just to survive. Migrant workers can more easily evade reporting than the average middle class American could ever do. Do people go hungry in America? Yes! More and more Americans do including veterans. Are there not housing projects and housing assistance for poor people? Yes, but this is primarily for low-income working and retired people who pay very low rent. When an immigrant worker lives in a housing project but works as a maid in a luxury hotel this means that corporations that make huge profits are the real money makers from social services, not the poor.
If a long-term unemployed, middle class American has no more unemployment payments and has a minor child in the household will they get help from social services to stay in their home, have food and cash assistance? No! They have to be reduced to absolute poverty. People like this have to move in with a family member or live in a vehicle such as a motor home.
The Republicans and Democrats both have political motives for keeping the myth alive that there is a welfare state in America. For the Republicans it is a way to stay elected by telling the American people they will kick people off of welfare to save them tax money. For the Democrats it is an illusion that America is a compassionate, progressive, modern democracy that takes care of its people. Neither of the two major political parties want the American people to know what a mess they have made of this “great” country.