Barb’d Wire– by Ralph Gagliardo
Don’t Blame the Poor
It seems to me, from what I read on social media, is that a lot of people like to blame the welfare system for creating lazy people who don’t want to work. Or, that by providing S.N.A.P benefits, and cash assistance to some people, we are reducing their incentives to seek and maintain gainful employment.
In addition to these two flawed arguments, there is one more, and it goes something like this: “The reason I can’t get ahead is because the government is wasting my tax dollars on people who just keep having more kids, because they are happy to live off the state dole for their entire (colorful adj. goes here) life”.
So this is the perception of some people. There is a lot there. 1. Poor people are lazy, don’t want to work.2. We reduce incentive to work by giving something away for free. 3. People have kids just for the money, are happy to live off the state for their entire life…and that is the reason I can’t get ahead. There are many more besides these.
Everybody who needs money is willing to do something to get it. Whether that something is filling out a form at a D.S.S. office, or shovelling shit at the circus. If people had something else they could do to make money, something other than fill out forms, (and threaten hearings), then they would do it. Nine times out of ten…they would do it. People can surprise you, if you just give them a chance. What people need are opportunities more than anything else.
So if the system is failing to provide incentives, or is in fact, creating hurdles, to people trying to move off poverty roles, then that is a real problem. In some cases I think this may be the case. Of course, the issue of fraud always comes up in this debate somewhere. Fraud is a real problem. But, it is a real problem everywhere, from Wall St. to Main St. as they say. Whose fraud caused more damage, the Savings and Loan mortgage fraud or large scale welfare fraud? I would bet you, it is the first one; and that is only one example. How many others are there. Apparently Medicaid fraud is a big one.
Now, as far as people having kids just for the money. Yes, it does happen. We all know it happens. Here’s the thing though, these mothers, a whole lot of them, raise those kids anyway they can, but as soon as an opportunity to go to school, start a career, a business, comes along, they do not hesitate to jump on it. I see it a Goodwin College. They are willing to work for a better life, the kids give them more incentive to do that. This may not be true in every case, but even if it was a small percentage of the cases, it would justify all the money spent.
Most people do not want to live off the government handout (as some call it) for their whole lives. That premise is just wrong. The people who are satisfied with what they recieve, are people who either feel it is temporary, are handicapped in some capacity making work difficult or impossible, or are elderly, or have just been unemployed so long that they have basically given up on searching for work.
There is one more point I want to make about this subject. If for some reason, someone reading this article truly believes that the reason they cannot get ahead, is because of the broken welfare system. I would first tell them that all the money spent to fight poverty is still less than ten percent of the national budget. Secondly, I would tell them that if the 1% control 90% of the resources, and make 90% of the policy, then who is to blame for their tax dollars being wasted, the poor people who receive 10% of it, or the rich people who decide where the 90% goes? Stop using the poor as a scapegoat!…they are not the reason our government burns through money like they printed it themselves.