Christine Rousselle

My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Welfare Reform

During the 2010 and 2011 summers, I was a cashier at Wal-Mart #1788 in Scarborough, Maine. I spent hours upon hours toiling away at a register, scanning, bagging, and dealing with questionable clientele. These were all expected parts of the job, and I was okay with it. What I didn’t expect to be part of my job at Wal-Mart was to witness massive amounts of welfare fraud and abuse.

I understand that sometimes, people are destitute. They need help, and they accept help from the state in order to feed their families. This is fine. It happens. I’m not against temporary aid helping those who truly need it. What I saw at Wal-Mart, however, was not temporary aid. I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items.  I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards. I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis’ signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis’ last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. That’s not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become.

Other things witnessed while working as a cashier included:

a) People ignoring me on their iPhones while the state paid for their food. (For those of you keeping score at home, an iPhone is at least $200, and requires a data package of at least $25 a month. If a person can spend $25+ a month so they can watch YouTube 24/7, I don’t see why they can’t spend that money on food.)

b) People using TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) money to buy such necessities such as earrings, kitkat bars, beer, WWE figurines, and, my personal favorite, a slip n’ slide. TANF money does not have restrictions like food stamps on what can be bought with it.

c) Extravagant purchases made with food stamps; including, but not limited to: steaks, lobsters, and giant birthday cakes.

d) A man who ran a hotdog stand on the pier in Portland, Maine used to come through my line. He would always discuss his hotdog stand and encourage me to “come visit him for lunch some day.” What would he buy? Hotdogs, buns, mustard, ketchup, etc. How would he pay for it? Food stamps. Either that man really likes hotdogs, or the state is paying for his business. Not okay.

The thing that disturbed me more than simple cases of fraud/abuse was the entitled nature of many of my customers. One time, a package of bell peppers did not ring up as food in the computer. After the woman swiped her EBT card, it showed a balance that equaled the cost of the peppers. The woman asked what the charge was, and a quick glance at the register screen showed that the peppers did not ring up as food. (Food items had the letter ‘F’ next to their description.) The woman immediately began yelling at me, saying that, “It’s food! You eat it!”

This wasn’t the only time things like this happened: if a person’s EBT balance was less than they thought it would be, or if their cards were declined, it was somehow my fault. I understand the situation is stressful, but a person should be knowledgeable about how much money is in their account prior to going grocery shopping. EBT totals are printed on receipts, and every cell phone has a calculator function. There’s no excuse, and there’s no reason to yell at the cashier for it.

The worst thing I ever saw at Wal-Mart Scarborough was two women and their children. These women each had multiple carts full of items, and each began loading them at the same time (this should have been a tip-off to their intelligence levels). The first woman, henceforth known as Welfare Queen #1, paid for about $400 worth of food with food stamps. The majority of her food was void of any nutritional value. She then pulled out an entire month’s worth of WIC (Women, Infants, and Children program) checks. I do not mind people paying with WIC, but the woman had virtually none of the correct items. WIC gives each participating mother a book containing actual images of items for which a person can and cannot redeem the voucher. This woman literally failed at image comprehension.

After redeeming 10+ WIC checks, Welfare Queen #1 had me adjust the prices of several items she was buying (Wal-Mart’s policy is to adjust the price of the item without question if it’s within a dollar or two). She then pulled out a vacuum cleaner, and informed me that the cost of the vacuum was $3.48 because, “that’s what the label says.” The vacuum cleaner was next to a stack of crates that were $3.48. Somehow, every other customer was able to discern that the vacuum cleaner was not $3.48, but Welfare Queen #1 and her friend Welfare Queen #2 were fooled. Welfare Queen #2 informed me that she used to work for Wal-Mart, and that the “laws of Wal-Mart legally said” that I would have to sell her the vacuum for $3.48. After contacting my manager, who went off to find the proper vacuum price, Welfare Queen #1 remarked that it must be tough to stand on a mat all day and be a cashier. I looked at her, smiled, shrugged, and said, “Well, it’s a job.” She was speechless. After they finally admitted defeat, (not before Welfare Queen #2 realizing she didn’t have enough money to buy all of the food she had picked out, resulting in the waste of about $200 worth of products) the two women left about an hour and a half after they arrived at my register. The next man in line said that the two women reminded him of buying steel drums and cement. I said I was reminded why I vote Republican.

Maine has a problem with welfare spending. Maine has some of the highest rates in the nation for food stamp enrollment, Medicaid, and TANF. Nearly 30% of the state is on some form of welfare. Maine is the only state in the nation to rank in the top two for all three categories. This is peculiar, as Maine’s poverty rate isn’t even close to being the highest in the nation. The system in Maine is far easier to get into than in other states, and it encourages dependency. When a person makes over the limit for benefits, they lose all benefits completely. There is no time limit and no motivation to actually get back to work. Furthermore, spending on welfare has increased dramatically, but there has been no reduction of the poverty rate. Something is going terribly wrong, and the things I saw at work were indicators of a much larger problem. Something must change before the state runs out of money funding welfare programs.

Christine Rousselle // Providence College // @Crousselle

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2,758 Responses

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  1. Sandy
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:15 AM

    I have had responses come into my inbox. It would be nice if folks used real words instead of foul language to make their case, either for or against.
    I never really got an answer from my question I posted in response to some folks a couple of days ago. Maybe Shannon Morris will be so kind to help me.
    What is going to happen when there is no food stamps, no everything when the government can’t give it out because it is BROKE? We as a nation do need to scale back. Those that have need to start planning to help those in their family that won’t have.

  2. Lee
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:13 AM

    @ tayna… thank you. Finally, another person who grew up on the system and/or poor, and still believes in hard work and “nothing is for free.” Thank you for speaking up. =)

  3. Lee
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:08 AM

    @ willy…. Was that a typo in your post? You’re on food stamps. Your wife doesn’t work so she can stay home with your DOG because you don’t want your DOG in daycare????

    @fyou… You’re 19 and on food stamps due to a disability… and its the only way your “family” can eat. Family meaning kids? Dude, you’re 19!!!!!

  4. Kelly
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:04 AM

    I really have an issue with the self righteous, I am so much better than the welfare leeches tone that the writer projects. It seems as if she feels that working at Wal-Mart is a hardship for her. Based on her tone, she thinks that she deserves better than to work at Wal-Mart and should be at a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods with its higher social class of customers.

    Wal-Mart makes a lot of money off EBT. When I lived in Michigan, you didn’t go into any Wal-Mart around the 7th of the month, because you would get stuck standing in line while people spent their reloaded EBT cards. It’s not in Wal-Mart’s best interests to want any reform of the welfare system because it would cut into their profits. Also, you would be surprised at the number of hourly, part time Wal-Mart employees who receiving some form of welfare simply because it doesn’t want to pay a living wage or benefits.

    She doesn’t know why these people are on EBT. Perhaps the person with the iPhone had a good job and lost it because of downsizing. That iPhone probably was purchased before that catastrophe. It’s more complex than how she wants it to be. There are probably many people in this country who never thought they would be needing to go on unemployment or get food stamps, but they lost their jobs and need to help provide for their families. Yes, there are the multigeneration welfare recipients, but don’t demonize the people who don’t abuse the system.

    I wonder if she’s paying for any of her own very expensive college tuition. Providence College is a private school at around $40K per year in tuition. I would find it rather ironic when she graduates with her degree and there’s no job out there for her if she’s such a staunch conservative. I could see her going a complete 360 degrees and joining the Occupy Wall Street crowds and starting to demand some type of corporate reform once she realizes that she’s stuck with $100K plus in student loans.

  5. Tanya
    Dec 22, 2011 - 08:01 AM

    Seems to me like you are pretty spot on. I am a stay at home mother with 2 small children and my husband busts his hump every day so we can live a decent life and to be quite honest, most times its not enough. My husband was out of work for 3 weeks, (he is a laborer in our local union and has 2 college degrees which have nothing what so ever to do with his line of work) I called our Social Service Dept. and was told that we didnt qualify for help because he would be back to work before they could give it to us. WTF really? While I sit back and watch people who get foodstamps, medicaid and whatever else they feel like handing out go on vacations, buy season passes to Six Flags, tote iphones and designer purses. That shit get frustrating. Here my husband works and we cant go anywhere and you sit home collect what you think your entitled to and have all the fun. Do you know how much it costs to deliver a baby? I had an emergency c-section, our insurance only covered 70% I owe somewhere in the range of $6000 in doctor bills, that will probably not get paid in the near future. I can totally relate to what you are saying. Lets break it down, I live in NY where almost everyone thinks they are entitled to welfare and all the rest of the goodies. So here in the great state of NY You can get food stamps and if you qualify for food stamps you can get HEAP (heat energy assistance program). HEAP hand out hundreds and thousands of dollars for electric and heat. Then you can also get Section 8.This program pays the majority of your rent. Say someone wants to rent a house for $1000 a month, Section 8 will pay 700-800 of that cost for you. Free health insurance, thats a biggie. My family could use free health insurance. I have a 9yr old and a 7 month old baby. Oh wait it gets better here and now you can get a cell phone too. Holy shit! So your food is free,spending money, electricity and heat payed for, rent taken care of, no health insurance costs and you can talk on the phone too! Wow wouldnt you stay home??? Noone is saying poor people cant have birthday cakes. Its the point that what some people are doing with their benefits are wrong. Of course you can eat just like everyone else. I witnessed a couple buying a patio set with their benefit card, so why is it that you can do that? I’m definitely not on a high horse because I grew up on the system. My mother is disabled and my father had a real problem with paying child support so I know exactly how it feels to be poor. My mother didnt tote handbags and whatever the latest trend was. Her main concern was feeding my brother and I and making sure we had what we needed. People have lost sight in what these programs are really meant for. They are for necessities not luxuries.

  6. Bee (@welllahdeedah)
    Dec 22, 2011 - 06:38 AM

    I truly hope you never have to feel the sting of poverty – the embarrassment of having to pay for something with charity, or even having to beg for help.
    It’s hard to live the American dream, but thankfully middle-class white girls like you are protected from the brunt of it
    My tip, though? Marry rich, sweetheart. It may seem like your “writing career” is really taking off right now, what with all these comments.
    No, I’m sorry to inform you, but you have just become a meme. That’s right: You’re a silly character that the general public will now use as an example of an over-entitled, privileged American girl (not that there aren’t already enough of those).

    I hope you enjoy your infamy while it lasts – you Earned it!!

  7. Gail
    Dec 22, 2011 - 06:34 AM

    Your rants on food stamps are just a symbol of much larger problems here in the U.S. First I must ask, what have all the people posting here, recently done to help their neighbors who are NOT receiving food stamps and are likely both hungry and depressed? They have your pride and respect but it surely is not filling their stomachs or putting a roof over their head. Do you even know (or care) who your neighbors are? Probably not- Which is why the “government” must take care of the most basic needs of so many…While shopping at Walmart were any of you able to purchase anything “made in the USA” to help our economy? (Probably not) – And worst of all, is our public education system here aims to educate children to reach the level of intelligence necessary to work at Walmart -They feel they have succeeded if they can get you to graduate high school – For those dwindling number of students able to afford college – Good Luck! You too may join the growing number of Masters Degree educated in debt and unemployed – I’ll pray you are not hungry. The government is not the answer but WHO is?

  8. MPG
    Dec 22, 2011 - 12:37 AM

    Remember the guy in Michigan who won $1 million in the state lottery? He calls up the welfare office, informs them of his winnings, and asks if he will still receive the food subsidy. They say sure…this is just money you won, not earned income.

    The problem facing American children in poverty is OBESITY, not starvation. What does that tell you about the rules and policies that qualify families to be losers I mean on welfare?

    • Paul L
      Dec 22, 2011 - 12:50 AM

      “The problem facing American children in poverty is OBESITY, not starvation. What does that tell you about the rules and policies that qualify families to be losers I mean on welfare?” That tells me nothing about the people that qualify to be on assistance. What it does tell me is that it is cheaper to buy crappy preproccessed food that is full of high fructose corn syrup, bleached white flour, carbs and fillers. Food that makes a person fat but provides a minimum nutritional value. Have you ever compared the nutritional labels on the cheap stuff versus the higher priced foods? To eat healthy it costs 2-3 times what it does to eat crap. But you won’t believe it because that’s not what Fox news tells you. Fox news tells you that welfare recipients are frauds and drug addicts. When statistically only 2-3% of all recipients are frauds or drug addicts.

  9. Jen
    Dec 22, 2011 - 12:08 AM

    Amen… back a few years ago, I worked as a teacher at a residential school. Many of the staff were bused in from the nearest large city. Several of my staff swapping food stamps for cash, among other things. The place I worked gave you one free meal each shift you worked. The most notorious of these people typically did not eat the food. You would think if you were struggling for money, you would appreciate this little perk of the job. Nope, not them. Why eat a free, nutritionally balanced, albeit it mass produced cafeteria meal? You can have a free meal of exactly what you want instead, and darn it, you should never have to eat anything that is not exactly what you like. These people had been on food stamps since they became adults, despite having jobs most of the time.
    On the other hand, I had another person working in my room who had gone on food stamps temporarily between jobs. She was like the many people who responded here who were embarrassed (and shouldn’t have had to be, she had worked her whole life, ran into hard times, and needed help until she could get back on her feet). She told me how they gave her so much money on there that she was shocked. It was just her and a young child. She thought she would get just enough to get by. Instead, she got enough money to buy steaks for her, her mom, and her son every night if she wanted to. That’s absurd and unnecessary. It is people like the ones you described, and my first set of co-workers who make it really difficult for people who truly just need help to accept it. Most people on public assistance didn’t choose to be there. It’s the people who are clearly taking advantage (if you go to the store every week or month, the cashiers remember you and your card, and your steaks) that are the problem. The people I know who want to get off are as appalled at the behavior of those who fight to stay on as I am.

    I’ve got no problem with people on welfare being able to get enough to eat decently… and that’s just it, decently. You get to spend lavishly when you work and earn it. Otherwise, figure out the average cost of fulfilling the recommended number of servings for a person, give them enough to fulfill their needs. If you choose lobster one night, that’s fine, but you’ll have to sacrifice something else (just like most of America).

  10. Opheliac
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:48 PM

    TL:DR: The only job I’ve ever had was at Wal-Mart, and now I think I know more about being poor than actual poor people.

    Rich white girl whining, simply. Oh, idiot conservatives, how you amuse me. xD

  11. Steph
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:35 PM
  12. Steph
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:26 PM

    You are a brat.

  13. GRACE!
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:37 PM

    you’re a fat ugly disgusting little bitch. are scary, stupid poor people not allowed to have a fucking birthday cake at their party? it’s people like you that are fucking ruining the world.

  14. Fyou.
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:27 PM

    Now this is what I have to think about it.
    That old man that has had food stamps your whole life. Maybe something in his personal life is screwed and that is the only way he can get food. Now a days if you have a family and your the only income 10 bucks an hour doesn’t give you shit. Food is food. Just because I am on welfare and your not does not mean i am not going to eat as good as you do if i want a god damn steak im gunna eat it. Yes there is people who have been on it for a very long time, well do me a favor and look at the fuckin goverment and what they have done to the jobs and how they have basically bent all americans over and screwed us thats why us people on welfare are on it for so long. I have been on welfare for 2 years now, and yes i would like to be off of it but i cant work my DOCTOR said i am not allowed to work because of my back…I’m 19..yes you can say well get disability. not so easy when your only 19. Yes there is people that abuse it. BUT if i didnt have food stamps i wouldnt be able to feed my family. There is no guidelines on what non prepared food you can get anything with an F. Atleast their using food stamps for food instead of trading it for cash for drugs.So maybe before you post stupid shit like this you should see it from our eyes, instead of just one side. And all you ignorant fucks that think ALL of us are losers there is a fucking reason were on it so fuck off.

  15. Fyou.
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:25 PM

    Now this is what I have to think about it.
    That old man that has had food stamps your whole life. Maybe something in his personal life is screwed and that is the only way he can get food. Now a days if you have a family and your the only income 10 bucks an hour doesn’t give you shit. Food is food. Just because I am on welfare and your not does not mean i am not going to eat as good as you do if i want a god damn steak im gunna eat it. Yes there is people who have been on it for a very long time, well do me a favor and look at the fuckin goverment and what they have done to the jobs and how they have basically bent all americans over and screwed us thats why us people on welfare are on it for so long. I have been on welfare for 2 years now, and yes i would like to be off of it but i cant work my DOCTOR said i am not allowed to work because of my back…I’m 19..yes you can say well get disability. not so easy when your only 19. Yes there is people that abuse it. BUT if i didnt have food stamps i wouldnt be able to feed my family. There is no guidelines on what non prepared food you can get anything with an F. Atleast their using food stamps for food instead of trading it for cash for drugs.So maybe before you post stupid shit like this you should see it from our eyes, instead of just one side.

  16. Kylie
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:23 PM

    I am not on welfare, have two young children, father pays no child support and does not see his kids cause he is basically to lazy (i believe). I work full time educating the adults of tomorrow and am studying a PHD in psychology part time. Luckily I own my car and owe nothing on it and mortgage repayments are low compared to others due to the small amount required to borrow (due to working hard and saving hard since the age of 15).

    My point of all this is with daycare for my boys, ridiculous medical costs, (eldest about to have an operation which must be paid for upfront ($6000.00) then possibly more depending what happens in surgery, all because I dont want him to have to wait 2 years for the operation he needs. With speech therapy for him, fortnightly paediatric visits for my youngest, the soaring cost of HEALTHY foods (fruits and vegetables), power, gas, water and so on, i cannot afford a post paid mobile (cell) plan let alone an Iphone on one, so I do wonder about the designer clothes and technology I see some people on benefits wearing/using – particularly younger people as there is not much chance many of them would have had a job between leaving school and collecting benefits to be in a position to own the things they carry 9also I see many lining up as I go about my business that are not only clearly stoned out of their mind (but also reek of pot as well).

    Having said that, it is vital that society offers assistance to those who are vulnerable and at risk financially. Penalising people for falling on hard times only serves to increase crime rates, drug taking (stress relief) and various other forms of anti social behaviour.

  17. LyssatakeaBow
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:11 PM

    I worked in 2 large supermarkets in the same area, one in the same town, as the author of this article as a cashier between 2004 and April of this year and I would just like to say that since 2008 the number of customers paying with ebt/wic/vouchers increased about double, so basically since the recession. I don’t think the people of Maine all the sudden just decided to get greedy and take advantage of a system the recession happened and they lost jobs and had to eat still. My rough guess would be that in 2004-2008 maybe like 20% (increasing slightly over the years though, probably started off less than 20%) of orders used welfare and in 2011 roughly like 50%. People don’t use these things cause they want to they use them cause they have to.

  18. Courtney
    Dec 21, 2011 - 09:30 PM

    As usual, a conservative judging someone they know nothing about. Tell me, do you earn enough at WalMart to support yourself? My family went on food stamps while I was growing up because my father had injured his arm and could no longer work at the factory job he had had before. Since only one of his arms was injured, he couldn’t go on disability, so he had to take an $8/hour job. My mother had a similarly low paying job. We didn’t make ourselves suffer because we were poor; occasionally my dad would enjoy a beer or he would give me money to go to the movies with my friends. We had cake on our birthdays. We had (gasp!) cellphones so my mother could keep up with me while I went out with my friends or needed a ride home from school.

    Perhaps those people with iPhones had no personal computer at home?? An iPhone is cheaper to keep up with per month than a computer with wifi. And when’s the last time you applied for a job that wasn’t on the internet? I’m lucky to have found myself a job after months of unemployment, and I applied to that job on the INTERNET because I didn’t have a choice.

    Funny you haven’t mentioned any problems with your better off customers. I don’t believe for one second that it was only those dirty dirty poors that gave you problems. And as a damn WalMart cashier (where pretty much all of the customers are imbeciles), you are not an authority on welfare, so shut your mouth.

  19. crousselle is a little liar
    Dec 21, 2011 - 08:54 PM

    I think you’ll do great when you grow up. Conservatives and Republicans are really good at lying and convincing a bunch of dummies.

    But here are the facts:

    Myth/Lie: Once on welfare, always on welfare. Lots of families go on welfare and stay on for years and years.

    Fact: Less than 1/10th of 1% of all families who received TANF at the beginning of the program. in 1996 continue to receive it today. The average length of time that Maine families stay on TANF is 21 months.

  20. Poor Black Girl
    Dec 21, 2011 - 08:32 PM

    ‎”Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” Herman Melville

    To presume that you personally know the situations of every person that you so openly accuse of fraud is a dangerous and close-minded approach. This is as damaging to the self-esteem of, and discussion about what it is to be poor in America. This is reminiscent of the blog post not too long ago by Gene Marks about what he would do if he were a poor black kid. The problem is that Gene Marks isn’t a poor black kid, and you, Miss Rousselle are not someone who needs public assistance. The myth of the “welfare queen” draws attention away from the real problem — income inequality and a lack of jobs that actually pay a livable wage. This article does nothing more than spout off inaccuracies and play on stereotypes about those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

  21. Dave Abdanana
    Dec 21, 2011 - 08:29 PM

    Progressives – the parasites of our society.

  22. Petrie
    Dec 21, 2011 - 08:26 PM

    It’s so sad that you think this way.

  23. Progressive
    Dec 21, 2011 - 08:13 PM

    You are a disgrace to the human race. Oh a conservative, nevermind, you have no soul.

  24. Willy
    Dec 21, 2011 - 07:11 PM

    I find this an amusing article. I spent eight years in the military, have a wife and three kids. I have been decorated both for valor and injuries in combat and I have fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times, resulting in more time at war than most people spend getting their undergrad degree (39 months). I am currently going to college, and I am on foodstamps. I work part time, am a drilling reservist, take a course load of 16-20 credits as my education benefits only last so long, participate in my kids lives. My wife doesn’t work because day care at a place that I would be comfortable leaving my dog costs a ton and she would actually have to pay to work. So before you condemn all people on welfare, look at their story. If I want steak, I’ll buy steak. I find it amusing that many people complain that food stamps are used to buy unhealthy food, and others complain that it is used for expensive food. Here is a tip….most healthy food such as chicken breast, turkey, lean beef, organic foods, fresh fruit and veggies, and actual cheese is more expensive.

    Also, Maine has a high welfare rate due to a- very high taxes for a moderate to low level income state, b- overburdened case workers can go over everything with a fine toothed comb to root out the abysses, and c- like you said, if you work too much you lose everything, putting you in a WORSE spot than you were before so those with families do what is best for their families, not necessarily what is best for the state.

    So bottom line, I understand your likely 20-22 years of experience have made you wizened beyond reproach but don’t attack users of a system who are either down on their luck or not willing to settle with a poor job now to live paycheck to paycheck instead of a better job later and they just need some help along the way.

    On the other hand, I have seen lots of college students get grants and subsidized loans from the government and drink away their college years and fail out….why won’t you complain about these? Same idea, those grants aren’t free.

  25. Christine
    Dec 21, 2011 - 06:57 PM

    Working at Walmart during the summer does not make you an expert on poverty or welfare. Tuition at Providence College is between $35,000-40,000…. Your family can obviously afford this, as you would have to work 80-hour weeks at Walmart to be able to pay this tuition on your own. You should be grateful that you have been born into fortunate circumstances with access to quality education.

    What you should not do is run your mouth off about how to live a life under conditions you have no experience with. You are 20 years old, wealthy and white. I hope that you will look back at this one day and feel embarrassed at the naivety your writing so clearly reveals. However, things are probably just going to get more embarrassing if you are looking to become “the next Ann Coulter”.

  26. Ridiculous
    Dec 21, 2011 - 06:56 PM

    A birthday cake?! Some CANDY?! The nerve of those poor people, thinking they should be allowed to have birthdays or eat a sweet once in a while. You know NOTHING about these people’s individual situations. Stop being a judgmental brat.

    And if you think ANYONE with a brain is going to take you seriously when you throw around the world “Welfare “Queen,” you should probably read this:“welfare-queen”-who-actually-receives-tanf-benefits/

  27. Kay
    Dec 21, 2011 - 06:31 PM

    I do certainly think it’s ridiculous, in a vacuum, to be on welfare for twenty years. I also think that it is ridiculous to have a cut-off, on-or-off welfare system. At the same time, you do not know these persons’ circumstances. As an employee of Wal*Mart, Ms. Rousselle is clearly taking the initiative to start herself a career that will probably not stop along the welfare trail, but it may. It is important to be respectful of persons’ unique situations; you do not know why or how they procure or need these things. In a diverse world, I am glad that Ms. Rouselle wrote this piece. I hope she will remain open to others’ opinions.

  28. Julie Lewis
    Dec 21, 2011 - 06:18 PM

    I’m sure that there are those who abuse the welfare system. And there are many on this post that make the point that the government often cuts off benefits too soon once someone who had benefits gets a job. I agree with that. Which is indeed part of the problem and why families go into a cycle of dependence. Other reasons include a lack of real economic opportunity (sounds like many of the women you mentioned didn’t receive the education that this country constitutionally owes them, at least through 12th grade), teens having babies (which could be stopped if we meaningfully funded family planning – but oh wait you all are too busy saving those babies instead of preventing them because family planning *might* be the same as abortion – which it isn’t), and drug/alcohol dependency (which almost always needs therapy and counseling to overcome). Must be nice to just think that stopping welfare would force people to work harder, because that’s the problem – poor people must be lazy.


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