The Incentive to Remain Poor

The thing that most worries me in this dismal economic climate is the massive expansion of the welfare state. While the poor, the disillusioned, and the malcontents continue to raid the nation’s welfare institutions, their elected officials have been hard at work trying to drive these programs into oblivion. These programs were set up to function as a safety net for those that were down on their luck, yet have quickly turned into personal hammocks for those who are unable, and often unwilling, to contribute their fair share to society. This new mentality has driven this nation towards the edge of the cliff that will be our financial demise.

Despite the fact that the system is collapsing, Democrats continue to push for an expanded welfare program. Historically, they’ve accomplished this mission by waiving work requirements, loosening the qualification standards, and most recently, by requesting parties be thrown in order to promote food stamp enrollment. Yes, parties. You see, this might be a good idea if the parties were to be thrown at a job fair. However, these parties are to be hosted by current food stamp recipients, with the bulk of the invitees being the aforementioned recipient’s friends. The idea is to have so much fun at the party, at the taxpayer’s expense, of course, that the individual will be energized enough to go enroll in the program themselves, presumably so they can also throw extravagant food stamp parties for their friends. If they have enough friends that will enroll in the programs, they could literally party every day of the week, utilizing refreshments that are provided by us, the tax-payer. This circular approach to voter appeasement demonstrates why the Democrat party is so dangerous. It is buying votes with our money.

More recently, the SNAP program doubled down on its efforts to break its own food stamp world record by encouraging non-English speaking residents to sign up for the program. How do we know this? Well, they began a heavy advertising campaign associated with Spanish soap operas in which parts of the dialogue and plot focused around the obtaining of food stamps. After The Daily Caller broke the story, the USDA caved by cancelling the program, citing that even they didn’t consider their own tactics to be “appropriate outreach.” However, they continue to still advertise the SNAP program in Spanish. This is discomforting for some, since the bulk of the non-English-speakers are of the illegal immigrant variety. It is well known that illegal immigrants are now migrating here for the purpose of welfare enrollment, which might explain why 20% of the SNAP’s beneficiaries are identified as “race unknown.” If the program doesn’t know who the individuals really are, it would stand to reason that they are also unable to determine their race.

In order to survive, the system needs some serious reform. Spending $800 billion a year on welfare is beyond a safety net. It is downright theft. If we are going to maintain a safety net (and we should) for those citizens that need it most, it is imperative that we purge the freeloaders from the system. One in seven people do not fit the bill of disabled or helpless Americans. I’m willing to bet from sheer speculation and personal observation that a large percentage of the recipients are taking advantage of the various programs in some way. To make a long story short, they could easily survive without the tax-payer’s help.

As Frederic Bastiat defined in 1848, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Nothing could be truer of our government today. The few subsidize the many by paying taxes to fund these welfare programs. A tax on an individual’s income is simply a vehicle by which the government can confiscate that citizen’s property, for the purpose of redistributing it to someone else. That citizen may have worked for that property, yet they won’t get to keep it. Instead, some stranger who didn’t work for it will receive it. This government-endorsed plunder is raging out of control. The latest reports show that more than 46 million people are on food stamps, or one in seven individuals. Their reasons are varied, but, in any event, this system cannot sustain itself. With an increase of 14 million recipients under the Obama presidency, it is evident that people are simply not improving their lot by working their way off the program. The simple fact remains that when you pay people to be poor, they’re going to remain poor.

Jeff Max | Texas Wesleyan University | @JeffreyMaxxx

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12 Responses

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  1. Matt
    Sep 25, 2012 - 09:05 PM

    What does “Check your privilege. Seriously.” mean? What if the author has been blessed with more than others? Who is responsible for said “privilege”, his parents possibly ? How did they come to be able to afford said privilege ? Hard work, education, sacrifice, a little luck maybe. Whatever , his privilege may be the result of others sacrifice, good choices, and priorities. Maybe his parents decided to have one child instead of more. Possibly they waited till later in life to have a child so they could afford said child or maybe they forgo other luxuries in an effort to provide necessities. The simple truth is there are some people out there that need help and as the article says there should be a safety net not a way of life. Generations living in public housing and getting assistance is not a way of life that can be sustained and should not be tolerated. The idea that everyone is due a “living” wage is absurd, what is a living wage? Who is responsible for setting it ? If we determine that X is the living wage ,those making X will have to pay more for whatever it is they need considering everything will cost more. The wages for a given job are determined by the skills and demand for that position to artificially inflate the value of that job will also inflate the cost of the services or products associated with that position. I am by no means rich , however I do not blame the rich for my position in life, nor do I feel they are responsible for filling the void between my lifestyle and theirs. I further do not think it is my responsibility to fill the gap between my lifestyle and those less fortunate than me. Have some started out with “privilege” sure, but this is America and plenty that started out with nothing have gone very far. It is sad to see that pride is a thing of the past. You see people on the dole, driving nice cars, with smartphones, designer clothes, and sneakers while working class folks go without these things in an effort to be self sufficient. Why is that ? Again there are some that do the right thing and use the safety net as it is intended and any reform will continue to help them because they truly deserve the help they receive.

  2. Rex
    Jul 26, 2012 - 07:56 PM

    Worry more about big businesses and banks benefiting from corporate welfare than people who are down on their luck and utilizing Food Stamps.

    If one in seven individuals (or 46 million, as you state) are on food stamps, that means that this “trickle down effect” is ineffective.

    Giving the so-called “job creators” more leniency in terms of tax loopholes, bailouts, tax havens, and free reign over the economy has created more poverty than *jobs*… or anything of value.

    You’re in school… you can’t possibly be this obtuse.

    Jeffrey, there are no such thing as “extravagant food stamp parties”. The pittance/allowance of food stamps is FAR from extravagant. Try feeding a family of four on $160 per month. With both adults working full time, and doing odd jobs just to make ends meet.

    You forget that the chain is only is strong as its weakest link, Jeffrey. We are all Americans and we are all in this mess together.

    People need to eat in order to live, in order to survive, in order to allow America to come to its full potential.

    • Chelle
      Jul 27, 2012 - 02:43 PM

      “If one in seven individuals (or 46 million, as you state) are on food stamps, that means that this “trickle down effect” is ineffective.”

      Pretty much. The rich are currently taxed at the lowest amount since the 80s, companies are reporting profits and yet our unemployment rate hasn’t changed? And that’s the poor people’s fault?

      Conservatives just prove Steinbeck right when he says they just see themselves as embrassed millionaries. Their logic seems to be keep feeding the rich in hopes they are kind and pass it long.

    • Yogi Beez
      Aug 31, 2012 - 01:56 AM

      you have level head…Im positive he has not had to sleep in van with 4 other sibblings…it wasnt my fault, or had to wear the same 2 pairs of pant for a half a school semester, shoes better last at least 2 yrs….top ramen doesnt taste very good after 100 dinners…

  3. Rex
    Jul 26, 2012 - 07:24 PM

    Check your privilege. Seriously.

  4. Chelle
    Jul 26, 2012 - 01:44 PM

    It really amazes me when this site’s welfare articles omitt the Welfare Act of ’96 or the gap between minimum wage and livable wage.

    Also, I shake my head that one article on this site will go on about the unemployment rate and then the next article will go on about how people are lazy and just want welfare. Which is it? Are people lazy or did Obama take all the jobs away?

    Finally, these articles never address the actual cause. Yes, in this imagery world, where employeers are desperate to fill jobs that pay enough for everyone to live middle class (or even enough to actually live without having to choose between water or electric), you could probably get away with the argument that people are lazy.

    However, poverty is extremely real and receiving welfare does not actually provide secruity. Did you know there are actually people with jobs that need federal assistance? That’s because of that whole minimum vs. livable wage thing.

    But nope, these articles just want to ignore that there are real reasons that people need welfare, and worse, punish them for things out of their control. Instead of saying “we need to increase wages and make corporations treat their employees like actual people” you say “sucks that your kid is going hungry but we know you’re lazy despite you working already/the unemployment rate/being uneducated due to a crappy school system.”

    These articles and the like never actually try to understand the people on welfare. All they do is buy into the same stereotypes of the Welfare Queen, her litter of kids and dead beat daddies who uses food stamps to buy lobsters before driving away in her brand new car.

    These articles also seem to forget that we will in a society and thus depend on other people to get buy. That person on welfare? Could be the person tomorrow that’s paying taxes with his job while you’re on welfare. The future is unprodictable and you don’t know.

    But instead of asking “how can we changes things so people don’t need welfare?” you ask “how can we make our poor people even more poorer?”

    (Seriously? You think US citizens don’t deserve their government – that they paid into at one point/are paying into – helping them simply because English isn’t their strongest lanagauge?)

    • Yogi Beez
      Aug 31, 2012 - 02:11 AM

      not to be rude but if you have food stamps, you “DO NOT” buy lobster lol lol lol…..or at least my mom never did lol lol

    • Brad
      Dec 20, 2012 - 12:22 AM

      I disagree with Jeffey about the poor. I am poor. I got an electronic associates degree in 1976. I worked for 15 years for my first company and then was laid with 1000 others. Then I went to school for just over 2 years and ran out of funds. I got a job with Hewlett Packard where I was soon to be put on full time, they had a one year wait period to evaluate you for full-time status. At just past 8 months I was told sign up with a temp agency or lose your job here, so I did. This was in 1994, when NAFTA was introduced by the conservative Republicans. Since then all companies who use people in my field hire temps only, to avoid full-time expenses, a full-time nightmare to people who live full-time. I’ve been working one part-time job after another since then, except for 3 years in 1999 when I worked American Electronic Sign. They were bought out by 3M and 3M soon laid everybody off and went back east. I have had over 14 positions over the period 1991 to 2008. Also I have worked as a telemarketer, a “boxer” for overhead fluorescent lamps, a circuit board “stuffer” for flow solder production and 9 different jobs as an electronic technician. Now I can find no work, even in retail sales, grocery work, and selling pizzas. Now tell me, What has the great conservative Republic Party done for you lately? I barely get by on $200 for food only, assistance from HUD for my apartment, SNAP for heating, and have to bug my friends as I get no money for Insulin and supplies, as I am a diabetic. Tell me now Jeffey do you just ponder the reality of poverty, or do you really experience it???



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