The Working Poor that Conservatives Don’t See, Hear or Smell

I’ve written about my old friend before—the tea party worshiping, neo-conservative loving, born-again Christian who won’t give up. He keeps sending me e-mails that supports his freaky, far-out thinking.

Today he sent me two e-mails that I remember. I’ve pretty much forgotten the others—what I think of as mostly humorous filler.

I’m starting with the e-mail that alleged: “Rosie O’Donnell gets ISIS tattoo for ‘freedom fighters’.”  This one came from a site that calls itself The People’s Cube.  According to Wiki, The People’s Cube is a U.S. based satirical conservative website that was launched April 1, 2005, as a sequel to Communists for Kerry.

Since this e-mail came from my old, long-time friend, the Far-Right Cement Wall, I immediately went to Snopes and then Urban Legends. There was nothing on the Urban Legends website, but I hit pay dirt with Snopes.

Snopes reported that what The Peoples Cube published about Rosie O’Donnell was FALSE. “That article was widely circulated via social media, with many readers mistaking it for a genuine news report.”

Are far right extremist conservatives really that gullible and stupid? Don’t answer that question, because I don’t think most extremists—left or right—bother to fact check anything.

Here’s one sentence from the other e-mail from my friend, the Far-Right Concrete Wall—I’d share the entire e-mail, but I think it is too long and pretty much repeats the same crap.

“Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group ‘worked for’ their money, but the second didn’t.”

My response: More crap thinking for fools who are easy to fool. Do you actually believe this crap? I hope not.

THAT CLAIM WAS WRONG!

Studies show that 49% of all SNAP (food stamps) participants are children (age 18 or younger), with almost two-thirds (66%) of SNAP children living in single-parent households. In total, 76% of SNAP benefits go towards households with children, 16% go to households with disabled person, and 9% go to households with senior citizens.

Stigma associated with the SNAP program has led to several common misconceptions about how the program works and who receives the benefits. For instance, many Americans believe that the majority of SNAP benefits go towards people who could be working. In fact, more than half of SNAP recipients are children or the elderly. For the remaining working-age individuals, many of them are currently employed (THEY ARE CALLED THE WORKING POOR WHO WORK FOR POVERTY WAGES FOR COMPANIES LIKE Walmart or the fast food industry). At least forty percent of all SNAP beneficiaries live in a household with earnings. In fact, the majority of SNAP households do not receive cash welfare benefits (around 10% receive cash welfare), with increasing numbers of SNAP beneficiaries obtaining their primary source of income from employment.

Food stamps (SNAP) is just one welfare program. Another welfare program is Housing Choice Vouchers.

The fact sheet for this program says, “The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

“A large Majority of Housing Voucher Recipients Work, are Elderly, or Have Disabilities. Elderly or disabled households make up nearly half (49 percent) of all voucher households, a significant increase over the past decade. This increase, which stemmed largely from a jump in the number of voucher households headed by a non-elderly person with disabilities, may have been driven substantially by restrictions on the types of households that can receive newly authorized vouchers.

“Three-fourths (75%) of the voucher households that are not elderly or disabled either work or participate in other programs that have work requirements. Most of these households worked in 2010 or had worked recently, despite the high unemployment last year. Nearly half of the remaining households in this group include a pre-school child or a child or other adult who is disabled and may need care.”

In fact, my wife rented an apartment she once owned to a woman and her daughter who were eligible for this voucher. The woman worked two jobs—one full time at Costco that started at $11.50 an hour (the average pay at Costco is $21 an hour) and is considered one of the highest starting wages for this industry—but several years ago Wall Street criticized Costco for paying their employees too much, because, if Costco paid poverty wages like Walmart, then the Costco’s stock might have been higher due to higher profits so the already wealthy shareholders could increase their wealth even higher (I read the Op-Ed piece that criticized Costco).

This woman, the renter, also worked a part time job, but still earned—with two jobs—poverty wages.  She couldn’t afford a car, so she walked to the nearest bus stop and took buses to work for both jobs.

Starting pay at Walmart is $9 an hour (before this month, April, starting pay was less), and the average is $12.94. Forbes reported, “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing …”

“Walmart told analysts last year that the company has captured 18 percent of the SNAP market,” it reads. “Using that figure, we estimate that the company accounted for $13.5 billion out of $76 billion in food stamp sales in 2013.”

I then challenged my old friend, the Far-Right Cement Wall, to PLEASE POINT OUT the U.S. Welfare Programs that pay able bodied adults not to work, and prove it. He hasn’t replied yet. He seldom does. What he does is wait for me to call him a fool, and then he accuses me of calling him names, because—according to him—this is what Liberals do when they are wrong and have nothing better to say.

Maybe he should ask The People’s Cube for help to manufacture some fake satirical evidence that other fools like him will believe without thinking.

In conclusion, some mental food for thought. Think by Numbers.org reports that the “Government Spends More on Corporate Welfare Subsidies than Social Welfare Programs”. How much more: “About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.”

 _______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His fourth novel is The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

 Book Cover and Blurb to use in promotions

Lloyd Lofthouse also worked as a maître d’ in a nightclub called the Red Onion for a few years. A romantic at heart, in his award winning novels, he tests true love in difficult situations and the challenges of keeping that love alive. My Splendid Concubine, his first novel, is an epic love story that teaches acceptance and respect for other people and their cultures. Running with the Enemy, his second novel is a love story that will either cost the characters their lives or will complete each other’s hearts. Lloyd Lofthouse lives with his family in California’s San Francisco Bay area.

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Is America really a welfare state?

Recently, I saw this Tweet on Twitter: “Live tweeting the GOP’s demise on my $500 iPhone while standing in line waiting for my welfare check.”

Surely it was a case of irony and/or satire, or was it possible that the tweeter is really that stupid and ignorant?

And that’s why I wanted to discover the demographics of welfare in America and find the answer to the following question.

Are there really that many liberal deadbeats living off of hard working conservative Americans?

Statistics Brain.com reported on September 10, 2013 that 12.8 million Americans were on welfare [4.1% of the population]; 46.7 million on food stamps [Many Americans believe that the majority of SNAP—food stamps—benefits go towards people who could be working. In fact, more than half of SNAP recipients are children or the elderly. For the remaining working-age individuals, many of them are currently employed in low income jobs.], and 5.6 million on unemployment insurance.

That means 95.9% of Americans are not living off welfare.

Does that look like the United States is a welfare state?

Total government spending on welfare annually (not including food stamps or unemployment) was $131.9 billion. How does that compare to the total 2012 budget of the United States federal government? Total expenditures in 2012 were $3.538 trillion.

Therefore, the cost to support welfare in the United States was 3.7% of total federal spending. For a comparison, defense spending—the biggest slice of the budget—was $716.3 billion [20%].

Welfare Demographics:

38.8% of recipients on welfare were white; 39.8% black; 15.7% Hispanic and 2.4% Asian.

The New York Times reported on July 19, 2011 state-by-state welfare assistance numbers. I’m only going to report on states that had 100,000 or more people on welfare. If you want to compare all the states, click on the link.

California had 1,216,866 people on Welfare of 38 million—meaning 3.2% were on welfare

New York (the state) had 391,110 of 19.4 million—2.01% on welfare

Pennsylvania had 199,274 of 12.7 million—1.56% on welfare

Michigan had 196,775 of 9.9 million—1.99% on welfare

Ohio had 179,595 of 11.56 million—1.55% on welfare

Tennessee had 144,705 of 6.375 million—2.27% on welfare

Washington (the state) had 124,937  of 6.753 million—1.85% on welfare

Texas had 115,690 of 25.268 million—0.459% on welfare

Indiana had 113,572 of 6.5 million—1.75% on welfare

Massachusetts had 100,419 of 6.65 million—1.5% on welfare

Missouri had 101,916 of 6 million—1.7% on welfare

The Huffington Post says “When asked about participating in specific government social programs, 97 percent of Republicans and 98 percent of Democrats say they have taken part in a government program of some kind, according to a 2008 survey run by the Cornell Survey Research Institute.”

And “Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include Republican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed Republican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado.” Source: Exposing Religion.com

And—one more time—Business Insider reports “it is red states [you know, red means states that vote Republican in presidential elections] that are overwhelmingly the Welfare Queen States. Yes, that’s right. Red States — the ones governed by folks who think government is too big and spending needs to be cut — are a net drain on the economy, taking in more federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes.”

Surprise >>>> A Pew Research survey discovered that significant proportions of Democrats (60%) and Republicans (52%) say they have benefited from a major entitlement program at some point in their lives. So have nearly equal shares of self-identifying conservatives (57%), liberals (53%) and moderates (53%). The programs were Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment benefits and food stamps. Source: PewResearch.org

What did we learn from all of these facts?

Discover the National Debt Info-Graphic by President 1945 – 2012

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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