The Evolution of a National Burden – Part 2/7

Do not confuse living in poverty with not working.

For example, in April, 2012, The Huffington Post reported., “In 2010, the number of working poor Americans climbed to its highest level in the last two decades, the Department of Labor reported last week . About 10.5 million Americans, or 7.2 percent of the labor force in 2010, weren’t earning enough to stay out of poverty, according to a Department of Labor report released last week. That’s the highest rate since the Labor Department started reporting the statistic in 1987.”

“To provide broader picture of 2010, during that year, 46.2 million Americans or 15.1 percent of the population were earning below the official poverty line—an annual income of $10,830 for a single person and $22,050 for a family of four, according to the Census Bureau.”

In the CRS overview of federal welfare spending even the $55.6 Billion refundable earned income tax credit was counted as welfare.  Another $164 Million listed as welfare went to fund programs for Breast/Cervical Cancer Early Detection in addition to $5.54 Billion for Indian Health Services (Do you remember the treaties the US signed with defeated American native tribes back in the 19th century?)

Also listed as welfare was the $353 Million the federal government spent for Transitional Cash and Medical Services for Refugees in addition to $6.594 Billion in temporary cash aid for needy families.

This one may surprise you—it surprised me: Water and Water Disposal for Rural Communities was listed as welfare, and that service cost the federal government $121 million in 2011.

There is also $2 Billion in nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico and another $848 million in nutritional programs for the elderly.

In fact, there are ten food assistance programs listed as welfare that add up to $101.28 Billion (not cash but food).

Then there is education assistance that is counted as welfare. For example, paying for the education of American natives living on indian reservations (those 19th century treaties again) cost the US $753 million and that is but one of sixteen active education programs that cost $65.7 Billion but is listed as welfare.

In addition, “Those receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program numbered 46.37 million …” but “the average monthly benefit per person has declined modestly to $132.96.” Source:

Can you survive on $132.96 a month? Many of Wal-Mart workers can’t! reported, “As many as 80% of Wal-Mart employees use food stamps.… ‘Wal-Mart’s poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. In state after state, Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of Medicaid.

“Wal-Mart workers’ reliance on public assistance due to substandard wages and benefits has become a form of indirect public subsidy to the company. In effect, Wal-Mart is shifting part of its labor costs onto the (tax-paying) public.'”

The Walton family is one of the richest families in the world and their wealth was inherited from Bud and Sam Walton, founders of the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart. The Walton family controls 48% of the company and are worth a combined total of $102.7 Billion (as of 2012).

And Wal-Mart is not alone. reported, “There’s a disturbing irony within the food industry: Many of its employees rely on food stamps … and 86% of workers are earning either subminimum, poverty or low wages.”

On October 15, 2012, Statistic reported that the total number of Americans on Welfare was 4.3 million and 38.8% (1.67 million) were white; 39.8% black (1.7 million); 15.7% Hispanic (675 thousand); 2.4% Asian (103.2 thousand) and 3.3% other.

However, there are 40.34 million blacks and 47.4 million Hispanics in the US.

In addition, “A household must earn $37,105 a year to afford the national average two-bedroom fair-market rent of $928 a month. A full-time worker would have to make $17.84 an hour to afford the average 2 bedroom if no more than the recommended guideline of 30 percent of income is spent on housing.”

“A household must earn over $66,000 to afford a 2-bedroom in San Francisco or Honolulu, but only $24,800 for a 2br apt in Fargo, North Dakota.” Source: The World Time News Report

However, Wal-Mart’s average sale Associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to IBIS World, an independent market research group. This translates to annual pay of $15,576, based upon Wal-Mart’s full-time status of 34 hours per week. This is significantly below the 2010 Federal Poverty Level of $22,050 for a family of four, and the median expected salary for a typical Combined Food Preparation and Service Worker in the United States is $23,153.

The US Census Reported that 41 million working men and 60 million women earn less than $25,000 annually, and/or the income of 30 million households is less than $25,000.

If you hear a blame-everything-on-welfare critic claim that nonworking deadbeats in addition to most blacks and Hispanics are living off welfare, now you know the facts and cannot be fooled.

Note: The Inflation calculator used  for this series of posts may be found at Dave, and the primary source for government spending was US Government

Continued on December 4, 2012 in The Evolution of a National Burden – Part 3 or return to Part 1

Also discover Each President’s share of the US National Debt and learn more from the National Debt Info-Graphic by President 1945 – 2012


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 3/3

There is a connection between literacy, income and unemployment: “Literacy and Income: More than 40 percent of adults in the lowest literacy level live in poverty …  43 percent of adults at Level 1 (lowest reading level) were living in poverty, compared to 4 percent of those at Level 5 (highest reading level). … The likelihood of being on welfare goes up as literacy levels go down. Three out of four food-stamp recipients performed in the two lowest literacy levels. … Literacy and Unemployment: Seventy percent of adults with the lowest literacy skills are unemployed or work in part-time jobs.”   Source: Policy

No matter the reason, dropping out of high school is a decision made by the individual. No president, G. W. Bush or Obama, forces anyone to drop out of high school or to avoid college. If a child grows up and cannot read, it is not the president’s fault.

In fact, no US president is responsible for who a child’s parents are (not counting his or her children). For example, my parents raised three children: two learned to read and one didn’t.

I earned a BA, MFA and a teaching credential on the GI Bill after I was honorably discharged from the US Marines. I also had an older brother (by fourteen years) who was illiterate and his life resembled the description in this series of posts and videos of someone that cannot read.

I have never collected unemployment or applied for welfare/food stamps, but my brother and most of his seven children are illiterate as he was, have been unemployed and have collected unemployment and/or welfare such as food stamps.

When I retired from teaching (1975 – 2005) someone was hired to replace me, but the staff at the high school where I taught did not increase. The only way new jobs would be created was if there were more students coming in and new teaching positions were needed, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the student numbers stayed about the same or dropped. In fact, a dozen veteran teachers retired the same year I did, and we were all replaced with younger teachers, but it was not reported as an increase in jobs since those jobs already existed.

In addition, starting in 2011, about 10,000 baby boomers turned age 65 every day. About 60% of them are expected to retire—about 6,000 per day (2,190,000 annually—old jobs that will need to be replaced by hiring someone else). Source:

If the boomers that retire are replaced (I’m sure they will not all be replaced but most will), that means about 180,000 old jobs were refilled in August 2012, the same month that 96,000 new jobs were created due to job growth. If this trend continues, that equals almost four million jobs (both old and new) that will be filled by the end of 2012.

A suggestion:  When the media reports the growth of new jobs, the news should also report how many retired that month and how many people were hired to fill those old jobs in addition to the total number of people that have jobs.

We do learn one thing about the new job numbers.  We discover that private businesses are making more money and the rich are getting richer in addition to the people seeking work that fill a new/old job. Those profits paid off for the top 1% of income earners. The average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007. In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentile had wage growth of 34 percent while workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007. Source: Economic Policy Institute

If you want to know what happens when this level of income inequality exits look no further than the American Revolution (1775 – 1783) against the British Empire; The French Revolution (1789 – 1799), the Russian Revolution (1917) and the Chinese Revolution  (1911) followed by the Chinese Civil War (1927 – 1950).

This is what happens when too many people are out of work and/or are paid too little, are hungry and have no shelter to call home.

Return to Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 2 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”