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.”

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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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Let’s take a close look at how many REAL deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare

First, a few numbers to get started: there are more than 316 million Americans and 150.8 million are between the ages of 18 to 65—the primary working years for adults. In 2013, 47.1 million Americans lived below the poverty level; 73.6 million were under the age of 18, and 44.6 million were age 65 or older.

Wow, and in September 2014, there were 146.6 million Americans who were working at paid jobs.

But, a few, far-right billionaire oligarchs—for instance, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, and the fools who swallow their propaganda—think that more people in the United States are on welfare and are deadbeats than those who are working and supporting them.

I think it is arguable and safe to say that it would be a misleading lie that the majority of the Americans who are not working are deadbeats on welfare. Only a fool could think that. Is it possible that there are only 4.2 million Americans—who could be deadbeats—between 18 and 65 who do not have a paying job—that’s only 1.328% of the total population? I bet most of those 4.2 million are probably disabled and can’t work or are a stay at home parent.

Did you know ABC reported that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world—more than the English, the French, the Germans or Norwegians and even, recently, more than the Japanese?

In addition, according to the OECD, in the United States 67% [that is almost 70%] of people aged 15 to 64 [the working class years] have a paid job. … And having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%—and yet some billionaires, including Bill Gates [worth almost $80 billion], the Koch brothers and the Walton family, would have you believe that the public education system in the United States is failing and must be reformed.

20 Something Finance even says “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World.” And Business Insider says the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime—based on a 5 day 8 hour workweek with a two week vacation annually, that equals 45 years. I worked 45 years, starting at 15 and I retired at 60.  My retirement check comes from CalSTRS, and I paid 8% of my gross income into CalSTRS for the 30 years I was a classroom teacher.

But a Houston based billionaire, according to the Democratic Underground, is attacking public pensions with a goal to kill the guaranteed-benefit plans that are run by teacher retirement systems in every state. This billionaire’s name is John Arnold, who is worth $2.9 billion dollars. Arnold runs a Houston-based hedge fund, and before that he worked for Enron, and it is said that he earned $750 million for Enron the year it went out of business. Huh, how do you earn $750 million for a company that goes out of business the same year?

Contrary to the popular thinking of fools, Social Security is not a form of welfare because workers and employers pay into that program for their entire working life, and in 2013, there were 38 million retired workers—nine out of ten individuals age 65 or older—who collected an average monthly benefit of $1,294. There were 4.9 million dependents; 8.8 million disabled workers, who were paid an average of $1,145 a month, and 6.2 million survivors—survivors are young children and a surviving spouse who cares for the children.

What about food stamps—a real welfare program?

From Media Matters.org we learn that nearly half (47% or 23 million), who get food stamps, were under the age of 18, and another 8 percent (3.9 million) were 60 or older; 41% (more than 20 million) lived in a household with earnings from a job. These workers are known as the “working poor”, and the average household on food stamps received a monthly benefit of $287.

And, these so-called deadbeats—that a few billionaires and a lot of fools think outnumber working Americans—are allegedly robbing us blind while they sit around drinking beer, eating popcorn and watching TV or having sex 18-hours a day to make more babies so they can collect more food stamps. If you believe that, then you might want to look in a mirror to see a fool.

If these billionaires succeed, what will replace progressive era plans like CalSTRS, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps?

If we look back at history, we might discover the answer to that question. In 1900, before Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and LBJ, ushered in the progressive era, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty with only a 5% unemployment rate, and up until 1938, in some states, children could be sold as young as five to factories, coal mines and whorehouses. Imagine your five-year old child working as a prostitute, because boys and girls were sold into prostitution back then.

Is this the America a few billionaires, with help from some fools, are fighting to get back?

By the way, did you watch the video that comes with this post? It really is an educational eye opener.

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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