On Monday CNBC posted an article about a Supreme Court decision regarding President Trump’s immigration policy.
The article reports:
The Supreme Court said Monday that it will allow the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule to take effect after the immigration policy had been blocked by lower courts.
The 5-4 vote was divided along partisan lines, with the court’s four Democratic appointees indicating that they would not have allowed the policy to be enforced.
The court’s five conservatives, including Chief Justice John Roberts, formed the majority siding with the administration. The decision came as Roberts was presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
The rule, which was proposed in August, will make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent residency, or green cards, if they have used or are likely to use public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.
Under previous federal rules, a more narrow universe of public benefits, such as cash assistance and long-term hospitalization, were considered in determining whether an immigrant was likely to become a “public charge.”
The following statistics are from the Center for Immigration Studies:
- No single program explains non-citizens’ higher overall welfare use. For example, not counting school lunch and breakfast, welfare use is still 61 percent for non-citizen households compared to 33 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 55 percent for immigrants compared to 30 percent for natives.
- Welfare use tends to be high for both newer arrivals and long-time residents. Of households headed by non-citizens in the United States for fewer than 10 years, 50 percent use one or more welfare programs; for those here more than 10 years, the rate is 70 percent.
- Welfare receipt by working households is very common. Of non-citizen households receiving welfare, 93 percent have at least one worker, as do 76 percent of native households receiving welfare. In fact, non-citizen households are more likely overall to have a worker than are native households.1
- The primary reason welfare use is so high among non-citizens is that a much larger share of non-citizens have modest levels of education and, as a result, they often earn low wages and qualify for welfare at higher rates than natives.
- Of all non-citizen households, 58 percent are headed by immigrants who have no more than a high school education, compared to 36 percent of native households.
- Of households headed by non-citizens with no more than a high school education, 81 percent access one or more welfare programs. In contrast, 28 percent of non-citizen households headed by a college graduate use one or more welfare programs.
- Like non-citizens, welfare use also varies significantly for natives by educational attainment, with the least educated having much higher welfare use than the most educated.
- Using education levels and likely future income to determine the probability of welfare use among new green card applicants — and denying permanent residency to those likely to utilize such programs — would almost certainly reduce welfare use among future permanent residents.
- Of households headed by naturalized immigrants (U.S. citizens), 50 percent used one or more welfare programs. Naturalized-citizen households tend to have lower welfare use than non-citizen households for most types of programs, but higher use rates than native households for virtually every major program.
- Welfare use is significantly higher for non-citizens than for natives in all four top immigrant-receiving states. In California, 72 percent of non-citizen-headed households use one or more welfare programs, compared to 35 percent for native-headed households. In Texas, the figures are 69 percent vs. 35 percent; in New York they are 53 percent vs. 38 percent; and in Florida, 56 percent of non-citizen-headed households use at least welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native households.
At this point I need to say that I am not against helping people in need, but we do need to get our priorities in order. Our Veterans’ Administration health system is horrible. It is underfunded and does not have the facilities necessary to meet the needs of our returning veterans. We have been at war for eighteen years, and we have broken faith with those who have fought those wars. Shouldn’t taking care of those veterans be a higher priority than taking care of people who are not American citizens? Look at the budget deficits we are running–we can’t afford to do both.
I applaud the Supreme Court for upholding a common-sense approach to immigration.
National Review posted an article yesterday about a new policy regarding food stamps that will go into effect in April of next year.
The article reports:
In theory, the program has a strict time limit for “ABAWDs,” or able-bodied adults without dependents: If they don’t meet their work requirement or receive a case-by-case exemption from their state, they may receive food stamps for at most three months in any 36-month period. But in practice, the executive branch has broad discretion to waive the limit for large geographic areas with weak labor markets — and previous administrations used that discretion promiscuously. As of 2017, about a third of the U.S. population lived in waived areas.
Under the old rule, any place with an unemployment rate one-fifth above the national average was eligible for a waiver. (Places could — and still can — also establish eligibility by having an absolute rate over 10 percent.) This meant that when unemployment was low throughout the country, areas with good labor markets could still receive waivers, simply because unemployment wasn’t quite as low there as it was elsewhere.
The old rule also allowed states to effectively gerrymander their waiver requests, combining high- and low-unemployment counties to maximize the number of people exempted. All told, states such as Illinois and California were able to obtain waivers for all but a few of their counties.
In short, the system was unfair and arbitrary, imposing time limits on some recipients but not others based on where they happened to live, failing to target the waivers toward truly needy areas, and allowing states to abuse the rules to draw in more federally funded benefits.
Now there will be a new rule.
The article reports:
Under the new rule, effective in April of next year, these waivers won’t be granted to areas with unemployment below 6 percent. And states will be far more limited in the geographical configurations they can request waivers for. These are entirely reasonable policies, and well within the range of discretion the statute grants to the executive branch.
Many on the left complain about the rule simply because it will reduce the number of people on food stamps — by about 700,000, roughly 2 percent of total food-stamp enrollment, by the administration’s own estimate. But increasing benefit receipt is not an end in itself, especially when it comes at the expense of an incentive for childless, able-bodied adults to find work; and given the massive growth the program has seen these past two decades, there is clearly room for cuts. (Despite the recovery, total enrollment is about double what it was in 2000.) Perhaps more to the point, whatever one’s ideal level of food-stamp enrollment, there is no good reason to gut work requirements for entire areas with low unemployment while enforcing those requirements elsewhere — or to let states play games with their maps to boost eligibility.
Food stamps and similar programs are meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Generational welfare represents a failure of our families, educational system, and society. It is time that we encouraged and helped people to make the choices that will allow them to be financially stable and successful.
Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the current Democrat primary campaign for President. The writer refers to a New York Times article noting that the ideas the candidates are espousing are not popular with voters.
The article reports:
Here’s a hot new tip for Democrats wanting to win the presidency next year: Lie about what you believe!
That piece of advice comes from liberal New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, who on Sunday warned Democrats that they have lately been professing policy views that “alienate most American voters.”
It turns out that eliminating private health insurance and opening up the southern border to all of the world’s poor aren’t home runs with the electorate. But these are precise examples of what the 2020 Democratic field has been pushing.
In each of the Democratic debates and in media interviews, the leading candidates have said they support decriminalizing illegal immigration and replacing all private insurance with one government-run plan.
Observing that public opinion on those proposals isn’t rocking through the stratosphere, Leonhardt wrote that Democrats need to stop talking about what they truly believe and do the opposite: “The best strategy for Democrats,” he said, “is a populist one that speaks to voters of all races.”
That is actually really good advice for the candidates. I am hoping that they won’t take it.
The article concludes:
There’s absolutely no chance any of them will do that. Democrats may routinely lie about the chaos at the border and about the cost of their healthcare plans but they’re being completely honest when they say they want open borders. They’re telling the truth when they call for government-run healthcare.
Those may not be winning positions in the general election but at least they’re honest ones.
In this case, I am not sure honesty will win the nomination or the election.
Welfare was meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Unfortunately we have lost the war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. According to the social work degree center website, in the 1960’s, 22 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2014, 14.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In January 2016, The Daily Signal reported:
First, the War on Poverty has failed to achieve Johnson’s goal: to “strike at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.” Since he declared “unconditional war,” poverty has thumbed its nose at its would-be conquerors.
The official poverty rate has hovered between ten and fifteen percent for 50 years. But that is only a part of the story. Since the 1960s, the institutions that contribute to self-sufficiency—namely, marriage and work—have declined. Today, more than 40 percent of children are born outside marriage; in 1964, only 7 percent were.
…Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, writes that “taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.” It’s time to change course. We need a new strategy against poverty.
The changes in our culture are part of the problem, but there is another increasing problem–people who come to this country to take advantage of our generous welfare system.
Breitbart posted an article today stating:
President Trump is set to save American taxpayers billions of dollars as his administration announces a new rule on Monday that will essentially ban welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently resettling in the United States.
A new regulation set to be published by the Trump administration will ensure that legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using subsidized healthcare services, food stamps, and public housing.
Below is a chart of current welfare expenditures:
I have no problem with having a safety net, but it seems that our priorities are out of order. The first group of people that we should be helping are our veterans. Too many of them come home and need help to get on their feet when they separate from the military. I would like to see that as our first priority in welfare spending.
The article at Breitbart concludes:
Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.
If we don’t get a handle on immigration, we are going to bankrupt America.
Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. First of all, taking money from a person who earned it and giving that money to a person who did not earn it is called robbery. You can give it nice names, but that is what it is. What about reparations for the indentured servants who came to America? What about reparations for the Irish, Italians, and other ethnic groups that were mistreated when they came to America? This is truly ridiculous. It is a shame that some people are taking it seriously. Many Americans’ ancestors weren’t even here during slavery, why should they pay reparations for something they were never part of? How many Americans lost their lives fighting to end slavery? Are they entitled to anything?
The article reports:
The legislation seeks to “address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
“It’s a commission to study the issue of what was the economic impact of the work of slaves and how does it translate in the 21st century. And what we want to do is to build a narrative, a story of the facts and out of that be able to access how we repair some of the damage,” Jackson Lee said during a recent interview after her speech at the annual Legislative and Policy Conference organized by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
“When you look at urban blight, when you look at schools in inner cities and rural communities that are not at the level of excellence that they should be, when you look at support for [historically black colleges and universities], all of that will be part of understanding that whole journey and that whole economic journey,” she added. “And it is interesting that these magnificent buildings were built by slaves, obviously with no compensation. That is not what we are asking for; this bill is to have a commission to hear from people all over the nation.”
How about instead of paying reparations, you begin a program to put fathers back in the homes of families of all races? How about you work on the black culture that says getting an education is a ‘white’ thing? How about you teach children of all races that they have to earn what they get–no one is simply going to give them things? How about you put strict work requirements on welfare and food stamps and limit the number of generations that can collect those benefits? How about we bring back the work ethic instead of the ‘gimme’ ethic?
Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about New York City’s shrinking middle class.
The article reports:
After decades of sharp income erosion in the face of relentless taxes, escalating living costs and wage reductions through technological changes, the full extent of this shocking exodus is laid bare in the latest US Census data.
That shows the city is losing 100 residents each day — with departures exceeding new arrivals.
“The rich in New York City are getting richer; the poor are actually getting richer, but not rich enough to be middle class,” said Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, who has studied other data, noting the expansion in welfare and entitlement programs.
Earle said it isn’t unreasonable to assume middle-class incomes are falling even faster in New York City than in other major US cities, because of the city’s high — and rising — housing and other living costs.
New York City’s middle class comprises 48 percent of city residents, with median annual incomes between $30,000 and $60,000.
Thirty-one percent make lower incomes, and the ranks of the rich account for 21 percent of New York City residents.
By contrast, in the early 1970s, about 61 percent of New Yorkers were ensconced in the middle class; today, fewer than half are.
Recently Amazon opened a facility in Long Island City that received an estimated $3 billion in subsidies, increasing the tax burden on city residents. Although increasing the number of jobs is a good idea, having the taxpayers pay for those jobs is not.
The article concludes:
National chain-store locations have plunged in the city by 0.3 percent, to 7,849, this year, according to the Center for an Urban Future. And a record 18 chains, including Aerosoles and Nine West, vacated all their city sites in 2018.
One sector doing a booming “business” is food pantries. Despite a city unemployment rate of 4 percent, New York food pantries report elevated levels of demand, especially during the holiday season.
More than 1 million New Yorkers now worry they won’t have enough food for their families, according to recent studies.
Unless something changes in the economic policies of New York City, the city will no longer be the center of commerce and art that it has been. The voters in New York City need to take a good look at where there city is going and make the appropriate political changes.
In 1996 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was passed, giving states control of welfare.
The site history.com reports:
Building on policies that had been passed by Reagan, and a foundational principle of “personal responsibility,” TANF added work requirements for aid, shrinking the number of adults who could qualify for benefits. This legislation also created caps for how long and how much aid a person could receive, and well as instituting harsher punishments for recipients who did not comply with the requirements.
Under President Obama, those requirements were loosened because of the recession. The Republican Congress under President Trump had discussed putting work requirements back, but somehow those requirements didn’t make it into the farm bill.
Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday about the recently passed farm bill. The article notes that there was bi-partisan support for the farm bill.
The editorial states:
How bad is the bill? Even Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, himself a farmer, was outraged because the package granted federal subsidies even to distant relatives of farmers that don’t farm.
…Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group, a left-leaning environmentalist organization that has been critical of farm subsidies, notes that more than 1,000 “city slickers” who live in major American cities get farm subsidies. It’s absurd.
All in all, the nearly $1 trillion a year spent on farm subsidies and food aid is a massive waste, given that farmers on average have higher incomes than those who are taxed to subsidize them
As Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute points out, farm incomes in 2017 were 32% higher than average U.S. household incomes, while about 60% of subsidies for the three main farm programs went to the biggest 10% of farms. Welfare for the rich.
Meanwhile, the the new bill also provides “promotional funds” for farmers markets, research for organic farming, and money to train more farmers. It also grants more money to veteran and minority farmers. Everyone gets a handout, it seems, whether needed or not.
The editorial concludes:
In our increasingly socialized farm economy, nearly everyone is too big to fail. Which means the rest of us pay for it. President Trump, focused on other things, will likely sign this awful Farm Bill. After all, it has that golden seal of congressional approval: It was “bipartisan.” All that means is both sides found ways to rip off taxpayers.
The bill did not include work requirements for food stamps recipients. The Republican Congress had one job regarding the farm bill…
The following chart was posted at The Washington Examiner today:
Although I object to the word ‘native’ being used in this context, the chart shows that a large portion of our tax money is going to people who are not American citizens. The real problem with this is that veterans and other Americans are not getting the services they need because money is limited and our national debt is skyrocketing. Supporting people who are here illegally is simply a luxury we can no longer afford.
The article further states:
- In 2014, 63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.
- Welfare use drops to 58 percent for non-citizen households and 30 percent for native households if cash payments from the Earned Income Tax Credit are not counted as welfare. EITC recipients pay no federal income tax. Like other welfare, the EITC is a means-tested, anti-poverty program, but unlike other programs one has to work to receive it.
- Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).
- Including the EITC, 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare, compared to 19 percent of native households. If the EITC is not included, then cash receipt by non-citizen households is slightly lower than natives (6 percent vs. 8 percent).
- While most new legal immigrants (green card holders) are barred from most welfare programs, as are illegal immigrants and temporary visitors, these provisions have only a modest impact on non-citizen household use rates because: 1) most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify; 2) the bar does not apply to all programs, nor does it always apply to non-citizen children; 3) some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; and, most importantly, 4) non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth.
I am reminded of the line from the movie “Men In Black,” “We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.” We can do everything we can to help people in poor countries, but we need to understand that until those countries have some form of economic freedom, our aid simply goes to the corrupt officials at the top. The answer to the number of illegals coming to America is for those illegals to gather together to fight the corrupt governments in their own countries. Based on the fact that the large majority of the people currently trying to break into America are military-age men, we need to ask them to go back home and work to fix things. We simply cannot afford to taken in everyone in the world who is looking for a better life. At some point you simply cannot put any more people on the bus.
On Tuesday The Daily Wire posted an article about some recent information from the Department of Homeland Security.
The article reports:
The Department of Homeland Security revealed Tuesday that the threat of “fake families” declaring asylum together at the United States’ southern border is no joke; more than 150 illegal immigrant “families” have used non-familial children or adults to attempt to convince border patrol agents to allow them to remain in the country.
The Daily Caller reports that “there has been a 110 percent increase in male adults showing up at the border with children. Further, DHS separated 507 illegal immigrants between April 19 and September 30 because they fraudulently claimed they were part of a family unit.”
The thing to remember here is that there are people in various countries in South American coaching people on how to break into America. If that is a harsh word, I’m sorry–it is what is happening. I will admit that our immigration system needs serious reform, but that is no excuse for people thinking they can simply come here illegally and stay. Right now America is severely in debt. We have neglected our veterans and are not doing a good job of taking care of anyone. We cannot afford to be overrun with non-citizens who want to be taken care of.
When evaluating what is happening at our border, it might be wise to consider the Cloward-Piven strategy from the 1960’s. Cloward-Piven was a strategy to convert America to a socialist state (taken from Discover the Networks):
Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.
The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1971 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.
This may well be what the caravans are actually about. If this theory is too wild for you, step back and look at the movement toward socialism in the recent election.
The Washington Examiner posted an article Thursday about new rules from the Department of Homeland Security.
The article reports:
President Trump previewed the issue during a speech in Iowa last year, saying that “those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years.”
We need to remember that up until 1965, there was no welfare for immigrants (or Americans) to collect. People who came to America came in search of opportunity–not handouts.
The article notes:
The authors of a 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine believed more immigration to be a good thing — and yet still found that nearly 60 percent of noncitizen, non-naturalized, immigrant-led households used some kind of welfare from 2011-2013. That’s compared to just 42 percent of homes led by native-born citizens.
A 2015 study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates restricting immigration, found basically the same thing only looking at data for 2012. The study said that immigrant-led households consumed double the Medicaid and food assistance benefits that native ones did. Overall, 51 percent of immigrant-led homes used “any welfare,” compared to 30 percent for native homes.
There is a school of thought that says that illegal immigrants are prevented from collecting welfare, but that is not true.
The article explains:
Under current law, if immigrants have a baby on U.S. soil, as a default citizen, he’s instantly eligible to bring in welfare for the family. Or, if one immigrant marries a citizen, the wait time for benefits shrinks from five years to three. If the immigrants have any children under 18, they’re all allowed benefits, too.
In addition to that, all refugees and asylees, 13 percent of legal residents, according to the report by the Center for Immigration Studies, are eligible for full benefits.
Aside from being expensive, this is simply not acceptable. We need to go back to a time when churches and community organizations helped families on the local level. These groups knew who was in need and who was freeloading. Now we have a giant bureaucracy administering a program with the knowledge that if less people are on welfare the bureaucrats will lose their jobs. There is no incentive to actually get people off of welfare. That needs to change. New regulations will be the beginning of that change.
Yesterday Scott Johnson (one of the regular writers at Power Line Blog) posted an article at The City Journal website. The article was related to some recent events involving large amounts of cash flowing from Minnesota to Somalia.
The article reports:
When it was noted that the carry-on bags of multiple airline passengers traveling from Minneapolis to Somalia contained millions of dollars in cash, on a regular basis, law enforcement was naturally curious to know where the money came from and where it was going. It soon emerged that millions of taxpayer dollars, and possibly much more, had been stolen through a massive scam of Minnesota’s social-services sector, specifically through fraudulent daycare claims. To make matters worse, the money appears to have wound up in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamic jihadist group responsible for numerous terrorist outrages.
The article goes on to explain that beginning in the 1990’s, the State Department began sending refugees from the Somalia civil war to be resettled in Minnesota. Minnesota now has the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia.
The article reports:
As the Washington Times noted in 2015, in Minnesota, these refugees “can take advantage of some of America’s most generous welfare and charity programs.” Professor Ahmed Samatar of Macalester College in St. Paul observed, “Minnesota is exceptional in so many ways but it’s the closest thing in the United States to a true social democratic state.” A high-trust, traditionally homogenous community with a deep civil society marked by thrift, industriousness, and openness, Minnesota seemed like the ideal place to locate an indigent Somali population now estimated at 100,000.
Fast forward to 2015 when the House Homeland Security Committee task force on combating terrorist and foreign-fighter travel discovered that Minnesota led the nation in contributing foreign fighters to ISIS. It gets worse. The refugees masterminded a very lucrative daycare fraud scheme that sent millions of taxpayer dollars to terrorists in Somalia.
The article cites one such example:
The case of Fozia Ali, recently sworn in as a member of the park board of an upscale Twin Cities suburb, is illustrative. Ali’s daycare center in south Minneapolis was suspected of billing the government for more than $1 million of bogus child-care services. According to Special Agent Craig Lisher, the FBI “found records that she was collecting a significant amount of money for a much larger number of children than were actually attending the center.” Ali’s case also had an international component. “We are aware that some of the funds went overseas, what she was cashing out, money from the business,” Lisher noted. He declined to specify the purpose to which the funds were put.
Ali used a phone app to register charges to the Minnesota state government while she stayed at an $800-per-night hotel in Nairobi. She pleaded guilty in March to charges of wire fraud and is serving time in federal prison. But the scam goes well beyond Ali. Though the total loss to the state’s $248 million daycare program remains to be determined, we have a serious case of deceit, obviously. But the real damage, harder to measure, is likely to be to the high-trust values of Minnesota, where newcomers can dupe the natives so easily.
These are not the sort of refugees we need.
On April 5, The Heritage Foundation posted an article titled, “Understanding the Hidden $1.1 Trillion Welfare System and How to Reform It.” I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I would like to post some basic charts from the article:
The article lists three goals of welfare reform:
The goal of welfare should not be to reduce poverty after receipt of welfare through an ever-larger welfare state. A new approach is needed. The goal of welfare policy should be updated to include three other concepts:
- Increasing efforts toward self-support;
- Reducing self-defeating and self-limiting behaviors; and
- Increasing psychological well-being.
It should be noted that adopting these new goals does not mean that the government should stop assisting the poor. For example, as noted previously, a low-wage parent who works full-time for the full year under the existing welfare system has combined economic resources from earnings and welfare assistance that are well above the poverty level. Ensuring that the families of full-time workers are not poor is a laudable goal that should continue to be pursued.58
Unfortunately, the current structure of welfare assistance undermines rather than enhances self-support and psychological well-being. That aspect of the welfare system must be transformed.
It is time to combine charity and encouragement. We need to provide incentives for people to get off the welfare rolls. Welfare should not be a generational profession.
The article reports:
International research has revealed that the more cannabis you smoke, the more likely you are to be lower paid and have relationship difficulties.
The study followed children from birth up to the age of 38 and found people who smoked cannabis four or more days a week over many years ended up in a lower social class than their parents.
It also found that regular and persistent users ended up with lower-paying, less skilled and less prestigious jobs than those who were not regular cannabis smokers.
Financial, work-related and relationship difficulties were further experienced by those taking the drug, which worsened as the number of years of regular cannabis use progressed.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Magdalena Cerda at the University of California and Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt at Duke University, appeared in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
‘Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization,’ said Cerda. ‘But it does show that cannabis was not safe for the long-term users tracked in our study.
One of the things that amazes me is the move to legalize marijuana in America while stigmatizing smoking tobacco. Both are damaging to the lungs, both ingest various toxins into the body, but smoking tobacco does not generally impact your social or financial success. Marijuana is not a harmless drug, and it is not a good idea to legalize the use of recreational marijuana until there is more study of its long-term effects. It is also very naive to believe that saying that recreational marijuana, legal in some states for people over twenty-one, will not be used by those under twenty-one. Teenagers using marijuana on a regular basis will not be of benefit to our society.
These are the 2013 statistics (from the dcclothesline) on the equivalent hourly wage of people on welfare in various states:
I have nothing to add.
Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about what is happening to the British workforce–it is growing and unemployment is going down!
The article reports:
A record 3,100 people every day are finding work as Britain’s jobless total falls at the fastest rate in 17 years.
The number of unemployed tumbled to 2.32million – falling by 167,000 between September and November, the biggest drop since 1997.
…In an unusually political statement, the Bank also said the Coalition’s benefits clampdown may have pushed more people into looking for work, rather than continuing to rely on State handouts. It said: ‘A tightening in the eligibility requirements for some State benefits might also have led to an intensification of job search.’
Statistics have shown that people collecting unemployment insurance tend to intensify their search for work as their unemployment benefits begin to run out. Extending unemployment or increasing welfare benefits does not encourage people to join the work force–it destroys motivation. In most cases, it is simply more fun not to have to get up and go to work every morning. When the government subsidizes not working, more people don’t work. I am not saying that we should end unemployment or welfare, but we should put enough restrictions on both to prevent generations of America who have not grasped the concept of working for a living. America needs to follow the example of Great Britain.
The article states:
The Netherlands has been known for its generous welfare system. Three decades ago, when the U.S. was spending about 22% of its GDP on entitlement programs, the Dutch were spending more than 40%. The Financial Times named the Dutch system a “comprehensive egalitarian social model” built in the 1960s and 1970s.
…Three months ago, newly coronated Dutch King Willem-Alexander told his country that the “classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century” was over. It would be replaced by a “participation society” because the “arrangements” the nation was operating under “are unsustainable in their current form.”
Among the changes is a requirement that welfare applicants must prove they have actively looked for a job for at least four weeks before they can receive benefits.
“And once they begin to receive benefits they will either have to work or perform volunteer community service,” says the Cato Institute‘s Michael Tanner.
Other savings will be found when youth services, care for the elderly and job retraining are kicked down to the local level, which is better equipped to be more efficient with other people’s money.
The Dutch have learned that those who work cannot support those who do not work indefinitely. Eventually those who work get very tired and decide to join the non-workers. If we do not learn the lesson the Dutch have learned, we can also expect to have to make drastic changes in the near future.
In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study,The Work vs. WelfareTrade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that not only did the value of such benefits greatly exceed the poverty level but, because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.
Since then, many welfare programs have undergone significant change, including the 1996 welfare reform legislation that ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Accordingly, this paper examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper. Welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job, and the balance between welfare and work may actually have grown worse in recent years.
The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour. If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.
One of the things that has made America great has been the willingness of Americans to work hard, knowing their diligence would be rewarded. When the government creates a situation where staying home doing nothing pays as well as working, it undermines the work ethic in America and weakens our country. It might also be a good idea to examine the role the tax burden plays in this–does the working person earn less because of the tax burden that comes with working? Is the welfare recipient subject to a lesser tax burden?
The bottom line here is simple. People are not stupid. If a person can make as much money not working as he would working, why should he work? I recently posted a story with a striking example of this philosophy at rightwinggranny.com. We need to reinstate the work requirements to receive aid, and we need to be more aware of who is getting aid so that we can limit fraud.
It’s time to make sure that the people who are working hard are rewarded for their hard work.
So how is it possible to live on the generosity of the American taxpayer with no concept of working for a living? In September 2012, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted the impact of the 2009 Stimulus Bill on the Food Stamp Program. Included in the Stimulus Bill were changes in the welfare program that waived the work requirement and made it easier for people with no intention of working to collect benefits.
The article at Hot Air reports:
In addition to the broader work requirement that has become a contentious issue in the presidential race, the 1996 welfare reform law included a separate rule encouraging able-bodied adults without dependents to work by limiting the amount of time they could receive food stamps. President Obama suspended that rule when he signed his economic stimulus legislation into law, and the number of these adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010, according to the CRS report, issued in the form of a memo to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
“This report once again confirms that President Obama has severely gutted the welfare work requirements that Americans have overwhelmingly supported since President Clinton signed them into law,” Cantor said in an emailed statement. “It’s time to reinstate these common-sense measures, and focus on creating job growth for those in need.”
This is the law that allows a beach bum in California to surf his life away and eat lobster on the money paid in taxes by families struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
I think it’s time for Congress to grow a backbone and change the law back to what it was. That alone will save millions of dollars in federal spending.
The war on poverty began in the 1960’s. In 1959, the poverty rate was 22.4%. In 1969, shortly after the war on poverty began, the poverty rate was 12.1%. Today the poverty rate is 16.1%. It looks to me as though we are losing ground–not gaining it.
These figures are from an article in Forbes Magazine posted yesterday. The article points out:
Federal and state governments spend a trillion dollars a year just on these means tested welfare programs, which does not include Social and Medicare. That is more than we spend on national defense. It adds up to roughly $17,000 per person in poverty, over $50,000 for a poor family of three. The Census Bureau estimates that our current welfare spending totals four times what would be necessary just to give all of the poor the cash to bring them up to the poverty line, eliminating all poverty in America. A recent book by Charles Murray, In These Hands, further documents that.
The article also points out that from 1965 to 2008 the total amount of money spent on means tested welfare is nearly $16 trillion–in 2008 dollars. That is double the amount America has spent on military conflicts from the Revolution until today.
The article reports:
One major reason that poverty stopped declining after the War on Poverty started is that the poor and lower income population stopped working. In 1960, nearly two-thirds of households in the lowest income one-fifth of the population were headed by persons who worked. But by 1991, this work effort had declined by about 50%, with only one-third of household heads in the bottom 20% in income working, and only 11% working full-time, year round.
The war on poverty has also destroyed low-income families and increased the number of out-of-wedlock births. It has increased the number of one parent homes and children with two unmarried parents.
Please follow the link above and read to entire article. The article explains the negative impact the war on poverty has had on our society. It also explains how to solve some of the problems associated with the way the current welfare state is funded. We need to change the way we help those among us who are less fortunate. What we are currently doing is not working.
Yesterday I posted an article about the number of dead people collecting welfare benefits in Massachusetts (rightwinggranny.com). Well, it seems as if Massachusetts is not the only state that can’t keep track of where welfare dollars are going.
The article reports:
Over a 22-month period, New Jersey paid nearly $24 million in unemployment, welfare, pension and other benefits to 20,000 people who did not qualify for them because they were in prison, according to a report from the state comptroller released on Wednesday.
…Some of the people in prison — those whose Medicaid benefits were paid out to managed care organizations, for instance — may not have been aware they were defrauding the state. In other cases, the fraud seemed deliberate; in addition to the $24 million in benefits improperly paid out, the audit found that 13 state employees had used sick leave to cover their time in prison. (The report said this resulted in “relatively immaterial amounts of improper payments.”)
One of the questions that immediately comes to mind when I read that last paragraph is, “What were the state employees doing in prison and how long were they there?” Can you imaging anyone in the private sector having enough sick leave to cover a prison term?
I think we can safely conclude at this time that the ‘safety net’ is broken. It’s not broken because it is not helping people who genuinely need it–it is broken because it is subsidizing lifestyles of people who do not need or deserve to be subsidized.
I suspect that what has happened in Massachusetts and New Jersey regarding welfare payments going to people who were either dead or not entitled to them is only the tip of the iceberg. We have people in this country working hard, scrimping to get buy, and being taxed to death to support fraud. It’s time we held states accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ money. If a state is not doing a good job, it’s time to elect new officials. Voters need to pay attention and take a stand.
I know that there are a lot of people collecting welfare benefits and that makes it hard to keep track of every penny, but Massachusetts has taken inefficiency to a new level. WCVB reported yesterday that an audit of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance identified 1,164 cases where recipients continued to receive a total of $2.39 million in benefits from six to 27 months after they were reported to be deceased.
Boston.com also commented on the audit:
The report, which covered food stamps, cash, and other benefits to low-income families, estimated that recipients using a dead person’s Social Security number alone received at least $2.4 million in between July 2010 and April 2012. It also flagged another $15 million in suspicious transactions from electronic benefit cards during the two-and-a-half-year period the auditor reviewed.
Boston.com also reported:
The state auditor also found another $15 million in suspicious transitions on electronic benefit cards – including nearly $5 million where all the food benefits were withdrawn at once; $4.6 million in transactions from distant states or territories (including Hawaii, Florida, and Puerto Rico); $3.6 million where recipients made multiple purchases or withdrawals within an hour; $1.5 million where recipients regularly rang up transactions in even dollar amounts (such as $100) and $840,000 where a card number was manually entered into a retail terminal instead of being swiped (suggesting a card user may have stolen the card number, but didn’t have the actual card).
This is taxpayers’ money. If those responsible for spending it cannot do a better job of being responsible, we should stop giving them the money.
On Friday, CNS News posted a story quoting Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Bob Johnson as saying that America would “never tolerate white unemployment at 14 or 15 percent” and yet unemployment for the black community has been double that of white Americans for over 50 years. That statement is true, and that fact is evidence of something wrong with our education and employment system as it currently exists. However, before we yell racism, let’s look at some of the things that surround black unemployment.
In 1962, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Senator from New York who was very concerned about how American welfare programs were impacting the black family, noticed that because of the changes made to the welfare system, the number of black households without fathers present was increasing dramatically (City Journal Summer 2005). Before then, welfare was provided to families below a certain income whether or not the husband and father was living in the house. Welfare was changed in the 1960’s so that it was financially advantageous for a husband and father not to be living in the home. At that point, the black culture changed from one of strong families to one of single mothers. (Just for the record, much of the white culture is following the same path). Single-parent families are statistically much more likely to live below the poverty level than two-parent families.
High unemployment rates for blacks are a problem. High unemployment rates for anyone are a problem. If Bob Johnson is truly concerned about black unemployment, he needs to move within the black culture to support families, family values, and good education from kindergarten through college. One attempt at this, the Head Start Program, has yielded unimpressive results. We can do better.
On July 11, 2007, Time reported:
It is now 45 years later. We spend more than $7 billion providing Head Start to nearly 1 million children each year. And finally there is indisputable evidence about the program’s effectiveness, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not work.
According to the Head Start Impact Study, which was quite comprehensive, the positive effects of the program were minimal and vanished by the end of first grade. Head Start graduates performed about the same as students of similar income and social status who were not part of the program. These results were so shocking that the HHS team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, who said, “I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive. They couldn’t.”
So how do we change the black unemployment numbers? Actually, the place to start is the government. First of all, Obamacare is having a negative impact on employment for everyone–repeal it. Second of all, we need to take a good look at welfare programs and how they impact the people who receive the money (and while we are at it, examine the administrative cost). Third, we need community leaders who support black families and encourage black children to speak proper English, get a good education, get married after they finish school, and have children after they get married–not before. We then need to revise our welfare programs so that they promote intact families, and do not promote dependence upon the government. We need workfare programs–first of all to make welfare less attractive, and secondly to provide the experience (and expectation) of getting out of bed every morning and going to work. Workfare also provides experience in doing some sort of work–whatever it is. We need to re-educate both the black and white communities on the free enterprise system to allow those who can be entrepreneurs to do so (we also need to modify our tax system so that it pays to be an entrepreneur).
We need black leaders who do not preach dependence. We need black leaders who do not preach hatred and blame. We need black leaders who want to bring the black community into equality with the white community in the areas of education, housing, opportunities, and success. That can be done by promoting responsibility, patriotism, cooperation with authority, and basic values. Racism, hatred, and blame will get us nowhere. We need a positive approach.
A one-party political system does not work, regardless of which political party it is. As Dr. Benjamin Carson stated in his address at the National Prayer Breakfast, “But, why is that eagle able to fly, high, forward? Because it has two wings: a left wing and a right wing. Enough said.”
The article reports:
More than 900 employees in the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) — mostly caseworkers — shared in the $3.4 million OT bonanza between November 2010 and May 2011, the department acknowledged after a Herald public records request.
DTA authorized the wages — an average of roughly $3,500 each — so staff could address a backlog of 30,000 clients whose eligibility had to be recertified after the agency overpaid food-stamp clients by $27 million in federal money.
I suppose we should be grateful that at least the overpaid food-stamp clients were paid with federal money. Federal money–are these the same people who keep telling us they can’t cut spending?
The article also reports:
The welfare department has been undergoing a shake-up since ex-Commissioner Daniel Curley was forced to resign on Jan 31, after a devastating inspector general’s report claiming another $25 million in taxpayer money is going to welfare recipients who aren’t eligible.
One of the people who has been on top of this from the start is state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). Her response to this mess was, “The governor recently called this leakage — I would call this an avalanche. This is an astronomical number to pay out in overtime for outright mismanagement.”
Hopefully she will continue to hold the Massachusetts government responsible for their total mismanagement of taxpayer money.
Remember the dust up in Massachusetts when before the election when the state Welfare Department sent out voter-registration forms to welfare recipients? There were links between the Elizabeth Warren campaign and the state-funded campaign to register voters, but that was quietly swept under the table by the media. There is another part of the story, however, that may be even more interesting to follow.
Today’s Boston Herald posted an article explaining that many of the forms sent were returned as undeliverable.
The article reports:
Red-faced state officials admitted last night they are trying to find as many as 19,000 missing welfare recipients — after the controversial taxpayer-funded voter registration pitches the state mailed to their addresses last summer were sent back marked “Return to sender, address unknown.”
The Department of Transitional Assistance contacted 477,000 welfare recipients who were on their books from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, after settling a voter-rights lawsuit brought by Democratic-leaning activist groups that demanded an aggressive voter information effort by the state. That $274,000 push by DTA resulted in 31,000 new voter registrations — but revealed an alarming number of welfare recipients whose residency in Massachusetts can’t be confirmed.
The article reports that many of these welfare recipients continue to receive their benefits through direct deposits to their bank accounts although the state has no way of knowing whether they still live in the state. This is just one example of how well the states manage the money taxpayers give them.
The biggest mistake we ever made in America was putting an income tax in place. Prior to 1913, there was no federal income tax, although one had been levied briefly during the Civil War and was later repealed. The second biggest mistake was using withholding to pay the tax. If everyone realized how much they were actually paying in taxes, Americans might demand that the government shrink to a reasonable size!