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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why So Many on the Government Dole?

Why are so many people getting Social Security. Medicare, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and all of the rest?  1 in 6?     
An article in CNN Money today claims that the Debt ceiling impasse imperils safety net .

Updated jobs numbers for July on Friday, August 5.
Check back then.

Well, yeah, the debt hysteria in Washington, brought to us by our Republican legislators and their Tea Party friends, certainly does imperil the social safety net in more than one way:  
  • First of all, if the debt ceiling isn't raised, it's unclear which of the many government benefits will be able to be paid and which ones won't. 
  • Secondly, if a deal is worked out, it's unclear how much of the social safety net will be left.  It appears that the rabid Tea Party wants to extract many pounds of flesh from the American people.  
A decent strong social safety net is an essential component of a First Class country.

To me, the social safety net is one of the things that makes us a civilized first class country, unlike a place like Somalia with no government, no taxes, and no food.  Seems are current crop of Teabag people should love Somalia.  They could exercise their "personal responsibility" on the "food" part.

Anyway, I replied to this comment to the article about the Debt Ceiling:
"No wonder the country is going broke. Practically the entire country is on the government dole. How did it get to this point?"
I wrote in reply: 

It doesn't take a lot of thinking to figure out why so many people are dependent on government money. 

Let's look at unemployment and underemployment first of all.  We've got about 29 million people unemployed or underemployed.. and that only includes those who want work.  Do you really think that anyone enjoys trying live on $300 bucks a week?  We have people with Master's degrees who can't find jobs, often because they are older or have some health problem.  (I should also mention that only about 7 million people now are receiving and/or eligible for unemployment insurance compensation.  That means that we have at least 22 million who are unemployed or underemployed who aren't getting a dime.)

People who planned to work until they were 68 or 70 are lining up for early social security, lining up for food stamps, or applying for disability because they can't find work.  Believe me, these people would rather earn a paycheck than stand in line to apply for assistance.    

Then look at the corporations who pay their workers so poorly and give them so few hours of work that even "full-time" workers (34 hours/week) qualify for food stamps or some kind of housing assistance.  Isn't that a kind of corporate welfare? 

These companies don't pay their people a decent salary because they would then not be "competitive".  Meanwhile, we, the taxpayers, subsidize these companies and their CEO's (who often rake in bundles in profit and bonuses) while we, the taxpayers, pay for their workers' food and housing assistance.

I don't understand why the "we the taxpayers" crowd isn't up in arms about stingy corporations sponging off of the American taxpayer by being so miserly towards their workers (usually while their companies earn decent profits and pay their CEO's and top execs plenty).  The "taxpayer" crowd will come down on the workers who earn so little that they qualify for food stamps, but not say a peep about the corporate overseers who put their workers in that position.     

Of course, we then have people who just happen to get old.  People who attain the age of 60 now can be expected to live about 5 years longer than they did in 1940 (not 16 as others claim).  Of course, if Social Security and Medicare are cut, I'm sure the death rates in this age group will go up.  That should cut down on the number of people with those nasty "entitlements". 

And then we do have to consider all of the corporate welfare that has been floating about.  Or doesn't that count?

What should we do to get people off of the dole?  Get them back to work and pay them a decent salary.  


  1. Don't forget the corporations and politicians that have willingly sent all of our jobs offshore


  2. Of course, Virgil! That's one of the reasons why the unemployment rate is so high. If most of those people were still working and paying taxes here, we wouldn't have so many people "on the dole". But, of course, our corporations wouldn't be as profitable and prices of many things would be higher.


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