The Welfare Queen Myth

Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at 6:08 PM
View 8 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Wow! Michael, Dude, " I know you hate being called dude," what is it, did you go off the deep end? Your starting to sound like mini Sam, with a different calling. My God man, get a hold of your self.

    You should be basking in your glory, instead your wallowing with hogs. We expect more than that out of you.

    -- Posted by Keda46 on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 12:37 AM
  • -- Posted by wmarsh on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 5:51 AM
  • Michael,

    I am constantly amazed how little facts make a difference to the anti-welfare crowd. There are many myths that abound regarding welfare, and the image of the black woman driving to pick up her government check in her brand new Cadillac is one of the more unforgivable legacies of the Reagan era.

    In actuality, welfare is provided to Americans earning income at all levels, and we especially love that corporate welfare, which is far more fraudulent and costly to tax payers than a few deadbeat moms and dads (think: tax havens and loopholes, corporate subsidies, defense contracts, Wall Street bailouts, bank bailouts, etc.). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 funneled $15 billion dollars of welfare money to oil, gas, and coal industries alone. That is on top of the $70.2 billion already going to fossil fuel industries.

    Let's not even get started on the rampant fraud and incredible cost of farm subsidies, most of which are accounted for by giant corporate farms.

    Don't get me wrong here, many experts agree that in order to save the economy, bailing out banks, the automotive industry, etc. was necessary. Many folks will also tell you that keeping corporate taxes loopholes open is important to keep businesses here. Investments in our energy producers is also important.

    But math is math...equally necessary to keeping our country solvent is "bailing out" our most vulnerable populations. It saves us money in health care costs, in incarceration costs, in criminal litigation costs, etc.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 10:18 AM
  • *


    Fun is fun and all, but I think maybe you should seek some help. It looks like your hatred is consuming you.

    Do you have any basis for your spiteful claims? How do you know whether I or anyone else knows anyone on food stamps? You're ridiculous.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 12:19 PM
  • *


    Do you think corporate welfare is necessary to keeping our country solvent? II'm not sure from reading your post and I want to make sure for follow up questions.

    Also, I don't think even the most rightwing conservative disagrees that we need to help our most vulnerable. I think the question is definitional. Who do you think are the most vulnerable?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 12:24 PM
  • Welfare is breaking the system, whether it goes to the poor or to corporations. $1.2 Trillion deficits each year, and we think we are different than the fools in Greece, et al.

    We are all socialists now.

    We will all suffer the consequences.


    -- Posted by JohnGalt1968 on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 2:21 PM
  • SW,

    In short, I am fine with corporations receiving welfare when it is warranted. Likewise, I am fine with individuals receiving welfare when it is warranted. Both forms of government investments can be highly beneficial to the nation.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I think the point I was hoping to make is that many folks in both parties seem aligned against welfare because of the ridiculous single black mother "welfare queen" portrayal initiated by Reagan and perpetuated by many in both parties. While certainly some individuals unethically or illegally game the system, so too do corporations, vendors, healthcare providers, corporate farms, etc. Yet, curiously, we hear relatively little from the anti-welfare crowd about stopping the fraud in those domains, even though it is far and away more costly to taxpayers.

    You make a really good point regarding how we define the most vulnerable. As an entry point into such a discussion, I would start by saying that broadly, anyone living in poverty, in particular, the young and the elderly living in poverty, and people who are ill or who are disabled.

    With regard to those in poverty, what I mean by vulnerable is that these groups are exposed to disease, malnutrition, under-education, incarceration, and death in disproportionate numbers than the rest of the population. All of these aforementioned groups tend to be the most impacted by natural disasters, and historically, these groups typically feel economic downturns more seriously than middle and upper class folks--in part because their government provided assistance makes them easy scapegoats for partisan-based budget cuts.

    However, to this definition I would add the caveat that there is nothing that I know of that actually renders any of these populations vulnerable per se, but rather it is how a given population is regarded by the society writ large, and the polices that impact these groups that influences vulnerability. For example, the elderly may be quite vulnerable in one country, but might be better more revered and protected, thus less vulnerable, in another.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 2:41 PM
  • Glad you mentioned the farm programs, Benevolus.

    72% of the $155 Billion USDA budget for 2013 goes for "nutritional programs". You know food stamps, school lunch programs, WIC program, et al. Only 16% is for the farm programs you lament.

    But it's all welfare. Farmers, the poor, corporations, banks, underwater homeowners, envirowackos, veterans, the elderly, the ill--all those "vulnerable" people. And the wonder of a nanny state to care for all our needs, cradle to the grave! Go Democrats.

    And then, we fight useless wars all over the planet, none of them ever declared a war as required by the constitution. Go Republicans.

    Guns AND butter at the same time. Shut up all you naysayers, and get with it.

    That it's not affordable is never mentioned in polite company. Because on the liberal left, it's all about feelings. Feelings trump truth, objectivity, and rationality. Lucid thought be damned!

    And on the hawkish, militaristic right, the cost doesn't matter because defense is so important, the need for it trumps all other programs. After all, keeping us safe from the terrorists is worth any cost. Drones for eveyone.

    All aboard for the Promised Land. A cell phone in every pocket, an IPad in every hand, plenty of free food and housing for everyone. We have rewritten the laws of economics so that every wish can come true, and every need be filled.

    Utopia has been achieved! Secure from want, safe from terror. No worries, mate.

    I want it all. I want it now. I want it to be free.

    What's the problem?


    -- Posted by JohnGalt1968 on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 10:23 PM
Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration: