Today headlines blared that the Boston bombers had been funding their terrorist lifestyles with welfare. How could we, the cash-strapped people, have been allowed to provide for these shady characters? The American-born wife and baby were obviously part of a long con on the generosity of the American people. That the wife chose to work 80 hours a week (possibly for less than minimum wage) as a quasi-servant rather than continue with those benefits does not mitigate the fact that someone who later became a terrorist got to mooch! Who would have the insolence to even wonder whether the indignities of the broken welfare system factored into how much these “losers” came to hate the United States…?
Well, I’m going to dare to bring it up.
The welfare approach in the United States are ridiculously fragmented, inadequate, poorly implemented, and outright broken. Political rhetoric from all sides raises the taxpayer’s awareness that their money pays for an enormous welfare system. Yet when the taxpayer turns to this system during their own time of desperation, they discover unanswered phone calls, months (if not years) of applications and appeals, bureaucratistans that don’t bother to deliver the measly few “services” they meticulously document on your “plan” (the California Department of Rehabilitation, which is supposed to be putting people back to work, is a major offender here), and have abundant means to retaliate (for example, by consigning your case to limbo) if anyone complains.
There is a deliberate rightwing campaign to make stymied taxpayers believe that “someone else” (of a different race, religion, or political affiliation) is getting paid “regular checks from the government”, while anyone who has ever tried to deal with this system knows for sure it’s not them. “Disability checks” are the latest spearhead in the rightwing’s egregiously misinformed attack on welfare.
But while Republicans regular twist and ignore facts to shore up their 47 percent Entitlement Society propaganda, Democrats are failing in the other direction by blindly defending the system without acknowledging the problems or making any attempts to fix them. President Obama’s idea of a bipartisan bridge is cutting Social Security benefits, when many seniors are already struggling to get by on a few hundred dollars a month. There is no way around the fact that the only way to get everyone off welfare is to guarantee full employment.
Last year I wrote a series of posts about my own experience of the welfare fiasco for Daily Kos, but I found this was the wrong venue since too many comments trivialized or even flamed a subject that is a matter of life-and-death to a significant segment of the U.S. population. I looked for another place to repost my series, but I could not find another place where I could convey what I knew about welfare to a broad audience of voters. Finally I just boiled down what I had to say in 10 Ways to Fix Welfare on a free WordPress blog and left my message to float on the ether. As far as I know, no one is reading it or referencing it. It’s vitally important to dispel the fog of ignorance that surrounds welfare. So it’s time to make another attempt to shed light on the real problems with welfare and how to fix them.
I am copying my “10 ways to Fix Welfare” here in the hope that this post will be passed around and spark a larger conversation, with testimony from the people who have actually interacted with the welfare system. My complete article is pasted below, and there is a little more information about me on the WordPress site.