Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Welfare pays better than minimum wage.

You have a choice. You may get up, drink your coffee, commute to work, and do your daily grind, dutifully paying your taxes all the way, or you can make it go away with a trip to you local welfare office. Which do you choose? A new report suggests why so many Americans are choosing the latter.

Unless the political will to change develops, the problem will become worse.

Unless the political will to change develops, the problem will become worse.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: welfare, minimum wage, government spending, reform


PHILADELPHIA, PA (Catholic Online) - Welfare has a number of people fuming. We spend just over a trillion dollars each year in public welfare assistance. That's over three thousand dollars per year for every American. Consider that half of all Americans pay no taxes, and your bill becomes about 6 grand.

That's right. The first six thousand dollars you earn goes to pay for those who are not working.

Of course, nobody in a country as rich as ours should begrudge the poor a safety net, after all, aren't many of us just one disaster away from it ourselves? Yet what happens when the safety net becomes a hammock?

Those were the words used by Matt Brouillette, from the Commonwealth Foundation, a government watchdog group. Brouillette was interviewed by CBS 21 News reporter Chris Papst as part of his investigation into just how much welfare a person can get.

Papst launched his investigation after a coworker curiously turned down a raise. His coworker, Kristina Cogan, was a single mom of two who explained that accepting the raise would impact her government benefits, so she refused the raise.

This means that you and I, as taxpayers, must continue paying her bills.

Cogan needed the help at the time. Earning just $19,000 per year, she was  a recently divorced mom with two kids to support. She explained that walking into the welfare office was scary, but after awhile it became comfortable.

"You do what you have to do as a single mom," she told Papst. She also added this comment: "If you're going to get something for free, are you going to work for it? It kind of like sucks you in. They [welfare recipients] feel like they are hopeless. They feel like they have no alternative."

Cogan is largely correct. People do have that feeling, but why?

A minimum wage earner can work for 40 hours per week and earn a poverty-level wage with little hope of advancement. There's barely enough money to get by from month to month. There's no savings, no decent used car, no living alone. It's roommates and beat-up vehicles, and school will only mean massive student debt without guarantee of a job to pay it off later.

This is a very bleak prospect for the minimum wage workforce, and it's why there is a growing movement to increase that wage. Despite the strident arguments that raising the minimum wage would harm the economy, we might find it to be the lesser of two evils.

That's because the easy way out for many of those workers is welfare. A single trip to the welfare office can make a lot of worries just melt away. According to Papst, Cogan was eligible for as much as $81,000 in public assistance. If she took advantage of all of it, she would be solidly placed in the middle class, without lifting a finger.

Eventually, many minimum wage workers do find the welfare office. For most it's food stamps and a few other smaller programs, perhaps some tuition assistance so they can someday break out of the bottom tier. For others however, it is a way of life.

We have all heard the horror stories about those whose only job is to work the system. Yes, they're out there too.

So what's the plan? Unfortunately, there is none. Just keep feeding the masses bread and circuses.

"This isn't the American dream," Brouillette told Papst. "When there are taxpayer funded programs that could give you the equivalent lifestyle of a middle-class family, why would you have an incentive to go to work?"

The political will isn't there to change the system. Politicians often shy away from talk of cutting benefits or changing the way they are paid for fear of retaliation at the ballot box. The attack ads virtually write themselves.

However, we know as a nation that we need more people working, and paying taxes, if we are to avoid economic meltdown - which admittedly, in an economy probably kept afloat with fiat currency, could already be upon us.

As a nation, we must do a number of things we will not like to reform the system. We do need to raise the minimum wage enough so that people who consider welfare will see a net loss rather than a net gain. It is cheaper to pay a worker minimum wage and collect taxes, even if it's just a few dollars, than to pay out up to $81,000 each year in free benefits.

We must open a path forward, insisting that welfare recipients who are able, attend school, find work, or do something to advance themselves. We need to ensure that we facilitate these positive choices with affordable education, career training, and job placement where appropriate. We do have such programs in most states. However, we need to add to them incentives to make progress, which would include sanctions for those who prefer to remain idle. Those who refuse to make progress should be see benefits reduced to an absolute minimum.

We cannot long survive in a nation that lets stagnant wages lose purchasing power to inflation, then provides welfare that surpasses the minimum wage. To continue to do so is to continue destroying America.
_____

Pabst put together a list of figures for a person in Cogan's circumstances. They reveal just how much is available to a single mother of two, earning $19,000. The total exceeds $81,000 in possible benefits. They are specific to Pennsylvania. Other states may have lower or even higher figures based on how generous their programs are.

Assistance Totals: Single Mom of two making $19,000

Department of Welfare
- LIHEAP: $400
- Child Care: $14,976
- Medical Assistance: $6,045 (includes Health Department and SCHIP)
- Food $6,028 (SNAP, WIC: average $52.32 per person, school meal programs, Dept of Ag)

HUD
- Housing Voucher: $7,148

Pennsylvania Utility Commission
- Lifeline: landline ($30 for instillation and $200 interest free loan/yr) and cell phone with 200 min and 250 text and email ($480/yr)
- PA Weatherization Assistance Program: Ave. $6,500/per household

Department of Agriculture
- Farmers Market Nutritional Program $20

Department of Education lunch programs
- National School Lunch Program ($5/day)
- School Breakfast Program ($3/day)
- Child and Adult Care Food Program ($5/day)
- After School Snack Program ($2/day)
- Summer Food Services Program ($5/day)
- At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program ($5/day)

Department of Health
- Healthy Woman Program (free clinical breast examination, cervical cancer screenings, mammogram, pelvic examination, pap smear and follow up diagnostics to low income women): $1,245
- Bureau of Community Health Immunization Program

Department of Insurance
- SCHIP (included in Medical Assistance)

Legal Services Corporation
- 2010 federal budget $420,000,000, assisted 2.3 million people in 2011: $182.61/person @ LSC.GOV

Tax Breaks
- Earned income tax credit: $4,800
- Additional Child Tax Credit: $2000
- Withholdings return on $0 taxable income: $1900

Education
- Pell Grant: Maximum $5,500
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant: Grants up to $4,000 per year. - Students who have been awarded a Federal Pell Grant receive priority.
- National SMART Grant: Maximum $4,000 (National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant: students in third or fourth year of college.)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: Max: $4,000 to be a teacher.

Department of Education and Office of Childhood Development in DPW
- Head Start: $6,700 per child/2009 in PA per HHS numbers
- Early Head Start: $6,700 per child/2009 in PA per HHS numbers

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Houston: First Amendment Does not apply to Christian ministers? Interview with Keith Fournier Watch

Image of As at the tower of Babel, the confusion spreads until no progress is possible.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Houston officials fired a shot across the bow of Christian ministers, pastors and priests who they think may be encouraging their congregations to oppose the city's controversial "bathroom bill." The request is chilling and violates the First Amendment, but it also ... continue reading


167,000 convicted criminal immigrants walk free within the United States Watch

Image of Deportations from the interior of the United States declined 34 percent this year from last.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With both Islamic State and Ebola posing an imminent threat to the United States through people entering the country illegally, it's distressing to note just how lax the nation's deportation laws have become. According to Breitbart, there remain nearly 167,000 ... continue reading


Obama is advancing 'brutal program' of forced abortions in China, lawmaker says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama and his administration are not only ignoring China's totalitarian edict of "one family, one child" policy but are advancing the "brutal program." That's the words of Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J., who) spoke at the Heritage ... continue reading


Four Kurdish terrorists slipped across Obama's open Mexican border, Homeland Security chief admits Watch

Image of Four members the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, were arrested in September trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The bad news: Four known Kurdish terrorists crossed into the United States. This has been confirmed by Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. The good news: Johnson says that the four were not affiliated with Islamic States. Which is good news, of a sort. ... continue reading


Evangelical tells faithful not to vote for politicians who support homosexual marriage, abortion Watch

Image of An outspoken evangelical, Pastor Jim Garlow played a major role in organizing Christian groups in support of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and warned his audience against voting for a candidate in who supports gay marriage and abortion. This includes candidates who are republican, including Carl ... continue reading


Obama aides knew more than they let on in 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal Watch

Image of White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday that President Obama and his advisers did not interfere with the inspector general's investigation.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Obama aides were given information that suggested that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member. The 2012 incident was quickly swept under the rug - but more details have since come to light. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


One in five Americans now on food stamps Watch

Image of For more than two years, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has remained above 46 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than a sixth of all Americans are on food stamps for the 35 straight month in a row, data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Since September of 2011 through July 2014, more than 46 million Americans have ... continue reading


Report reveals Federal drones are already engaged in domestic surveillance Watch

Image of More spying, on you, by your government.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has logged nearly 2,000 hours of drone flights over the continental U.S. on operations unrelated to immigration enforcement since 2011. This means the DHS is spying on Americans with drones, although they are not reporting ... continue reading


Fifth circuit court defends the rights and sanctity of life in Texas! Watch

Image of Governor Rick Perry signed in a law to protect the lives of those who couldn't protect themselves back in July 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The incredible Texas law that shut down nearly all abortion clinics in that state will go into full effect after an October 2 decision by the fifth U.S. circuit court of appeals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fifth U.S. circuit court stayed a federal ... continue reading


'No force on Earth can stop us,' President Obama says to immigration activists Watch

Image of The president's speech was heckled at least twice - indicating that the president's strong support among Hispanics may be slipping.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual gala, U.S. President Barack Obama had a message to immigration activists in Washington, D.C.: "no force on earth can stop us." The president's speech was heckled at least twice - indicating that ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
1 Thus says Yahweh to his anointed one, to Cyrus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:15-21
15 Then the Pharisees went away to work out between ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 1:1-5
1 Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 19th, 2014 Image

Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
October 19: In 1642 the Huron country was in great distress. Harvests were ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter