Category: Social Topics
The ‘major programs' referenced as being measured in the U.S. Census Bureau report include cash assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, SSI, and WIC.
Census Bureau stats show that number of participants ballooned to approximately 110 million welfare recipients by the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 106 million full-time workers for 2013 but not all of them worked the full year.
From this view alone, some may conclude that the problem is welfare recipients and how they out-number the working people who has to subsidize them. But, let’s examine the numbers a little closer so that we have an accurate depiction of what they really mean.
It’s always better to know the real answers so that we can address the real problem and attempt to resolve the problem with real solutions.
First, the reports cited do not take into consideration the estimated three-quarters (3/4) of workers who are employed but still rely on anti-poverty programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
These are the “working poor” a new and rising economic class that’s often overlooked.
According to a study by the Berkley Center for Labor Research and Education cited by the New York Times (2015), “taxpayers not only support the poor but also pay a huge subsidy for employers with low-wage workers…this is the hidden cost of low-wage work.”
The cost of subsidies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Medicaid when workers are denied living wages and health insurance also fall into the pockets of other taxpayers.
The University of California – Berkley further estimates a $150 billion annual expense for state and federal governments for workers who also rely on welfare to make ends meet.
Politicians, generally, like to spew out stats that appear to show that hard working people are being overtaken by the shiftless to justify the need to end welfare.
Of course, without giving the full picture of who receives these benefits, why, and for how long.
They also do not tell us how the studies were conducted, things like what is being measured, how it was measured, or what portion was taken from a small sample and generalized to an entire demographic.
Believe it or not, these factors and others make a significant impact on the outcomes
Instead, stereotypes are created like ‘welfare queens’ and ‘the makers versus the takers’ rather than deal in reality about real social problems that have attainable solutions.
It is important to note that when analyzing studies on welfare to understand that in every case the measurements (in terms of what is being measured) were different.
For example, if you look at studies that is supposed to measure the number of people on welfare, some some may only include recipients of TANF (cash assistance), food stamps, and Medicaid. Other studies may include SSI, WIC, and housing subsidies.
Some are longitudinal studies which follow a large sample of people over time while others simply counted the number of people on welfare rolls, and so on.
But, the common thread is that few studies, rarely if ever, discuss or offset the numbers by workers on welfare or how many workers held their job an entire year, etc.
This is important because it gives us a skewed sense of reality about the economy and the human condition.
So, in the world of fake news and alternative facts we search for the truth - things we need to consider in our political debates and certainly when developing public policy.
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Welcome to The Community Advocate Network. My name is Deborah Mitchell, I am a graduate in Social Work and Registered Social Work Technician. My human service background began in 2007 which includes medical case management and service navigation for the indigent population, outpatient mental health counseling with substance use and abuse disorders, supportive employment and job development for mental health consumers, and structured living domicile management.