Welfare vs Entitlements

So Mitt Romney does not want to fool with the 47% of people who use government help, or get government checks.  He thinks we are worthless, that we don’t want to work, that we just want to sit back and do nothing and get paid for it.

Most of government benefits are not designated as “welfare” in the sense of people getting help that don’t need it – that are cheating.

Who gets checks from the government?  Lots of us elderly folks who have worked our whole lives and paid income taxes, social security taxes, Medicare taxes, etc., are getting checks from the government.  It is called social security, and we have worked hard for it.  I know I worked 47 years to get the social security and the Medicare that I paid for over the years.  I will be 72 before 2012 is over.  And I don’t have any CDs or IRAs or savings to fall back on because in all my years of working, I was never paid a decent wage, in spite of my abilities and intelligence.

Lots of veterans get checks from the government.  Most of them are veterans of wars, having laid their lives on the line for this country, and are injured, disabled, or have mental problems.  Many of them are not capable of working, but are striving hard in physical and mental therapy to get back to the workforce – some of them even want to go back into their units and continue to lay their lives on the line for the USA.  And a lot of them gave enough years to the military that they get a pension on retirement after 20 or 30 years.

Many people get food stamps.  I get $16 a month, but I used to get $112 and more.  At some point I may even get to a place where I won’t need the $16 a month, but it comes in handy at the end of the month when I need milk or bread or eggs, to supplement my pantry just before my next check comes.  A lot of people, though, are hard-working folks already, who have lost their jobs, who are in lower-paying jobs, who are trying to raise a family in this economy that was left to us by the Bush administration, and they need food stamps to supplement their nourishment.  I thought it was especially horrendous when Mitt Romney said “the 47% think they are entitled to food”.  Boy is he out of touch.  I don’t personally know anyone who uses their food stamps to buy fancy stuff, though I have used mine for ice cream on occasion.

As for medical care, yes, I have Medicare, which again, I paid for over the years once it was added as a deduction to our paychecks.  I even had Medicaid for awhile, but my social security is now $30 above the top limit for getting Medicaid.  So I don’t get it now, and pay a co-payment when I go to the doctor, or get clinical lab work done.  That’s okay.  At some point the poverty level may again be raised, and I’ll fall back into the designation, but I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.  I will be depending on Medicaid to help if I have to go into assisted living one day, but at present I am able to take care of myself, and hope to for many years to come.

I do not get Meals on Wheels.  I am not eligible at this time because I can buy my groceries and cook my own meals.  Meals on Wheels are now for only those who are bed-ridden or have other disabilities that keep them from being able to stand in a kitchen.  You may know someone who you think should be able to take care of themselves this way, but at the beginning Meals on Wheels was meant for anybody in poverty.  That was recently tightened up to keep people like me from getting on the program, just because I am close under the poverty level, but living in assisted housing ensures that I have the capability to buy groceries.  However, those who were already on the program were grandfathered in.  Fair?  Maybe not.  But that is the way the law works, and I am not resentful.  Besides, occasionally someone passes on their meal to me just because they don’t want it, and they aren’t all that great.

In the early days of “welfare”, the bulk of people were minorities (read black), and this was because white people would not hire black people for jobs that would pay them a living wage.  This is how “welfare” got such an ugly reputation, and perhaps many of them were getting money to use on not-so-legitimate purchases, and a lot more people were getting food stamps (now called SNAP) that included a monetary privilege as well.  Mine does not, and never did, even when I needed the larger amount.  The blame, though, does squarely lie on the backs of the whites who were not willing to give blacks, or other minorities, and maybe even those who got the name “poor white trash” after the Civil War ended.  And this particularly applies to Mitt Romney’s own religion of choice – the Mormon church – which did not recognize blacks as people until 1975.

So in early days of “welfare”, who can blame the blacks for turning to the government, the only entity that did recognize them.  This is probably why it seems like there are more blacks and other minorities holding down government jobs.

Even today small businesses run by white people often don’t have minorities working for them.  Big box stores and national grocery stores have to meet percentages of minority employees, which a lot of whites use as an argument about “they are taking our jobs”.  If some of these stores have their way, they might not hire them.

But one also must remember that a lot of white folks don’t want those jobs because they pay based on minimum wage, which the highly-paid Congresspeople keep as low as they can get by with.

Just remember this when you think about the 47% Mitt Romney is talking about.  Most of these folks are there because they grew old, or were injured while laying their lives on the line for this country, or are people who cannot get decent-paying jobs because of employment practices from the more blessed folks.  I am grateful that not all employers are like that, but there are not nearly enough of them to help all of those who depend on the government for just surviving.

I may consider my social security an entitlement, because I worked for it, but I can tell you that those who really believed they are entitled are the most wealthy, who think that because they have a lot of money, they deserve the homage of everyone who isn’t in their “class”.  Again, I am grateful for the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and Sandra Bullock, and George Clooney, and the masses of others who share their money joyfully to help the less fortunate.

Another factoid you might not like, if you are a welfare-naysayer:  the highest percentage of those who don’t pay Federal income taxes (but who definitely pay taxes – sales, property, payroll – live in red states, including my own state of Texas.  Red states, where bias and intolerance is more likely to be found, and less help offered to those in need.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

About carolstepp

Music is about the most important thing in my life, and I follow a large number of musicians, particularly Irish, Scots, Classical, Crossovers of any of these. I was writing a blog about Celtic Thunder regularly on MySpace, and now I have left them after a year, and will start writing my blogs here. I am 70, retired, living on Social Security, and have a lot of social network fans.
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6 Responses to Welfare vs Entitlements

  1. Bill says:

    very nicely put…perhaps this is why I am going to vote Democratic this year for the first time in my life.

    • carolstepp says:

      I am so glad to hear that. I think a lot of folks, without having to turn again their own basic beliefs, are going to be doing that this year. I think especially those who are veterans, or veteran backers, are going to take a second look this year. I cannot believe that I heard John Boehner say that jobs are the main thing, yet his Repubs just shut down a jobs bill especially for veterans. They really need to go against their pledges against Grover Norquist, and straighten up. Anyway, I think the fall-out is going to help a lot of races in a lot of states. Nice to hear from you. Carol

  2. I’m so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  3. Great paintings! This is the type of information that are meant to be shared across the net. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and talk over with my website . Thank you =)

    • carolstepp says:

      Unfortunately, for me to be up higher on the google page, I would have to pay some money, and I can’t afford it. Or write a lot more than I do. thank you for your comments.

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