Gary MacDougal popped up on the op-ed page of the NYT last week with the line that we spend a trillion dollars on the poor and get nothing for it. In the past I haven't gone out of my way to reply to the argument, but I think regular people need to see an answer.
We can think of the welfare standards in terms of criminal law. Democrats presume that recipients are "innocent until proven guilty." Republicans are more skeptical of recipients, and presume that each is "guilty."
Looks like Scott Brown worked as a real estate attorney and title agent for the parent company of a company named LPS, which happened to be one of the very worst offenders in the foreclosure fraud industry.
This myth justifies hardheartedness (or often condescending paternalism) toward those whose poverty must be their own fault, and it allows those who believe it to congratulate themselves for their hard work and responsible life choices.
The 47 percent is a myth. Due to arbitrary sanctions, agency errors, onerous application requirements, long waits to apply, failed communication systems, arduous work requirements and punishment within the system, low-income people do not receive much needed services.
Do yourself a favor, read the Constitution again, the entire thing, start to finish as it turns 225 years old. And think about what it really means and says. Apply that filter to current issues, world, state, city and even pop culture events and the answers become so obvious, so clear.
The next time you hear someone discussing "welfare reform," ask them if they are referring to those in corporate America to keep mismanaged and failing businesses afloat, or the ones that are helping the people of America to survive.
Politicians love to tell us rags-to-riches stories. Democrats do; Republicans do. Independents probably do, too. Our president has one. So does our first lady. These tales ostensibly emphasize the American dream, and indeed they do -- but what of the generation in rags?
While some states have responded by enacting damaging cuts to work supports for low-income families, other states with equal or greater fiscal shortfalls have found ways to balance their budgets without compromising their safety nets.