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The GAO put out a report a while ago, and it basically said that the majority of people who take welfare fit this profile:

Single mother, gets on welfare because of divorce/death/unfortunate circumstace, stays on welfare until she gets new job training/college, gets off welfare, gets a real job, pays more in taxes over the next 10 years that she took from welfare.

That is the most common scenario. The most PUBLICIZED scenario is "Deadbeat mother/father, has lots of kids to get welfare, lets kids run around, abuses system, kids in jail for meth etc etc etc".

The welfare reform that we need is "Weed out the abuse", the welfare reform that people seem to push for is "Well the system is broken, we might as well scrap it"
 

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When I was out of work in the 90's, for a short time we were on public assistance. The short length of time we were on it showed us it's pitfalls. It seemed to us that the more you attempted to better yourself and become self-supporting, the more you were punished. When I got a temp job, working only 1 or 2 days a week, with 4 kids, they would call me in as if I were a criminal.

Then the next month you would get a notice to repay in cash, for the amount of food stamps you were overpaid. Hardly an incentive to work your way off of welfare. I can see why others would learn real quick how to work the system.
This is one of the bigger problems I see with the system, and its one that is actually getting work done on it. The way the system works its better to stay fully on welfare than to take whatever work you can find, because the income you'd get from the job, even if it was less than welfare was paying you, would kick you out of the welfare system. The current administration is working to make it so that the benefits scale down based on you income, so that you can be working while recieving partial benefits, and eventually make your way totally off the system.
 

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The thing I hate about the welfare system is that it makes people lazy. As long as they can sit on their fat asses watching the boob tube and get paid enough money to pay their rent, utilities and pay for food, what motivation do they have to get off their ass and get a job? What sense of pride does it instill in them or their children, who I guarantee are watching their parents, wondering WTF they are thinking to do nothing with their lives?
Seems to me that welfare didn't make you or your mom lazy.

I agree that the system needs to include motivation for people to get off their ass and get a job. For most people, the same of not providing is enough to do it, for others the system needs to do a better job of discouraging multi-generational leeches.
 

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Again, it's a pride thing. I have to further thank my Mom for instilling that sense of pride in me at an early age. She always told us that it was tough right then, but it wouldn't always be so.
I grew up in a similar situation, except that my mom wasn't healthy enough to go back to college and work. Sometimes we got by on just disability insurance payments, sometimes we qualified for government assistance. The rules on who qualified, and for how much seemed to change a lot. We'd get a letter saying "hey we raised your benefits by 10%" and then 6 months later get another saying "Hey, we overpaid you for 6 months, this check is going to be half what you are used to". (I think I've heard similar stories from my friends in the military)

Going to the grocery store by myself with foodstamps and 400 coupons was hard. It wasn't the shame and the pride that made me never want to be in a situation like that, it was the utter crappyness of being poor. Managing each trip to the store as if your ability to be well fed for the next month depended on your budget-fu is horrible. An unexpected dr visit meaning that you can't have heat for the next month sucks.

Althought, if I"m really honest with myself, it was the shame and the pride that made me hate getting free school lunches. (Also, the quality of the free school lunches)
 

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I dont know what planet you live on that churches provide health insurance. we didn't need a monetary handout, we needed healthcare to cover the thousands and thousands of dollars to cover prenatal care and the birth. do you know how much it costs to give birth in a hospital without insurance? do you know how much an ultrasound costs without insurance?
There are actually several hospitals run by religous organizations all over the country that help in this exact circumstance. They provided discounted rates and long term payment plans. Many also even forgive entire bills for those who can't afford them. Almost the exact situation my brother faced about a year and a half ago.
and what kind of burdern would be placed on these hospitals if things like medicaid did not exist? i seriously doubt they could handle that patient load.
Not too much in the long run, as the hospitals owned by the big insurance companies will soon finish the job of driving them out of business.
 

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Ouch Dustin,
Not to sound mean, but here it goes:
Here is a short list of folks who help families out on a daily basis, and do it out of humility:

The Masons - That's right, your local Masonic lodge will help just about anyone... and they don't take out a 2 page ad in the newspaper to brag about it either. This is little-known to those who don't know any1 who is a Mason.

The Shriners - You must be a Mason before you can go to the Shrine. The Shriner's have their own hospitals, and are very quick to help those without insurance to get medicated/operated. They are especially generous to children and young adults. (I always buy those almond bars they sell at the store, and give them to the next kid I see coming into the store.)

The Church - Churches love to help people in their community, but be aware that this is only a short-time deal, as the
church has bills to pay just like you and me. A Church will normally help with rent/mortgage, food, power, and water. Do not think that you will be issued a debit card and get to spend how you see fit.

Soup Kitchens - It isn't the best food in the world, but if you and your family are hungry, you will eat. Do not feel ashamed for eating at a soup kitchen, the construction workers who are being "cheap" and eating at the soup kitchen are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves.

The Neighbors - If you live in a tight-knit community, you may be able to receive a little help from those around you. You may be able to "earn" money from them instead of asking for "help". Cutting grass, raking leaves, washing cars, cleaning gutters, painting things, or walking dogs all come to mind that can be done in a neighborhood situation.
but all those people are not going to pay your tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills. they don't have the resources. even if they helped the occasional person, they wouldn't have the ability to take care of all the poor in this country.
This is one of the problems with government public housing programs. By herding so many poor people together, the community doesn't have resources. In a less segregated population there are more resources to go around. Most churches around where I live have resources to help people, and want to do it.

A few people in my church have lost their jobs recently, I've been cutting them rent checks for the past few months (I volunteer to help the church with its financial records/stuff). The church can afford to do it because we have a diverse congregation, if we were a church located strictly in a ghetto, it'd be a different story.
 

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in 2007 the federal govt (a "lean" year), not including what every state contributed, spent 1.622 trillion on social healthcare and welfare, including medicaid, medicare, social security and VA benefits. I doubt the American public could kick in that much money.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget,_2007
If healthcare moved away from insurance or gov't programs youd' see spending go way down. Most of what we spend is to eek a year or two extra out of someone who is very, very likely to die soon. If the lion's share of the cost were placed on the idividual, their family or their community, you'd see more people moving into things like hospice care.

I don't know if that's a good or bad thing for the country, but for me, if I have the choice between living to 65 and dying when its evident my time is near, or living to 70 after spending tens and hundreds of thousands on those last 5 years, I'd like to think I'm man enough to go at 65.
 
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