"Welfare leeches"

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  1. Josak profile image59
    Josakposted 10 years ago

    In recent time there has been a lot of rhetoric coming from the right about the abuse of unemployment benefits and of the entitled, lazy poor, a view totally inconsistent with the facts.
    87% of households below the poverty line have atleast one working individual.
    91% of government entitlements go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Households.
    Drug use may actually be lower amongst people below the poverty line. Arizona entitlement drug testing found only one person using amongst the 87 000 people they tested and saw no reduction in claims.
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opi … 53620604/1

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure what your numbers have to do with unemployment benefits. 

      First, I would not consider unemployment as an entitlement - it is an insurance program that was paid for by your employer.  Drug use has nothing to do with drawing that insurance, unless you're saying that people are unemployed because they use drugs - a claim I've never seen.  Nor do I believe that number of 87,000 for even a second - I don't think it possible that you could randomly choose that many people anywhere in the country and find only one using marijuana. 

      There is also a major problem when looking at unemployment.  The numbers generally represent people drawing the insurance and don't count the thousands that have run out but are still looking.  It is possible in my state to work full time (minimum wage or thereabouts) and still draw the insurance; those people are counted as unemployed with a 40 hour job, skewing the numbers the other way.  It's very difficult to get a real handle on the numbers of unemployed.

      At the bottom, though, there are a great many people drawing unemployment for a year or more because they don't want to work or because they don't want to work at a "demeaning" or low paying job.  Better to take charity than work as a WallMart greeter, even though you'll take home more money working and be a factor in supporting yourself.

      1. Josak profile image59
        Josakposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        The importance of the figures is that it shows the recent attempted smearing of the American poor for what it is, politically motivated dishonesty and lies. The figures for drug users amongst people collecting entitlement were universally very very low, the highest being Florida with 11 people out of 54 000 the figures are not opinions they are sourced facts.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Well, I wouldn't believe 11 out of 54,000, either.  Where can I see how those numbers are being produced?

          1. Barefootfae profile image62
            Barefootfaeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            Don't you love all these numbers?
            Give me some Dungeons and Dragons dice and i can probably publish a paper.......

            1. Josak profile image59
              Josakposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              Yes I love the numbers because I love the facts (amd hence the truth), unlike some who simply try to lie their way through by repeating truisms, that is fundamentally what large parts of conservative politcs are based on, truthyness, not facts.

              I also admit to the occasional D&D game tongue

              1. tirelesstraveler profile image60
                tirelesstravelerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                Josak, numbers do not necessarily represent facts. Numbers can be manipulated easily The only number fact that I know for that has been proven throughout history is that 99.99999... % of all people die. There are two people in the bible that apparently didn't die. Depending on if you believe that or not my statistics turn to 100%,even stronger.

                1. Drive By Quipper profile image56
                  Drive By Quipperposted 10 years agoin reply to this


            2. Zelkiiro profile image88
              Zelkiiroposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              D&D doesn't use unique dice. They're everyday, ordinary polyhedral dice used in other games and other situations.

              1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
                MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                but the have a different amount of sides...-they are evil- and of Satan-

                Especially the four sided die... which makes stepping on a mere lego look like a walk through the park.

          2. Josak profile image59
            Josakposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            One of those links (sorry I forget which) gives the figures of entitlement claimants found with drugs in their system.

            Another (the nih one) compares drug use amongst entitlement recipients to average American usage and finds the results similar or lower.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              OK - I looked at the nih one.  As near as I can tell, a survey was taken with one person from each household being asked if they got welfare and if they did illegal drugs.

              Given that there is considerable furor over testing welfare recipients for drug usage, it doesn't seem particularly reasonable to ask those same people if they're using.  Seems like the response just might be "Oh no, I would never use an illegal drug" while quickly stubbing out the joint.  At least I would...

              It also said that it was the same usage percentages as the "working" population.  Meaning that (1) that number of 1 in 87,000 is totally bogus and (2) the welfare program is paying for illegal drugs at about the same rate the employed people are paying for their own. 

              I and many others have just a little problem with that.

        2. galleryofgrace profile image70
          galleryofgraceposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          11 out of 54K? We will assume that they "knew" ahead of time that they were going to be tested and had time to clean up!

      2. tirelesstraveler profile image60
        tirelesstravelerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with you that it would be nearly impossible to test 87,000 baby boomers and find only one using. marijuana.

      3. American View profile image60
        American Viewposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I love it when bogus info is provided to push an agenda and try to discredit the opposing point of view.

        The biggest reason is likely the way Arizona determines "reasonable cause." Essentially, the state asks new recipients whether they've used drugs in the past 30 days, and only those who answer yes are tested.

        I love the attempt to get you to believe that 87,000 drug tests were taken and one one positive test was found. The fact is 87,000 did not get tested, 87,000 is the number on the welfare rolls in Arizona. Last year they began the new program to test NEW welfare applications  and a test is only given if someone answers yes to the question asked of them. The real question is how many people answered yes and were actually tested. Was it just the one person, was it 5, was it ten? 

        What is so wrong with testing a welfare recipient, you have to take a DT for your job.

        1. Drive By Quipper profile image56
          Drive By Quipperposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          You are the Fox News maestro of it!

          Why don't you change your name to "My View" for more accuracy?

          1. American View profile image60
            American Viewposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            WOW, that's all you got, accusing someone who does not own a TV or have cable of being a Fox news addict?  If I am so wrong, why did you not challenge my numbers? What, cannot handle the truth?

        2. junkseller profile image81
          junksellerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          For one, two wrongs don't make a right. Drug testing for a job isn't necessarily right either, thereby shouldn't be used to justify a second case of testing.

          Furthermore, requirements of a job and receiving public benefits are entirely different things. To treat them as equivalents you'd have to provide a justification for doing so.

          Aside from moral arguments, we can simply analyze it from a policy perspective. What do we want to accomplish? Does it in fact accomplish that? Does it do it with a reasonable cost.

          One possible goal is reduced drug use? Is there any study or evidence to suggest this policy is effective at accomplishing this? I'm not aware of any. Doesn't mean there aren't any, but I have never seen anyone offer anything other then what they believe will happen.

          The other potential objective would be fiscal. Florida's program, however, shows that it cost more money than it saved. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no … tests.html

          A third possible justification would be to protect children, but again, in what possible way does kicking people off of welfare lead to better outcomes for children in those families. Does anyone really believe that these drug users will be magically cured of their addiction? Even if they were, the financial loss they already suffered can be pretty devastating for poor families.

          Fourth, is again a moral rightitude argument. We shouldn't be giving money to people so they can buy drugs. I suppose that's a fair point, but it essentially amounts to wanting to punish people for their actions. An action which, by the way, is repeated in probably the same percentages by the people who want to do the punishing. That wouldn't seem to give them the moral authority to enact that punishment. Plus, from a moral rightitude perspective we have to weigh whatever rightness we believe there is in punishing these people against the wrongness of intruding into the privacy of the non-drug users (along with the consequences of false positives). This balancing rarely seems to take place

          All in all, it seems better to have a policy that tries to actually help people. People kicked off of welfare don't necessarily change their ways. In fact life probably gets harder for them and they might go deeper into unhelpful behavior patterns. Nor does kicking people off of welfare necessarily remove them from receiving social benefits. In many ways it might simply shift them to different programs or services. And so in the absence of any program element designed to alter behavior and in the absence of any way to actually reduce costs, the only point of these programs seems to be to punish people.

          Which goes back to Josak's point. The only real point to these programs seems to be as an outlet for petty meanness.

      4. habee profile image93
        habeeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I mostly agree with what Wildman said.

        Heck, I don't think I could find that small a number among regular church-goers who don't partake occasionally of pot or abuse prescription drugs!

        We pay Uncle Sam lots each year, and I have no problem with some of that money going to help kids, old people, and the disabled. My prob is with those who can work but refuse to work. If no jobs are available, that's not the fault of the unemployed, though.

        I'm sorry, but I know there are people who won't work and prefer to survive from the work of others. I'VE KNOWN SOME OF THESE INDIVIDUALS PERSONALLY. I'm sure (and I honestly hope) they're few and far between, but they do exist.

        1. Jewel01 profile image60
          Jewel01posted 10 years agoin reply to this

          So is it unAmerican if we turn them in?  Or do we look the other way, and talk about them, in a negative manner.  I too, have watched many, many people, run out their unemployment, not because they couldn't work, but because they were working under the table, and drawing unemployment at the same time.  They were actually making better money than when they had a job.

          Many who are on Social Security Disability are working under the table, as well.  We pay for them to go to the doctors, why can't we pay for them to be retrained for a job that suits them.  If you can sit in a bar all day, you can sit at a desk. 

          I believe we should care for the disabled, elderly, and the poor.  Fathers walk out on their children, the mother in turn, looks to the state to aide her in caring for these kids.  There are many ways we could improve the system.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            UnAmerican to turn in a thief?  Not to me.

            And those you mention, the ones working under the table, ARE thieves, stealing from my and your pocketbook.  I would not hesitate one minute if I could prove it.

    2. Reality Bytes profile image75
      Reality Bytesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      On this I agree with you.  The United States could easily care for those in need.  IMO, the real harm comes from the value of the currency.  Essentials are outrageously priced.  None of the media point this out.  Because televisions, computers, phones, etc are all drastically lower than they were a few years ago, there is no mention of inflation.  Which is also not the problem, the U.S. dollar is practically worthless as compared to 100 years ago.

      The assistance to the poor and needy is used as a deflection from real issues.  I wonder how much of a percentage of taxpayer money allotted for this purpose is devoured by the government?  I would wager it is close to 90%.  Government has no idea how to manage a proper budget.  They do not even seem able to present one!

    3. profile image54
      whoisitposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Let me see if I have this right, your first source decided that drug and alcohol use among those on assistance was no more different than drug/alcohol use among society as a whole. They gleamed this information by asking those receiving assistance if they used drugs or alcohol, not by testing them but merely asking them?

      Next source claims that only one out of 87,000 recipients of assistance tested positive for drug use? Now, they only tested those who admitted to having used drugs. This is what you think is proof?


      1. junkseller profile image81
        junksellerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        "From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them."
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no … s&_r=0

        The NIH report, http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/oct96/niaaa-23.htm compared two different groups using the same methodology (i.e. both groups were "merely asked") will provide meaningful results unless there is some evidence that the two groups would answer differently. Do you have any evidence that one group vs the other would be more or less likely to answer truthfully?

        Michigan very briefly had a testing program in place back in 1999. "[T]wenty-one out of 258 tested recipients tested positive for illicit drug use [that's 8.1 percent]. All but 3 of these recipients tested positive for marijuana only." http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/pdf/rr02-511.pdf

  2. Drive By Quipper profile image56
    Drive By Quipperposted 10 years ago

    Give me a break wildman.

  3. Zelkiiro profile image88
    Zelkiiroposted 10 years ago

    ATTN: Right-wingers

    This one's for you:
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-po … or-people/

  4. peeples profile image94
    peeplesposted 10 years ago

    Of course all recipients aren't drug using lazy people BUT alot are. We have an entire neighborhood of them here. The "free government phone" people come sit a tent in the middle of the neighborhood once a month. Half the line openly smokes "blunts" while in line for their phone. I am pro marijuana but I don't think people who need free food and phones should be doing it. I know that this one neighborhood is not the only one in our country. There's probably one in every city. These give a bad rep to all the others getting welfare.

    1. junkseller profile image81
      junksellerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Of course all __________ aren't __________ BUT alot are. We have an entire neighborhood of them here. The _________ people come _________ all the time. I am _________ but I don't think people who need _____________ should be doing it. I know that this one neighborhood is not the only one in our country. There's probably one in every city. These give a bad rep to all the _________.

      Fill in the blanks, and one of these has been written for every group of people on the planet. I wouldn't be surprised if you've had similar things said to you personally about some of the groups you belong to. I'm not saying there aren't people who perhaps deserve some condemnation or that there aren't some problems with the system, but we can talk about problems and solve problems without having to badify groups of people. What you yourself said was pretty mild, but some people can be quite nasty.

      When we set aside our emotional attachment to the issue, the solution of drug testing makes little sense. It doesn't solve problems, doesn't accomplish desired goals, ignores bigger issues, ignores solutions that are potentially more effective, etc. So, at the end of the day the only justification still left on the table seems to be the mentality of punishing those lazy loser people.


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