Numbers have a liberal bias, which is why the Right has taken to simply inventing numbers. The issue of who is on Welfare, and who is actually lying about what Welfare actually entails is a case in point. The number currently being floated by the Rightwing of Americans on Welfare is an astounding 109, 631,000 number. That’s a lot of lazy and out of work people helping to make the case as to why you are paying too much in taxes. Just one problem, the number isn’t accurate. Well, it is and it isn’t. Here’s what I mean.
As of the 2012 census there were 320 million Americans total. An astounding 35.4%, or just under 110 million were on welfare, according to a, dare I say, very liberal use of the word by the right. A quick definition of the word, however, reveals that “welfare” encompasses everything from SNAP, or food stamps, Tax Credits for Working Families, Housing assistance, SSI for severely disabled Americans, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Women Infants and Children (WIC) assistance, Head Start and Family Energy assistance, because it looks really really embarrassing if too many Americans succumb to cold or heat due to poverty, unless we are competing directly with Bangladesh these days.
Incidentally, according to the CDC, between 2006 and 2010 some 2000 Americans died because of heat cold and other weather related events. While many of those are not attributable to poverty, the rise from previous years is so precipitous that contributions due to poverty cannot be overlooked or under estimated. That sharp rise coincides with both an aging population, cuts in benefits, rising medical costs and the great recession.
But in this election cycle the right would also have us believe that Blacks, immigrants and Latinos are voting for democrats because the democrats will give them welfare. The numbers prove otherwise and instead lend more evidence that the right intends to frighten, radicalize and anger white voters to the poles out of the realization that they cannot carry in any meaningful way Black and minority votes.
They portray the myth of the welfare queen, the Black woman on drugs popping out babies and collecting big checks bled from hard working white taxpayers, Tennessee began testing welfare recipients for narcotics in July 2014 and found only 1 in 800 tested positive, hardly more than 1/10 of 1%. Florida, which also tests, found the rate to be at 2.6%, while the non welfare, taxpaying population’s rate was near 8%. So why the hype? Testing dollars are a big ticket give away to testing companies. Each test nets the company $30-40 on average, a mandatory cash payment by the person being tested. Testing companies are pouring millions through lobbyists into campaigns and media. Carly Fiorina, Republican presidential candidate was recently caught in a lie about a stepdaughter, whom she led people to believe died of a drug overdose, when in fact the person had died from complications due to Bulimia.
Children are the primary beneficiaries of Welfare. Even still, only 5.2% of so-called welfare recipients get more than half of their total income from the government. Nationally the amount spent on social welfare programs is 59 Billion, against more than $100 billion given to already profitable corporations. That number is exponentially higher is state and local corporate giveaways are tallied. People who attend college re far less likely to need or ask for any type of public assistance, adding weight to the long term cost benefits of free collage educations. that isn’t about welfare, but rather investment.
The same could be said for law enforcement and the prison industry. If the country prioritized quality public education over law enforcement and security the cost benefit to the country would be staggering. It cost roughly $5000 more to incarcerate a young person for a year than it would cost to send him/her to a Big 10 school with housing and board for an entire year. For profit prisons spent $45 million in lobbying just in 2011 alone, and made more than $5 billion just in immigration detentions alone. The cost for each detainee was $166 dollars per day. The Holiday Inn in Port Washington Wisconsin, with a stunning view of the quaint harbor costs $94 a night, with private showers, a pool, sauna, breakfast and clean towels. There is a nice Italian place within walking distance where for about $20 bucks you can get dinner and have some left to take back to the room. $52 dollars cheaper than for-profit=prisons.
Blacks are 13% of the population. While the white middle class benefitted over hundreds of billions in VA loans and scholarships the Black community was barred from those benefits, allowing one community an unfair advantage. That community, in large part because of that has historically remained the most vulnerable. Almost 42% of Blacks are on or require some sort of public assistance. That equals about 17 million people. The number is virtually identical in the Hispanic and Latino communities. Together they still do not add up to the number of white Americans using some time of Welfare. or about 41 million White Americans. That begs the question; why then do so many poor whites vote republican?
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com