Don’t Say Farewell to Welfare

The current population of the United States (2016) was 324,118,787.

If those figures are correct, then 46 million is roughly 14.2% of the men, women, and children that make up the current population. If you subtract the 4.7% unemployed (those filing unemployment claims BASED ON THEIR WORK), that leaves 9.5%, presumed to be disabled, indigent, elderly, including vets, and some deadbeats. Now, that figure doesn’t seem so outrageous, does it. It’s just difficult to fathom things in “millions,” even though we hear that term bantered about on the news, constantly.  So, before pressing for sweeping plans to summarily cut off droves of people, regardless of circumstance, there should first, and foremost, be a crackdown on provider and participant Medicare/ Medicaid FRAUD, which hurts EVERYONE.

When I was a child, my family of a widowed, then divorced, mother and seven children (aged 16-9 mos.), had to live on $256 a month social security survivors’ benefits (from my deceased father, who worked and supported his five children when alive), a total of “zip” from a deadbeat stepfather of the two youngest (he supported everyone before the divorce, and nothing to us afterwards), adding about $20 a week total, from the two oldest of us earning babysitting money on weekends, and I think $60 a month in food stamps. 

Should my mother have gotten a job, leaving seven children at home? Should I, as the oldest, have quit school, to earn $90 a week working as a cashier at a grocery store (as I did during the summers), to give us $110 more a month cash? Instead, I stayed in school, drove myself to earn top grades, and earned a full four-year scholarship to a top private college, qualifying for a gift from an anonymous donor for a “needy” student. 

We wore hand-me-downs, ate a lot of hot dogs, hamburger & macaroni, and did without things most of our peers took for granted. My first jobs, at age twelve, were babysitting, and selling greeting cards, seeds, and wrapping paper. 

Two of my younger sisters ended up marrying early, not because they ‘had to,’ but, in hopes of escaping our meager circumstances. All but one of us seven began working at odd jobs, in junior high or high school, and worked steady, good jobs throughout our adult lives. The seventh of us worked very hard, sporadically, at unskilled labor jobs, until her early death. 

We were truly needy, and “welfare” (social security & food stamps) helped us to eke by. We determined NOT to live in poverty as adults, because of the values instilled in us by our mother and fathers, and by teachers who cared enough to inspire us. 

So, if we are stirred up when reading some statistic(s) that seem startling at first glance, perhaps we need to RE-think our modern habit of pointing fingers on social media, & instead, work to be part of the solutions that are so sorely needed today.

Off my soapbox now. 
(Please pardon my rant, but someone young, and dear to me, recently challenged me to look deeper into things, before I draw any conclusions about a matter.  So, this is my way of adding something to think about. It is always good to ‘look before you leap,’ or, in this case, post on social media!)

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