Friday, December 9, 2011

Change for the Poor?

 You can fool some people sometimes; but you can’t fool all the people all the time - Bob Marley, Get up Stand Up.

Courtesy of
In the wake of everything that has been on the news of late with the Occupy movement, I found it odd when I came across the story of the couple in Seattle that has been scamming the welfare system since at least 2003.  Here is a link to the article .  For those of you who are either too lazy or just didn’t feel like clicking the link, the jist of the article is that a couple has been receiving welfare checks (totaling over $1000 a month enough for over $130,000)  all while living in a million dollar lake front house and driving Jaguars.  Did I mention the husband is a chiropractor? 

I have a few issues with this obviously.  You may be surprised to know that I’m not mad at this couple.  In fact, kudos to them.  They were working the system to their benefit and in all actuality should be commended.  The issue I have is with the government.  How the HELL does this go on for at least 8 years without any red flags?  Part of the money they were receiving was for Section 8 housing; apparently there are no “home inspections”?  I say shame on our national government, shame on the Washington State government, as well as the local Seattle government.

This is exactly what’s wrong with America.  It’s not corporate greed or the 1%.  It’s our government.  As I’ve stated before, the problem is in Washington.  Our Congress makes the laws with the loopholes that encourage businesses to go overseas.  They make the laws that allow the couple from Seattle to get away with this for at least 8 years.  You think this is an isolated incident?  Hardly.  Without going into too much detail, it’s rampant.  There are people that are on public assistance that apparently can’t afford to pay for their own kids’ lunches, but they have $80 Polo Shirts (5 different colors/styles), IPhones, Xbox 360s,  $100 sneakers and drive far nicer cars than a lot of working people (like myself).  There are people that actually are better off not working and collecting welfare.  In all seriousness though, who can blame them?  Again, kudos to them for knowing how to and having the balls to work the system.
Despite this, the outrage is placed elsewhere.  Why?  I have a good reason and I’ve stated it before on this blog.  Protesting for welfare reform is not sexy.  Why not occupy that?  Maybe if our government wasn’t wasting so much money on dumb shit, there wouldn’t be as many problems.  But it’s sexy to protest corporate greed, the death penalty, and animal abuse.  That’s why the whole occupy movement annoys me.  Welfare reform would help the government save money and it definitely would help the people that need it the most.  Maybe it’s because some of the Occupiers are abusing the system??? 

I don’t know what the best solution is but I’d start with putting certain restrictions on what people can buy.  I worked in the grocery business for over 12 years before becoming a teacher so I saw how people abused the system.  You’re on food stamps?  You don’t get Filet Mignon.  I have a fucking job and I don’t get to eat Filet.  You’re on Welfare?  No lottery tickets.  There is no need for you to spend $50 a day on the lottery.  Gambling is not an appropriate or sensible retirement plan. Sorry, if you can’t pay for your kids lunch, no Polo boots.  You want public assistance?  Take a drug test.  You fail, you’re booted out.  Most people have to take a drug test for their jobs so why should you get high on the government’s (i.e. MY dime?).  You don’t like it?  Get out then or find a job that allows you to get high….good luck with that.

What is the answer for Welfare reform?  I don’t know but the current system sucks.  When I see or hear stories like this couple from Seattle it pisses me off.  Not at them or any of the people that abuse the system for Polo boots, lottery tickets, and Filet.  I do say kudos for them. 
Courtesy of
They found the loophole and much like the big corporations that take their business overseas, they are using it to their advantage and in fact are pretty much encouraged to cheat the system.  The problem lies with our politicians who allow these loopholes to exist.  How bout we occupy them?  After all, the ugly, non-sexy causes need love too.  Until next time this is Jimbo saying, I like Filet.


  1. And this is the same government that wants to control health care. Just wait until we start seeing the results from the government taking over college loan industry. Talk about even more abuse that the taxpayer's will have to eventually pay for.

    I do believe the couple that scammed the system should be held responsible and should be prosecuted including paying back $130,000 plus interest. What does this say about values and ethics in this country?

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

  2. I totally agree they should pay it back. They knew what they were doing. As far as the values and ethics it's terrible. The sad part is, like I said it's encouraged by our government.

  3. Well I'm someone who was raised on welfare and while I make too much money to qualify for welfare now, I have collected food stamps in the past, and my boyfriend collects them now.

    The big issue that I have with "welfare reform" is that the proposals only mean changing the rules around...not actually auditing of the current rules. Yes, I do believe that this couple in Seattle should have been found out a long time ago. But the previous round of welfare reform reduced cash assistance eligibility; causing many food stamp recipients to "sell their stamps for cash"...which is technically welfare fraud. However the reality is, it is easier to get free food than free cash money in hand. So when it comes time to pay the light bill, $200 in food stamps doesn't really help.

    As far as appearances are concerned...they are misleading. Some people may look at my boyfriend and feel that he "doesn't look like" he should be on food stamps. Sometimes he drives my newish car (which is a 2004); he wears nice (yet not name brand) clothes; he owns an X-Box 360, etc., etc. However the truth of the matter is the car isn't his, his clothes are 5+ years old, the the X-Box was broken and headed to the trash until he fixed it (with $40 worth of parts). So don't be so quick to judge. The reality is my boyfriend has been at his job for almost 2 years, and his hours have been reduced to almost 1/2 of the amount that they were when he got the job. And of course, his car (which is ancient...from the 1980s) gives him trouble, so it's tough to drive all around looking for jobs and going to interviews. He mainly focuses on finding a job locally. After paying child support (something he would not shirk away from) he was often left to decide between gas for his car and food. I implored him to apply for food stamps...which he was approved for. Living hand to mouth causes way to much stress for a 20-something to live with.

    The root of this is keeping poor people poor while the upper-middle class and above continue to maintain or raise their standard of living. My boss has a 25 year-old daughter (so older than my boyfriend) who can't keep a job to save her life. But when she is unemployed, her mother is more than willing to pay for all of her expenses and spending money. Her response, "She has to survive". People (like myself and my boyfriend) are without the luxury of parents who can shoot money our way when things turn awry. Not working is not an option. Between us, we've had every low level job under the sun. But those jobs don't pay enough to live off of. Which is where food stamps and welfare come in.

    And it's not about being lazy, or complacent either. Quite contrary. I'm in graduate school; my boyfriend is working on his undergraduate degree part-time. Also, I disagree with the statement regarding people on food stamps eating filet mignon. The benefit tables for the food stamp program in your state are easy to find. I find the amounts to be very reasonable. For example, one person gets $200 per month; a modest $50 per week. That's $7.14/day...for two meals (I don't know of that many people who eat three...which is why I stated 2). My boyfriend does not eat steak every night of the week. He might buy 2 or 3 steaks for the whole month; outside of that its chicken and ground beef.

    But to turn the question around, why is it that people in the middle-class and above get so angry about welfare, food stamp, and other social services programs? You do realize that it is a drop in the bucket in regards to our Federal Spending, right? Also I see no reason why a household making $50K a year can't afford all of the things that you gripe about most of the people on welfare being able to afford. It's all about what your money (whatever you have) is being channeled towards. While it is an unwise investment decision, you can spend a lot more on a "nice" car when you don't have a mortgage to worry about...for example.

  4. I agree with everything you said about our government's failings, but I disagree about the responsibility of the abusers of the system? Whatever happened to personal integrity and personal accountability? I wrote this before I read Leanne's comment and I agree with her that abusers of the system should make restitution!

  5. Wow... a powerful blog! thanks for sharing.
    I agree with all stated and in fact, recently wrote about this subject too!

  6. The problem is that there are many more people that don't abuse the system that do. However, in my experience (SE Pennsylvania, Philly and surrounding suburbs) The issues that I listed are fairly common. I'm sure there are many who do need the help and do get their benefits cut because of the people that abuse the system. The system needs a complete overhaul. The tweaks obviously aren't working.

    The abusers come in all shapes and sizes (white, black, old, young, male, female, etc.) Again, I don't hate them for doing what they do. The government allows it so more power to them. They should have to repay what they took when caught however. Again, in my experience, they know that they are wrong. The problem isn't with people like Shona and her boyfriend. It's with the jackasses that take the money that her boyfriend could use to fix up his car for interviews, and buy Lexuses with all the extra amenities simply because the can. But then again, the government allows them to, so why wouldn't they?

  7. 1. If I can't afford food I'm selling my Xbox to make ends meet. Plus side?? It cuts down on that light (electric) bill that I have difficulty paying.
    2. If I can't afford to feed myself I would probably be certain I'm sterile, use a condom, or choose to just NOT have sex if it may result in another mouth that I cannot feed.
    3. I could never care if people who need food stamps get them. Just do me a favor pee in this cup to prove you aren't wasting what little money you DO have on drugs, while I'm footing the bill for your celebratory dinner of hot chips and hugs.

    Just sayin.

  8. Thanks for your honest post on the literal state of affairs. I totally agree that the government really has huge part in creating and exacerbating the problem that is happening in America. And it amazes how people game the system, to live off welfare checks, without really needing to. Typically, people associate greed with the rich, but honestly, I see greed with the poor as well.