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People Trapped In (and by) The System

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
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People Trapped in (and by) the System


In my last article on poverty and welfare, I cited a staggering statistic, and it bears repeating here ... and in every article I ever get a chance to bring it up: 91 percent of welfare benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, and working households. And that number I quoted earlier in this article? The 19 percent who get off of AFDC in less than seven months? Well, it turns out that pretty much the same amount stay on it for more than five years. There's a reason, and it's a pretty common one.

Free hookers.

Well, no, not really. Getting out of poverty requires massive sacrifices. This is the part that seems to be the hardest for others to understand, because the easy answer is "Well, no shit, I sacrifice hobbies, sleep, and even time with my family for my career. If I can do it, you can do it, too, Poor Person!" But urging someone to sacrifice is making a huge, unspoken assumption: that they have something to sacrifice in the first place. If they're unemployed, they're in a Catch-22 where they need a car and a working phone to get a job, but they need a job to afford a car and a working phone (and yes, if you are lacking both of those things, your application is almost certainly going in the trash -- they won't hire somebody they can't call in for work on short notice).

And if they are employed, it's actually worse. This is why that stat about how most of the poor have jobs is so important -- it's one thing to ask somebody to sacrifice sleep and bong time in order to get a job, but it's another to ask them to sacrifice their paying job in favor of college classes or an internship that won't pay anything. At that level, the current employer doesn't give two shits what else you're trying to fit into your schedule. Throw kids into the mix, and it gets more complicated still. You can't get ahead because all of your time, money, and energy are being poured into just maintaining the life you're currently living.

That's how they get stuck in perpetual welfare. They're using 100 percent of their time, money, and efforts to maintain this level of basic life -- including the government assistance. Without some kind of outside intervention, they just never break free. This isn't theory -- I've seen it happen. I grew up with it. And it's terrifying to see that machine in action. After continually fighting it for so long, people just give up and resign themselves to that life.
Posted by Anonymous on May. 17, 2015 at 5:06 PM
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