Holes in the social safety net: Keeping the poor in their place

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posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 02:53 PM
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I am all for the social safety net that prevents the poorest and most diabled citizens from starvation and homelessness. But what do you do when the safety net keeps you down?

The following excerpt is from "Ending Poverty in America; How to restore the American Dream" ed. Sen. John Edwards, Marion Crane and Arne Kalleberg. New York: The New Press, 2007:


Not only is labor discouraged, but so is saving. Grace Capetillo, a young welfare mother in Milwaukee, was charged with welfare fraud because of her attempts to save money. Capetillo, whose story appeared in "The Wall Street Journal"in the early 1990's, scrimped to save enough money to buy a washing machine and perhaps someday send her five-year-old to college. She managed to build a savings account of more than $3,000. But then the county Social Service Department took her to court, filing charges of fraud. The court fined her $15,000.00. Obviously, Capetillo did not have $15,000 so the judge took her $3,000 savings and sentenced her to probation if she promised not to save. This is what many low-income families face in our welfare system. The message to Capetillo, and all those like her, was clear. Spend every cent you get, save nothing, and rely on government subsidies to pay for nearly everything while government bureaucrats control most, if not all, of your decisions.


It's true in our county that in order to qualify for government benefits you cannot have more than $3,000 in assets. If you go over that limit you lose all your benefits. Obviously, your $3,000 is not going to go very far without any other income so you'll be back on social services in no time. The system is designed to give you a hand up only if you stay among the poorest of the poor. The minute you struggle up a little you are penalized.

Again, I'm all for a social safety net. But there must be a way to help people that doesn't keep them down.


[edit on 8-7-2008 by Sestias]




posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 02:59 PM
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or maybe they got sick of her NOT working and using other peoples HARD EARNED money for stashing and paying for her kids to go to school. bottom line, get off your @$% and get a job. I understand you may need welfare to get through a tough time, BUT if your just stay on it for the easy route you should have it taken away. I work 50-60 hours a week...she can do the same! And tell her kids to study and fill out financial aid forms like I did to go to college....if mom is having that toughof a time then the kids WILL get good financial aid and a chance at a better life...

so this whole "she's a victim" thing is kinda sad...shes no victim..she's just either lazy or tried to abuse the system and thankfully got caught!!



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 03:55 PM
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I agree with rcwj75, I think the welfare system is ok for diabled or senor citizens to be on it all the time. But a young women who has 5 kids should get a job and then if she needs some assistance for awhile, ok. But If you are capable of working and just dont because you know you will get a check from the government then the government has the right to tell you that you cant save money. Depending on age and health you should only be able to get assistance for a limited amount of time.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 03:58 PM
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reply to post by rcwj75
 


Funny. I don't see anywhere in the quoted text that says she wasn't working.

Could you pass those magic glasses of yours?



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 04:02 PM
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Social safety net= Unconstitutional income redistribution.

Get rid of all of it.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by TheWalkingFox
Funny. I don't see anywhere in the quoted text that says she wasn't working.

Could you pass those magic glasses of yours?


Well IF she would have had a job the savings account wouldn't have been an issue. She would of been recieving a partial welfare or assistance check with NO limit on savings. So the article DID tell me she wasn't working. The fact that she was charged with fraud IS the "magic glasses". Now I won't assume you know about the welfare/assistance system so I won't go there...but fox, working in law enforcement I see this ALL THE TIME! They get the checks and stash the cash...they REFUSE...thats right REFUSE to work because they are given money. Bottom line is since her assests were revoked by the court..THAT = NO JOB!



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by isa75 But a young women who has 5 kids should get a job and then if she needs some assistance for awhile, ok. But If you are capable of working and just dont because you know you will get a check from the government then the government has the right to tell you that you cant save money. Depending on age and health you should only be able to get assistance for a limited amount of time.


Welfare is always for only a limited period of time--I believe it's five years. I agree that someone who's working and trying hard to make it should be able to get some assistance for awhile, but social services are almost always contingent on the recipient not working, or working but making far below the minimum wage. In the last case your assistance is reduced by the amount you make.

Here's another quote from the same book:


Not only are small businesses discouraged in urban areas, but urban residents are disheartened by government disincentives inherent in the current system. When people on welfare and unemployment take entry-level jobs to try to improve their lives, they lose their welfare benefits along with paying payroll and income taxes, thus decreasing their after-tax income. The startling fact in America today is that the highest marginal tax rates are being paid not by the rich, but by welfare mothers or unemployed fathers who take an entry-level job. According to a study done by Kathryn Edin and Christopher Jencks, a mother with two children who is employed at about $5 an hour would take home about 45 cents an hour less than if she were on welfare. She loses $4 a day after taking into account the loss of government benefits, taxes and such work-related expenses as transportation and child care.


Before someone else brings it up, I'd like to add that government benefits are not adequate to live on in the first place. IMO it's not that government benefits are too high, but that entry-level wages are too low. There should be a way for the head of a household who is working at minimum wage to receive some assistance for themselves and their families, even if it was only some food stamps. If there was a way to work and still be able to get ahead a little bit there would be much more incentive to work. What's demoralizing and breeds hopelessness is not being able to get ahead no matter what you do.

[edit on 8-7-2008 by Sestias]



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by isa75
But If you are capable of working and just dont because you know you will get a check from the government then the government has the right to tell you that you cant save money.


isa75, I meant to respond to this part of your post as well but I see I didn't.

My question is why wouldn't the government want people on assistance to save money? I thought the "American dream" was supposed to be realized through hard work and thrift, in other words, saving. Didn't Ben Franklin say "A penny saved is a penny earned"?

IMO it's amazing that people on assistance can manage to save anything. Why penalize them if they do?



[edit on 11-7-2008 by Sestias]



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias

IMO it's amazing that people on assistance can manage to save anything. Why penalize them if they do?


IMO, she was doing something that she shouldnt have been doing if she was on assistance and able to save money. whither she was not providing for her kids like she should have been or selling drugs. i dont know but something is amiss with the story.



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by DaleGribble
 


I think the reasoning is this: if you have more than $3,000 in assets then you don't need to be on assistance at all. I think you can have one car, but it must not be worth much. In order to get assistance you must be irresponsible with the little money you get, and not acquire any assets. In other words, you must stay down and not try to help yourself in little ways.



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 04:02 PM
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She was able to live on less than what she was being given. Remember folks, we fund the welfare programs with our backs. I bust my hump to provide for my family, and welfare recipients also benefit from my hard work. Now, I don't mind helping someone out, if a friend in need asks for $100, and I've got it, I'll give it to him. However, if he needs $100, I don't give him $150. I worked hard for it, so why would I give someone else more than they need.

If she was able to save $3k, she certainly didn't need all of the financial assistance she was receiving from the hard working citizens of this country. She was taking advantage of us all, and rightfully deserved to be punished.

I feel this woman should be rendered ineligible for government assistance, in any way, shape or form, permanently. Cases like this, sometimes make me reevaluate my stance on the concept of population control....



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 04:12 PM
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When you sign up for public assistance you also sign your life away,when you enter programs you give the state the 1st crack at all your assets when you die,so I suppose if you have nothing and don't ever plan on having anything sign on dotted line



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by Unit541

If she was able to save $3k, she certainly didn't need all of the financial assistance she was receiving from the hard working citizens of this country. She was taking advantage of us all, and rightfully deserved to be punished.


I believe that is the government's position. We evidently don't believe in allowing the poor to save their pennies or help themselves in any way. They're supposed to stay down for the rest of their lives or risk losing everything.



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias

I believe that is the government's position. We evidently don't believe in allowing the poor to save their pennies or help themselves in any way. They're supposed to stay down for the rest of their lives or risk losing everything.


It was never her pennies to save in the first place.

The woman signed up for welfare cause she wasnt making enough
to live on. apparently , she was receiving too much
cause she was able to save it.

she should have given the extra money back instead.

if her kid wants to go to college, he/she can get a scholarship,loan or work
their way thru, lots of poor people have done it this way.


and saving $3000 to buy a "washing machine". No, I dont believe it,you
could buy a used washer for $50 bucks, and free
if you really spend time to look around at all the charity groups.
Its obvious what she was doing.

[edit on 11-7-2008 by josephine]



posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by josephine
 

I'm amazed that so many people think saving money is a crime. Or rather, it's a crime if you're poor. Middle class and rich people are praised for their thrift. One set of rules for the rich, another for the poor.



posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 05:56 PM
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Maybe Ms. Capetillo, the woman cited in my opening post, saved $50 a month for 5 years to get $3,000. That's not such a large amount. Should she have spent the $50 on beer and cigarettes? Apparently, yes she should have. Then she wouldn't have gotten into trouble with the government.

What do you do, in a capitalist society, to help the poor?

It's all well and good to help them get minimum wage jobs, though I've quoted a passage which confirms that people often end up making less than welfare after taxes and gas, child care, etc.

The foundations of citizenship in a capitalist society are assets, like savings, property, pensions, home ownership, etc. People who have assets have an investment in their own future. They also have a stake in their own destinies and some control over their lives. If you help the poor to begin to build assets, then you are assisting them to not just survive but to eventually move into the middle class. One way to begin building assets is through savings. I'd go so far as to suggest matching funds for those who save (up to a reasonable amount, of course).

It's easy to beat up on the poor and call them lazy, etc. Show them a real possibility of improving their lives and many will respond.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:16 AM
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Again it NOT, NOT, NOT her money to save. We..the american taxpayer and WORKERS were paying her the money. We do not expect her to collect enough to save when WE as the workers can't save either. We work to ASSIST those down on their luck...and we DEMAND that they also do their part by activily looking for work and getting a job.

If you think this is wrong then how about I email you my address and you mail me a $50 check every month for the next five years so I can save up some cash for future use. That way I won't have to work so much overtime and can watch more tv more..




[edit on 7/14/2008 by rcwj75]



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 08:08 AM
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reply to post by rcwj75
 


I absolutely agree. The program is a 'safety net' intended to pay for the bare necessities until you can find some other means of meeting those needs and nothing more. It is not intended as a personal savings program and the fact that this person could save some of it is evidence that the payments being made were too high.

That said, I do not agree with taking the money already saved. They should only readjust the payment. Then again, she's been on it for five years at the very least, so I'm also not entirely sympathetic to her cause, either.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 08:32 AM
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What gets me is how they dragged her butt to court over this. The government has loss a lots more money than that with defense and other government contractors and you don't see the government going after their savings. The government has allowed her to stay on welfare so they shouldn't be complaining about her saving a measly 3,000. Go after those billions that were thrown away in Iraq.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:11 PM
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reply to post by rcwj75
 


As I said, she should have spent the money on beer and cigarettes. Act like a person on welfare is "supposed" to act. Then nobody would have a problem.





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