The Republican Party specializes in blaming the Poor and in being punitive against people on social programs.  They are Lazy they will say.

I worked at the N.M. Human Services Department and we did a thing called the “Snapshot Study” so we could better understand who our clients were. The Republican Gov. Gary Johnson crew (Heather Wilson—later U.S. representative , ran for U.S. Senate, girlfriend of married Senator Domenici, etc.) always wanted to know why we had so many people on welfare after the federal 1996 Welfare Reform (Clinton had said the Bill “ended welfare as we know it,” i.e., it was just suppose to be a “safety net”).  We were going down in state numbers but there was a core of individuals you would never get off the rolls—not because of fraud or being lazy but because they are “trapped.”  So the study showed that up to 25% were like Vietnam Veterans with severe mental health issues preventing them from working. These were guys that society had failed to bring back into the mainstream with PTSD treatment. Yeah, everyone has a bumper sticker: “Support the Troops” and waves the flag; but for spending a quarter on treatment they will make the eagle shit first. Then another 50% were teenage girls that had dropped out of school because they got pregnant. We use to say the cheerleader and the high school quarterback. He gets a out-of-state scholarship and abandons the new family. They have no way of going anywhere but down. Parents might throw them out. So she with her low self-esteem finds another father figure boyfriend and boom another kid. He takes off and the pattern repeats another 2-3 times. Welfare requires her to work but there is no job that can pay enough to live on and the child care for 2-5 kids. So we had the brilliant idea of paying her to go to school and run a licensed child care center. Just take on 1-3 other families kids. In rural areas it would be essential to achieve full employment. The only problem was you also had to teach them about hygiene and dress for success. They kept showing up to interviews dressed like a hooker. So now we have 75% of the welfare clients in the hard to serve category. They can only be helped on a case-by-case basis with expansion of new community programs—very expensive. So our society (or our politicians) tries to do all this on the cheap and one-size-fits-all basis and it FAILS.  Our current HSD secretary Sidoni Squier is an idiot!

As far as fraud, I have direct experience on this too. I don’t use a knee jerk reaction from the myths that are on the street. Sure there is fraud because it is human nature but very little. We have all been hypnotized by the notion of the “Cadillac Welfare Queen” (it has appeared in movies so has become a part of the popular culture). This was speechwriter Peggy Noonan’s phrase in Ronald Reagan’s speech. Reporters thought this would be an interesting story to run and help the Administration to achieve welfare reform so they asked to know who this person was. Noonan avoided questions on it as they searched to find a person. After weeks she did a press conference admitting it was a mythical person and “there must be someone somewhere.” Yet, Noonan remains a stable of the Sunday talk shows. BACK TO REALITY. We had a guy Brett Woods at NMHSD who instituted a special computer audit program of the Electronic Benefits Transfer program (the EBT card). You could find patterns of abuse by seeing what is purchased since the bar code is recorded and the location. There were locations in the barrios that were notorious in selling liquor or in exchanging products for cash. It was easy to go undercover build a case and send them to federal prison. People were trying to game the system and did things they traditionally did (cases at Trading Posts on the Navajo Nation Reservation of trading sheep or wood for liquor led to impoundment of sheep and wood. At one point TV ads declared that fraud was zero and if you try it, you will be caught. The Governor was behind the ads because it made him look good and was a deterrent. “On the street people” knew you couldn’t cheat the system.  Don’t have statistics on it just working knowledge.

You can’t cut sex education, health education, birth control, and then not have abortion as a last resort. The Health Department has a poster of pregnant girls’ top ten comments: I didn’t think I could get PG standing up, I didn’t think I could get PG my first time, my boyfriend said just wash it out, I wanted to have a baby so I would have somebody to love, I wanted to have a baby so someone would love me, I wanted to have a baby so my boyfriend/parents would love me, I wanted to have a baby to get back at my boyfriend/parents, etc.   Abstinence programs are very ineffective.  Religious nuts want all these babies for converts and set up this programs for self-glorification.   Someone please find a better way!

Welfare enrollment is low and it is the cheapest entitlement program of the Federal Government (states and local also participate). Very little fraud. People with children need a safety net or they will have no choice but to get a weapon and start robbing (ala’ French Revolution).  Welfare is the insurance for rich people to retain their wealth and avoid general revolution and violence against the rich.

There is so much corporate welfare that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas. The Farm Bill has approx. ten times the giveaways all of welfare has. Ask Joni Ernst who got almost $500,0000 worth. Not to mention military waste. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Taxes are the price of a civilized society.”

Now for Corporate Welfare that does exist.  This is also the theme of Naomi Klein’s book on Disaster Capitalism titled: The Shock Doctrine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shock_Doctrine). People have found out that you can make more money (and do it faster) by having a great marketing plan asking for investors, spending their money, then walking away and declaring bankruptcy—then by being an “honest” businessman. No that requires TOO MUCH WORK!

At 35% the U.S. Corporate Tax Rate is the highest in the world but the average paid or effective rate is 11.1% (and actually some rates are only 15%). In 2006, the top 100 U.S. Companies paid an average rate of -2% (that is a minus). Not to mention that trillions of cash assets were sent overseas as well as jobs and product orders. The wool is being pulled over our eyes. FDR had a 90% income tax rate over $3 million in income. Reagan reduced the 70% rate to 38% and promptly established A $3 trillion dollar debt that you still pay interest on today. What did we get for this investment? Wage rates down, 27 million over $18 an hour jobs sent overseas, loss of Savings and Loans, pensions, etc. Here we are arguing about something Rush said, a billionaire by now who has no incentive to tell the truth and is he even capable after taking the 30,000 Oxycontin he bought? Why are we arguing over someone caught for cashing a $410 EBT payment for some booze—this ain’t going to balance the budget……

TR’s Square Deal, FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Fair Deal. It would mean a Great Deal to all of us…..

Remember that Reagan’s Welfare Queen written by Peggy Noonan never really existed, and in the press conference, she famously said there must be one somewhere….‪http://www.alternet.org/…/the_shame_of_blaming_the_victims.  The account in Peggy Noonan’s and Reagan’s wikipedia posting has been scrubbed (or else I would post it).

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