The Republican Party specializes in blaming the Poor and in being punitive against people on social programs.  They are “Lazy” they will say and “unworthy” of any investment in them (e.g., education?).

I worked at the New Mexico Human Services Department and we did a thing called the “Snapshot Study” so we could better understand—just who our clients were.  The Republican Gov. Gary Johnson crew (Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Heather Wilson—later U.S. Representative, ran for U.S. Senate, and girlfriend of married Senator Pete Domenici, etc.), always wanted to know why we had so many people on welfare after the federal 1996 Welfare Reform (where President Clinton had said the Bill “ended welfare as we know it,” i.e., it was just supposed to be a “safety net”).

We were going down in overall state totals 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 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 suitable PTSD treatment.  Yeah, everyone has a bumper sticker: “Support the Troops” and waves the flag; but for spending a quarter (25 cents) 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 beautiful cheerleader and the star high school quarterback.  He gets an out-of-state scholarship and abandons the “new family.”  They have no way of going anywhere but down.  Parents and Grandparents might throw them out for the immorality and to teach them the school of hard knocks.  So she with her already very 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 cost of 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.  We would teach them the standards and test them and then they could just take on 1-3 other families’ kids (charge them a fee or accept our subsidized payments for them).  Boom; they had a business.  In rural areas, this model would be essential to achieve the full employment the State desired.

The only problem was you also had to teach them about hygiene and dress for success.  They kept showing up to job interviews dressed like a hooker, with unbrushed teeth or with smelly armpits.  So now we have 75% of the welfare clients in the “hard-to-serve” category.  Because they wasted their high school time making goo-goo eyes at that football player—they missed a lot of class and needed to be tutored.  They can only be helped on a case-by-case basis with expansion of new community programs in each town—very, very, very expensive.  So our society (or our politicians) tries to do all this on the very cheap and one-size-fits-all basis and it FAILS miserably.  Our New Mexico Human Services Department (NMHSD) Secretary, from out of state, Sidoni Squier is an idiot (as of 4-11-2016); her employees use to say she would spend a dollar to save a dime. She cut the Community Programs.

As far as welfare 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 really very little.  We have all been hypnotized by the notion of the “Cadillac Welfare Queen” (it has appeared in countless movies, and so it 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 the administration searched to find a person.  After weeks of dodging questions, 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 (another GOPer of no integrity).

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 and time.  There were locations in the valley barrios that were notorious in selling liquor or in exchanging products for cash (at night or on weekends—which tipped off Brett and his sleuths).  It was easy to go undercover build a case and send them to federal prison.  People were trying to game the new system and did things they traditionally did (the fraud cases at Trading Posts on the Navajo Nation Reservation were for trading sheep or wood for liquor, and led to Brett creating impoundment yards for 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 electronic system.   I don’t have statistics on it, just a 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/grandparents would love me, I wanted to have a baby to get back at my boyfriend/parents, etc.   Taken individually the answers are illogical and all together it is an insanity of low self esteem.  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 (a-la’ French Revolution).  Welfare is the insurance for rich people to retain their wealth and avoid general revolution and violence against the rich.

A statistic from the 2004 campaign said that Welfare is $54 billion dollars, and Corporate Welfare $1,100 billion dollars.

There is so much corporate welfare that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas and holding profits in off-shore accounts to the tune of some $3 trillion dollars.  The Farm Bill has approximately ten times the giveaways all of welfare has.  Ask Representative Joni Ernst who got almost $500,0000 worth and Senator Michele Bachman—whose family has accepted millions in agricultural subsidies.  Not to mention military waste.  Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said: “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.  Honesty?, no, that requires TOO MUCH WORK!

At 35% the U.S. Corporate Tax Rate is one of 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 are down, 27 million jobs over $18 an hour jobs were sent overseas (replaced by 23 million jobs paying $13 an hour or less without benefits, like in the fast food industry), loss of Savings and Loans, pensions, houses, etc.  Here we are arguing about something Rush Limbaugh said about welfare cheats, he who is a billionaire by now, and who has no incentive to tell the truth and is he even capable after taking the 30,000 Oxycontin he bought in a foreign country?  Why are we arguing over someone caught for cashing a $410 EBT payment for some booze—this ain’t going to balance the budget……

Return to 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, just a MYTH, 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 here—damn GOP at work with the Russians).

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