Few Americans ever really work through the numbers but the fact is if you can get enough from the Government in disability, unemployment, or some other kind of welfare why even jeopardize that income by thinking about taking a job. For all the moaning about how it is not enough and those living on the dole are forced into a life of poverty, in fact, those that suffer greatly often do so because of poor spending choices rather than the amount they receive. Long ago I was told, "it is not how much you make, it is how much and how you spend it". It is very difficult to help a friend or relative in financial trouble if they suffer from bad spending habits and continually make bad choices.
Another factor many people overlook is that society has layered government support program upon government support program. This means if you qualify for one program additional assistance may most likely be available. In this way, people receiving help or aid often double or triple dip, a plethora of "additional help" options exist and are often linked together. These range from food stamps, free phones plus internet, help paying for utilities, Medicaid and medical assistance, Pell Grants, programs to pay for school books, free school and summer lunch programs plus much more. Because of this, it is not uncommon for someone on aid that has spent all the money they receive to approach a nonprofit or quasi-government agency and ask for additional "special assistance" or help until they get back on their feet.
People have told me how the government sends them amounts ranging
from $800 to $1,800 per month. if the average is say 1,400 per month
that equals $16,800 a year. It should be noted they incur no work-related costs such as transportation to and from work or other costs like
special clothing or child care. We must remember that many jobs pay just over minimum wage with few or
no benefits, this means someone working a 40 hour work week 50 weeks a
year or 2000 hours at $9.00 earns $18,000 a year. While it is true by circumstance that some people have no choice but to seek government help it is clear to see that the income from not working may be very close to that of a person that toils each day to earn a living. This trend is one of the reasons I have become so negative on the economy and society.
It is important to note the cost of living varies a great deal in
different parts of the nation. While it may be very difficult to live on
$20,000 a year in certain cities, in other areas the money buys more and goes a great deal farther. If you have little or no money where you
live should be less of an option, meaning the smart move would be to choose a location other than New York or Beverly Hills in which to live. Much of this is about spending choices. If living on food stamps and were allowed only a dollar per meal you could buy a candy bar that would leave you hungry or an inexpensive bag of rice that would last for many meals. All these numbers should be adjusted as to whether someone lives alone or in a large household that spreads out and shares cost which can be a big benefit, again this is a case and matter of "choice".
Much of the information that I based this post on came from my
observing how the demographics of average Americans such as the tenants living in my apartment
complex has changed over the years. For example, I spoke with one woman who lost her job because she fell asleep at work, she soon went on disability.
After buying a new car, even though her credit was not stellar, she then proceeded to replace her living room furniture, this was all recently. Her demise came when the government began to garnishee her checks
for unpaid student loans, at that time she ran to social services for
"emergency special assistance", and it was granted in the form of paying
her rent for two months, but in the end, she had to surrender her apartment and move in with her sister. Another person getting a check from Uncle Sam uses the terminology of "I will be getting paid" next Tuesday as if the check was coming from an employer. She then talks about how she is too busy to look for a job. This is the sorry state that we have fallen into as a nation.
Bottom-line the percentage of the population on some type of assistance
from the government has grown to where it is unsustainable. While some people claim that it is a case that the minimum wage jobs simply pay to little, in reality, the problem is that the government is far too generous spending money that it does not have. We should think of the wages small business can afford to pay as the real benchmark of what kind of income and lifestyle a person can aspire to. America must rethink the meaning of the word "deserve", we must lower the bar as to what people on the dole should expect, living in air-conditioned comfort with a flat-screen television and a wireless phone is beyond reason. Those who actually work should enjoy a higher standard of living than those who can't work or choose to live on the government tit.
Footnote; The large government deficit spending has driven much of this, the post below goes into the ugly numbers behind the curtain. Other related articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading and comments are encouraged,