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Canned food and fork
Those vile $*#@ing wankers over at the Cato Institute have updated an old study claiming that welfare is just so generous that there's no reason for recipients to work. Josh Barro, decided non-liberal, dismantles it in three easy steps:
1. Very few people actually qualify for all eight of the programs Cato looks at. Particularly, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (cash welfare) and housing assistance can provide some very expensive benefits. But fewer than two million households get TANF and only about four million get housing assistance. It is much more typical for a welfare beneficiary to be getting SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid (health insurance), but no assistance with housing or cash. So, the typical welfare benefit is much lower than Cato makes out, making staying on welfare less appealing.

2. Welfare benefits for single adults are much less generous than those for women with children.

3. Not all benefits are lost when a welfare recipient starts working. SNAP benefits phase out gradually with rising income. People who go back to work don't necessarily lose health benefits, either. Some get new health benefits through work. The children of low-income uninsured workers qualify for the Children's Health Insurance Program in most states. In some states, low-income working adults even qualify for Medicaid. So, going back to work doesn't mean nearly the loss of benefits that Cato implies.

Now, even if the report's claims were true and welfare routinely paid better than work, cutting things like food stamps and Medicaid and housing assistance wouldn't be the one and only answer. We could also raise the minimum wage so that a minimum wage didn't involve living in poverty for so many workers. But the evildoers over at Cato aren't so much concerned with that making work pay—or creating jobs so that there weren't three jobseekers for every available job—they're just concerned with shredding the safety net a little more.

Tell the House and the Senate to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos and Hellraisers Journal.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how is it... (18+ / 0-)

    How is it these a-holes always know how much is too much for poor people to have and to earn and yet they will throw a wall-eyed hissy fit if you were to suggest how much is too much for the wealthiest Americans to have and to earn?

    •  Unfortunately, (4+ / 0-)

      the bootlicker mentality is quite common. They are all too willing to have poor people suffer and die so that the malefactors of great wealth can have more and more and more.

      The more people I encounter, the more I appreciate our cats.

      by Old Sailor on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:40:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Our Money (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure I agree with your larger point. But the difference in what you're referring to is that these a-holes are complaining about how much is too much for poor people to make before we stop subsidizing them, not the income itself. They oppose giving public money (that ultimately comes from everyone's private pockets) to people who might want it, but don't need it. People who make too much to deserve public subsidy.

      What's really wrong with these a-holes is that they will never do anything to stop the vastly larger public subsidies to the richest. Whether challenged on the basis that the richest make too much to deserve subsidy, or on any other basis whatsoever.

      It is their job to ensure the richest are the most subsidized possible, and to stop any money that might go to the richest from somehow winding up in anyone else's hands.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 04:14:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How many think-tankers over at CATO (9+ / 0-)

    are on welfare? It seems like a great program that you'd think they'd all be on it.

  •  That's Libertarianism for ya. (5+ / 0-)

    In a nutshell.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:22:08 AM PDT

  •  The CATO Institute is welfare for wackos (7+ / 0-)

    Funded by the Kochs. It's a place for wackos to read Ayn Rand novels and be paid a stipend to talk about them.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:24:44 AM PDT

  •  Shorter description of CATO... (4+ / 0-)

    Evil Fucking Liars.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:27:20 AM PDT

  •  living wage (4+ / 0-)

    I certainly agree that the Cato study is predictably flawed. However, the "welfare beats work" is a common trope that even some otherwise liberals buy. My wife, for example, has relatives who she says don't work and get benefits. I'm not sure of the details, but fighting this stereotype seems to be less productive than using it to bolster the argument for a living wage. (I'm speaking about convincing others here, not about actual truth.)

    Fine, there are some families that do better under welfare than they do working. Doesn't that mean we should make working more rewarding and raise the minimum wage to the minimum standard set by government assistance?

    That seems like an easy argument to make, and forces your opponent in the argument to make the  (much more difficult) case that it's awesome/comfortable/luxurious to live on government assistance. And that is a much harder argument to make.

    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

    by progreen on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:30:26 AM PDT

  •  Even if politically biased, Cato should be honest. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Say what you will about its politics, its reputation rests on being honest. Consider the major arguments, deal with relevant facts, even if troublesome, and reach conclusions that can be applied to a reasonable cut of the universe you are critiquing.

    All that seems like basic fairness and honesty. Then ... come out as you will. And who knows, some people who believe they are fair and objective might be persuaded, at least to learn and think more.

    But this piece of analysis, based on research that doesn't deserve the term "research",, is practically fraudulent. I.e. "So, the typical welfare benefit is much lower than Cato makes out ..."

    That statement - which does seem to be based on facts about welfare programs and recipients - ought to send Cato back to the drawing boards to deal with it, however it chooses, but explicitly, for it is an observation that annihilates Cato's conclusions.

    The "original" Cato stood for wisdom, moral wisdom at that. This current Cato Institute clearly does not.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:34:12 AM PDT

  •  If the U.S. is willing to "t.p." our jobs overseas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, qofdisks

    with the TPP Treaty, then they better raise the minimum wage to $22 to ensure the shit jobs left for us don't Detroit what's left of the middle class.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:34:23 AM PDT

  •  So Cato would like to see serfdom come back: (5+ / 0-)

    when people were paid just enough to keep them producing in the  labor force.  Yes, that is what the Cato is saying.  Produce food anxiety in the crude laborers first.  Then keep all dollars at a minimum so they stay subserviant to the Skrooge payee.  Heaven forbid that a person in need of material help would get anything like a dignified wage or $ to stay safe and sane.  Better to keep them in a perpetual state of needy sub-standard everything.  This kind of cruelty on the part of Cato is why we have so many poor kids, mothers and families.  Shame on you Cato for selling the poor for a pair of shoes as I paraphrase fro the Bible.

  •  Here in NYC (5+ / 0-)

    John Liu, current Comptroller and mayoral candidate, advocates this very strongly:

    He has been leading this campaign in NYC.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

    by mole333 on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:39:39 AM PDT

    •  Too Bad He's Crooked (0+ / 0-)

      It's too bad Liu is crooked, because he's giving minimum wage increases by regional cost of living a bad name. Just as John Edwards gave income inequality pushback a bad name when his sleaze was discovered.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 04:17:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

        Liu is far FAR less crooked than Quinn, Thompson or de Blasio. So you prefer one of them? That is why Democrats keep losing NYC mayor. We can have a relatively good candidate and we go instead for someone far more corrupt like Quinn or de Blasio, leaving us at a loss, quite literally.

        Too bad we can't actually recognize the GOOD candidates and instead keep losing to lousy Repubs. I suspect that is where we are headed yet again.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

        by mole333 on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 05:08:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Crooked (0+ / 0-)

          How is Deblasio crooked?

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 04:24:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            His campaign has exactly the same kind of fundraising scandals as Liu in the exact same campaign, it was just involving more people and more money. Neither Liu nor de Blasio have ever been personally implicated but both campaigns were forced to return money.

            de Basio's campaign fined $10,000 for improper mingling of funds from his 2009 campaign and his current camapaign:


            de Blasio's major bunding fundraising by developers:


            de Blasio's major scandal in the same election having to do with illegal handling of funds by WFP and several of their supported campaigns (Liu refused to participate because it didn't look kosher to him...and it wasn't):


            I do not get why de Blasio gets a pass from the same people who come down hard on Liu. Bottom line is BOTH campaigns did some wrong doing, did some bundling, and got fines. NEITHER candidate has personally been accused of wrongdoing. The scandals (plural) surrounding de Blasio involved more money and more people. But no one seems to care about that but they blame Liu for a single scandal involving less money and fewer people. I get people who won't support either because of the scandals (though Quinn and Thompson ALSO have scandals), but I do not get such a clear double standard.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

            by mole333 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:44:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Distorted reasoning. What does inequality and (0+ / 0-)

        economic justice to do with infidelity?  I wish to dear God that Edwards was our president at this moment.  I could care less if he had a different woman in his bed.  I could care less if he had any sexual habit within the law if he could actually make headway towards the ideals of economic justice.
        Get a grip.

        •  Distorted Reasoning (0+ / 0-)

          I personally don't think that "Two Americas" has any less validity than it did before Edwards was caught being a liar and a cheater on his wife etc. But in public communications, a discredited messenger discredits the message, even if the messenger was discredited on other grounds.

          It's a simple issue of trust. It's why Lance Armstrong's sponsors want money back from him now, even though they sold lots of product for a decade before Armstrong was caught. His present association with them, even after his terminated contracts end any new promotion by him, is damaging. Even though doping has nothing to do with the products he's identified with.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 04:28:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There is a labor crisis BEYOND the wage rate. (6+ / 0-)

    And that is the crisis of endemic part-time employment. You can't work 40 hours a week when the only two part-time 20-hr jobs you can find conflict with one another.  Many part-time employers refuse to inform workers of their upcoming schedule more than a week in advance, making it nearly impossible for workers to coordinate with their other employers to round out the work week to a full 40 or more hours.

    One solution would be a new law that requires employers to have a set schedule for part-time workers, and to pay them overtime for working outside of those hours with less than one month's notice.  This law would provide the added benefit of creating an incentive to hire more full-time workers by giving the employer more flexibility in scheduling without having to worry about overtime pay.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:49:14 AM PDT

  •  The entire "study" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, Ahianne, qofdisks, caliblue

    is here:

    Another way they inflate these benefits is to count the value of Medicaid benefits by dividing total expenditures by the number of people receiving them, and lump it in with cash assistance, as if it represented money that could be spent. They do the same with housing assistance.

    Libertarians are nitwits.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:54:43 AM PDT

  •  And of course the obvious comment/question is: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, caliblue

    And how many raises and "cost-of-living" increases have members of Congress received in the last couple decades?

  •  I was screaming at my monitor yesterday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, caliblue

    upon seeing the MSM with a headline about this report -  taking it at their word. Not one word of rebuttal in the article either. And not enough facts for you to see they were adding 8 programs together that serve different populations.
    Knowing something about these program, I knew it to be bogus. But how many readers see it as fact when it is reported as such.


    "Eating your seed corn is not a good business model." - FishOutofWater

    by saluda on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:02:32 PM PDT

  •  Whacko legislatures, like mine, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, qofdisks, caliblue

    will unfortunately see this and decide that benefits are too high, rather than wages too low.

    And then they'll cut benefits and refuse to consider raising the minimum wage because, free markets, freedom and stuff.

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:22:55 PM PDT

  •  military welfare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    More than likely 'welfare' payments are better investment than many other parts of the dole, like employing unskilled high school graduates in the military or making foreign aid payments that are simply going to be used to buy domestically made military equipment. Both of these lead to long and short term problems.  In the former, the taxpayer is liable for pension and healthcare, sometimes until the person dies, or if married even beyond.  In the later it leads to propping up despot simply to make sure the executives of these military firms continues to live in the upper 1%.

    Unlike the military welfare plane, civilian welfare recipients do not tend to take a lifetime of benefits.  I have seen numbers that say less than half will receive benefits for more than a few years. And these payments provide direct tangible
    benefits to all communities, not just those who choose to base thier economies on the federal subsidies provided by the military.  Welfare allows children to go to school, grocery stores to remain open, and keep young people off the street where their only option would be to steal and maybe murder.

    At it's basis this is the conflict between supply side economics and the free market driven by a consumer unencumbered by federal interference.  With welfare the consumer gets money, and the free market competes for these dollars.  The government gives away money not because we are generous, but because we  want a stable economy.  In the former, the government chooses winner and losers, and the consumer, taxpayer, and voter has no choice over where the money is spent.  

    This of course is a scary situation for people who don't believe in freedom and democracy.  This is why Ronald Reagan coined the term 'welfare queen' and why Mitt Romney was so defensive about the 47%.  A consumer driven free market is the last thing that any of them want.  Which is why Reagan and most conservatives will push the idea of the military as the savior of the economy, rather than making the rational fiscal decision, which is just to give away money to the people who need it.

  •  Not to mention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most of those other programs have waiting lists that are at least months if not years long.  I think in LA the assisted housing wait list is 2 years.  How many people can survive that long without going homeless?

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:46:07 PM PDT

  •  Members of my family often complain about the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, caliblue

    layabouts they see who are getting SSI payments without any visible handicaps.  The same recipients get Medicaid and food assistance as well.  Many of these recipients have mental illnesses which are not visible until behavior problems emerge.  I always ask my relatives if they would hire any of these troubled or unskilled people in their businesses, and they always answer no, but they expect others to hire them.  I always explain that because we know the poor will always be with us, we must provide for them.  Sometimes this means accepting that some people will never be able to keep steady jobs, and often it's just worth it to provide for them to keep them out of the way for their own good and for the good of the business.  

    (Here I keep thinking about a developmentally delayed student I had who had a few jobs but lost each one because he set fires and on one occasion told the manager's wife that the manager was in the supply room kissing one of the employees.  But I guess those Cato geniuses would insist that there is a job somewhere for him.)

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:11:18 PM PDT

  •  Being a Mom Pays Better Than Work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So if we take the Cato Institute's cherrypick at face value, then welfare pays a single mom more to raise her kids than to go out and work for minimum wage.

    I'd rather see moms work raising their kids than not raise them while working some minimum wage job.

    So it's good that moms get paid more by welfare than by a minimum wage job.

    If we're going to raise the minimum wage (and we should - it should always be greater than the poverty line) we should raise the welfare moms get. And make it easy: while they're recovering for delivery, they should be offered a form in which they opt for welfare.

    Unless you're ideologically/psychopathically opposed to moms raising their children. Which I expect the Cato Institute's members, corporate sponsors and subscribing officials are. I'm not.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 04:10:54 PM PDT

  •  First post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is my first post here. An ex of mine posted a link on fb to an article about the Cato Institute study the other day. Her politics took a sharp turn several years back, giving up her former more "adventurous" ways and slanting hard toward her father's monumentally misinformed, right wing nonsense. So predictably she posted this with an air of disdain. My reply to her is recapitulated here:
    A typical, incompetent, Cato Institue hack job, with data taken out of context and repeated in a fashion that purposely misrepresents the truth. How typical that no one appears to notice that the study compares the pay of a single entry level teacher to a mother of two on Welfare, which conveniently adds in the benefits her children get as part of WIC and SNAP. How convenient too that they do NOT add in the benefits the teacher would get if she had children. How convenient it also fails to take into account the real reason for the disparity: not the high rate of Welfare benefits, but the abysmally low rate of pay of teachers in this country, one of the lowest relative to GDP in the industrialized world, a move that is taking place because of ill-conceived budget cutting at the hands of small gov't mantra bleating right wing zombie-sheep.
    But regardless of all that, and one's political persuasion, again, the data used in this study is flat out FALSE, and anyone who takes it seriously needs to either check their facts, or their dogma.
    But even the Cato Institute can't write this report with a straight face and make the claims that the idiotic article referenced and linked above implies. Reading it, and the comments to it on their site, one wonders if any of those pablum-feeders sucking at the teat of Conservative dogma rags for their informational sustenance bothered to try to find the ACTUAL study in question, read it, and attempt to UNDERSTAND it, before regurgitating this sour milky nonsense whole.
    Had they done so, they might have run across this little gem:
    "Contrary to stereotypes, there is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy or do not wish to work." That alone discounts the vast majority of the misinformed, knee-jerk replies the article received. If they had managed to dig a little deeper, they might have stumbled upon some of the statements that invalidated most of their other fevered conclusions, as well as invalidating the entire study itself.
    For instance, in what passes for a methods section (which the paper does not have, but which it WOULD have if it had been an actual academic study, in an actual peer reviewed journal, worthy of being taken seriously) they state quite clearly that "… the federal government currently funds 126 separate programs targeted toward low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals."
    It then, in SPITE of making clear that "Of course, no individual or family receives benefits from all 72 programs, but many recipients do receive aid from a number of the programs at any given time," nevertheless proceeds to make their calculations and comparisons between the pay of people making minimum wage or the aforementioned entry-level teacher and an ADMITTEDLY mythical person who somehow manages to qualify for ALL 72 PROGRAMS, even though it is highly doubtful such a person actually exists.
    So, to summarize, they are comparing a person making entry level teacher salary to a person who does not exist, if that person were to receive all possible benefits, in spite of the fact that they themselves admit that no real person actually qualifies for all these benefits.
    So, other words, this "study" is utter nonsense.
    The difference between what I wrote and what the linked author wrote, is that my statements are verifiably true, and beyond that, I bother to at least provide a citation to the paper under discussion. That no one appears to find the lack of such a citation troubling says a lot about the quality of the readers.. and the relative value of their comments.

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