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Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 12:32 PM   #1
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Welfare cheaters

On other threads, I have been reading that wiley welfare cheaters have driven up medical costs. The premise is that they are getting for free what hardworking Americans can barely afford. They drive cadillacs, they get free Viagra, they are living like rock stars while the rest of us have to work and pay taxes to support them.

Since I actually know a welfare cheater, I thought it would be instructive to take a look at her character and decide if we should support a policy of cutting off all financial and medical support to her.

My cheater is related to me by marriage. Her family consisted of alcoholics, drug addicts and petty thieves. Her parents also divorced, if that could have any additional effect. My cheater dropped out of middle school. She is either high functioning mentally retarded or very dull normal IQ. Also, she is mentally ill. She can function fairly normally on medication, but when she is not on state provided medical insurance she goes unmedicated.

Currently, my welfare cheater has three kids and a bun in the oven. State services alternately take her kids away and bring them back to her, but every one agrees she is not a good mother. All of her kids show signs of extreme neglect. The youngest ones are poorly socialized and are months behind normal patterns of language acquisition.

OK, here's the cheating part: My cheater does not want to work. She is supposed to work, and even though I would not want her nose dripping into my taco, she actually could do minimum wage jobs. But my cheater wants to spend her days in bed and nights watching TV. That's all she does. She cheats welfare by pretending to look for work while her kids are in state-provided daycare. She receives subsidies for her rent, food stamps and medical care for her (because she is pregnant) and for her kids.

Life for the kids is already damn grim, but at least they get out of the house during the day. A state-provided nurse has recently started coming over once a week to give my welfare mom some coaching on child rearing. Hopefully it will help her to cope with having three kids under three years of age (the fourth kid is 5.)

Now, how shall we punish this welfare cheater? Taking away her subsidies, food stamps and medical care is a no-brainer. This would force her to work, right? It would be awfully hard on those children, but she shouldn't have had them in the first place, and at any rate it is not our responsibility. Why should we have to subsidise her carelessness? Wouldn't we just be encouraging her to have even more babies?

In Victorian times, she would be sent to the workhouse and her kids to an orphanage. My welfare mom would certainly have been able to walk on a treadmill, or pound rocks into cobblestones.

My solution? I would go back in time 25 years and rescue her from her own parents and place her in a decent foster home. Or I would go forward 25 years to a time when medication can cure everything. I 'd give her a pill to boost her IQ by 20 points, another one to increase her metabolism, and another to make her love her kids.

My current solution is to just leave her alone. My taxes pay for a miserable, disfunctional adult to have support and training to help her raise her kids. It's not a perfect solution but it is better than nothing.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 12:43 PM   #2
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Re: Welfare cheaters

A lot of people use cases like this to condemn the welfare system, but they miss the point. The welfare system cannot create an ideal solution where none exists. As you point out, eliminate the welfare problem and you simply create another costly problem. Choosing a "lesser of evils" is often the best we can do.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 12:59 PM   #3
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Some states have gotten a bit more creative in reining in the welfare problem,* but I look at welfare like I do immigation- - that is, let's try honestly enforcing the current rules, then step back and see if we really have a problem.* And by the way, in this case, fixing one might fix the other.*
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 01:15 PM   #4
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawny Dangle

Currently, my welfare cheater has three kids and a bun in the oven. State services alternately take her kids away and bring them back to her, but every one agrees she is not a good mother. All of her kids show signs of extreme neglect. The youngest ones are poorly socialized and are months behind normal patterns of language acquisition.


Take the kids away.
Early and permanently to good homes.

Let the poor woman have her welfare and medical care. But no kids.

The amount she costs us for her own benefits is not that large. The cost is in perpetuating an underclass into the future. I tend to be rather harsh about taking kids away early and permanently if they are neglected or abused--the kids deserve a chance.


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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: Welfare cheaters

just yesterday i discovered a cheater on my block. some guy renting a room from a neighbor. he's supposedly disabled from his aids status but there is nothing disabled to the eye. i wasn't saddened so much that he was cheating the system, but that he was cheating himself, collecting free money instead of going out into the world to see what he actually might be able to accomplish.

capitalism has structured this "reality," this society, so that only certain personality types benefit most, so that only certain people survive better than others. i survive better than my neighbor or the relative you note. an entrepreneur survives better than i.

i can not simply go out and fish the intracoastal waterway for my dinner because i don't have access, all of the property is private. i can not pitch a tent anywhere to live because all that land has already been taken. when a society pens people in, it becomes the responsibility of that society to aid those who don't fit it's structure.

i'm glad my taxes support a safety net for those who don't fit into this structure of society. i don't like the abuse when it occurs, but i suspect abuse of the welfare system pales in comparison dollar-wise to the abuses of corporate welfare & government sponsored waste. so my suspicion is that one is nothing more than a smokescreen for the other. and it doesn't take much of a curtain to hide an elephant.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha


Take the kids away.
Early and permanently to good homes.

Let the poor woman have her welfare and medical care. But no kids.

The amount she costs us for her own benefits is not that large. The cost is in perpetuating an underclass into the future. I tend to be rather harsh about taking kids away early and permanently if they are neglected or abused--the kids deserve a chance.


Martha hit the nail right on the head in the second sentence of her second paragraph. Give the kids a chance for a better life or else they'll become 3rd or 4th generation welfare recipients.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: Welfare cheaters

I have to agree with give the kids a chance but they just keep popping out more, what do you do then? You take away the 3 she has and then she has 3 more. How do you stop her? Sterilization?
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 02:52 PM   #8
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Re: Welfare cheaters

I'd go Martha one further and say, take early steps to ensure that extremely marginal women do not have babies. But that is getting too close to abridging human rights for a certain class of people, I guess, although I wonder why the human rights of babies don't come into consideration.

I wonder at higher-functioning people who choose to scam welfare. I actually knew a couple more cheaters from my young adulthood, who tried with to claim disability. It actually takes some pretty hard work to be successful, and when you finally get your SSI, it is only a few hundred dollars per month, not exactly a bonanza. One of the scammers I knew was turned in for fraud by a detective who investigated her claim. The other guy had to commit himself to a mental ward for several months, so in the end, who knows if he was scamming or telling the truth.

Modified to remark that I agree that capitalism is the struggle of the fittest to acquire wealth. In nature, the marginal animals are selected for death at an early age and their genes are be lost, making the remaining population fitter and more able to compete. In capitalistic darwinism, the "unfit" survive and out-reproduce the "fit", so the base of the pyramid gets broader and broader. As a society, we are not prepared to sterilize the poor (which is a ghastly idea) but we are prepared to make their lives more miserable and place the blame on them for their own deficiencies.

As for looking healthy, I don't know ... my mom had a heart condition, and she had a disability sticker for her car so she could park closer to the store. She got yellled at by busybodies a couple of times because she looked ok.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 04:29 PM   #9
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Yes, there are definitely disabling conditions that aren't immediately obvious to a visual inspection. You might have someone who doesn't look to bad now, but the inoperable cancer that you can't see will kill them in a couple of months.

What I found interesting when I was a claims rep at SSA was that people would come in and moan about "that guy down the street that is scamming the system" but when I'd ask them to make a formal complaint so we could look into things, they "didn't want to get involved". :

Are there people scamming. You bet, and we were generally pretty chuffed if we could get a case worked up for referral to the US Atty's office. However, a lot of times they wouldn't prosecute. Do you want to be the attorney who has to try and get a jury to send a poor old disabled granny to jail even if you've got her dead to rights on an $80K swindle? So they had to pick and chose to try and get cases that were egregious enough to get a conviction.

While at Uni I took a course called "the economics of poverty" which was pretty interesting as it traced how policies changed down through the ages. The Victorians had the "deserving poor" concept, and if they decided that you just weren't meeting their high moral standards that poor people needed to hold, you got squat. I'd much rather have the determination based on physical/mental standards and income and resources, things that you stand a chance of quantifying.

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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Take the kids away.*
Early and permanently to good homes.*
Let the poor woman have her welfare and medical care. But no kids.*
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
I have to agree with give the kids a chance but they just keep popping out more, what do you do then? You take away the 3 she has and then she has 3 more. How do you stop her? Sterilization?
Sounds like the good 'ol eugenics days! No thanks.

Martha, is that the ACLU I hear calling you?
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 07:19 PM   #11
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords


Martha, is that the ACLU I hear calling you?
Remember, the OP said extreme neglect.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 07:26 PM   #12
 
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Why worry about the miniscule? - We just blew over $250 Billion in Iraq for nothing. A few individuals cheating the welfare system does not even merit this post!


Do you understand basic math?
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 07:32 PM   #13
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Remember, the OP said extreme neglect.
Gabe says that when he brings me his sneakers and points at the front door and says "that!", and I dont take him out to check everyones tires and inspect any available rocks and sticks, that constitutes extreme neglect.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 07:57 PM   #14
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Well said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha


Take the kids away.
Early and permanently to good homes.

Let the poor woman have her welfare and medical care. But no kids.

The amount she costs us for her own benefits is not that large. The cost is in perpetuating an underclass into the future. I tend to be rather harsh about taking kids away early and permanently if they are neglected or abused--the kids deserve a chance.


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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 08:47 PM   #15
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Remember, the OP said extreme neglect.
Interesting conundrum. Does a demonstrated history of neglect fend off the ghost of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.?

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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 11:21 PM   #16
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Why worry about the miniscule?* - We just blew over $250 Billion in Iraq for nothing. A few individuals cheating the welfare system does not even merit this post!* :crazy
Well, the topic is "Welfare Cheaters" in "Other Topics". Maybe you're looking for the "Iraq budget cheaters" thread? How 'bout the M* Politics board?

It just occurred to me-- if we occupy Iraq for long enough, will the Iraqis be eligible for welfare?
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-09-2006, 11:48 PM   #17
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Why worry about the miniscule?* - We just blew over $250 Billion in Iraq for nothing. A few individuals cheating the welfare system does not even merit this post!*


Do you understand basic math?
This seems like a pretty reasonable question to me too. How much does an unjustified invasion of Iraq cost us? How much do ineffective insider trading and other SEC regulations cost us? How much does an inadequate energy policy cost us? How much does a tax give-away to the wealthiest fraction of a percent of Americans cost us? . . .

Setting priorities to stop welfare cheaters or to fix ineffective imigration laws or to establish anti-gay amendments seems misguided. We only have so much bandwidth. Why waste it on the pittling things?
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-10-2006, 07:56 AM   #18
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Re: Welfare cheaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee

Setting priorities to stop welfare cheaters or to fix ineffective imigration laws......... seems misguided.*
What should be the number one priority?* And should anything other than your number one priority be even dabbled with before number one is completely taken care of?

It seems like our de-prioritization of immigration issues in the past has significantly added to the problem of dealing with them today.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-10-2006, 08:18 AM   #19
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Re: Welfare cheaters

I'm with Martha on this one. I've always said, give me 10 healthy kids before they start grade school,and by the time they graduate from hs, I guarantee 10 productive kids. The present welfare system guarantees the perpetuation of an underclass. I am for any system that teaches the kids responsibility and gives them a chance to lead a productive life. Take care of the ones who have mental or physical problems; but teach the others to take care of themselves.
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Re: Welfare cheaters
Old 04-10-2006, 08:54 AM   #20
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Re: Welfare cheaters

I've known a few people who tried cheating the system in the past. Usually it was a situation where a boyfriend gets his girlfriend pregnant. She has the baby, but then says she has no idea where the father is. That way she gets help from welfare, and I guess the father just goes ahead and plays hide-and-seek with the authorities, working cash/under the table jobs and such. You'd think though, that by the time the 4th kid was born, by the same man, they would've caught on! :
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