General Question

717richboy's avatar

I read an article about welfare abuse and why we need serious reform. Do you all believe welfare needs "serious" reform?

Asked by 717richboy (231 points ) December 12th, 2013

The article, titled ‘My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Reform” is from a conservative website. Is anyone here a former Walmart employee? If so, did you experience any of what’s alleged in the article?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

61 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

It might help if you actually linked to the article. Otherwise we can’t know what’s alleged in the article, let alone agree or disagree with it.

zenvelo's avatar

It really isn’t at all fun or easy to be on welfare. And people who say it is are judgmental. So don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

bolwerk's avatar

In general, it’s a good idea to take anything with the label “conservative” attached to it with a grain of salt.

ETpro's avatar

I am not familiar with Maine’s rules, so I can’t comment there. We did reform Welfare back in Bill Clinton’s administration. We changed it so that, except for those with permanent physical or mental disabilities that prevented their ever being able to hold a job, it became Workfare. The recipient was given assistance and in some states job training and/or remedial education and they had a limited time before they either got a job or lost benefits. Each state had to meet minimum standards, but other than that, it was up to each state how generous they would be. If Maine’s system is too generous, that’s something for voters there to fix.

The writer in your linked article lost me when she started complaining about “welfare queens.” Anyone who thinks they’d have a lavish lifestyle living on welfare hasn’t ever been down and out. Talking about Welfare Queens is a sure sign you’re reading Elephant Poopaganda from the Greedy Oligarch Party. GOPers are devastated that the Walton family only has as much money as 42% of all other Americans combined. The Waltons are generous supporters of GOPer efforts to transfer the rest of the money that 42% at the bottom has to folks like the Waltons, because it’s tough these days living on just $142 billion. Easy to be a Welfare Queen and party hearty on food stamps, but managing to get by on billions is HARD.

The problem in the US is that for the last 30 years of trickle down, we have been slowly shrinking the middle class. The bottom 60% have seen their real, inflation adjusted, wages stay stagnant or fall. The lower your quintile, the worse the picture. The top 1% have seen their inflation adjusted income go up almost 300%. If we stay on this course, we will soon have a banana republic like Haiti, and GOPers are working as hard as they can publishing propaganda like that article to get us there. Because it’s the rich and the corporations they own that fund GOPers, and they return the favor.

I think the thinkers (the non Tea Party Ideologues) of the old GOP are beginning to catch on that their last 3 decades have them and the country on the road to disaster. They are looking now for ways to actually adopt a populist agenda and message. It’s going to be a bloodbath prying the Greedy Oligarch Pig’s hands of the wheels of control in the party, though. I’m getting my popcorn ready and settling in to watch the fight.

rojo's avatar

There is nothing that we do, as humans, that could not be improved by a little tweaking. The problem is, as I see it, that if there is a problem the conservative solution is to throw the baby out with the bathwater and that makes the left get their hackles up and refuse to admit there is a problem. If we could look at a particular program, come to some consensus as to what we could do to improve it and then implement said agreement we might end up with a society that actually functions in a manner that benefits the majority.

johnpowell's avatar

@rojo that makes the left get their hackles up and refuse to admit there is a problem.

I’m so left I have my dick in Castro’s ass right now. I’m willing to come up with a plan where everyone takes a hit but:

John Boehner: “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Mitch McConnell “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Those are from three years ago. To claim both parties are the same is is disingenuous. Or idiotic. I will let you pick how you want us to classify you.

rojo's avatar

I ain’t giving out no halos to either faction of the corporate party there JP. And I still contend that welfare ain’t perfect and could use a little tweeking.

ragingloli's avatar

The real welfare abuse is, particularly in the case of Walmart, that they are paying their employees, which, for some reason, they call ‘associates’ (maybe so they can call them ‘asses’ in internal meetings), so little, that they are forced to apply for welfare, despite having a full time job.
It is Walmart that is guilty of welfare abuse. They abuse it, and twist it into a form of corporate welfare, to maximise their profits, at the expense of their employees and tax payers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes welfare needs reform. Liberals would deny that drugs are exchanged for food stamps & more kids = more assistance.

zenvelo's avatar

The problem with the article is that the writer complains, but he was actually complicit in the abuse of the system. People using their program funds to buy out of program items? Why is Wal-Mart allowing that?

Maybe Wal-Mart should lose their license as an approved processor of WIC and Food Stamps. Oh, that would cost Wal-Mart money! Can’t do that!

JimTurner's avatar

We need to go back to the premise:

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for one day”
“Teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime”

zenvelo's avatar

@JimTurner Teach a man to fish and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

You can’t eat fish everyday; need to teach him a trade.

ragingloli's avatar

@JimTurner
That is the wrong quote.
The correct one is:
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for one day.
Teach a man to fish and you have lost a steady customer.”

JimTurner's avatar

@ragingloli HA!! That really says it all raginloli.

JimTurner's avatar

@zenvelo A fisherman was once a noble trade.

rojo's avatar

What are the odds that this “rampant” welfare abuse that we hear about is actually along the lines of the “rampant” voter fraud that required all those new voter id laws?

ibstubro's avatar

@rojo‘s comment was so sensible, it bears repeating:

“There is nothing that we do, as humans, that could not be improved by a little tweaking. The problem is, as I see it, that if there is a problem the conservative solution is to throw the baby out with the bathwater and that makes the left get their hackles up and refuse to admit there is a problem. If we could look at a particular program, come to some consensus as to what we could do to improve it and then implement said agreement we might end up with a society that actually functions in a manner that benefits the majority.”

The definition of ‘bi-partisan’.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t doubt that there is some degree of welfare fraud. There is fraud in anything even in the offices of the best and moth ethical churches in America.

That said, there is NOT an epidemic of welfare fraud. This is a meme that is used by politically motivated loudmouths (of either party) to score political points and achieve political goals.

This type of thing is repeated so often that it ‘appears’ to be true, but the fact is that it is minimal.

snowberry's avatar

I have seen food stamp holders sell their cards for cash, and it’s an every day occurance.

rojo's avatar

And, it is irritating to be behind someone using their cards for groceries for their family while talking on their iPhone V and I am saddled with what my daughter calls the Samsung POS.
Just something that needs tweaking, the kids need the nourishment but momma does not need the top of the line toy. How do we fix it without eliminating the program?

ragingloli's avatar

I do not know how it is in the colonies, but where I live, the service providers give you the phone for free/for 1€, if you make a non-prepaid contract.
So them having ‘expensive’ phones may not mean anything.

rojo's avatar

@ragingloli a “free” phone still has a two year contract, usually in the neighborhood of a minimum of $50.00 a month, usually more. That is a weeks worth of groceries. But, point taken.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snowberry @rojo OMG, someone else see’s the fraud, woo hoo, now maybe I won’t be called a liar repeatedly, exciting.

Try being invited over to a friends house who refuse to get married but have three kids bcause they’ll lose all their food stamps and Medicaid, they’re eating steak while I’m eating pb&j. True story.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
KNOWITALL's avatar

@snowberry Right. I guess what bothers me about it is that trading food stamps for pills or whatever, is taking food from your children that the state gives you for food for your children. Someone else may actually want the food for their kids.

Denying it happens is just burying your head in the sand and doesn’t fix anything, or fill those babies bellies.

@rojo lol

snowberry's avatar

In the situations I witnessed, the “trader” was trying to meet a bill or gas for their car or something. It was not about buying fancy stuff, it was more about moving finances around to stay solvent.

I’m not saying it’s OK, it was what these people did to keep things from getting worse.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I love all these people who are first hand witness to welfare fraud but never report it, instead choosing to bitch about it on the internet. If you see welfare fraud then for chrissakes, do something about it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ragingloli That’s how it is here as well. The expensive phones are subsidized by the service providers to lock folks in to service contracts. So yeah someone having the latest iPhone doesn’t mean shit.

anniereborn's avatar

I am sure there is plenty of Welfare fraud. But, you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover. I am sure sometimes people get gifts from family and friends. Such as phones, perhaps gift cards to grocery stores which would buy steaks.
I am on SSDI and Medicaid. Guess what? I got a trip to New York this summer because my sister lives there and she paid for my airfare. Does that mean I am committing fraud in some way? No, it means I have a sister who can work and has enough money to give her sister joy sometimes.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar Snitches get stitches man.

Aeriously, I know these people and love some of them, they have kids, I’m not snitching.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL Then don’t complain. Not reporting it when you know it’s going on makes you complicit in it. Complaining about an act you’re complicit in is hypocritical.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar Nah, I think I’ll keep complaining since it’s partly my tax dollars but thanks.

snowberry's avatar

@Darth_Algar I’m not even complaining. I’m simply stating facts. Corruption and big government go hand in hand. Always. Reporting it would accomplish exactly what? A few families and their kids will suffer. And they’d know exactly who snitched on them. Not an option I’m willing to deal with, considering they have some pretty rough relatives.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Darth_Algar's avatar

@snowberry If they’re abusing welfare, such as selling food stamps for drugs and what not, then their children aren’t getting the benefit anyway. And if they’re committing fraud, as in getting welfare when they don’t need it, then they can plainly get by without so no one’s suffering there. So why not report those cases when you see them?

snowberry's avatar

@Darth_Algar YOU report any people you’ve a mind to. Me, I’ll stay safe, thank you!

anniereborn's avatar

@KNOWITALL What is it exactly the people in the “steak story” are doing wrong in your eyes? Do you mean to say that you could never ever afford steak and all you eat is PB&J?
So what if they bought it with their food stamps? Everyone needs something special once in awhile.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@snowberry You’ll stay safe? Exactly what danger do you expect to befall you by reporting welfare fraud?

ibstubro's avatar

I think the biggest problem is federal government’s involvement. They flat-line a system that’s as bumpy as can be. Benefits should be based on the cost of local living and the number of people being fed.

I’ve seen everything @KNOWITALL has seen because I, too, have lived in rural Missouri and the cost of living is cheap. I don’t need food stamps, heating assistance, or a free cell phone, but I’m technically eligible for all of them. I mentioned this the other day and the first thing I heard was “Oh, get them! I’ll pay 50 cent on a dollar for your SNAP card!” My brother used to mow people’s yards for groceries, for cripes sake. I’m literally shocked if I see someone use a SNAP card when I’m in Aldi Discount Foods…the users usually seem to eat a little higher on the hog than me. THOSE people (the ones using SNAP at Aldi, I have compassion for. Even if they’re buying cheap food so they can sell the rest of the card for cash, they’re at least still enterprising!

bolwerk's avatar

@anniereborn: Ronald Reagan or one of his acolytes made up some story about a “strapping young buck” (think urban black) who buys steak with and rides home in a taxi to scare whitey. All with government benefits, mind you. Another one is the Chicago welfare queen with a bunch of Cadillacs and fake names.

If anything, the sane thing now would be increasing the food stamp benefit to encourage buying better food. Right now people whose only food budget is food stamps probably need to stock up on shitty processed foods a lot of the time, which is helping drive the obesity epidemic.

anniereborn's avatar

@bolwerk You are very right about that second part. Being on SSDI, I have a very low income. Most healthier foods, at least around here, are way more expensive.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Bill1939's avatar

One in five is poor in my part of the rural Midwest. Volunteering in our soup kitchen, I see them. They wear secondhand clothing that is frequently barely adequate for the weather. Delivering meals on wheels I see their substandard homes, often little more than shacks. They would not refuse work, if it provided an income that would allow them to live better than they do now. However, the few available jobs do not even provide a subsistence wage.

Do some game the system? Of course they do. Many have cell phones and televisions, but none have a middle-class life style. Living in desperation, some seek escape from their harsh reality through alcohol and drugs, using whatever resources they can to secure their intoxicants. Should we punish the many for the offences of a few? Would making survival more difficult motivate a more productive life?

Matthew:7:3: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” The same people whose greed over the past thirty years has created the world wide economic malaise that is crushing the middle-class would seek retribution from welfare cheats. I cannot support their efforts.

ibstubro's avatar

How is it that “reform” immediately equates to making survival more difficult.

How can anyone make a compelling argument that a system that collects taxes from the majority and then spends our money:

a.) telling us that were too fat, we eat too many sugary and salty convenience foods instead of fruits and vegetable and consume entirely too much fat and
b.) providing those same life threatening foods to poor people for free

is NOT ripe for reform.

What if benefits were raised, but the program was run on a cost restrictive basis on the lines of the WIC program.

Diet Mountain Dew is not life sustaining food stuff, and should not be provided to anyone through the auspices of the Federal Government.

It’s ridiculous that you say “Reform” and Conservatives start waving axes and liberals start waving pictures of starving babies.

mattbrowne's avatar

Wrong focus. Richness abuse by tax evasion outweighs welfare abuse by a factor of millions.

ibstubro's avatar

Here’s a thought:
How about we tie the school lunch program to the SNAP program. SNAP will purchase any edible item approved for use in the local school lunch program. Exclusively.

Yes, @mattbrowne, exactly. Not reforming every inch of the government simultaneously immediately negates discussion of reforming any program. Welcome to Congress.

Why ‘focus’ at all when it’s so much easier to close your eyes and open your mouth.

No personal attack intended @mattbrowne

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro I wouldn’t want to tie food stamp recipients down to the dog meat they served at my school.

ibstubro's avatar

Why not, @Darth_Algar? If you attended recently, it was obviously cheap and nutritious. Did it not sustain you, nutritionally?

More importantly, was your survival imperiled?

My point, exactly was that society has a responsibility to provide the essentials of life to all members. If you prefer death to officially certified and sanctioned “dog meat”, then so be it?

Just don’t expect me to buy you a Diet Mountain Dew to wash it down with.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro Recently? No, can’t really say that. I’ve not been in school for 20 years now. What I can say of the food provisions provided by my school district during my term there is that, however nutritious it might have been, it tasted about like low grade dog food. Perhaps you think the lowly peasants who depend upon food stamps warrant no better, but I tend to disagree.

ibstubro's avatar

20 years?

@Darth_Algar Get your local, current, school’s menus and see if they are not wholesome and edible.

Were I eligible for a participant in the SNAP program, I’d be pleased to have food on the table offered by the local school food program.

I’m sorry you think in terms of “lowly peasants” instead of disadvantaged members of our society.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro Yup, 20 years (I’m getting a little old). And how exactly would I judge the edibility of said items simply by looking at a menu?

bolwerk's avatar

@Darth_Algar: I don’t know if they’re great, but they have improved the menu in at least some places. The nutritional value of the late 20th century menu was probably starvation level. :-\

Darth_Algar's avatar

@bolwerk I don’t think you’re getting that it’s not just about nutritional value.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Community_watchdog's avatar

In society today there is plenty of fraud all over; welfare fraud, medicare fraud, insurance fraud, and it costs us all extra money. But, I don’t think its as bad as we are led to believe by Washington. In some cases people who claim that fraud is out of control are the ones we should be watching because they are ripping off the system every way they can. ie: Its fine for someone to say welfare is out of control, but yet, they make $75K a year and are getting food stamps.

Bill1939's avatar

I suspect that of the cost to the country from welfare and insurance frauds is minuscule compared to the near collapse of the economy resulting from banks having bundled bad mortgages and selling them. In my opinion, the biggest “welfare” cheats are corporations, especially agricorps and suppliers of military materials.

bolwerk's avatar

Welfare fraud is rare enough to make the news.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther