General Question

jca's avatar

Do you think public assistance recipients' (i.e. welfare recipients) money belongs to them personally or belongs to the public?

Asked by jca (36043points) August 27th, 2010

There was an article today on AOL about California and Michigan reporting that it was discovered that welfare money was being used in casinos. The article reported that some people were unhappy with that.

Do you think that when someone receives public assistance benefits (in other words, “welfare”) the money belongs to them or should the general public (in other words “taxpayers”) have a say so in how that money is spent, since that money comes from the taxpayer, essentially?

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22 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think that once it is received, it belongs to the recipient.

That said, I do not like to think of it being gambled when it was quite likely food money for children.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think welfare is an important saftey-net for society that may save more money than the expense of incarcerating people who commit crimes of desperation over the long run. That said, I would like to see tighter controls on how the money is spent. I think using a special credit card that is only authorized to purchase certain pre-approved necessities, as well as going to a councilor who will help pay bill directly instead of writing a check to the welfare recipient might be an improvement.

There is an argument to be made that it’s the person’s money and therefore it can be squandered if they so choose. I mean no one argues that social security should be monitored in terms of what people buy with it. I realize that you have to pay in to social security in order to get something out, but you could see it as just another social service that your taxes go to provide should you qualify for it.

I know a guy who was a CEO of a biotech firm that went under, and he lost everything. He made millions over the years and paid plenty of taxes, but literally became homeless. It’s arguable that he’s entitled to tap into the welfare net he helped pay for, and shouldn’t be told what he can and can’t spend it on.

As I understand it, welfare isn’t a forced charity, but a service like roads, schools, police, that will be there if you ever find yourself in dire circumstances. The fact that it’s being exploited by some for that purpose, is what gets conservatives and many liberals (such as myself) upset. GQ.

tedd's avatar

Well it explains why they’re on welfare to begin with, they’re idiots.

Honestly I am in favor of welfare. I think it helps a lot of good people who are just down on their luck or for whatever reason just couldn’t cut it. As long as they’re TRYING then I have sympathy for them and think welfare is good (plus it cuts down on crime and whatnot). But it makes me kinda sick to see people wasting the money like that (or abusing the system in general but thats another argument). Guess we can just hope the Casino uses it wisely to stimulate the economy somehow.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It belongs to them.

Qingu's avatar

I think the state has a right to try to limit how welfare money is spent. Obviously poor people should not be spending their welfare money on gambling. There is a trade-off when it comes to limiting the liquidity of welfare money; I’m not sure where the best middle ground is.

Of course, this also includes corporate welfare money, which conservatives never seem to complain about.

jazmina88's avatar

“Pursuit of happiness” comes to mind. not that I like gambling or would do it.
But they are trying to hit the lottery. kinda crazy…..but what is freedom about??

Ben_Dover's avatar

Better that the recipients spend the money gambling to increase their meager savings, than to have the money spent in Afghanistan or on more nukes.

tedd's avatar

@Ben_Dover While I understand your point, I thought I would note that the US hasn’t made a new nuclear weapon in almost 20 years.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@tedd Uh huh…sure…

Qingu's avatar

@Ben_Dover, gambling does not increase your savings.

Why do you think we’ve made new nuclear weapons?

Ben_Dover's avatar

@Qingu Winning at gambling most certainly does increase your savings.

Why do you think we haven’t made new nukes?

jca's avatar

@Ben_Dover: gamblers usually lose. There are statistical odds showing winners and losers for each type of game. Casinos are not big, beautiful buildings because they’re giving their money away.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@jca Which obviously implies that they also win.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ben_Dover on the aggregate, the house wins by a statistically calculated margin. It’s the law of large numbers.

jca's avatar

@Ben_Dover: are you kidding? yes they win but they lose like 95 to 99% of the time. gambling is not a way to get rich. Gambling is not a way to recoup your losses. Gambling is not profitable. People that do win – ask them how much they lost in order to win. People that think they are going to gamble and make it big – they’re kidding themselves.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@jca I paid most of last year’s rent on proceeds from betting football games.

Akua's avatar

I believe the money belongs to the people but I would also like to say that they need to reevaluate who qualifies for welfare and who doesn’t. I persoanlly know a grown 41 year old man who is milking the system and it burns me up. I have no respect for this man. He gets money and food stamps when he is perfectly able to work. In fact, he has told me that he has turned down 2 job offers this summer alone. He said he is taking a vacation and maybe he’ll get a job in September but he wants to enjoy his summer. I hate to see people like that taking advantage because it makes things that much harder on the people who really need the help. He is lazy and their are thousands just like him in this city.

jca's avatar

@Ben_Dover: talking about casinos, the majority of people in a casino lose money. you can google the odds and the odds are with the house.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@jca You belabor the point ad nauseum. why even ask the question if you just want everyone to agree with your opinion?

jca's avatar

@Ben_Dover: I have not stated an opinion that answers my question at all, i don’t know where you get that idea from. If you can show me where i have please feel free.

What i have stated is that gamblers do not win 95 to 99% of the time in casinos, and that gambling is not a way to make money.

MagicalMystery's avatar

I think if welfare recipients use the money to gamble with then they obviously are not really in need of welfare (i.e. food, rent, power bill, clothing).

@Ben_Dover: where @jca stated any opinion about welfare recipients in her answers is a magical mystery to me.

Qingu's avatar

Hi @Ben_Dover. I see that you’re new to Fluther. You also seem to be new at logically discussing things.

If you don’t know that gambling is, statistically speaking, a drain on income, I don’t know what to tell you. I hope you don’t believe this for very long, for your own financial security.

As far as the nukes go, generally in logical discussions, the “burden of proof” falls on the person making the positive claim. For example, if I make the positive claim that you beat your wife, it’s not your job to prove that you’re not beating your wife. If you want to claim that the United States has built nukes recently, it’s not really logical to ask us to prove that they haven’t.

Finally, you may think it’s clever to state that someone’s position is “just an opinion.” It’s not. Certain opinions are more logical, and more based in fact, than others.

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