Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Once again, America doesn't get it.

As promised, my views on the welfare system.

As a general rule, we are taught to look down on welfare recipeints. Why can't they get a job? Why can't these people just figure it out?

You might be surprised at how many people you know secretly get food stamps, childcare help, travel vouchers, Medical assistance of some type, even WIC could be considered welfare assistance. But why are SO many Americans in need of this type of assistance? And why do some people buck the system and take "more than their fair share"?

Once again, we are failing our own. It seems to generally go like this.....

We grow up dreaming of the job we will have. We spend thousands of dollars in college only to find that our "dream job" doesn't pay us enough to survive.

Did you know the average price of a home in this country is somewhere around $230,000? Ok, at roughly a 7% intrest rate you are paying a mortgage of roughly $640 per month. Let's figure your monthly living expenses from there, assuming you have 2 children, (slightly less than the national average)

Mortgage $640.00
Insurance $35.00
Taxes $125.00
Car payment $600.00 (2 vehicle family, you drive economy cars, used)
Car insurance $70.00 (assuming you have a good driving record)
Food $900 a month (your baby drinks formula btw)
Toiletries, cleaning, diapers etc $150.00
Heating/cooling/electricity $250.00 (again, low)
Gas $100.00 (we are saying you have a short commute)
Daycare $800.00 (national average is $7000/year/child in the US. I assumed you found a nice old granny instead)
Clothing $100.00
Healthcare insurance premiums/copays $600 (based on national averages)
Other household utilities $150
Student loan repayment $500
Credit card payment $200 (national average)

Now, notice I did not include luxury items like cable, internet, or even telephone. No dance lessons, trips to the movies, No Christmas, birthday presents. nothing. You are scraping by here, your kids have nothing to play with but sticks and rocks. You do not have a penny going into savings and do not give charitable donations. You do not drive anywhere but work. This simply covers the VERY BASIC necessities in this day and age in this country. I am also assuming here that you have health, dental, vision, prescription coverage, 1 in 6 americans do not.

Ok, so total up just those necessities and you get $62,440 per year in basic living expenses. Figuring that you both work 40 hours per week and deduct the average 17% of your income in taxes, social security, etc you EACH must earn over $19/hr just to afford LIVE. You need to bring in approximately $73,000 a year just to pay your bills.

Now, why are so many people on welfare? The "average" hourly pay last year for US workers was $15.04 per hour. On an average American income you can barely afford basic necessities when BOTH parents work!

So, given those numbers....... and I really did try to base everything on statistical reports. When I couldn't find one I guessed low..... Given those numbers, even a lot of above average paid workers in this country need some form of assistance just to get by.

The US census bureau for 2006 released these figures, defining the "classes" of income.

$97,032 & above - Upper income
$60,000 - $97,032 - Upper middle income
$37,774 - $60,000 - Middle income
$20,035 - $37,774 - Lower middle income
below $20,035 - Lower income

Given those figures. Even the upper middle class will struggle financially without some form of assistance. Where does YOUR income fit in?

Now. Consider that the average income limit for assistance (not includeing WIC) is net $1667 per month, which means in order to qualify for food stamps you would need to each make less than minimum wage for a family of 4. $5.21/her each, or $10.42 together. If the "average" family needs to make over $19/hr to pay the bills, and you need to make $5.21/hr to qualify for assistance that leaves a LOT of people out, getting no help at all. Even people making minimum wage won't qualify!!!!

So, before you dog on someone getting assistance......... think about just how bad off that person has to be just to qualify for that assistance.

Given this information it's no wonder at all that American women are being forced to run back to work before their babies cord stump is even dry. The United states does not have a provision for paid maternity leave so we get 6 weeks unpaid on average. Let's take a look at other countries for a moment and how they help keep mothers and babies together for that critical bonding time. Percentages are of the mothers working income. This is paid BY THE GOVERNMENT and does not include provisions in place by the mothers own employer.

16 weeks

15 weeks
82% for 30 days, then 75%

16-26 weeks

14 weeks

5 months

8 weeks

14 weeks

140 days

8 weeks

12 weeks

14 weeks
70% or fixed rate

15 mnths (either parent)
75% for 12 mnths, then flat rate

17-18 weeks
55% for 15 weeks

Also note that many countries give new parents a one time cash benefit of $3,000-$8,000 upon the birth of a child. This is NOT considered a welfare hand out, but a basic right to citizens.

A point that must be made is the United States' blind stab at something similar in the per child tax credit and Earned Income tax credits (currently being phased out) which give lower income families deductions on income taxes for children. This is NOT always a refund, and only applies to people in the low to low-middle tax brackets, which we've already learned is well below what should be considered poverish.

Is it a wonder the population of the United States is on the decline? Is it a wonder we have so many homeless, starving people in this country. Is it a wonder that our welfare rolls are busting at the seams? And is it any wonder that babies are spending more time in daycare than with thier parents?

Again, WE, as a country are FAILING OUR CHILDREN!


Trista said...

What Would Jesus Do?

I believe he would do just what your doing which is stand up and preach what he believes in. Keep standing up for what you believe in. Don't worry about who throws stones at your feet. Don't worry about faltering, because you will have followers just as the Lord did and does.



Trista said...

What Would Jesus Do?

I believe Jesus would do just what you are doing, he would stand and has stood up for what he believes in. There will be stone throwers, there will be followers, just as there was then and now. Be strong in your will and you will be redeemed.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD" Jeremiah 17:7

CaraCole said...

Amen sister!