Last night I had a little conversation online about welfare and just how angry it makes us working folks.
I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that get all worked up when people like me start yelling about how welfare needs a quick cap and how abused it is. Look, it's all what I've seen in my lifetime that stems my opinions. I know what goes on. I see it, I hear it, I feel it and I pay it.
There are a select few people out there who actually need the help, but all help has a limit. I speak from personal experience. As a new single mother, I found myself in a hole so deep I cried every day in fear of never being able to climb out of it. I had NOTHING. And I mean nothing. I had no family, no friends, no license, nothing. I found myself alone, with a baby, without a car, a job or anyway to pay the rent. I NEEDED help. I signed up for welfare and got very little for benefits. I had to live on $450.00 in cash and $110.00 in food stamps per month. It did NOT pay the rent and I ended up in the hole so bad that I had no hope of ever paying my ever rising bills.
I refused to live like that. I needed to find work. So I did. I walked the streets every single day, with my baby in tow and went to every single business I could find within walking distance from my apartment. Every day, I filled out applications, talked to business owners, did interviews and even posted up papers offering things like house cleaning and yard work. Nothing. It wasn't until someone put in a good word for me that I finally got a call back. I was so happy that after I'd worked for about a month and had the state up my ass demanding paystubs that I finally said, "No thanks. I don't need to be on welfare anymore. I can pay my bills on my own. Thanks for everything." Then I cut up my EBT card and never looked back.
So I do know what it's like. BUT.....
After I got steady work and decided to get out into the world and go back to school, I met several other people who I became friends with. Over the couple years of schooling we all became kind of close. I started babysitting for one friend who promised to pay me ridiculous amounts of money (that I never expected to get) and you can imagine my shock when she actually paid me. She was a young mother of 2 kids. She had a live in boyfriend who was the father of both kids and worked full time and yet, she was on welfare.
When she produced the ridiculous amount of money for babysitting the kids, I tried to give it back to her thinking she needed it more than me if she was on welfare. She refused to take it back and said she was perfectly fine. So I asked her how she was so fine if she was on welfare and her response shocked me.
She explained to me that the money she paid me for babysitting was from welfare, not out of her pocket. All she had to do was tell the state that she was looking for work but needed a babysitter to do so and *POOF*, she got a check.
She also said that she refused to marry the father of her children because if she's married, the state will demand proof of his employment and stop paying her welfare. Instead, she lies and tells them that she's single. Doing that, her boyfriend was forced to pay child support which goes to her, hence, back to him since they actually lived together. So that was no big deal for them. She got over $700.00 worth of food stamps every month and over $1000.00 in cash benefits! She was very happy to live at home as a housewife with several sources of income, free daycare, free medical care and even vouchers for heat in the winter!
She was even happier when she gave birth to baby #3....and then #4. It seems the more kids you have, the more money they give you.
After a few months of me helping her out, the reality of it all kept haunting me. I kept it to myself for a while and just tried to encourage her to get work and do things right. But it didn't work. Instead she introduced me to several other women who were doing the exact same thing.
It ate at me every day. I stopped hanging out with her as often. Work was kicking me in the ass anyway. I was getting so exhausted working 7 days a week that I just didn't have much time for friends anymore.
But it really got to me one day when I went to visit her and when I got to her house (which she had just purchased with her boyfriend) she had a friend over. As I pulled up I saw a brand new Chrysler 300 sitting in the driveway all sparkly and nice. I walked into the house and saw a very young woman dressed to the nines with big chunky jewelry, brand name clothes and hair newly done (which must have cost a fortune as she was Puerto Rican with LONG, curly hair).
My friend introduced me to her and immediately said, "She's one of us who lives with her boyfriend, has a whole mess of kids and is on welfare." she even laughed about it like it was a game and this girl was really good at it. The lady then laughed and proudly admitted that it was true. She even bragged about having something like 7 kids at home and said she didn't care how many kids she had cuz they all meant money to her.
I was so disgusted I made an excuse to leave and I got the hell out of there. I drove home in my rickety, 14 year old vehicle with my jaw clenched. All I could think was, "That's where all my tax money is going! To people who take advantage, then bring freaking LITTERS of children into the world and teach them to do the same damn thing!"
After a few months of not seeing or hearing from me, she called me one day and insisted we get together and hang out some time. I couldn't hold it in anymore, I let her have it. I told her how I felt about her living situation and explained how she, as my friend, was causing harm to me and my child by taking food out of our mouths and taking money away from important bills because she wants to be lazy and have a silver spoon up her ass without earning it.
We didn't speak for a very long time after that. Even now.....I might hear something from her on Facebook like twice a year. She knows I was right.
But it wasn't just her. I'm using my experience with her as a single example. I've met MANY along the way. They think its a joke. They actually make a job out of screwing the system and its so common that my disgust for welfare recipients has grown a great deal over the years.
So don't give me any grief about bashing welfare recipients. You know who you are. You know damn well whether or not you're one of those that abuses the system or actually needs the help. So when I post things about welfare being abused or how there should be drug testing for welfare applicants or whatever, don't waste your time being an ass about it (not that anyone on my sites ever do), but make a difference instead. Vote, contact your state with letters, report abuses to the system. Do whatever it takes to make a difference in your community. Hopefully some day we'll get to keep our taxes.