Making Money from the Government

Anytime the topic of Social Security benefits and/or the welfare system comes up, I am (somewhat) surprised by the ignorance of some people.  When the ignorance comes from my own family, I am even more surprised.

Because of the threatened government shutdown, one of my cousins (dad’s 1st cousin’s daughter) said the following on Facebook:

Dear Congress, I completely agree with your way of thinking! Instead of cutting off the Welfare payments from the people that can’t get off of their lazy A**es, we should most def take away pay from the people who are risking their lives so that you can sleep comfortably in your mansions on Capitol Hill. Very Lovingly, Concerned Citizen

I was trying to figure out a nice way to respond.  All I said on her profile was, “So judgmental. Definitely fitting for a Morris.”  I will probably take flack for it, but I don’t care.

Most of the people who make judgmental comments about “welfare payments” have no clue what programs make up the welfare system.  Welfare encompasses any government funded program, whether it is for health care for the destitute or schools in a high-end area of town.  Welfare is not mothers of 10 who “get rich” off the government.

The program that most people think of as “Welfare” is TANF.  TANF lasts for 5 years.  TANF doesn’t pay well.  TANF isn’t for lazy people and those on it have to begin working within 2 years of starting.  TANF is a temporary program, as it states in its unabbreviated name: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.  TANF gives the family stability.

There is absolutely no way to truly get rich off the government systems of aid.  In my case (with SSI & SSDI), I could only possibly get about $600 a month, and (even though I’ve met the requirement to get the $600 for about 6 years now) I am still at about $450 a month.  The most that I’ve ever seen anyone get paid is about $1200 a month.  My “pay” averages out at $5400 and someone who gets $1200 a month would $14,400. It is very difficult, even in Alabama, to live on that low of an amount.  Of course, that may be because the poverty level in this country is at just over $22,000 for a family of four.  (For a family of one, the poverty level is $10,890, so when I say I’m broke, I mean it.)

Now, is it fair that the military doesn’t get paid if the government shuts down?  No.  Is it fair to blame people who are considered to be impoverished for their lack of pay?  Hell no.  If they want to blame anyone, they can blame someone who gets hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and does little or no work.  Who might that be?  The government itself.  Nearly half of Congress is made up of millionaires.  I have a feeling that they could do without their pay quite a bit easier than some unemployed person with two kids that can’t get a job because they happened to be skilled in the wrong field.

I’ve seen comments on the news about how some folks don’t want to fund government programs because they don’t morally support them.  I have a feeling this sentiment is also true for my cousin.  Now, if I made enough money to pay taxes, I wouldn’t like that my money went to fund wars, especially ones I don’t agree with.  I wouldn’t scoff and say that that was a good enough reason to keep the government in limbo or to not pay my taxes or to just act like a whiny brat (which is exactly how a lot of the tea partiers come off).  Is it fair to suspend programs that help people because you don’t agree with them?  No. Would you want programs that you support to be pulled because someone else doesn’t agree with them? No.  Alright then, shut up about it.

I am so sick of this mentality in the country that somehow having a job makes someone better than someone else or that being in some job makes you more entitled than someone else.  When it comes down to it, we’re all equal.  We’re all made of water and other fun stuff.  We all have our vices and our virtues.  We need to stop acting like some people are somehow better than others because of their station in life.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.