As I am a current online student, part of my attendance is marked by participation in a discussion forum. These discussions are usually a question posed that we have to answer that relates to the current week’s topic for learning. This week’s question in my economics class was about our opinion of whether or not the government should subsidize internet access to the poor. Most all the students said no. There were a few who said yes. This brings me to my thoughts for today. What types of people are using government assistance?
What first comes to mind when we think of assistance? The answer is food stamps. Next on the list is housing, or H.U.D. Then there is heating or cooling assistance. There is also, in some states, daycare assistance and car insurance assistance. There are also cell phones or landlines subsidized. There is even TANF, temporary assistance for needy families. This is cash money to pay for incidentals. There is healthcare in the form of Medicaid. So these are some of the kinds of assistance that is offered to the poor by our government.
Now the first type of person that comes to mind that takes advantage of these offerings are what I like to call the career welfare recipients. These are the folks that make their living by getting every available program to pay for their lifestyle. These folks work hard to buck the system. These are the people that give the system a bad name. I think of them like the dog owners that raise their dogs for fighting. They’ve given pit bulls a bad wrap as well. These are the lowest of low people that drive me crazy.
I am not a history buff. I do not claim to know everything there is to know about our government. To be honest, this economics class has been a real struggle for me because it includes things like monetary policy and the like. I REALLY have a hard time with it. I’m not an activist or politician; and don’t care to be. So some of my statements may be off base. They are just my observations about it all.
I understand the original purpose of the welfare department to be a means to help the poor get some needed help while they get back on their feet. I believe it to be a means of a hand-up not a hand-out. This being said, that brings me to the other types of people that utilize government assistance.
The next category I’ve seen use assistance is what I like to call the newly poor. These people have had good jobs, they took care of themselves, and were considered middle-class America. But then the recession that hit the country in 2008 rocked their world. They lost jobs. In time they exhausted unemployment benefits. They lost their homes and lifestyles. In an effort to feed their families and stay afloat, they applied for assistance for the first time in their lives. These people truly needed a hand-up. That’s all they really wanted.
Another category I’ve seen use assistance is what I like to call the working poor. This group encompasses two separate groups, but all for the same purpose. These are the hard working people that just don’t make enough money to care for their families fully. One part of this would be the uneducated that are manual laborers or menial service workers. It’s not that they don’t want to make more; they just lack the formal education to achieve a higher paying job. Another part of this group would have educated single parents or have a disabled spouse. That would be me. My spouse is disabled from an work injury and can no longer work. These people are the sole providers for their families and just haven’t moved forward in their careers yet. They may just be starting out or starting over because of the recession.
The last category is the obvious one. That is the elderly and disabled. Do to physical limitations or disabilities, they can no longer be a part of the workforce. Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of people like this that do find some kind of part time employment. I generally see them greeting me at Wal-Mart. The point of having these folks use assistance is so that the selfish, greedy and arrogant people of the world do not just throw them away in institutions to be forgotten. Assistance gives them a chance at having a self-sustaining life independent of others.
So this is my observations about the kinds of people that use government assistance. For some it’s for a lifetime. For many others, it’s a hand-up; a way to make it through a tough situation.
By the way, my answer to the discussion included much of this post. Though many of my classmates sited that libraries had internet access, as well as McDonald’s and coffee shops, I also pointed out that many rural communities do not have libraries, McDonald’s, or coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. And with strict rules, I thought that an internet subsidy would be a good idea. Of course the career welfare recipients would find the loophole and mooch that as well.