Poor Women Are NOT Having Babies for Money

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 3.18.58 PMWhen I was young, my mom was on welfare. She wasn’t unlike other moms on our South Los Angeles block: single, working multiple jobs and doing her best to keep her head above water. She cared deeply for my brother, my sister and me. We knew she did, because in order to make sure we had enough, my mom braved the stigma that—then and now—is tethered to receiving state benefits. Braving it is what poor people do.

Despite that, like other families living below the federal poverty line, my family was punished for being poor. Back then it was all about shaming—from policy makers, from moral demagogues and from other poor people. It was ubiquitous. Today the shaming still persists, but with it has come a divestment in resources. In 1994, California—a state that has long touted its leadership in eradicating poverty—instituted the Maximum Family Grant rule. This rule denies financial support to babies born while their families are receiving grants from CalWORKs, California’s welfare program.

This is less policy than social experiment—one based on the deeply problematic notion that if the state deprives families of critical resources for newborn babies, those families will stop reproducing. In reality, it simply punishes poor women for their reproductive decisions and pushes families further into poverty.

This year advocates are working hard to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule, ensuring every child born into a family receiving benefits, no matter their birth order, has equal protection against the short- and long-term effects of poverty. With support from both reproductive justice and anti-poverty advocates, California State Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 899 to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule and reinforce that a child born into poverty isn’t less deserving than one who is not born into such circumstances.

But advocates are facing a heavy lift. Passing this legislation means investing more than $200 million in CalWORKs families. It also means deconstructing the narrative that poor women have babies for money and making the case that every person, no matter their income, deserves to parent their children with dignity. Opponents argue that people should simply wait to have children until they can afford to do so. But the Economic Mobility Project study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of people who are born into poverty never leave poverty. Is the presumption that those people should never have children?

I remember, vaguely, the shaming energy on my block as a child. But there was something more sinister that left a bad taste in all of our mouths: There was a permeating assumption that the women in my community who were receiving benefits were “gaming the system,” that they collected benefits and never worked. I never met someone who did that. Our neighbors—who, like us, were poor enough to qualify for benefits—all worked. If they didn’t get up to go to a 9-to-5 job, they worked from home. They cooked all day and sold plates of food to other families or people passing by. They did hair in their kitchen or watched another family’s kids. They picked up recycling and trudged it to the recycling center for pennies. They worked.

The Maximum Family Grant rule punishes poor women, many of whom are women of color. Initially welfare recipients were mostly white widows or “deserving” divorced women. When the program was conceived, Black women were ineligible to receive aid because they, in the words of Dorothy Roberts, “were considered inappropriate clients of a system geared to unemployable women.” At that time there was little criticism of the program. When Black women became eligible, due in large part to the Civil Rights movement, the program drew public ire. White women were given the benefit of the doubt while other women, Black women especially, were judged much more harshly for their sexual and reproductive choices.

In her book, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty, Roberts writes, “Black mothers’ inclusion in welfare programs once reserved for white women soon became stigmatized as dependency and proof of Black people’s lack of work ethic and social depravity. The image of the welfare mother quickly changed from the worthy white widow to the immoral Black welfare queen. … Part of the reason that maternalist rhetoric can no longer justify public financial support is that the public views this support as benefiting primarily Black mothers.”

The Maximum Family Grant rule includes some exceptions that force a woman to choose between receiving aid to feed and clothe her family and disclosing personal medical information. If a child is conceived due to rape or incest, a mother must prove it by disclosing her status as a survivor. The only other exemptions are for the failure of highly invasive long-acting contraceptive methods that are designated by the state. The Maximum Family Grant rule undermines the intended mission of CalWORKs to provide temporary support to low-income families; it also limits women’s reproductive decisions and leads to government intrusion into families.

We know that not everyone in this country can earn at the same level, but Californians, among others, have long believed that it is not the government’s place to determine when and how a family grows. California has a long history of supporting a woman’s personal decisions regarding her reproductive choices. This should be true for all women, no matter their income.

Receiving aid helped my mom stay afloat. She needed help for a little while, and even though there was shame attached to that, she did it because she cared deeply about the well-being of her kids. Reproductive justice means honoring a person’s right to parent their children with dignity. Repealing the Maximum Family Grant rule will not lift families out of poverty entirely, but it will get us one step closer to that goal.

Reprinted from RH Reality Check. Read the original here.

Photo courtesy of pnutbuttagirl via Creative Commons 2.0.

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Shanelle Matthews is a communications strategist for the ACLU of Northern California, cofounder of Black Women Birthing Justice and coeditor of Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth, a forthcoming anthology. She has contributed to The Root, Crunk Feminist Collective, The FriskyFeministing and Echoing Ida.

Comments

  1. I am a liberal and a feminist. I believe that our society has a responsibility to care for its members. I believe in unity and equality. But I really struggle with this issue.
    I know women decide to have a baby for a variety of reasons. I realize that some may be dysfunctional and therefore unable to carefor themselves and make sensible decisions. Some might make the mistake of counting on the father for support and then he is gone. Some may be survivors of rape or incest and become involuntarily pregnant. Some may believe that abortion is wrong and find themselves with no choice but to have the baby. And I don’t expect anyone to give up a child for adoption unless they truly want to. I know I could never give up a baby.
    I was a 24-year-old day care teacher living with three roommates the first time I got pregnant. I was in a casual relationship. I yearned to be a mother, but I knew it wasn’t the right time. I would probably have go on benefits. I could not support a baby on my day care salary. I did not make a living wage. I could not afford an apartment and day care for the baby. I chose to have an abortion.
    The second time I found out I was pregnant my boyfriend and I had just broken up. He was physically abusive. I was scared for me and the baby. Once again I chose to have an abortion.
    Finally when I was 38 I was in a committed relationship and we chose to have a baby. My husband did not make enough to pay the rent so I went back to teaching full-time when she was 3 months old. A large portion of our dual income went to day care. $1400 a month.
    It pained me to be taking care of other people’s children while my own child was in day care 8 hours per day. But I had to work to pay the bills. I got no family support at all.
    It really bothered me when I saw mothers receiving benefits who stayed home with their babues and children. I was working and paying taxes. Taxes that were used to support them.
    I’m not saying all mothers on benefits stay home, but I saw many that did.
    I could afford only one child. One day care bill. While I saw them with several children.
    I want to understand. Can you explain this to me? Thank you. I know it’s complicated…

    • I too struggle with this. I hear so many excuses used. “Poor people aren’t educated about birth control” and “birth control is hard to get due to the increasing societal moral pressures” and my favorite “poor people have so little that they have a fierce desire to be productive, and being a mother is productive, and being loved by children gives them purpose”. I’m a social worker and these are all things that’ve been shoved down my throat to justify why women keep having children they can’t afford. I really like this Maximum Family Grant rule. If parents can’t afford the children they have they shouldn’t be having more! And this article infuriates me when it’s stated that “poor people are punished for being poor”. Bull crap!!!! They’re simply NOT being rewarded for poor lifestyle choices!! It’s punishing babies?! Sorry, but I’m fairly certain it’s a PARENT’S job to take care of a child, and NOT the State’s!! And they are not being FORCED to disclose medical information. It’s not a God-given right to get assistance. It’s a choice. If they don’t want to disclose the information then they can simply stop getting the check. If you don’t like the rules, don’t use the system.

    • Eva G I love your respectful way of just wanting to understand. I had a child with my husband because I got married when I was 18, didn’t understand birth control, was adamantly against adoption (I was adopted and then removed from my abusive home and put into the system), and I just couldn’t bring myself to get an abortion (I definitely understand why someone would judge me for not having one). We definitely could not afford ourselves let alone a child and our marriage disintegrated, and I was left entirely on my own, no support of any kind to help support my daughter. I worked, I went to school, I collected welfare, and I got my tubes tied with one child at 21. I was terrified for my child’s well being if I were to have another child detracting from our already meager resources. After a few years I became gainfully employed, and in my current tax bracket I’ve paid what I took several times over. I met other women who stayed home instead, and with so many kids, it made fiscal sense to them. It cost tax payers less for some of those people to stay home. Some of them had little skills or ability, but were in fact decent parents. Nearly all of them did not plan to be in their situation, and not a few were middle income people who suffered significant blow: loss of a spouse, special needs children, no extended family or support system, depleted savings in a down turn economy, long-term and/or sporadic significant illness. But if my arguments are weak, consider the outcome. What do you want to happen to these children that grow up next yours and will live in your world? If their parents are struggling to keep alive, what do you think they will resort to, to keep their children alive? Lastly, there was a study done on affluent kids, and they do much worse than children living in the ghetto (https://www.kcls.org/about/communitystudies/Mercer%20Island%20Community%20Study%202010.pdf), but money buys lots of nannies along with moral impunity and lower tax rate. There are all sorts of people doing things in this world that you deserve to do more than they do, (you’ve worked harder, you’re kinder, smarter, more intelligent, more motivated, better prepared, prettier, more moral) however, most of them are not poorer. Please only use your income to help decide if having a child is right for you, not to decide if you or someone else deserves to have a child or if your child or someone else’s deserves to be fed. It might surprise you how easily you can find yourself resented and undeserving.

    • I was a working mother and it was very difficult. I understand your frustrations. I had to choose between power bill, daycare, rent and food. Often I felt that I was simply working to have strangers raise my child. I became overworked and ill and all that I can show for it is a foggy memory of my daughters first 3 years of life. Even with both my husband and I working we could not afford health insurance. We applied for assistance because of this. It was such an enormous relief. I quit my job to regain some strength and to spend time with my child and then became pregnant with my second.
      My husband worked hard and I stayed home all while receiving help with food and health insurance. We continued with our pregnancy with the conclusion and the attitude that our situation is a temporary one and intend to come out on top no matter what. I am so happy that I was the one who taught my daughter to read and I can thank the help of our welfare system for that.
      When I return to the workforce I will gladly pay the taxes needed to allow any woman or man the opportunity to do so.
      I cannot speak for those other families you have come to know and I do agree that it is complicated. Maybe those families are trying to fix their situation as we speak. I do hope you see the light at the end of the tunnel soon and don`t be afraid to ask for help should you need it. I hope this sheds a little light.

    • Eva, I will do my best to offer what little explanation I can to your very legitimate questions. There are a few different issues at work here, which intersect to lead women to make different choices. In your case, you opted twice to have an abortion when faced with a pregnancy you were not in a position to see through. However, many women — more now than ever — live in areas where there might not be an abortion provider for hundreds of miles. Also, many poor women may not have the $300-800 it costs to get one, or even know where to go. Maybe their boyfriend threatened them if they got one, or maybe they truly want to be a mother again. And of course, some women are morally opposed to abortion and will choose not to have one, which is fully their right. Remember, the slogan is “pro-choice” not “pro-abortion.” The goal is for women to be fully in control of their reproductive choices, whatever those choices are.

      The other issue you mention is the choice of some women to rely on public assistance so they could stay home and care for their children while you worked and suffered to afford childcare. The biggest injustice here is that the private sector all but pushes mothers out of the workforce and futher into poverty by making it almost impossible to manage a job and parenting. They are forced to live on welfare if they want things like healthcare, childcare, and time to care for sick kids or attend parent-teacher conference. Most jobs don’t allow for that. You know better than I do how impossibly difficult it is to be a working mom, and the fact is, many women make other choices. They decide to work part time and subsidize with assistance, or they work under the table, or yes, in some cases, not at all. I can’t blame them for that, any more than I blame you for doing the same. As admirable it is that you stood by your work ethic, I do not believe that should be the standard to which all women are held. We need more support and more choices all around, and unfortunately, for too many women, no choice is easy — and we don’t need to make it harder. If for some women, the stigma of welfare is the lesser evil compared to what you faced balancing work and motherhood, then we need to respect tha until such a time as that woman can have a job that gives her the same ability to care for her children that welfare does. In the end, we need to create an employment environment that reflects the reality of workers’ lives and get out of this race to the bottom where we are competing with each other over who struggles the most. It’s divide and conquer at it’s most effective.

      If nothing else, I hope my perspective gives you moremto consider on this issue. Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

    • Really? It bothers you that women stay home with their kids because they’re poor and you pay taxes? So for 3-600 a month, they’re gaming the system and of course YOU??? It’s all about you, white lady. If only everybody did what you do. Nice privilege. Did you READ the thing? The ones gaming the system make 10 figures but you just go ahead and jeep obeying by blaming the poor while the top takes more and more from us all, especially women with children. And you’re a feminist? I swear I see ginormous kneepads on you. Shame on you.

    • Hannah H says:

      Eva, I can see where you are coming from and commend you for the strength it took to make the decisions you did throughout your life. In answer to your question, I want to respond that your life is a series of your choices — faced with an unexpected pregnancy, you made different decisions than some other mothers. There are people (myself included) who have access to more choices than others (reproductive rights, education, employment, etc).

      Choosing daycare (and thus full-time work) was your decision – a healthy, important, valuable decision that worked for you. Many people have partners whose income does not cover their basic needs; some of these people choose to utilize other services to make ends meet. It seems that your reaction re-enforces what the article says: when mothers utilize welfare, they are judged for their decisions. Whether it’s sacrificing time with your child so you can work full-time or bearing the brunt of social stigma associated with welfare, I believe all mothers are incredibly strong individuals and as a community, we need the support of each other.

    • Lindsey says:

      Eva, thank you for your reply. The people here who are attacking you should be ashamed of themselves, as your comment was compassionate and reasonable.

      I don’t think that you believe that poor women are having children “for money”–neither do I. But people don’t seem to realize that parenthood is a responsbility. I believe that people should be able to choose when and if to parent, but I also believe that others should not have to be responsible for those choices.

      I get that many people need help sometimes. My family was dependent on government assistance for a year during my childhood when my hardworking single mother was laid off and had trouble finding a job. Situations like this, where you really can’t see things coming, I have all the sympathy in the world. It’s not a surprise that babies cost money. This law only applies to children who were conceived while their mothers were on state assistance, so it wouldn’t be a surprise that the parent(s) didn’t have the money they needed.

      The real problems are of access to birth control and abortion services, and I think that this should be priority #1 for all jurisdictions wanting to combat poverty. But that’s not really what this article is about. If people choose to have children while on state assistance, that’s their right. But rights come with responsibilities, and it is irresponsible to expect others to foot the bill.

  2. I’m still not sure I’m understanding your point. I closely followed in the foot steps of the above comment. With the exception of after it happened the first time I went and stayed on birth control. I don’t think people should be stigmatized because they need assistance, but I also agree that they should NOT keep having children in their financial situation. My sister and I were pregnant at the same time with our second child. My husband and I could barely make ends meat but we had jobs and insurance. Most of our money went for taxes to fund state benefits we did not receive. My sister however did not have a job not insurance and proceeded to get pregnant anyhow stating, Texas will pay for it! I deserve to have another child if I want to. So I wish Texas would adopt the same assistance policies as California has. I do understand things happen out of our control ie rape incest. I thing they should be helped at any cost. But, I would wadger to say in most of the unplanned pregnancies this is not the case. Instead of offering benefits maybe we should offer more free birth control choices!

  3. EVA SOUNDS LIKE YOU SUFFER FROM WHITE PRIVILEGE SYNDROME AND ENTITLEMENT. YOU FEEL ENTITLED TO BENEFITS THAT YOU WERE NOT RECEIVING AND ARE ANGRY THAT “OTHER” WOMEN NAMELY WOMEN OF COLOR IN YOUR EYES RECEIVED THEM. YOU ALSO SOUND LIKE A WHITE MAN. YOUR OTHER ENTITLED COUNTERPART. WHY YOU ARE UPSET BECAUSE YOU DID NOT QUALIFY FOR AID? GOOD FOR YOU ON HAVING THE ABORTIONS. I AM SURE YOU THINK THAT THE WOMEN AT THE DAYCARE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AS “SMART AS YOU ARE AND MADE THE DECISIONS EXACTLY LIKE YOU DID. ETHNOCENTRISM AND EGOTISTICAL RACISM ALL WRAPPED IN ONE. I REMEMBER WHILE IN CLASS ONE DAY, I AM AN RN BY THE WAY, OH AND I AM BLACK. I BET THAT HURT HONEY…ANYWAYS. I REMEMBER THE YOUNG WHITE WOMAN IN MY COMMUNITY HEALTH CLASS EXPRESS THAT SHE FELT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT RECEIVE “FREE” HEALTHCARE AND SHE HAS TO WORK FOR IT. JUST THINK A NURSE EXPRESSING THIS SORT OF SENTIMENT. WHITE OF COURSE. SEE THE DILEMMA. HOW DOES SHE TREAT HER PATIENTS WHO RECEIVE “FREE” HEALTHCARE. I WONDER HOW DID YOU TREAT THE MOTHERS AND CHILDREN YOU CAME INTO CONTACT WITH. I AM SURE WITH CONTEMPT AND ANGER AND RESENTMENT. WHITE FOLKS HAVE RARELY WORKED FOR ANYTHING. ONLY TIME I FIND THAT YOU ALL GET MAD, AND IT’S USUALLY THE LOWER- WAGE WHITE FOLKS, CALLED WHITE-TRASH AND OTHER THINGS, IS WHEN YOU ARE REQUIRED TO WORK AND YOU FEEL THAT POC ARE RECEIVING WHAT YOU FEEL YOU ARE ENTITLED TO. JUST MY THOUGHTS.

  4. Kristin says:

    I can relate to Eva G. What’s sad us her story and mine are very similar, even though when I was going through this it was around the early 90′s. I was a single mom with two kids in daycare, no help from their father and not making a livable wage, yet was told I made too much to qualify for assistance. I don’t see that it has gotten better for anyone. I have been approached while going into a Walmart by someone wanting to sell me their food stamp card. I have worked at a convenience store and seen parents buy their kids candy or soda with their food stamp cards. I Know not everyone abuses the system, but many do. Changes need to be made, California may be onto something.

  5. kaijuman@inbox.com says:

    Boo effing hoo.

  6. Eva, Like the article states most women receiving benefits do work. I work two jobs, have my bachelors degree (and the student loans that come with it), and I still receive benefits for my son and I. Even though i am a single working mom, my opinion is: even if moms don’t work, staying home to take care of the kids while a partner works is just as much of a contribution to society (if not more) than having a job and paying taxes.
    Also access to abortion is another issue for poor women. So even if they did want to go one, finding a place that does abortions (the one “local” to me is 40 miles away), finding a way to get there, and finally sorting out insurance or payment may not be easy to do.

  7. So Eva I think part of the issue is that as a society there is the assumption that women have the resource to make reproductive choices for themselves. This isn’t always the case. It’s surely not in Texas where thanks to an awful ruling last year, dozens of women’s clinics providing birth control (most didn’t even provide abortions) had to close their doors. There will be, by the end of this year or the next be an estimated 4 abortion clinics in Texas. Texas is massive. There is no way 4 clinics can serve the needs of Texas women. So if you want birth control in most communities outside the big cities you need health insurance and to be able to take off work for a visit to the OBGYN to get it. Obviously there are condoms, and of course abstinence but that’s not realistic. If that worked we wouldn’t be in the position we are in as a society. Many of these women are desperate. So if by chance you find yourself poor and pregnant in say, El Paso, you’ll need to scrape together $400, take off of work for about a week and drive to Austin or Houston. From there you’ll wait in a very overcrowded clinic and be forced to have an unwanted ultrasound–further delaying the procedure. This is all under the assumption that you have a car to get to the city, the money to get there, can take time off work, and can afford a hotel stay once there. It’s become increasingly harder for poor women to obtain birth control or an abortion in many states. Texas is just one of them. There are many, many more states that have put the same restrictions in place. I mean hell, in Texas 90% of all rural schools don’t even teach sex ed. They teach abstinence and then wonder why teen pregnancy rates are through huge roof. The Guttmacher Institute http://www.guttmacher.org has some really interesting data on this issue if you are interested. :)

  8. Did it ever occur to you that maybe what was truly unfair was that none of you mothers had access to free day care while you worked? Just one thought.

    Maybe it’ll make you feel better to know that under welfare as it works today, this kind of thing doesn’t happen because the length of time anyone can receive benefits is limited, and when you reach the end of it, you have to go out and work–kids or no kids?

  9. Eva G., I liked your comments and the decent way you expressed them. I don’t have a response to your concerns. I too struggle with my opinions, feeling that it still seems wise to have smaller families but not wanting to be intolerant of the many other opinions and situations and varying life stories. And certainly children should not suffer nor should we fail to help them to thrive.

  10. Ohoyo Tohbi says:

    I have to agree with Eva in that I struggle with resolving this issue, too. I’ve worked in healthcare for 10 years. I have had MANY families clearly vocalize that they “game the system.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen a family of six, seven, nine children or more, over and over again in our state aid office. I’ve had women tell me these versions to my face, when I had to inquire due to office paperwork, “No, he’s not mine but he stays at our house about 50% of the time so we claim him sometimes and then his mom/grandma/aunt/relative claims him the other times.” To. My. Face. I have seen the system being willfully drained. I am not saying that ALL do it, certainly not. However, I do know that a percentage of families do. Regarding the PEW report, perhaps it is true that 70% never are able to gain full upward mobility. HOWEVER, would they not have a BETTER CHANCE of rising up if they had more resources (money & time) per person, instead of spreading what very little there is more broadly amongst a larger family? Undoubtedly, YES. Now, I’m not saying exactly that the state ought to flat out regulate how a family is structured. My plea is that families, women in particular, take the appropriate time to THINK about the difference in QUALITY of life they can provide to their child(ren) BEFORE giving birth. DON’T JUST BE SELFISH WHEN MAKING AN EMOTIONAL, LIFELONG DECISION. Think about resource allotment. Think about time & energy allotment. THESE ARE NOT INDEFINITE! I’ve seen the wastefulness firsthand and it benefits no one. Thank you.

  11. Nikki Wills says:

    A very, very honest and insightful article. Not a lot of journalists would talk about such issues – even if they had first hand experience. I believe the honest reflection of women and women’s struggles are the true education and enlightenment for all of us.

  12. cadbury says:

    Like Eva G, this issue poses some difficulties for me. Unless you are fabulously wealthy, all of our choices – including decisions about whether and how many children to have – must be constrained by REALITY. No matter what your race/ethnicity, if you are struggling with one child, you shouldn’t DECIDE to have to have a second or a third. Granted, “accidents happen”. But this author is trying to frame this issue as a CHOICE about family size. Lots of women would choose to have more than one child if they could.

  13. M Powered says:

    It kills me how much of this oppression is internalized and then seeing the self-hatred play out. I see a lot of bickering amongst these folks like “well at least I was only on TANF a few months unlike so and so” or “I saw my neighbors sell their SNAP, they’re cheating.” And in the meantime, their is legislation to further cut the meager $s these folks get for TANF, food stamps, and an open mic for people like this illegid “liberal feminist” to just shit on these folks who are already going through enough. The real gamers have accomplished just what they wanted matching us down at the bottom pointing fingers only horizontally as our oppression continues..

  14. LuluBelle says:

    “I know women decide to have a baby for a variety of reasons. I realize that some may be dysfunctional and therefore unable to carefor themselves and make sensible decisions. Some might make the mistake of counting on the father for support and then he is gone. Some may be survivors of rape or incest and become involuntarily pregnant. Some may believe that abortion is wrong and find themselves with no choice but to have the baby. And I don’t expect anyone to give up a child for adoption unless they truly want to.”

    You answered your own question here. Abortion was accessible and acceptable for you when you were pregnant twice under undesirable circumstances – for other women, it is not. In the absence of abortion or miscarriage, a child now exists, and that child deserves and needs food, clothing, shelter, etc. Unless we want to go to a policy of taking children away from parents who don’t meet a certain income guideline, we need social-based support for the children born to parents who for some reason can’t afford to provide for them.

  15. That chick says:

    Eva, how do you know these women did not work? How do you know they weren’t babysitting, or working nights or blogging, or on paid vacation, or their husbands were working because if they themselves worked they would lose more money than they brought in? How can you presume to know every detail of someone else’s life?

  16. DHFabian says:

    This issue shines a light on this generation’s concept of “justice:” When a man abandons his family and/or we are hit with one of our cyclical economy downturns, we punish women and children. Cowards always scapegoat those who are unable to hit back. The US provides abundant aid every year to foreign countries, yet howls with rage at the thought of some crumbs trickling down to the poor in America. From FDR to Reagan, the US reached its height of wealth and productivity, largely as the result of our social policies and programs, and we chose to reverse course. Since we began phasing out our social programs with Reagan, the govt has redistributed several trillion dollars upward, largely to corporations, much of which went into expanding internationally and shutting down jobs here. As a huge portion of our working class jobs were shipped out of the country, we increased the number of people absolutely desperate for any job at any wage. The costs of ending poverty relief far surpass the costs of welfare, but we pursued this course “for the principle of it.” Poverty has soared, deeply impacting the overall economy. Just since Clinton’s welfare “reform,” the US has fallen well behind all the modern nations in virtually every respect, no longer able to compete in the modern world market. With the latest budget, Democrats voted with Republicans to cut food stamps to the elderly, disabled and working poor. Again.

  17. “White women were given the benefit of the doubt while other women, Black women especially, were judged much more harshly for their sexual and reproductive choices.”

    No, white women ARE judged very harshly, to assert otherwise is dead wrong. They may not have as much stigma as black women and this racist country puts a black face on welfare to scapegoat the poor even though the majority of recipients are white. But I am white and grew up on AFDC and oh my god, adults would make snide comments to me, a kid (!!) about it.

  18. Raymond says:

    My Mom was a single Mom,she did her best with a 7th grade education, but we 3 kids ended up in orphanages, and she ended up losing her mind to depression because the state wouldn’t help us, instead they declared she couldn’t care for us,and so, we were removed and placed in child services,where all of the pedophiles and sadists were/are attracted to the innocent and naive kids and could abuse us with impunity, and regretfully they did. We did get welfare for a time, but it never covered expenses and we moved all over the town,eviction became a way of life. It’s almost as if the state set us up to fail as a family even though love was never lacking. And the Father was absent, and my Mom dealt her anger at him for not providing for us. Our only crime being born into poverty. Does anyone know even today just how large the check is for poor people? It is not that much really and thanks to Clinton and the GOP Welfare Reform became a work program with states making eligibility rules, where some tell you too many kids, or not enough kids, or any kind of lie that shows lower enrollments, because that means success, not meeting the needs of the needy, clearly if there’s less enrolled it’s no indicationm of addressing the needy if requirements are arbitrarily skewed to sign up fewer people. Oh, and Welfare as we now know is all about shaming the poor, damn you for being a sponge and soaking up all us hardworking folks water, damn you for being born, damn you poor slackers(most poor I knew worked 2-3 jobs). BTW I’m white and have not used welfare as an adult, even when homeless for a time. Poor people need only one thing to get by…BUCKS, so goddamn just dole them out with no conditions if kids are hungry or live in the street. The Koch Bros make 1.8 million per hour, and use that money to fight a minimum wage of 7.25 per hour. NOBODY should be allowed to have $54 billion dollars while 3-4 billion people live on $3 dollars a day. The kochs inherited their money&made more with the Koch gallon from where they cheated others by less actual per gallon. And most single parents are Moms, go to legalmomentum and read their single parent reports, read there where policies for single Moms make it seem welfare Moms are uneducated and bad decision makers when in fact many are educated single Moms with degrees, that gov’t policies are screwing kids and families up not uneducated needy poor. Females make .77 for a man’s 1.00, and SS benefits are based on earnings, so women will always make less in SS benfits. So GODDAMN it all of you stop blaming each other and work together to change the rules, make a Congress that has 50% women making policy, then maybe single Moms will have advocates(Progressive women, not CONJOBserviceturds),only then will women have true representation. Gloria Steinem had it right, women were not given the vote…they took it.

  19. Shahin Larhnimi says:

    No one should suffer through life or feel like their are going to be ashamed if they get help. The Government is meant to help their people and make sure that the country is going in the right direction. The majority of all parents that are getting the support by financial aid do work, but the job that they have do not provide them with enough money so they can provide for themselves and their children. There should not be anything wrong with getting aid from the government, specifically if they at least try to work. As Gabby said; “Like the article states most women receiving benefits do work. I work two jobs, have my bachelors degree (and the student loans that come with it), and I still receive benefits for my son and I. Everyone should be helped without feeling that they are going against people’s opinions, a lot of people complain about their taxes, that they are going to use for someone that do not deserve it, which I completely disagree with. Yes, you pay taxes and yes it does go to people that need aid, but how are they supposed to go through their days if they do not get any help from another source?

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