|NPR recently published a story that gives undue credence to a Cato Institute study lamenting the generosity of US safety net programs. In reality, welfare benefits are not nearly as generous or accessible as the study claims. The NPR piece provides useful stories from actual welfare recipients, whose experiences more faithfully represent reality.
An important part of Cato’s assertion is that these programs offer a higher level of income than do many low-wage jobs. The real problem here is that wages for the vast majority of Americans are too low, and haven’t kept up with the increased productivity of the labor force.
When the study was first released, we pointed out some of the problems with their analysis. Here’s a quick summary of why their study was so misleading:
So what makes this so misleading?
For one, Tanner and Hughes make the assumption that these families receive simultaneous assistance from all of the following programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Housing Assistance Payments, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). It is this simultaneous assistance from multiple sources that lets the entire “welfare benefits package” identified by Cato add up to serious money. But it’s absurd to assume that someone would receive every one of these benefits, simultaneously, and it ignores the fact that some programs have time limits. […]
Tanner and Hughes are not telling a realistic story about the lives of low income Americans and the income provided to them by transfer programs. Where they have a point is how poorly work pays for too many American families, particularly low-wage workers. If they want to insure that work pays well for single mothers with two kids, it would seem more worthwhile to push for increases in the minimum wage and affordable child care. Cato’s view instead seems to be that since work alone is failing to provide secure living standards for many Americans, we should take away other sources of income from them, too.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on the day before this date in 2002—Bush: Al Qaeda now part of Saddam's army:
|Bush has made some pretty asinine comments while trying to justify a war with Iraq. But this one tops them all:
"We need to think about Saddam Hussein using al-Qaida to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind," Bush said Monday at a rally for Michigan's GOP candidates.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, still in shutdown, almost at default. GunFAIL inside the termination hearing of gun nut cop Mark Kessler! Greg Dworkin on the state of play on the shutdown & debt ceiling, and how the Tea Party = modern Birchers. The weekend's "protests" saw right wing protesters treated with kid gloves (unlike left wing protesters who get pepper sprayed & beaten). Bruce McF's diaries pose an alternative to "The Coin." Then, the gun nut ploy to hijack the Sandy Hook anniversary, as noted by verbalpaintball. Finally, how Republicans altered House Rules to block a clean CR, and how they're moving to undo the Dem discharge petition.