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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Scott Walker and His Welfare Queens

We have Scott Walker's idol, Ronald Reagan, to thank for the term "Welfare Queen." He offered a depiction of a woman who was taking advantage of the system to malign an entire subset of society. All of the poor who received aid were condemned to a hypothetical representative that would've been impossible for anyone to duplicate. The woman Reagan cited did exist, but she was not the typical welfare recipient. She was an actual con artist. Her entire scheme was to get over on anyone in any way she could. She took advantage of many people and many government agencies.

While campaigning for the presidency, Reagan failed to mention all of the other government agencies she managed to take advantage of. Why would he not mention the rest? Because he was a dick. Because he didn't need her for that. He only needed a means to vilify the poor and create a narrative that would have Americans thinking twice about their tax dollars going to help them. The funny thing, which happens to not be funny at all, is that, as with all Republican approaches to societal issues, the idea of fixing a broken system that could be taken advantage of was not the issue. He did not talk about how to make the system more productive in its means of caring for the nations poor. The issue was to condemn those who needed it. And, for the Regressive Party, this has never changed.

Earlier this year, Kansas passed a law saying that welfare recipients cannot spend their money on cruise ships. Well holy shit! That must happen all of the time, right? I mean, either that or Kansas has gone so far out of its way to cure all of its ills that it is only left to mend the problem of assistance dollars being spent in the Caribbean. The focus of this new bill was meant to limit the amount a recipient can spend in one day to $25. This, obviously, makes it quite hard to pay rent and utilities. But I will explain what it does that is not so obvious. When I was on welfare, I didn't have a car most of the time. I had to take a bus wherever I went. Once a month I took a cab to get my groceries. I could hardly bring them all home on the bus, and a cab ride was not free. For the bulk of the time I was receiving aid, my daughter was in diapers. They are not cheap and (sorry Bubba) my baby girl had a very sensitive bottom so we had to buy only a specific (expensive) brand or she would have a terrible rash. With this new proposal, we would have to take a cab to the grocery store several times a month to do our shopping as you simply cannot, even with coupons and a wonderful sale, get a months worth of diapers with $25 along with everything else one needs to feed their family. And I had a family of two. I don't even want to try to imagine how many trips it would take to get the necessities for a family of five or six.

Honestly! Who believes this shit?

This year Maine, Missouri and dear Scott Walker's state of Wisconsin have been working on laws demanding that food stamps cannot be used to buy junk food or expensive items, like steak and lobster. Of course, this is all rhetoric in an attempt to get on the news to remind their lowly base that they need to hate the poor and completely ignore what other items their 'representatives' have on the agenda. The legislators know full well that they would never be able to maintain this even if they manage to pass these bills. First they would have to define junk food. Then they would have to deal with the lawsuits from companies who wanted to contend that their food should not be classified as unhealthy with so many studies defining subjectivities. Then they would have to back off because they were only doing it to rile up morons, anyway.

Lets just pretend that they were able to limit what a family can spend their food allowances on, okay? So we, my daughter and I, were a normal American family. Regardless of how much money we contributed to stimulating the economy, we were a normal, yet small, family. Every year on Audrey's birthday she would get to pick whatever she wanted for dinner. So if my child wanted me to make her a steak that would be unacceptable? And if I wanted to make her a birthday cake, which would be deemed junk food, that should not be allowed? And every month when my period comes I am not allowed to have a candy bar? I dare any legislator to come to my house when I'm on my period and tell me I can't have chocolate. They will leave fearing for their life. I'm pretty sure that's not even an exaggeration. Are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness only available to those who can afford it? Shit!

Actual Welfare Queen and my Princess :)

This myth created by Reagan, and perpetuated by Scott Walker and the Republicans, of what it is like to live on welfare is ridiculous. You do not get enough money to go on a cruise. You do not get enough food stamps to buy expensive (or healthy) food items. No one is having a wonderful life from the benefits this assistance offers them. It creates so many limitations that it is very hard to get off of welfare, too. With maybe $600 coming in a month you would be hard pressed to save anything. But if you could find a way to do it, you are not allowed. If you have money set aside, you do not need assistance. But if you do not set money aside, there is no way to get off of assistance without something pretty miraculous happening. Its an ugly circle. Americans who are desperate to condemn others to inflate their own pathetic lives seem unwilling to realize that there really are not enough bootstraps to go around.

Walker was so desperate to condemn those on welfare to drug testing that last year he said he would take it all the way to "a fight with the federal government and in court." Right. So the testing has already proven to be a profound waste of tax payer dollars in other states and now he thinks it is a justifiable use of tax dollars to pay for a lawsuit? This is the same man whose new budget just offered $250 million to millionaires and billionaires. It is curious that those who so excitedly support Scott and his plans are so easily distracted by his games. Wait. No. It isn't, is it? They have been playing the same game since Reagan invented it and designed the rules: Create distractions where the lowest individuals can feel better about themselves by giving them someone to malign and blame for their lot in life so they don't notice that on the other side they are literally giving away the money that could be used to create jobs in these communities to help those in need to the richest among us and their corporations. It's brilliant. Because their base are so stupid.

In a capitalist society that is woefully unbalanced, some aspect of that society will have to be weakened by that imbalance. The poor are those to suffer. Always. The Supreme Court has determined, through its Citizens United ruling, that campaign funding can be limitless and secretive, allowing the wealthiest Americans and corporations to control the message to the voters, and thus those who are elected. The poor can't afford a lobby, let alone the capacity to purchase their very own Congress.

Today the right has managed to convince its followers that Jesus Christ, himself, would condemn those who need assistance in caring for their families. That contention has even been made in a Congressional hearing on food stamps while (mis)quoting a passage from Thessalonians. Well, if St. Ronnie wasn't enough to convince them, Jesus certainly should be. How desperate can one person be for a scapegoat to allow the Bible to be rewritten to justify not helping the poor?

While you are being asked to hate the poor and imagine them sitting around having a lavish lifestyle, ask yourself how likely that really is. Realize, first, that many receiving aid are actually working. But they don't make enough money on their minimum wage job (the wage your representatives would like to eliminate altogether) to come anywhere near the poverty line. Ask yourself about the people you know who have fallen on hard times and needed assistance. Why do you allow them a pass? You don't know every family in America receiving aid. And you don't know what brought them to this place. No one aspires to end up on welfare. And no one wants to imagine continuing to have to give their children the lives welfare affords them.

Why not take a good ten minutes out of your desperate need to hold contempt for everyone you have been told to hate and quietly reflect as a human being why the politicians you support are asking you to hate the group who cost America a third of the amount lost annually by tax breaks offered to those who are meant to be stimulating our economy? And realize, you cannot condemn this economy that you attribute as a failure of President Obama, but then state that the economy is doing so well as to warrant tax breaks to those who are stimulating it so successfully.

Also, quietly ask yourself about the necessity of drug testing those receiving aid beyond the obvious profound waste of those taxpayer dollars you are always so mindful about. The basic tenet of this incredible belief system is that the poor should not be receiving federal dollars if those dollars are being used to buy drugs instead of feed their families. So the obvious first question is, "So the children won't get fed?" Which begs the question, "Wait. What is our objective?" If the answer to the first question is, "Fuck the children." Then the only response is, "Hello, we are asking ourselves the wrong question!" Kindly at least pretend to give a shit about someone other than yourselves and understand that those who are in need of aid are not your enemy. They did not create the system that left Americans with shitty wages and ever decreasing benefits. These are the people who have fallen through the cracks that your elected officials have created and have no intention of repairing. You helped create it. By condemning those with no power to fix the problem you are only enabling those who have created and are perpetuating the problem. That means YOU are the problem. Scott Walker is only the latest to join the circus of clowns who want to entertain and distract you instead of lead us all to a positive future.

Instead of criticizing those who have no means of defending themselves, maybe go demonize the politicians who think so little of your intelligence and capacity for critical thought that they asked you to get riled up about this in the first place. You are supporting those whose agenda is to only benefit the corporations who pay for their elections. They don't care about those of you who actually elect them. Wake up! When these corporations end up with the policies they want (those that will deregulate the means by which they run their corporations, are taxed and are responsible to their employees), Americans will be much poorer. Immediately. That includes you. Obviously none of you are well off (or well educated). You will be screwed. And the safety nets you rallied so hard to get rid of will be gone. And you will need them. And won't that just suck?


  1. Well said! But you made me cry. I'm so sad and so sorry for all the people who must suffer! And I'm so angry at the cruel people in power who cause this suffering! I don't know if my tears are of sadness, anger or just frustration. I do know that we all have to do our best to get rid of the Scott Walkers in power.

    1. Thank you Gretchen! I agree that it is not fair to make people suffer and then condemn them for doing it. And its sounds like you are very empathetic like I am. Sometimes I have to take a break from the news because the suffering of others really impacts me. And then, of course, frustration gets the best of me oftentimes, too :) Thank you and happy Monday.

  2. Thank you Angie. Did you write this and is that you and your daughter in the picture? If the answer is yes then I think you're a very gifted writer and we need you to do all you can!

    1. OH Thank you so much Charles! Yes that is my baby (a very long time ago, she is in college now). I like to try to bring something personal to writing whenever I can to help people relate to things they may not have had to personally experience. I thank you most sincerely for your compliments. I am going to keep plugging away and hope that I can give people some things to look at and new perspectives.

  3. By pitting the middle class against the poor, the wealthy are distracting the public from the major theft that is being committed by wealthy and their corporations.

    "Compassion is not weakness and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism."
    Hubert Humphrey

  4. Part I:
    Ronnie RayGun did not even KNOW about the woman in Chicago, when he came up with the "welfare queen" story! This is just another example of the republiKKKan'ts using the (Communists') "Big Lie", to rewrite "history" to their benefit! During his reelection campaign in 1968 and '69, he traveled around the Big Valley, speaking to groups of San Joaquin Valley farmers, who weren't too happy with his performance in Sacramento, searching for a catchphrase or theme that would connect with the sons and daughters of the Okies who'd come to California during the Dust Bowl Era and endured every misery known, just to have a chance in the Golden State. Food Stamps had come out two years earlier, and already, there were places where recipients could swap their stamps for liquor, or other items (the drug problem was not as widespread as today), so he started telling a story he'd made up, out of whole cloth, about a woman receiving aid and Food Stamps, who didn't really have a need, because she drove a "new Cadillac" to the Welfare Office.
    RayGun already had a reputation for opposing welfare, and had spoken out against Food Stamps, when the plan was under consideration. He had no compunction against selling out his fellow citizens, having already shown his true colors, as concerned the social welfare of others, when he "named names" as Communists, before the HUAC Committee in 1948. RayGun would be one of ONLY TWO members of the Hollywood community to do so; the other actor, and accuser, was Robert Taylor, who insisted on being subpoenaed, before he would appear. RayGun went willingly, though. Later, in 1959, in his second term as President of SAG, he presided over the "Great Giveaway", when he signed away residual rights for every actor who did not have a specific clause in his contract reserving them. RayGun's name was mud, and he was called to testify before Congress about his role in the mess. He lied to Congress, not once, but twice, when asked if he was a "Producer" (the credits for his last TV program, "Dust Valley Days" showed "Produced by Ronald Reagan", as he had insisted on, in his last contract negotiations!). This was just rehearsal for Iran-Gate, where he told equally false whoppers.

    Cont'd in Part II anarchitek

  5. Part II
    In return for buying his ranch at ten times its value (or more), Ronnie gave away state lands, to the developer pals of the men who'd financed his ascension to the Governor's Office, including beaches such as Malibu. In the early 1960's, there were only a few homes on Malibu Beach, built there during the 1930's, before any regulations had made it impossible. Suddenly, McMansions started springing up, despite all the State Public Lands agency could do to prevent them. According to the law, public access to the beaches had to be preserved, and no barriers could be erected, but those who "own" those expensive homes have caused the State of California nothing but headaches, in the 50 years since! They locked gates, built barriers, accosted those who tried to pass through, berating them for "trespassing". The State has spent a small fortune, trying to maintain a MINIMUM level of access to some of the state's most beautiful beaches, because a small number of millionaires believe they should be able to have it all to themselves.
    As Ronnie’s “story” began to get him applause and compliments for “telling it like it was”, he began to embellish the story, adding detail and making the fictitious woman out to be Hispanic, or Black, depending on the audience’s prejudices, and her crimes to be ever more egregious. RayGun KNEW he was lying through his teeth, but he never worried about it, so long as the story delivered the votes, and it did. He coasted to an easy re-election, despite the controversy over his “sale” (give-aways in anyone else’s language), and the burning of the Bank of America, in Isla Morada, seen as the result of his race-baiting, disrespect of students and the poor. Ronnie believed there was “no such thing as bad ink”, and knew he could spin whatever “bad” press he got, by appealing to his racist and greedy constituents, for “understanding” of the “real story”. A manipulative weasel of the worst sort, Ronnie RayGun never met a lie he couldn’t deliver, and would prove this point repeatedly, during his two terms in the White House. He was surprised by his defeat by Gerry Ford, the worst candidate for President ever, but he forgot that everyone didn’t automatically believe his every word, and lost his temper once too often, in the 1976 preliminary campaign. The sharks supporting him made sure those “rough edges” were sanded smooth, by the time he returned, in 1980.