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  1. #1
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    Default Living the good life off of government benefits

    We’ve all heard the line that America is becoming an entitlement society or welfare state, with half of U.S. households now receiving some type of government benefit.

    But a CBS 21 News investigation has taken that stat one step further to show you how much people are actually getting for free.

    http://www.whptv.com/mediacenter/loc...ideoid=3929917

    A few years ago, reporter Chris Papst worked with a single mom who had two children. She turned down a raise because she said the extra money would decrease her government benefits. It was hard to understand why she did that, until Chris started working on this story.

    “You do what you have to do as a single mom,” explained Kristina Cogan. “And that’s what I did.”

    For Kristina Cogan, a single mom of two, life has been a challenge. Ever since her divorce, she has struggled to simply give her kids what they need.

    So five years ago, she walked through the doors of the Department of Public Welfare and applied for welfare.

    “What was it like the first time you had to walk into that office?” we asked her.

    “It’s scary. You’re depending on other people,” Cogan replied.

    “What if that assistance wasn’t there for you?” we continued.

    “I don’t know what I would have done, I mean, it’s critical for a lot of people,” Cogan answered.

    So critical that Cogan is still collecting. The Lancaster native’s in nursing school and hopes to one day free herself from the system. But she admits living a life off the government can be comfortable.

    “If you’re going to get something for free, are you going to work for it?” Cogan explained. “It kind of like sucks you in. They feel like they are hopeless. They feel like they have no alternative.

    It’s not hard to see why. For this story, CBS 21 researched what government programs are available to a single mother of two making $19,000 a year. What we found was incredible.

    Our family would be eligible for $14,976 in free day care, another $13,400 for Head Start and Early Head Start, $7,148 in housing vouchers, $6,500 for weatherization projects, $400 to pay heating bills, $480 a year for a cell phone, with an extra $230 for a land line, and $182 in free legal advice.

    The family would get more than $6,028 in food assistance and another $6,045 in medical assistance. The mother is eligible for $5,500 in Pell Grants for school with an additional $12,000 for the Education Opportunity Grant; SMART Grant; and TEACH Grant.

    Our family would also get $6,800 in tax credits, and $1,900 in withholding would be returned.

    Add it up and this family can get $81,589 in free assistance.

    “This isn’t the American dream,” commented Matt Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation.

    Matt Brouillette is with the Commonwealth Foundation, a government watchdog group which emphasizes a safety net, not a safety hammock.

    “When there are taxpayer funded programs that could give you the equivalent lifestyle of a middle-class family, why would you have an incentive to go to work?” Brouillette questioned.

    Government figures show, Pennsylvania’s Welfare Department now takes up a whopping 43 percent of the state’s budget. That number is growing much faster than revenue.

    Brouillette admits in our hyper-politicized culture, meaningful reform is unlikely until there’s a financial crisis, which he says is coming.

    “It simply has to. We simply don’t have the money. The only way Congress works, the only way in which Harrisburg works is that we reach a crisis,” Brouillette stated. “So there’s going to have to be a reckoning.”

    “That assessment is probably pretty correct,” Alexander answered when we asked him if the system will likely only be corrected when it crashes.

    Alexander says it’s simple math that the current system cannot last. The state’s welfare budget has gone from growing 11 percent a year to seven. But he admits that’s just kicking the proverbial can down the road.

    “Financially we are heading for a cliff and we can’t afford it because we don’t have enough taxpayers,” Alexander stated.

    That has been Alexander’s focus, adding more taxpayers by diverting funds to job training and away from free stuff. But he says many necessary reforms can’t be made, due to regulations from Washington. Plus, the political desire isn’t there because we the people aren’t demanding it.

    “We need to look at what we’re spending right now and all the programs that we are offering in the same way you’ve done and we have to say what is absolutely necessary,” Alexander continued. “If we are not careful, the system will crash. And if it does crash, maybe we will finally wake up.”

    “I mean I don’t know what the answer is. I’m telling you there are more issues out there,” Cowan admitted.

    “But you think there is an answer?” we questioned her.

    Yeah. That’s what your stories about. We need to find it,” answered Cowan.

    The benefits we mentioned in this story are not the only ones available. They are just ones that a single mother of two make $19,000 could qualify for.

    Below, we itemized all the programs we used for this story, so you can see for yourself how we came to that huge number.
    __________________________________________________ _____

    Assistance Totals: Single Mom of two making $19,000

    Department of Welfare
    - LIHEAP: $400
    - Child Care: $14,976
    - Medical Assistance: $6,045 (includes Health Department and SCHIP)
    - Food $6,028 (SNAP, WIC: average $52.32 per person, school meal programs, Dept of Ag)

    HUD
    - Housing Voucher: $7,148

    Pennsylvania Utility Commission
    - Lifeline: landline ($30 for instillation and $200 interest free loan/yr) and cell phone with 200 min and 250 text and email ($480/yr)
    - PA Weatherization Assistance Program: Ave. $6,500/per household

    Department of Agriculture
    - Farmers Market Nutritional Program $20

    Department of Education lunch programs
    - National School Lunch Program ($5/day)
    - School Breakfast Program ($3/day)
    - Child and Adult Care Food Program ($5/day)
    - After School Snack Program ($2/day)
    - Summer Food Services Program ($5/day)
    - At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program ($5/day)

    Department of Health
    - Healthy Woman Program (free clinical breast examination, cervical cancer screenings, mammogram, pelvic examination, pap smear and follow up diagnostics to low income women): $1,245
    - Bureau of Community Health Immunization Program

    Department of Insurance
    - SCHIP (included in Medical Assistance)

    Legal Services Corporation
    - 2010 federal budget $420,000,000, assisted 2.3 million people in 2011: $182.61/person @ LSC.GOV

    Tax Breaks
    - Earned income tax credit: $4,800
    - Additional Child Tax Credit: $2000
    - Withholdings return on $0 taxable income: $1900

    Education
    - Pell Grant: Maximum $5,500
    - Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant: Grants up to $4,000 per year. - Students who have been awarded a Federal Pell Grant receive priority.
    - National SMART Grant: Maximum $4,000 (National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant: students in third or fourth year of college.)
    - Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: Max: $4,000 to be a teacher.

    Department of Education and Office of Childhood Development in DPW
    - Head Start: $6,700 per child/2009 in PA per HHS numbers
    - Early Head Start: $6,700 per child/2009 in PA per HHS numbers
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
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    That's a really insightful article, thanks for posting. Now, do you have any articles that talk about how the richest people make millions of dollars doing virtually nothing, except make money off of money?

    In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distrib...tion_of_wealth

    But that's okay because they are the "job creators."

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    And the top 1% also pays something like 90 percent of the taxes. Let me tell you if you have money these days its virtually impossible to make money off of it unless you put it at great risk.. Banks are giving basically 0 interest since 2008 and good bonds ( if that even exists anymore )pay crap more than the bank but if your consider 2-3 percent alot then your in fine shape.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  4. #4
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardv View Post
    And the top 1% also pays something like 90 percent of the taxes. Let me tell you if you have money these days its virtually impossible to make money off of it unless you put it at great risk.. Banks are giving basically 0 interest since 2008 and good bonds ( if that even exists anymore )pay crap more than the bank but if your consider 2-3 percent alot then your in fine shape.
    kind of unfair. You can find good preferred shares paying more 2-3% with no difficulty whatsoever

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardv View Post
    And the top 1% also pays something like 90 percent of the taxes. Let me tell you if you have money these days its virtually impossible to make money off of it unless you put it at great risk.. Banks are giving basically 0 interest since 2008 and good bonds ( if that even exists anymore )pay crap more than the bank but if your consider 2-3 percent alot then your in fine shape.
    I'm not too concerned about the plight of the top 1%. They are doing just fine. Fact is, the wealth in this country is concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people, and they keep getting richer and richer and everyone else is doing worse and worse. And there is always handwringing about "welfare queens" or whatever when that's not the real problem.

  6. #6
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSavage View Post
    That's a really insightful article, thanks for posting. Now, do you have any articles that talk about how the richest people make millions of dollars doing virtually nothing, except make money off of money?

    In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distrib...tion_of_wealth

    But that's okay because they are the "job creators."
    how is making money off money doing nothing? Do you have any savings? When you invest that money in a fund are you not expecting it to make you money? Is the risk of losing that money not worth something?

  7. #7
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSavage View Post
    I'm not too concerned about the plight of the top 1%. They are doing just fine. Fact is, the wealth in this country is concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people, and they keep getting richer and richer and everyone else is doing worse and worse. And there is always handwringing about "welfare queens" or whatever when that's not the real problem.
    both are part of the problem.

  8. #8
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSavage View Post
    That's a really insightful article, thanks for posting. Now, do you have any articles that talk about how the richest people make millions of dollars doing virtually nothing, except make money off of money?

    In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distrib...tion_of_wealth

    But that's okay because they are the "job creators."
    No, but just go to any LIB site and you will find all that you are looking for.
    It is what it is

    I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said

    I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSavage View Post
    I'm not too concerned about the plight of the top 1%. They are doing just fine. Fact is, the wealth in this country is concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people, and they keep getting richer and richer and everyone else is doing worse and worse. And there is always handwringing about "welfare queens" or whatever when that's not the real problem.
    Don't forget the loopholes that the top 1% who pay 90% of the taxes in this country get to take advantage of. Part of the privilege of being "job creators".

    http://m.cnbc.com//id/100465000/Face...in_2012_Report

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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    how is making money off money doing nothing? Do you have any savings? When you invest that money in a fund are you not expecting it to make you money? Is the risk of losing that money not worth something?
    Inheriting a fortune, investing it, making more money=Doing nothing.

    Working 9-5 (or more)=Doing something.

    Of course people should be able to leave money for their kids. There are rich people and poor people, and the wealthy will leave their wealth to their kids. That's not fair but that's how it is. My problem is that the rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer, and instead of getting upset about that, people pick on the poor who are just trying to get by. Yes, impoverished people receive government aide. Are there examples of abuse? Sure. In general is it money well spent? Yes.

    Yes, some people come from humble beginnings and achieve great success and do very well for themselves. That's great and those people deserve praise. But for a lot of people, "The American Dream" is out of reach. The belief that "you can do anything if you put your mind to it" is false. Some people need this help.

    Why pick on the poor? Instead, why not get upset about spending millions of dollars on bases in South Korea? Why not get upset about three trillion dollars wasted on invading and occupying Iraq?
    Last edited by FredSavage; 02.25.13 at 06:31 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredSavage View Post
    Inheriting money, investing it, making more money=Doing nothing.

    Working 9-5 (or more)=Doing something.

    Yes, some people come from humble beginnings and achieve great success and do very well for themselves. That's great and those people deserve praise. But for a lot of people, "The American Dream" is out of reach. The belief that "you can do anything if you put your mind to it" is false.
    What is the "American Dream"? I thought (and again I come from the perspective of an outsider) is that someone could come to your country from a shitty place and work their asses off and be able to do far better than they could of from their homeland. We have a similar kind of layout here. Is that really out of reach?

    Also when one inherits money, that's money that was earned by someone who did SOMETHING. do you think all that money should just disappear once the earner dies? Should that person's kids or grandkids just set the money on fire? I'm really confused as to what your point is here.

  12. #12
    Outta Space Cowboy Scotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    Is that really out of reach?
    It's not.

    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    I'm really confused as to what your point is here.
    He resents people who make money with money.

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    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty View Post
    He resents people who make money with money.
    hate to tell him, but without those people you have no economy.

    Not that there isn't an issue with the current income disribution in many parts of the western world. And don't get me starting on the rate of pay for CEOs in the states but people need to earn money on investments or you'll have a complete breakdown of the world economy (and that's kind of like really important).

  14. #14
    Outta Space Cowboy Scotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    hate to tell him, but without those people you have no economy.

    Not that there isn't an issue with the current income disribution in many parts of the western world. And don't get me starting on the rate of pay for CEOs in the states but people need to earn money on investments or you'll have a complete breakdown of the world economy (and that's kind of like really important).
    You should be the CEO of Canada.

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    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    My moms people came from Ireland in the 1840s my dads people were Jews who came from Latvia in the 1890s. My family either farmed(Moms side) or did manual labor for over a hundred years. Somehow, my parents either via luck or Gods grace, hard work, whichever you prefer they started to collect some wealth in the 1970s and 80s. Mostly from good paying BLUE COLLAR jobs, investments made on Wall Street, and CDs paying 10%. That money was taxed first as income,then as capital gains,and then as death taxes. Then I inherit whats left and put it in similar instruments and start paying taxes and fees all over again. I work 40 hours a week since 1980 and partime since 1973. The OLD ways did work but the results took time and sweat. Now the system is broke because we deviated from the course. The blame is not to be put on one party, or one group of politicans, or media. But its fricking broke. To fix it is very simple but as a society we are gridlocked on so many issues.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

 

 

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