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Welfare Moms - Should we be supporting moms so they can stay at home with their children? - Page 19

post #361 of 792
Serenbat, I was actually laying awake last night thinking about this thread & I think perhaps I understand where you're coming from. I don't really get the combativeness etc. but maybe I get what you're trying to say?

I used to be solidly middle-class. We had enough money for a cheap apartment, we never had to worry about groceries, we could buy what we needed when we needed it, and we were able to save up a ton of money. We lived frugally, but more by choice than absolute necessity.

Now, we are lower-middle-class, teetering on the edge of lower-class (I hate that term BTW but I'm not sure what else to use). We don't make enough to cover our basic bills, but we make too much to qualify for assistance... and I think last time I checked, it was literally less than $50/month too much. It's a horrible place to be. Yes, in the end, someone on welfare may have a better financial picture than I do. Someone on welfare isn't having almost half their income go to medical costs.

So I don't know if the position you're in is similar to mine. If it is, I can understand a bit why you might feel angry & resentful. I don't feel this way, but I can understand why others might. I think there really is a hugely under-recognized issue with those in the lower-middle-class income bracket. There is support for the those who make much less money, and those who make much more money have a lot of wiggle room. Somewhere in the middle there are those still struggling to survive. I think it's especially apparent in HCOL areas, especially when many programs are based on federal standards. $1K/mo in TX will go a lot farther than $1K/mo in NY but there are only slight adjustments (if any) to the state's income guidelines.

So... am I on target at all?
post #362 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

All the divisions in our society between those who are struggling the most seem very similar to all the divisions between the kids in the lowest rungs of the social hierarchy in, say, a junior high school. The kids who are awkward and don't have their looks all together yet are actually much greater in number than the so-called beautiful people -- but they often want to distance themselves from their fellow-strugglers because to hang out with a bunch of "dorks" is to come to term with the reality that in this particular "world," they are also a "dork." The bullies really capitalize on the fact that they can single these "dorks" out one at a time and sometimes get other "dorks" to join in with the bullying.

I think that's what the "we are the 99%" slogan is all about --- shaking up that paradigm.


This is about money, and having a decent life, not looks or old high school feelings.
post #363 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

many seem to miss this part!

When you don't get any assistance, you choose to have children and take responsibility for them because you don't get assistance and have to do it on your own.

 

The problem is that you're thinking of this as money that goes to parents. I think of it as money that goes to children to keep them in their families. Children don't choose to be born, they can't be expected to "take responsibility," and they have urgent needs. If we don't provide well for them, we get bad results. (And in fact, we don't provide very well for them and we do get relatively bad results, compared to other wealthy countries.) 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

this isn't only it - we have state programs that continue to aid in housing, plus county food/housing assistance, WIC, CHIP and school lunch aid 

 

 

Yes, true. All are means-tested programs to keep low-income children from being homeless and hungry and from dying of preventable diseases. 

 

It's not that I don't get it. In fact, knowing what things were like before we had these programs, for example in the Great Depression, I think they are critical to our ability to grow as a society. Right now, our income level here determines our life expectancy. I do get it. I'm just repelled by this ideology of "I've got mine, Jack," and regarding children as belonging to other people. There is a good reason to do this through the government, and that is, it's been shown to work in every country where the government does it. 

post #364 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I think our feelings are just our feelings and don't need any defense at all. The problem comes in when someone doesn't know how to process those feelings in a healthy way and just starts striking out at other people. Those other people have feelings, too.

People strike out when their feelings are criticized.
post #365 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anca View Post

1. SAH for 1 year receiving 85% calculated from their average basic salary during those 12 months, which cannot be less than $180/month or more than  $1030/month (mothers who have earned more are not intitled to receive their 85% if it goes by that limit)....

 

...Oh and the children after 2 yrs old are entitled to receive around $13/month -it sounds like a joke but it's not. So here with this money you can buy two books or three pizza. 

 

Unfortunately, women with low education and low income are encouraged to have babies while women with higher education and higher income and especially middle class are discouraged to have more than 1 child. Families with 3 children are rare, especially in the educated and good income homes. 

From what you're saying, it sounds like the women with higher education and higher income are making well in excess of $1030 a month and therefore don't want to take that much of a cut in pay for very long. Presumably, they can also afford better child care options than the public day care that most poor mothers would be forced to rely on.

 

Since the poor stay-at-home mother would lose her monthly stipend after the first child turned 2, and wouldn't get it for any subsequent children unless she worked for 12 months prior to their births, it really sounds like it's the suboptimum day care -- and not the monthly stipend for that first baby -- that makes many of these women decide that it's preferable to just stay home and let those $13 payments gradually add up. Since each child has to turn 2 before they get another $13, it sounds like this must still a real struggle for most families.

 

I realize the extreme conservative view would be that all that help should just be taken away -- but it honestly makes more sense to improve the day care system and provide poor women with more education and training so they can earn better incomes. After all, the reason that most middle class women don't think it's "the bees knees" to keep having baby after baby is that they are used to bringing in more than 4x the poor women's salary and don't want to give up that lifestyle. What is the poor woman really giving up if she decides not to go back to work? It seems like she is actually gaining a tremendous sense of comfort in knowing that her children are well cared for.

 

The answer isn't to make life even more miserable for poor women, so that they'll feel like they really have no option but to leave their children in care they're uncomfortable with. The answer is to give them more tools to work with so they can actually start envisioning and working toward a better life.

post #366 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


This is about money, and having a decent life, not looks or old high school feelings.

 

Social status in middle school or high school is a lot like money in adult life, in that those with more of these things have more power to create a decent life for themselves in either situation. In both situations, most of the people at the top find it beneficial to band together and make their existences even more beautiful by working together and manipulating the social rules together.

 

In contrast, those at the bottom naturally don't like being at the bottom, and in many cases, they prefer to distance themselves from others in similar situations because they don't really want to admit, even to themselves, that this is where they are at in the hierarchy right now, and maybe forever (for a teenager, spending all your teen years at the bottom of the social ladder feels kind of like forever).

 

So while many in the lower rungs are looking for ways to prove to themselves and others that at least they're better than so-and-so, many at the top are enjoying one another's company and enjoying the perks of being in good with some the other powers that be.

 

I really do see a parallel between these two situations, because in both cases, many at the bottom experience a real sense of isolation due to the fact that so many in similar situations are just looking for someone else that they can feel superior to.

post #367 of 792
It seems that a lot of what's being said comes from knowing the problem in theory only. When you have lived in that zone where you don't qualify, yet skip meals so your child can eat with the heat on in the winter, and you see those with more money piling up deductions to avoid taxes, and others not working while receiving the assistance you can't have, THEN we can talk about this.

Some programs may be designed to be temporary, but people find ways to abuse them. It's a fact. I know someone who only works 2 days a week. Her child is in school. I don't know why she doesn't work 5 days, but I feel it is none of my business. She does get aid, including WIC. Should she?? Maybe. Maybe not.

The system is abused by some, though it is difficult to know for certain *who* is needy and who is abusing the system. The rules for who gets aid and who doesn't are not working! This is frustrating to some. If you are not frustrated, fine. But maybe you can try to understand the person who *is* frustrated, instead of telling her there's nothing to be frustrated about.
post #368 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

Social status in middle school or high school is a lot like money in adult life, in that those with more of these things have more power to create a decent life for themselves in either situation. In both situations, most of the people at the top find it beneficial to band together and make their existences even more beautiful by working together and manipulating the social rules together.

In contrast, those at the bottom naturally don't like being at the bottom, and in many cases, they prefer to distance themselves from others in similar situations because they don't really want to admit, even to themselves, that this is where they are at in the hierarchy right now, and maybe forever (for a teenager, spending all your teen years at the bottom of the social ladder feels kind of like forever).

So while many in the lower rungs are looking for ways to prove to themselves and others that at least they're better than so-and-so, many at the top are enjoying one another's company and enjoying the perks of being in good with some the other powers that be.

I really do see a parallel between these two situations, because in both cases, many at the bottom experience a real sense of isolation due to the fact that so many in similar situations are just looking for someone else that they can feel superior to.

And maybe you're feeling superior, yourself.

This is about struggling to make ends meet! Not feelings of being on the bottom rung!
post #369 of 792
Quote:
I really do not care one iota about forcing parents to be responsible.

 

Quote:
 Children don't choose to be born, they can't be expected to "take responsibility," and they have urgent needs.

 

IMO- since I have seen this - when parents don't take responsibility they also don't teach it - and YES I do know of children having children and they too are not taking responsibility 

 

 

 

Quote:
The system is abused by some, though it is difficult to know for certain *who* is needy and who is abusing the system. The rules for who gets aid and who doesn't are not working! This is frustrating to some. If you are not frustrated, fine. But maybe you can try to understand the person who *is* frustrated, instead of telling her there's nothing to be frustrated about.

yes and I too have seen personal accounts of people greatly abusing the system for year and years- I do know this is not rare as some may think it to be- it's very real

post #370 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

It seems that a lot of what's being said comes from knowing the problem in theory only. When you have lived in that zone where you don't qualify, yet skip meals so your child can eat with the heat on in the winter, and you see those with more money piling up deductions to avoid taxes, and others not working while receiving the assistance you can't have, THEN we can talk about this.

 

I think we can, and are, talking about it right now. To say that people can't come together and talk about things until they've all been in the exact same situations is just very isolating, because we're never all going to have the exact same lives.

 

Theories by themselves are certainly not enough, but theories are also humanity's way of organizing what we've learned about how to view and how to solve a particular problem, or a particular kind of problem. Being able to see common threads running through two different situations -- such as the social hierarchy in middle school and the socio-economic hierarchy in the larger society, can sometimes help us recognize a similar underlying dynamic in both situations.

post #371 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


And maybe you're feeling superior, yourself.

 

I'm not claiming that I'm perfect and that I never succumb to the temptation to look down on someone else. I just hope I'm getting better at recognizing when I'm starting to veer in that "smug" direction.

post #372 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

This is about struggling to make ends meet! Not feelings of being on the bottom rung!

 

Now I'm going to have to fight against my tendency to feel smug because I can see the parallel between "struggling to make ends meet" and "feelings of being on the bottom rung."

post #373 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I'm not claiming that I'm perfect and that I never succumb to the temptation to look down on someone else. I just hope I'm getting better at recognizing when I'm starting to veer in that "smug" direction.

This shows the lack of understanding. It is not "smug" to feel taken advantage of. It is not "smug" to feel frustrated.

Think about what you are reading. Please. Before responding. You are missing the point.
post #374 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

Now I'm going to have to fight against my tendency to feel smug because I can see the parallel between "struggling to make ends meet" and "feelings of being on the bottom rung."

Please fight, very hard.
post #375 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I think we can, and are, talking about it right now. To say that people can't come together and talk about things until they've all been in the exact same situations is just very isolating, because we're never all going to have the exact same lives.

Theories by themselves are certainly not enough, but theories are also humanity's way of organizing what we've learned about how to view and how to solve a particular problem, or a particular kind of problem. Being able to see common threads running through two different situations -- such as the social hierarchy in middle school and the socio-economic hierarchy in the larger society, can sometimes help us recognize a similar underlying dynamic in both situations.

We are *not* talking about this. You are preaching, without listening. There's a difference. The only "correct" response is to tell you that you are right. Why not agree to disagree and move on?
post #376 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


We are *not* talking about this. You are preaching, without listening. There's a difference. The only "correct" response is to tell you that you are right. Why not agree to disagree and move on?

are you saying her above response that you quoted is preaching?

 

because if you are i have to say i completely disagree with you.

 

mm brings up a very valid point. i mean the people who make the policies about this do not speak through experience. hopefully through research and probably through theories. 

 

it seems to me that those who oppose welfare are saying really that system should be abolished because the working poor cant get welfare because there is no equality in the system. THAT blows my mind. no one talks about reducing our defence budget or other measures. its about lets take it out on the poor just coz its easy to do. 

post #377 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

are you saying her above response that you quoted is preaching?

because if you are i have to say i completely disagree with you.

mm brings up a very valid point. i mean the people who make the policies about this do not speak through experience. hopefully through research and probably through theories. 

it seems to me that those who oppose welfare are saying really that system should be abolished because the working poor cant get welfare because there is no equality in the system. THAT blows my mind. no one talks about reducing our defence budget or other measures. its about lets take it out on the poor just coz its easy to do. 

Why do you assume that those who oppose an unfair system are wanting to throw children out in the street to be hungry, cold, and fending for themselves?

There is no way to discuss the problems if one side is insisting that everything is peachy! And that's what seems to be going on. Talking about middle school crap, and smugly telling us how not smug they are, is *not* a discussion.

To everyone who has criticized serenbat, I ask you this -- is the system perfect the way it is right now?

If your answer is "no", then you are in a position to understand the frustration some feel when they are denied assistance and see others abusing the system. It is this frustration that is being discussed! NOT should children be cast into the street.

And theory only gets you so far with understanding. Before I experienced the nausea of pregnancy, I knew about it in theory. Having experienced it, I can say with certainty -- I was clueless!!

Please think about what I just said before you respond.
post #378 of 792

I read a really good article a while back -- but I'm not sure I can link to it here, because it has a spiritual bent and this is not the spirituality forum. It talks about learning the difference between capitalism and truly free enterprise.

 

What I say below is mostly my own opinoins based on what I've learned from the article.

 

With capitalism, success depends on continuing to have a lower class that is willing to work for low wages. The success of some depends on not having everyone be successful, so those who've succeeded in the capitalist system have a strong interest in keeping the benefits they have by using their power to inhibit real free enterprise.

 

For example, we are now learning that it's really healthier to eat fresh, locally grown foods than to eat foods that need chemicals to keep them preserved while they're transported to us. If our economy were truly free enterprise, the healthiest option would also be the most economical. I mean, chemicals cost money, transport costs money, so why is it often cheaper to buy tomatoes or strawberries  from Mexico than it is to buy them from a local farmer? It's because we don't have free enterprise -- we have a capitalist system that's been engineered to keep the capital in the hands of big industry.

 

It should come as no surprise that many of the corporate powers feel threatened by the free exchange of information, ideas, and various kinds of products and services on the Internet. People can now easily learn about the real human and environmental costs of many of those cheap products, and many people are also finding ways to use their skills and knowledge to create a good income for themselves with little to no startup money.

 

I really believe the Internet will be key in helping us move from the confines of capitalism to a real land of free enterprise and opportunity for everyone. It won't happen overnight, but as it does, it will gradually change everyone's paradigm. Right now, it really goes against the grain for many of us to move out of the competitive mindset, because we're so used to a world of winners and losers, where we measure our success in terms of comparing ourselves to everyone else.

 

So I don't want to be devoid of compassion for that person who's looking to me as their point of comparison -- as that person who can enable them to say, "Well, at least I'm a better person and a better example to my kids than she is." Of course no one ever likes being scapegoated, but I know I've also done my own share of scapegoating throughout my life. This is where we're at now, but I think someday we'll all be able to like and respect each other, and not see anyone else as a barrier to our own success.


Edited by mammal_mama - 1/25/13 at 8:44am
post #379 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


We are *not* talking about this. You are preaching, without listening. There's a difference. The only "correct" response is to tell you that you are right. Why not agree to disagree and move on?

 

Why are you saying I'm not listening -- is it because I still don't agree with you and serenbat? Is the only "correct" response for me to tell you you're right?

 

As far as what you've said in at least one other post about the importance of experience, I think everyone on this thread has lots of experience with living their real lives. And actually, according to your line of reasoning, the only people "qualified" to criticize welfare recipients would be those who've actually been welfare recipients themselves.

 

And yeah, there's nothing wrong with two or more people agreeing to disagree on something, but that doesn't mean one party needs to shut up and "move on" while the other/s keep talking.

post #380 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

Why are you saying I'm not listening -- is it because I still don't agree with you and serenbat? Is the only "correct" response for me to tell you you're right?

As far as what you've said in at least one other post about the importance of experience, I think everyone on this thread has lots of experience with living their real lives. And actually, according to your line of reasoning, the only people "qualified" to criticize welfare recipients would be those who've actually been welfare recipients themselves.

And yeah, there's nothing wrong with two or more people agreeing to disagree on something, but that doesn't mean one party needs to shut up and "move on" while the other/s keep talking.

Agreeing to disagree means you don't take one more shot at the other person.

I urge you to reread what I've already written, as I must go now. Please think about it. I don't know when I can get back to this, but I'd like to hear that you understand what I've said, even if you disagree with it. Right now, it seems that you are not understanding.

I wish a pleasant day to all!
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