Welfare queens don't exist. Most informed adults have come to accept -- along with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny -- that the welfare queen (a term coined by Ronald Reagan in a 1976 presidential campaign speech) is a big ol' myth.
But a recent investigation of welfare recipients, conducted by reporter Chris Nagus of St. Louis KMOV Channel 4, has Missouri Sen. Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville) all hot and bothered. In a press release, she doesn't use the term "welfare queen" straight up, but her description of what she imagines is happening to the state's welfare dollars isn't that far from the fictional stereotype.
Let's take a journey through Ridgeway's nonsensical diatribe, shall we?
How many times have you been in line at the grocery store counting pennies to pay for imitation hamburger and off-brand pasta, only to see the person in front of you unload a cart full of steaks and then whip out a welfare EBT card to pay for it? It happens to me and I bet it happens to you as well.Hold up, Luann. What is "imitation hamburger"? Like, soy hamburger? The kind you'd buy at Whole Foods for, like, five times the price of regular beef? Lady, you're just making stuff up.
Over the course of one month, in Florida, Missouri welfare recipients spent $84,061 on food and withdrew $9,737 in cash from ATMs. In California, the month's totals were $69,672 for food and $7,818 in cash. In the biggest insult to taxpayers, during one month welfare recipients spent $2,737 for food and withdrew $175 ... in HAWAII!Yeah, Nagus' report unearthed some questionable expenditures on state-issued EBT cards. And Ridgeway's suggestion in this press release is reasonable, that "any transaction that takes place more than one state away [should be] red-flagged for inquiry."
There was a time when being on public assistance came with a stigma. Now the government goes out of its way to sign up more people. Where public welfare used to be a measure of last resort, it is now considered normal since that is what their parents did and what so many of their friends continue to do. Young unmarried women have actually been heard saying they want to have their baby before marriage as then the birth and maternal after-care will be "free."Really, Luann? Where have these loose hussies "actually been heard" saying these things? Next to you in line at the Smithville Dollar General? If that's the case, both you and those preggo freeloaders should probably read up on the state's measly offerings under the Temporary Assistance to Needy
Families program. Missouri's temporary monthly allocation to a nonworking mother is $292 a month -- for a family of
three. Maybe that's why Missouri ranks 49th out of 50 states for child-care assistance.
Given the state's job outlook, it hardly boggles the mind that so many Missourians might turn to state aid. Many of these folks -- who didn't earn a paycheck off taxpayer dollars when they were working, as Ridgeway does -- are taking aid because they were laid-off at some point during this crap-ass economic downturn. Now they're simply taking advantage of the same programs that their tax dollars supported when they were employed.
And without welfare programs, people would be a lot worse off. According to a recent study on New York's food-stamp and tax-benefit programs, because the government in New York went out of its way to sign up more people, the state prevented an estimated 250,000 New Yorkers from slipping below the federal poverty line.
So, yeah, Luann, some reforms are necessary. But before you start slashing aid to working families, consider doing a little light reading. That's what we're paying you to do.