Say the word and millions of people conjure up images of Black people instead of White people. When people hear that word, the first image that comes to mind is of Ronald Reagan’s vicious insult known as “Welfare Queen.”
Everyone by now knows the tired, old, worn-out retread of racist/sexist imagery:
-the Cadillac-driving-has six children-getting rich and livin’ large welfare queen as created by Reagan during his 1976 presidential campaign to win votes.
Welfare is a society issue that should be faced with reality and not racist hatred. Welfare programs of all types were created as relief programs to help down-on-their-luck Americans through destitute times until they could obtain, or regain, a better economic position in their lives.
There are many types of welfare: Social Security, AFDC, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. But, many people prefer to put a Black face on welfare, instead of a White face.
The majority of Americans who receive welfare checks are not Black. The majority of those who receive welfare checks are White people.
Whites receive the lion’s share of welfare benefits, and they benefit in many ways at the expense of Black Americans.
Social Security is the nation’s largest welfare program, although many Whites prefer to call it a retirement plan. What millions of Black Americans pay into the system ends up going to Whites who retire and Social Security is the biggest type of welfare. Some 61 percent of welfare recipients are White, while 33 percent are Black, according to 2000 Census Bureau statistics:
As a form of social welfare, social security encompasses the present working generation to work, have a salary, and pay taxes into the social security system to take care of the preceding generation. In addition, those working now also pay for future generations, since Social Security covers current worker’s payroll taxes which go into the Social Security Trust Funds —a bank account for current and future beneficiaries who earned their benefits by paying into the system when they worked, as seen here and here.
Therefore, todays Baby Boomers by their working have paid for the elderly and retired “WWII Generation” to receive pension and retirement benefits from social security, as well as disability benefits. For the Baby Boomers, the following “Gen X” group will pay into the social security system for the Boomers, and so on, and so on, and so on.
So, the money that I am paying into social security is not just mine, but, is being paid into the system as a set-aside for the preceding generation, in this case, my parents, other senior citizen relatives and everyone else’s elderly relatives, well as future generations. Those who come after me and others of my age group who may one day reach retirement/elderly age, that group (Gen X) pays for the Baby Boomers. Keep in mind, the less successive generations work and pay into the social security system, the less money there may be there for those retiring.
The baby boomers, the large number of people born between 1946 and 1964, will be retiring starting around 2008. Today, there are three workers for every beneficiary; by the year 2030, there will be two workers for every beneficiary. Based on current economic assumption, during the second decade of the next century benefit payments will exceed tax revenues and Social Security will have to redeem its trust fund reserves to meet its obligations. This means selling the securities it holds back to the government. To pay for them, the government would need to raise general taxes or sell new long-term securities in the private market. To meet the cost of the baby boom’s retirement, Social Security will have to be strengthened.”
The government writes retirement and disability benefit checks to 35.4 million recipients of whom 88.7 percent are White and 9.6 percent are Black. The reason behind this shocking disparity is perhaps the most lamentable of all: The life expectancy rate for Blacks is six times shorter than that of Whites, meaning Black workers spend years paying into a retirement system only to have White retirees reap the benefits for a longer time; Black Americans do not even get to receive so much from what they have worked hard to pay into the system of welfare; even there they are stomped on and gutted by this society/country/government. Social Security’s Bad Deal for Blacks has definitely taken its toll.
Because of the disparity of the health care industry, millions of Blacks suffer through poor health care, lack of medical insurance that is affordable for them to obtain the most basic of health care, and living environments that damage their health, i.e., hazardous waste facilities, garbage dump sites, polluted waste receptacle areas for contaminants (used motor oils, used and discarded batteries), chemical run-offs from factories that dump their spent chemicals into the rivers, lakes and streams that contaminate and leach into ground water.
Coupled with poor health, and lack of adequate health care, and suffering from the effects of the ravages of economic racism, it is no wonder that millions of Black Americans live less than whites, die sooner than whites, and do not reap the benefits of money they paid into a system that so stingily and grudgingly doles out pennies for all the money they have paid into such a system. It is no wonder that Blacks die before they get a chance to realize any of their social security and supplemental benefits.
Black Americans outnumber Whites on certain types of welfare, but, are Blacks getting what they paid into the system? No. The federal government defines welfare as all entitlement programs funded through taxes. These programs, listed as “direct benefit payments for individuals” by the Office of Management and Budget, make up approximately $730 billion or 43 percent of the $1.47 trillion the government will spend this fiscal year. Welfare critics rarely search the Social Security rolls for “welfare cheats,” but train their sights on people getting various social programs. . . .
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
. . . .the relief programs with the most Black clients. Yet government figures show that Whites not Blacks make up the bulk of clients on these public aid programs; a fact that dispels the notion that Blacks are scheming for a free lunch courtesy of the American taxpayer.
Program Recipients Black White
Social Security (1)
Retirement insurance 26 Million 7.7% 90.4%
Disability insurance 3.7 Million 18.3% 79.3%
Survivor’s benefits 1.8 Million 24% 72%
Widow’s benefits 4.9 Million 9% 90.1%
Security Income 5.8 Million 26% 48.2%
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (2)
3.8 Million 39.2% 55.2%
Medicare 37 Million 8.1% 88% (3)
Medicaid 33.4 Million 25.1% 46.1% (4)
Food Stamps 27.5 Million 34.9% 42.3% (5)
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Program (6)
5.8 Million 27.8% 44.3%
National Student Lunch Program (7)
44.5 Million 17% 75%
Veterans’ Benefits 26 Million 8.0% 86.4% 8
Housing Subsidies 4.7 Million 40% 46% (9)
This type of welfare is mostly unknown to many citizens unless they are a veteran from any of the branches of the U.S. military. This type of welfare gives preferential consideration to veterans when applying for government jobs. Mostly this is seen at federal facilities (Veterans Hospitals, for instance). If a non-veteran goes to apply for a job, and there is a veteran preference stipulation noted in the job requirement, then that citizen will not get the job preference. The veteran will.
Many people snot and cry about the numbers of Black people who receive some types of welfare, with Blacks receiving 33% welfare types in relation to their 12% of the U.S. population. But racism is at the heart of the standard-of-living gap between Blacks and Whites.
Still unlawful race-based hiring practices, keep many Blacks from getting jobs that pay enough to lift them out of poverty. Until more blue-collar (and white-collar jobs), open up to Black workers, Blacks will continue to battle poverty and the freeloader misconception will continue to lodge as residue in the non-Black American mind. As long as Blacks continue to face substandard education, systematic racism, urban warfare and limited paths leading up and out of poverty, the rest of America will find it easy to hate on Black’s suffering in this country——until it hits home.
With the dying and sputtering economy, with more Whites losing ground in the failing recession/depression economy, with more Whites losing jobs and finding themselves on the unemployment lines, this society is going to have to find another scapegoat to blame the failing economy on, as opposed to the constant need to blame inner city people (read: black people) for this nation’s savage policies of economic destruction.
People (with intelligent, lucid brains) only need to look at the White families streaming into welfare offices in rural New Hampshire for proof that poverty has more to do with economics than race.
The once thriving state has seen an 88 percent jump in welfare cases since 1989, yet the state’s Black population is a meager 0.6 percent.
Now, how do you explain all those hard-working Whites ending up on welfare, since to millions of non-Black Americans a welfare recipient can only be Black?
All across America, there is proof that you can have the best job in the world: but, get cut from a company looking to keep its profits up at the expense of its employees, a company with its eye on the bottom line—-, then YOU will find yourself out of a job, living a paycheck away from homelessness, falling behind on the mortgage, falling behind on car payments, unable to feed/clothe your children, having to decide between medicine, hospitalization, OR food—–or worse, having to get on WELFARE—-no matter what race you hail from.
But, don’t worry. . . .
. . . .millions of Whites will soon be where so many Blacks are now.
Millions of them are already there.
That’s what those of us all get for blind obedience to a government that cares nothing for us all, as well as practicing race hatred instead of communal help towards each other.
National School Lunch Program
People don’t consider the National School Lunch Program, which feeds millions of low-income school children as part of the welfare system. But it is and, again, Whites are the primary beneficiaries. Compared to the 17 percent of recipients who were Black, 75 percent of the children receiving reduced or free lunches are White.
The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, by President Harry Truman in 1946. The NSLP is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.
Whites receive the majority of food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare assistance, housing subsidies and veterans’ benefits provided by the government.
Housing Subsidies for Home Ownership
The author thanks the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Ford Foundation for supporting the Opportunity and Ownership Project.
Corporate Welfare Queens
Also fitting the definition of welfare are the corporate subsidy programs that are funded with federal tax dollars. It’s been estimated that Congress funds more than 125 programs that subsidize private businesses, the overwhelming majority of which are White-owned and operated, say experts, at a cost of more than $85 billion annually.
-Corporations (such as the Big 3, Chase Bank, Bank of America, Citicorp, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, AIG, etc.) who despite their millions of bonuses, and high salaries, still manage to pig-suck billions of dollars from a government that only slaps them on the hand for company mismanagement and pathetic business procedures, while that same country/government runs into the ground its citizens who are just barely getting by on subsistence poverty wages.
-Wal-Mart, a big beneficiary of welfare:
Welfare payments to timber corporations:
Even when they are losing millions, the America government still keeps shoveling subsidy monies out to inept companies.
Corporate welfare TIF (tax increment financing) allows governments to give money, in the form of property tax exemptions, to whatever private corporations they choose. Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, in theory, is a public financing method which has been used for redevelopment and community improvement projects in many countries including the United States for more than 50 years. Over the years, it has become a hog trough for affluent towns, suburbs and big business to fatten themselves at the expense of blighted communities for whom this tax subsidy was originally created for.
Now, how many citizens can say that they have received such breaks from their government?
Other forms of corporate welfare: include the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP); FDIC Temporary Liquidity Guarantees (TLG); the Targeted
Investment Program (TIP); and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF) , to name a few. Yes, it helps to be big business when you want a hand-out from the government. Talk about welfare cheats. Big business wrote the book on how to be a successful welfare cheat.
“Tax Increment Financing A Bad Bargain For Tax Payers”: http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/articles/2006/tax_increment_financing.php
When a corporation does build in an area under TIF, it often takes its factories/businesses to predominantly White areas, and not to predominantly Black areas. Such was the case with the Honda plant built in Greensburg, Indiana. If it means helping Blacks, economically, socially, etc., there is no way a plant or factory would be built in a mostly Black community. No. Better to give jobs, schools, sidewalks, paved roads, public utilities, etc. to non-blacks. Then again, that’s the way America the free and beautiful has always been towards her Black citizens.
These particular programs were supposed to get people off the welfare rolls, but this feeble attempt at “getting rid of welfare as we know it”, has caused more harm and grief than it is worth; many of the jobs set aside on this program are nothing more than dead-end, service-oriented, going-no-where jobs. Jobs which in no way increase a person’s skills and raise their economic standing. Take the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (which replaced AFDC and proposed TANF as its replacement), passed on August 22, 1996, signed under the administration of then President Bill Clinton. This act mandated that single mothers who received welfare find paid work; this act even had the nerve to encourage them to marry; and it limited their time on welfare aid to a lifetime maximum of five years. Some states have even shorter time/term limits. PRWORA in effect treated the inability to work as a personal and immoral fault of the person, and implied and stressed that women are better off with men (which is the opposite of the original welfare system/concept which in the 1930s-1960s, which stressed that men in the family had to be non-existent….or leave altogether). Welfare reform never succeeded in reducing poverty and unemployment, something welfare reform was never intended to do. If this country really wants to see less Americans on any type of welfare, citizens should call out their state and local representatives to institute better education/curriculums in schools; better education, better jobs; better jobs, better skills; better skills, more opportunities in life, therefore, less dependency on any kind of welfare. The citizens of this country should be calling their representatives out on the carpet to overhaul the present welfare system, so that it would provide the safety net for all citizens that it was intended for; to institute more humane welfare reform that truly helps all citizens.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ193/content-detail.html
See also, “Welfare Reform’s Impact On the Public Housing Program”: http://www.huduser.org/publications/pubasst/welfare/intro.html
The poverty rate has more to do with the economy than the availability of assistance for poor people. No matter what race those poor people come in.
Therefore, there is no typical Black citizen who is a typical welfare recipient. As for a typical black person. . . .
In answering, I would say a typical Black is a person who does the following:
-works hard (usually twice as hard) to get a job;
-has a strong work ethic;
-is a good team worker on the job;
-can be counted on to work with minimal supervision;
-arrives to work on time;
-does not break the law;
-is a productive member of society
Those are the typical qualities of being a citizen of this country, who happens to be Black.
In this country, legalized Jane Crow segregation has been eradicated, but, unfortunately, only on paper; obviously not from people’s hearts and minds. Economic, social and residential segregation continue to reign supreme with destructive effects on the lives of millions of Black citizens.
America no more wants to see Black Americans survive and thrive than it wants to see us excel and improve our living and social conditions.
America wants—no, needs a permanent underclass, faces at the bottom of the well, to keep its white supremacy and racism going, and what better way to do that in the scapegoating of Blacks on the sacrificial altar of defilement and denigration of our humanity, even in social programs that all were originally created to benefit all Americans.
Heaven forbid that non-Black America finally come to terms with its still present-day racism against Black Americans.
Heaven forbid that Black Americans are given respect as citizens of this country; heaven forbid that our humanity is respected; heaven forbid that we are not maltreated as less than a White person just because of the color of our skin.
Heaven forbid that Black women no longer are paid $0.67 cents for every $1.00 that a White man makes.
Heaven forbid that America ceases its relentless stereotyping and maligning of her Black citizens.
Heaven forbid that America finally grows a backbone and cease it mentally challenged disrespect of us as the perpetual picture of a welfare recipient who racks up huge benefits that make us super-rich.
Heaven forbid that non-blacks cease their belief in the lies and myths that only a Black face should come to mind when the word welfare is mentioned.
Public policy issues like welfare have been racially charged for decades. The negative animus assigned to blackness and the positive aura assigned to whiteness keeps the animosity and racial antipathy fueled against any progress and benefits that millions of Black Americans (and all other Americans) should rightfully lay claim to. By denigrating Black Americans as super receivers of welfare, this nation’s government does harm not only to those Blacks receiving some types of welfare, they also undermine and attack Whites, Latinos, Asians, etc., who receive welfare. By hating on Blacks, the naysayers against welfare are inadvertently hating on all other Americans who receive welfare as well. The time is way past for this country/government/society to cease its nasty depiction of only Blacks as receiving welfare. To cease its attacks that welfare is received by people who don’t work, people who don’t care, people who don’t try, people who are lazy. Many people on welfare are there because they need it, and often forgotten are the innocent children who receive welfare benefits, via their parent’s use of types of welfare. So, are the little innocent children to suffer because so many would rather see them starve and suffer dire health consequences because so many vicious people have the belief that ONLY adults receive welfare, and that children do not and should not? What, kick the little ones to the curb because their parents had to use welfare to keep the family from going completely under? Such a hatred is cruelty of the most miserable and miserly kind, especially to the little children who do not write nor institute government welfare programs of any kind. By hurting and castigating Blacks, this country castigates Whites and others as well for receiving welfare, and that helps no one where the receiving of welfare is concerned. The changes that would occur if the punitive disparaging indifference of welfare misapplication was done away with, the assumptions of communicative rationality and a system of social justice, if it existed, that recognizes difference and disadvantage, and a system that faces the facts that a definition of justice that recognized the structural roots of poverty were used in the policy design of welfare reform programs occurred, would be phenomenal. But, rationality and justice are a long way off in the present welfare system this country operates on.
That so many prefer to see any kind of government program that is funded by all of our federal tax dollars as a having a racial stigma attached to it is demeaning, callous and the height of utter disregard for anyone’s humanity, no matter what their race. Those who rail the most against welfare (and often cannot name even one type of welfare program if you asked them), often sing a different tune when they find themselves needing the helping hand of welfare.
Black citizens are not strangers to hard work.
Hell, we have been doing it since 1619, and before. Still are.
And Whites do not own a monopoly on hard work.
Neither is it freeloading to obtain from a system what you have paid into it.
High time that the rest of America faced up to that fact.
1. Social Security: http://www.ssa.gov/
2. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), now known as TANF:
Program reauthorized under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
3. Medicare: http://www.medicare.gov/
4. Medicaid: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicaid.asp; also CHIPS (State Children’s Health Care)
5. Food Stamps: http://www.fns.usda.gov/FSP/
6. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Program: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/
7. National Student School Lunch Program: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/
9. Housing Subsidies: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/fhahistory.cfm
The Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and meet certain other eligibility requirements.
11. Federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest. To obtain the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction