I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

(Source: azspot)

Your Assumptions About Welfare Recipients Are Wrong | ThinkProgress

justinspoliticalcorner:

The stereotype of the low-income people enrolled in government programs is that they spend the money on frivolities and are unwise with their budgets. But the data proves otherwise. Families who receive public benefits such as housing assistance, welfare cash assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security Income (SSI) for the disabled or low-income elderly havemuch smaller spending budgets than those who don’t receive benefits and spend a bigger portion on the basics such as food, housing, and transportation, according to an analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On average, families who are enrolled in these public programs spend less than half of what families who aren’t enrolled spend. They also put a bigger percentage of that money toward food, housing, and transportation, devoting 77 percent of their budgets to these necessities compared to about 65 percent for other families. Meanwhile, they spend less, on average, on some things thought to be luxuries like eating out and entertainment. A family that doesn’t get public benefits spends 4.5 percent of its budget on “food away from home,” while a two-parent family who gets benefits spends 4 percent of its budget on eating out and a single parent spends 3.6 percent. “Food away from home spending was higher in both dollar amount and percent of total spending among families not receiving assistance,” the report notes. Families who don’t need assistance also spend more on entertainment in both dollar and percentage terms and devote more of their budgets to “other” expenses.

Families who receive benefits are also more likely to go without higher priced items like houses and cars. Just 3 percent of families who don’t get benefits went without a car, compared to nearly a quarter of those on the rolls. On average, a family that isn’t enrolled in public programs has about two cars, while a family that is enrolled has about one. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of families not receiving assistance are homeowners, while the opposite is true for families who do need the support: just about three-quarters are renters instead of homeowners.

And while the stereotype of the “welfare queen” is a woman who has more children to increase the benefits she gets from government programs, families who are enrolled look similar to those who aren’t. “Average family size was the same (3.7 persons), whether or not a family received assistance,” the report notes.

In reality, many of these benefits that families rely on are paltry and, worse, have recently shrunk. The value of benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), formerly known as welfare, have fallen so that their purchasing power is less than what it was in 1996 for the vast majority of recipients. A family of three that relies solely on TANF won’t be able to make market rent for a two-bedroom apartment and will live at just 50 percent of the poverty line, or $9,765 a year. Food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were reduced in November to an average of less than $1.40 a meal and more cuts are likely on their way after Congress agrees to a new farm bill. Housing assistance from the Section 8 rental voucher program got hammered by sequestration and local authorities had to rescind vouchers from those who had gotten off waiting lists, freeze the lists, and reduce the amount of rent each voucher would cover.

Still, these programs represent a vital lifeline. Government programs such as SNAP, SSI, housing assistance, cash assistance, and others kept millions out of poverty last year.

h/t: Bryce Covert at Think Progress Economy

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

Food Stamp Recipients Are About to See a Huge Cut in Benefits

newwavefeminism:

thepoliticalfreakshow:

:/

(Source: thepoliticalfreakshow)

intelligentchristianlady:

conorthebarbarian:

Because a deranged man needs a gun to kill his wife, right? Don’t believe me? The U.K.’s homicide rate hasn’t changed since guns were banned. You’re welcome.

Every little bit helps ;)

intelligentchristianlady:

conorthebarbarian:

Because a deranged man needs a gun to kill his wife, right? Don’t believe me? The U.K.’s homicide rate hasn’t changed since guns were banned. You’re welcome.

Every little bit helps ;)

One of the most popular ways people like to hate teenage girls is to complain about their “insane” crushes on boy band members. Now, let me fucking tell you something: those big dumb crushes are what helps a teenage girl develop her sexuality in a safe environment that she can control. In her world, she can listen to One Direction and hear all these songs about how great she is, and how much these cute non-threatening boys want to make her feel special. Why is this so important? Because no one is pushing them. There’s no fourteen year old boy shoving his clammy hands down your shirt without your consent. These fantasy boys are not convincing a girl to send naked pictures, only to show all their friends and call her a slut. In the fantasy land of boy bands, the girl has all the power. And we need to stop judging them for wanting to escape into that.

A passage from ‘Why I Fucking Love Teenage Girls (A Personal Essay From An Almost Adult)’ (via kissngluke)

(via fact-tory)


Calvin: If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.
Hobbes: How so?
Calvin: Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.

Calvin: If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.

Hobbes: How so?

Calvin: Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.

(Source: the-curious-stranger, via east-coast-thorough)

cinemagorgeous:

WHY EVERYTHING SUCKS

Craig Ferguson systematically lays out and destroys everything wrong with modern culture in 3 minutes time. So much wisdom here.

Much like his good friend Stephen Fry, Ferguson is a towering intellect underneath the clown mask of late-night entertainer that he wears.

(Source: cinemagorgeous, via silas216)

anexperimentallife:

And it’s not just New York. Actually, the people in this article are lucky; not all communities even have shelters for them to sleep in between shifts.
See, what advocates of “bootstrapping,” and those who think poor=lazy don’t understand is that the game has changed since we were kids. (And don’t even get me started on those who advocate doing away with the minimum wage.)
As the gap between worker and CEO compensation grows, working hard is increasingly often no longer enough to survive, let alone get ahead. Most of those now in power and spreading myths about the poor actually benefited from things like more highly-subsidized education—it’s no longer feasible for most people to work their way through college like it used to be, because once my generation got our nice taxpayer-subsidized degrees, we’ve worked hard to cut that option off for everyone else and make sure graduates now start out with crushing debt—and a lower income disparity between line-level workers and top executives.
They are even instituting drug testing for those on aid in many states, based on the myth that the poor are likely to be drug users, even though that drug testing has not saved one cent in aid, and has actually cost the state extra money. Read that as cost taxpayers extra money. The percentage of people on state aid testing positive for drugs is actually lower than that of the general populace. Let’s repeat that one point again: Drug testing has not saved one single cent, and has in fact cost more money.
The social programs that these people like to characterize as handouts were intended as a way for people to lift themselves up and make something of themselves, but they now punish anyone who actually tries to get out of the system by taking away all aid at the first sign of progress toward self-sufficiency—For instance, even if you manage to score a job and therefore have an income, if you try to save enough money to actually get into a decent home or purchase transportation, many states will completely cut off any and all aid. 
I am about as far from a “taker” as you can get. I’m a disabled veteran who has worked hard and paid into the system since I was fifteen years old, and even now that I’m on disability, I’m doing what I can to get OFF of disability. Like most poor people, and like most disabled people, I want to make my own way and help those less fortunate than myself. 
I repeat: I paid into these things since I was fifteen, the idea being that when or if I needed some of that back, it would be there for me. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this.
How am I working to get off of disability? By writing. And no, that’s not a pipe dream. Several award-winning and critically-acclaimed authors have told me I should be making a living doing it—But especially for someone with my issues, that requires a certain amount of stability, and although I’m making progress, it’s slow. 
One of the things that has held me back is that in addition to dealing with disabilities, I’ve also had to constantly live on the very edge of financial and medical disaster because so many politicians have sold the myth that the best thing to do with those in need is to keep them down instead of raising them up the way more civilized countries do—as in countries with robust social safety nets whose poor get out of the system and back on their feet much more quickly, because they’re actually provided with the resources to do so.
Speaking of resources, get this: When I was looking at imminent homelessness while waiting for my disability to come through, and asked for help to avoid homelessness, I was told there was nothing I could do except get put on a waiting list, but that to let them know when I was evicted, so that they could cut my aid because I would “no longer have the expense of rent.”
Yes, it may vary from state to state (I was in Kansas at the time), but that’s what we tell our poor and homeless in may cases. That they don’t need assistance because they don’t have to pay rent. In my case, I didn’t realize at the time that, as a veteran, I could go to the VA and ask for help, but not everyone has that resource, and I myself have only recently begun to claim some of the benefits I earned.
Oh, and that Social Security disability insurance I paid into for all those years? It took three years, two appeals, a judicial ruling, and an attorney to actually get my claim honored. Even then, instead of backdating it to when I applied, they were only willing to go back one year, not because of anything I had missed, but because that was when they finally got around to having one of their own doctors examine me to tell them what my own doctors had already confirmed. And even that backpay was reduced by 30% because of legal fees. 
It will take me another several years just to recover from the financial ruin of that waiting period. And I am far from alone in this. Every single person in the US, unless they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, is at risk of the same thing. It takes one accident, one medical emergency combined with a financial crisis, to put you right where I was, and no matter how hard you work at it, it can take decades to recover, if you manage it at all.

anexperimentallife:

And it’s not just New York. Actually, the people in this article are lucky; not all communities even have shelters for them to sleep in between shifts.

See, what advocates of “bootstrapping,” and those who think poor=lazy don’t understand is that the game has changed since we were kids. (And don’t even get me started on those who advocate doing away with the minimum wage.)

As the gap between worker and CEO compensation grows, working hard is increasingly often no longer enough to survive, let alone get ahead. Most of those now in power and spreading myths about the poor actually benefited from things like more highly-subsidized education—it’s no longer feasible for most people to work their way through college like it used to be, because once my generation got our nice taxpayer-subsidized degrees, we’ve worked hard to cut that option off for everyone else and make sure graduates now start out with crushing debt—and a lower income disparity between line-level workers and top executives.

They are even instituting drug testing for those on aid in many states, based on the myth that the poor are likely to be drug users, even though that drug testing has not saved one cent in aid, and has actually cost the state extra money. Read that as cost taxpayers extra money. The percentage of people on state aid testing positive for drugs is actually lower than that of the general populace. Let’s repeat that one point again: Drug testing has not saved one single cent, and has in fact cost more money.

The social programs that these people like to characterize as handouts were intended as a way for people to lift themselves up and make something of themselves, but they now punish anyone who actually tries to get out of the system by taking away all aid at the first sign of progress toward self-sufficiency—For instance, even if you manage to score a job and therefore have an income, if you try to save enough money to actually get into a decent home or purchase transportation, many states will completely cut off any and all aid.

I am about as far from a “taker” as you can get. I’m a disabled veteran who has worked hard and paid into the system since I was fifteen years old, and even now that I’m on disability, I’m doing what I can to get OFF of disability. Like most poor people, and like most disabled people, I want to make my own way and help those less fortunate than myself.

I repeat: I paid into these things since I was fifteen, the idea being that when or if I needed some of that back, it would be there for me. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this.

How am I working to get off of disability? By writing. And no, that’s not a pipe dream. Several award-winning and critically-acclaimed authors have told me I should be making a living doing it—But especially for someone with my issues, that requires a certain amount of stability, and although I’m making progress, it’s slow.

One of the things that has held me back is that in addition to dealing with disabilities, I’ve also had to constantly live on the very edge of financial and medical disaster because so many politicians have sold the myth that the best thing to do with those in need is to keep them down instead of raising them up the way more civilized countries do—as in countries with robust social safety nets whose poor get out of the system and back on their feet much more quickly, because they’re actually provided with the resources to do so.

Speaking of resources, get this: When I was looking at imminent homelessness while waiting for my disability to come through, and asked for help to avoid homelessness, I was told there was nothing I could do except get put on a waiting list, but that to let them know when I was evicted, so that they could cut my aid because I would “no longer have the expense of rent.”

Yes, it may vary from state to state (I was in Kansas at the time), but that’s what we tell our poor and homeless in may cases. That they don’t need assistance because they don’t have to pay rent. In my case, I didn’t realize at the time that, as a veteran, I could go to the VA and ask for help, but not everyone has that resource, and I myself have only recently begun to claim some of the benefits I earned.

Oh, and that Social Security disability insurance I paid into for all those years? It took three years, two appeals, a judicial ruling, and an attorney to actually get my claim honored. Even then, instead of backdating it to when I applied, they were only willing to go back one year, not because of anything I had missed, but because that was when they finally got around to having one of their own doctors examine me to tell them what my own doctors had already confirmed. And even that backpay was reduced by 30% because of legal fees.

It will take me another several years just to recover from the financial ruin of that waiting period. And I am far from alone in this. Every single person in the US, unless they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, is at risk of the same thing. It takes one accident, one medical emergency combined with a financial crisis, to put you right where I was, and no matter how hard you work at it, it can take decades to recover, if you manage it at all.

(via beaconwatch)