Brave New Welfare
March 16, 2009 3:54 AM   Subscribe

"Lies about surgical sterility requirements. Questions about their sex lives. Outright threats. Here's what faces families in Georgia when their luck runs out."
posted by Pope Guilty (91 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow.

At least I can still boast I'm from the greatest country in the world, right?
right?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:04 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This may be the most depressing article I've read this year.
posted by crataegus at 4:06 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is the second article I've read today that fully confirms my anti-capitalism. Of course, the other one was about how hard it is for moot to get a job and keep 4chan running, but still...
posted by cthuljew at 4:23 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just saw a "Pregnant, we can help!" sign while driving around today, and was wondering if that help lasts for any length of time beyond the window in which an abortion is possible. Most of the Google searches on that phrase seem to link to anti-abortion religious groups. Some try unsuccessfully to be cryptic about it.

The last way in which Plan B® may work is a little more complicated. Conception or fertilization is the term used when the sperm joins the egg. When this happens, human life has begun. The embryo moves through the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus about a week later. If Plan B® is taken after an egg has been fertilized it may not allow the embryo to implant in the uterus. This would be a very early abortion.

How do you feel about abortion? We’re here to listen.

posted by BrotherCaine at 4:27 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I'm sure that all the pro-life filth actually cares about is making sure white males stay at the top, because the conservative ones are insecure little fucks who think the idea of women and people of different ethnicities being equal to them is somehow radical.

I'd like to cut their balls off. Each and every one.
posted by kldickson at 4:35 AM on March 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the article, Pope Guilty. I'd say it was a great article, and it is well-written, but given the subject matter... just... thanks.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:40 AM on March 16, 2009


people who live well below the poverty line and are neither working nor receiving cash benefits like Social Security disability or tanf. Estimates put this group at roughly 2 million women caring for 4 million children, many dealing with a host of challenges from mental illness to domestic violence. "We don't really know how they survive," says Blank.

Isn't that like 1 in 50 Americans?
posted by Mitheral at 4:40 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


kldickson That sort of sounds like parody. There were once people who literally thought like that. Nowadays, most of the “pro-life filth” simply doesn't realize that that's what they're doing.
posted by cthuljew at 4:41 AM on March 16, 2009


Isn't that like 1 in 50 Americans?

CIA world fact book has the July 2008 population estimate at 303 million, so yes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:43 AM on March 16, 2009


It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm tired and I realized, whoa, that does sound a bit like parody. I perhaps should have phrased that differently.

But it is true that nearly every pro-life retard I've met doesn't have the capability to really think about the consequences of what would happen if abortions stopped happening. And it is true that I'd like to see every pro-life man hang by his balls until they snapped off.
posted by kldickson at 4:44 AM on March 16, 2009


So the solution is to kill a baby?

We can be much better than that, don't you think? Besides, the woman in the article-I'm pretty sure she'd still be in dire straits whether or not she had that child-and that child right now is the light of her life. Again, I think we can offer that woman more than just sucking her child down a clinic sink.

This speaks not just to the horrendous system in this country but also to the horrendous situation many mentally ill people find themselves in. Heartbreaking.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:00 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


This speaks not just to the horrendous system in this country but also to the horrendous situation many mentally ill people find themselves in.

You don't get to be a Reagan fan and have a problem with this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:10 AM on March 16, 2009 [32 favorites]


I remember some graffiti on a railway bridge:
"FIRST THE GOOD NEWS: REAGAN'S BEEN SHOT
NOW THE BAD NEWS: HE'S STILL ALIVE."
posted by dunkadunc at 5:15 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


What are people supposed to do if they can't find work? Don't they receive a welfare payment that brings their standard of living to just below the poverty line? I really don't understand. If these people have no income, and no job, the only answer is crime, and that costs the community so much more.

I don't think this story is about the benefits or disadvantages of abortion, and to go down the track would be to miss the tragedy here. There are no safe options for many destitute people. I don't know what they're supposed to do, to fix their lives, to provide a safe living environment for their children. As a community, how can we be satisfied with this?
posted by b33j at 5:15 AM on March 16, 2009


What a wrenching article. It filled me with rage towards the caseworkers who lie to and manipulate desperate people who have nowhere else to turn, and their asshole administrators who encourage it. The way to reduce welfare rolls is to help people become self-sufficient, not deny them any help at all so that they are forced to turn to crime or stay in abusive relationships or take other measures that will only perpetuate the cycle for their children.
posted by orange swan at 5:17 AM on March 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


And the account of what Letorrea Clark suffered as a child made me realize afresh how important it is for me to adopt a child. If I can give just one child a good home and decent preparation for life, I'll have earned my own place on the planet.
posted by orange swan at 5:21 AM on March 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


What are people supposed to do if they can't find work? Don't they receive a welfare payment that brings their standard of living to just below the poverty line?

Ideally, yes. In practice, there are an awful lot of people who rather like the idea that if you don't work (the idea that anybody could ever actually be unable to find work is foreign to them), you starve.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:22 AM on March 16, 2009


I hated Herzog with the proverbial heat of a thousand suns. But it does have this line: Let the the enemies of life step down.

Not "Let them be castrated" or "Let them be assassinated". Just: let them step down.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:23 AM on March 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


The way to reduce welfare rolls is to help people become self-sufficient, not deny them any help at all so that they are forced to turn to crime or stay in abusive relationships or take other measures that will only perpetuate the cycle for their children.

The idea that the conservative true believers have is that cash benefits devalue work and cause people not to become self-sufficient. They don't get the T or the F part of TANF.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:24 AM on March 16, 2009


As welfare officials go, B.J. Walker is something of a rock star. Appointed commissioner of Georgia's Department of Human Resources in 2004, Walker quickly became famous for her push to get virtually every adult off the state's public assistance rolls. By 2006, the state claimed Walker's agency had produced an astounding increase in the work participation rate of its tanf recipients, which in four years had jumped from 8 percent to nearly 70 percent.
...
So how did Georgia put all those welfare moms to work? It didn't. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Liz Schott explained in a 2007 paper, "the increased work participation rate is primarily a factor of fewer families receiving assistance."
Ah the bush administration. Is there any statistical fraud they won't stoop to in order to make themselves look good?
What are people supposed to do if they can't find work? Don't they receive a welfare payment that brings their standard of living to just below the poverty line? I really don't understand.
What? The whole point of the article is that for many of them, the answer is no, they do not recive a welfare payment. Don't you remember Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare reform? The one that ended "welfare as we know it"?
posted by delmoi at 5:29 AM on March 16, 2009


I don't think this story is about the benefits or disadvantages of abortion, and to go down the track would be to miss the tragedy here. There are no safe options for many destitute people. I don't know what they're supposed to do, to fix their lives, to provide a safe living environment for their children. As a community, how can we be satisfied with this?

I don't think anyone is saying that she should have aborted the child, but rather that it's hypocritical for a state run by these pro-life republicans to allow this kind of life for a child.
posted by delmoi at 5:33 AM on March 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


So the solution is to kill a baby?

Only if you're provincial enough to confuse "embryo" and "baby."
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:33 AM on March 16, 2009 [33 favorites]


I don't think anyone is saying that she should have aborted the child, but rather that it's hypocritical for a state run by these pro-life republicans to allow this kind of life for a child.

There's nothing hypocritical about it. The GOP has made it quite clear that they only care about getting people into the world, and care nothing about what happens to them after.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:36 AM on March 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


Don't you remember Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare reform?

Uh, sorry Delmoi, I'm Australian and don't keep complete track of US politics.
posted by b33j at 5:53 AM on March 16, 2009


Only if you're provincial enough to confuse "embryo" and "baby."

Let's not got there. A woman's right to choose is a woman's right to choose. Some women choose to believe an embryo is a baby, and will carry it to term despite financial or social hardships. They are to be admired for their strength of conviction.

We can mock pro-lifers for their medieval mindset towards science, sex and women and admire women who choose to carry to term because of their beliefs, the two positions are not mutually exclusive on a pro-choice platform.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:54 AM on March 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


After I was discharged from the Army, I was broken, body and mind. After a few months of hell, I ended up on welfare. I was on it for about 9 months before I was able to work again.

That was over 20 years ago. I've worked pretty steadily since, paying taxes. I have a profession, I do ok.

This article was horrifying. After the Reagan "reforms", I wouldn't have been able to get that 9 months of help, because I don't have children. It seems that under the Bush "reforms", now no one can get help.

This is sickening. AIG gets billions, and a mentally ill single mother in GA can't get $280 a month. Something is very, very wrong here. We're throwing people in the garbage pile, and not even noticing.
posted by QIbHom at 6:00 AM on March 16, 2009 [27 favorites]


Slap*Happy: That would be fine, but the problem is not that the pro-life position is that they think their idea is just better but that their idea should be made law.
posted by odinsdream at 6:11 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Societies create/allow holes in the safety nets as a matter of course. The contrast of a miserable, poverty stricken life makes the shiny crap of conformity appear all the more shiny.
posted by Mr.S at 6:17 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm tired and I realized, whoa, that does sound a bit like parody

At least you got your Two Minutes Hate out of the way early. Think of all the things you can do with the rest of the day.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:39 AM on March 16, 2009


What Clark didn't know was that Georgia, like many other states, was in the midst of an aggressive push to get thousands of eligible mothers like her off tanf, often by duplicitous means, to use the savings elsewhere in the state budget. Fewer than 2,500 Georgia adults now receive benefits, down from 28,000 in 2004—a 90 percent decline.

This made me cry. All that misery, all that heartbreak and desperation in a country that hands billions out to businesses so that their highest-paid executives can get their million dollar bonuses. I feel so wretched now.

The last several years have begun to remind me of Britain in the Victorian era-- the South Sea Island Bubble coupled with the hatred for the poor. What's next? Shall we bring back debtor's prison? The workhouse? Where is Charles Dickens when you need him?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:41 AM on March 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


So the solution is to kill a baby?

Only if you're provincial enough to confuse "embryo" and "baby."


Come on. In a better world, women and children would be supported and helped, with education, and housing, and benefits that they don't have to beg for. Abortion is not the answer to this problem; proper social programs are. (And it's not provincial to "confuse 'embryo' and 'baby'". Let's not lose sight of what abortion actually is. Easy access to abortion would not have helped the woman in this article.)
posted by jokeefe at 6:50 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy-- my thought too. "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"
posted by jokeefe at 6:51 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I live in Georgia.

I will not defend them.
posted by JHarris at 6:55 AM on March 16, 2009


(Defend Georgia, that is. Let's be absolutely clear about this.)
posted by JHarris at 6:59 AM on March 16, 2009


Walker admits that Georgia has actively discouraged people from getting on tanf, primarily by emphasizing how meager the benefits are. "Two hundred eighty dollars a month does not make for a very good life," she told me. "This is really in the best interest of the children."

Riiiight. That makes so much sense. "The welfare payments are so meager that it is better if you don't get any money at all." I suppose the logic behind that idea is that just giving them enough to slowly starve to death will make the recipients complacent, but leaving them to sink or float on their own will make the poor pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Of course pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps usually means stealing, turning to prostitution, or begging from charities. But at least that doesn't cost the state any money-- and that is the most important thing.

Where is the empathy? Is there something wrong with me that I would fund a thousand welfare cheats before I would give a single dollar to a business?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:02 AM on March 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


the funny thing is that modern social welfare programs were pioneered, if not invented, by bismarck and the prussians, as a hedge against social instability and 'socialism.'

I file this under trying to save capitalism from the capitalists... just like fighting against the war in iraq was trying to save the american empire from the imperialists...

just saying.
posted by geos at 7:03 AM on March 16, 2009


Here in Indiana, families are experiencing a somewhat similar push to get them off the roles. Our Governor's method, though, was to simply privatize the registration and qualification system, allowing the contractor to "streamline" the system with an automated system that a) took the case workers out of the loop and out of contact with their clients, and b) made registering to receive/continue benefits so opaque and labyrinthine that many needy families simply give-up trying to negotiate the system.

The result is that the Governor gets to brag about how the welfare roles have been trimmed of "fat." Oh...he was formerly Bush's OMB director.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on March 16, 2009


I absolutely hate that these discussions about child and mother support turn into an abortion debate. The same discussion has played itself out over and over again based on the premise that if these women didn't have children, there wouldn't be a problem.

First, the whole discussion is blatantly racist and unacceptable. This debate has taken place over and over again whenever minorities our country use resources the Federal government would like to keep to themselves. The usage of mass sterilizations to keep women of color from having children is a staple of our countries history.

The discussion should be re-focused on education and lifetime economic opportunities for marginalized people. When people are given education, rewarding job opportunities and just simple hope, they don't have children. I'm so tired of this debate being framed "well, if they just had used protection...". You know what, you try using family planning services when you're in an abusive relationship and have no access to decent health care. Whenever a group of people are systemically oppressed, shifting the problem onto individuals only exacerbates the problem.

Second, when you raise the flag of Pro Choice, you admit that what goes on in another person's uterus is none of your business.
posted by JimmyJames at 7:26 AM on March 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


Useful post for the day on which the Obama administration is complicit in handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to the guys at AIG who are already wealthy, in no need of any public assistance and who did their best to crash the entire economy.
posted by BlueMetal at 7:30 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]



We can be much better than that, don't you think? Besides, the woman in the article-I'm pretty sure she'd still be in dire straits whether or not she had that child-and that child right now is the light of her life. Again, I think we can offer that woman more than just sucking her child down a clinic sink.

This speaks not just to the horrendous system in this country but also to the horrendous situation many mentally ill people find themselves in. Heartbreaking.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:00 AM on March 16


I do think we can do better than that. Will you let me know when the evangelicals start working themselves into a froth and staging angry protests outside of welfare offices, demanding fair help for poor children? I'll be glad to wave a sign with them.
posted by Reverend John at 7:41 AM on March 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


You know what, you try using family planning services when you're in an abusive relationship and have no access to decent health care.

or just keep your legs closed...
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:46 AM on March 16, 2009


prototype_octavius: "or just keep your legs closed..."

"She was askin' for it! Shouldn't have worn that dress!"

Asshole.
posted by notsnot at 7:53 AM on March 16, 2009 [32 favorites]


The usage of mass sterilizations to keep women of color from having children is a staple of our countries history.

It is? Where can I read about this?
posted by Perplexity at 7:55 AM on March 16, 2009


In a single month, one caseworker informed three of her students (incorrectly) that because they had turned 20, they could no longer receive benefits while completing their degrees. One was about to become the first in her family to graduate from high school. She quit and took a job as a dishwasher.

Rage. So much rage. Please tell me what non-profits I can give to / join that will air-drop* teams of left-wing lawyers and activist judges to these places to 1) get people the pitifully meagre benefits they are entitled to and 2) sue the ever-living crap out of the lying 'civil servants' who so terribly abuse the trust given to them. though really, it should be criminal charges.


*(soldier : paratrooper :: legal professional : paralegal?)
posted by ScotchRox at 8:04 AM on March 16, 2009 [5 favorites]




It is? Where can I read about this?

I'm headed to work but here's a place to start.
posted by JimmyJames at 8:04 AM on March 16, 2009


the day on which the Obama administration is complicit in handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to the guys at AIG who are already wealthy,

Yesterday the Raleigh News & Observer buried that story on page 4. What was the lead story on page one?
Citizens, illegal immigrants jostle for dwindling jobs
If you are unemployed, broke, and desperate, don't under any circumstances march on Wall Street and hang the bankers and brokers upside down and shake them until the change falls out of their pockets, go beat up a Mexican!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:24 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


or just keep your legs closed...

Kind of hard to keep your legs closed when you're kicking and screaming to get away from the guy punching you in the face.

Jackass.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


Well, we could get a bunch of MeFi users together to colonize Georgia, multiply, and vote there.

I used to live there, and it would take a lot to convince me to move back.

It would be cool to be a colonist, though.
posted by amtho at 8:40 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad: "Here in Indiana, families are experiencing a somewhat similar push to get them off the roles."

Oh, that's just great. My (single, pregnant, broke) sister is just about to go on full assistance in Indiana, because there's no way in hell she can care for a newborn and work, let alone continue going to school. And even if her employer would be willing to hold her job for her, she'd be a new mom working at a crappy bar in a shitty neighborhood.

I look at my pregnant wife and thank the universe that we both have jobs with good benefits, and we both have adequate mental stability, experience and education to keep ourselves employed. There are far too many people out there who need more help than they can get. I can't understand why lawmakers feel good about producing entire generations of individuals unable to care for themselves. How much does it cost the state to provide food and shelter for a mother and child? Weigh that against the cost of not doing so. Guess which one costs more in the long run? Guess which one looks better during the re-election campaign? Guess which one wins?

One little . for human dignity and compassion. Go America.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've only read the first section of the article and I'm tempted to forward this to one of my in laws who is always concerned about his tax dollars going to lazy bums who sit around collecting welfare dollars and selling drugs while they don't work. He also says if he was in charge there would be a clause in the welfare code called 'If you can't feed'em, don't breed'em,' and thinks there aught to be mandatory birth control for welfare recipients. I'm not sure whether this article would make him reconsider his beliefs or strengthen them.

My fiancee basically agrees with him and realizes that there is something lopsided about the fact that a man can still go out and knock up 6 different women at once and there is nothing to stop him like an IUD in a woman.
posted by daHIFI at 8:46 AM on March 16, 2009


It's not just Georgia, you know. This has been a national push since Reagan was in office: shrink the welfare rolls! As someone said upthread, it was "working" - well, not in cities like Baltimore or Detroit or dirt poor rural counties all over the country, where this sort of thing is old, shameful news - but "working" in suburbia when the economy was strong. Now that it's okay to talk about poverty again, after years of relentless consumerism and ain't capitalism great jingoism, we're just noticing that it is precisely the most vulnerable populations in the country that get hit first, because the safety nets have for the most part long since been disassembled.

The thing that always gets me is that it is so easy, so very easy, for us to convince the poor and uneducated and, face it, doomed, that all this is their own fault. To me that's always seemed like a uniquely American shame: the idea that really bitter poverty and its resultant misery are all your own fault. There's no larger system at work here. Everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and if you can't, then you're hopeless and pointless and a waste and so are your children. Once you internalize that message, where do you think you end up? Remember that thread from yesterday, talking about how many jails get built as opposed to colleges? Jail or the streets.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


God, I so hate the whole idealistic/ideological approach to problems. People just shouldn't have children they can't afford! People should just get jobs and support themselves! Teenagers should just be abstinent! We don't need a minimum wage because the market will decide what it can bear!

All of these attitudes fail to account for the fact that people will inevitably sometimes have children they can't support through carelessness or rape or ignorance or because we don't have 100% effective birth control, and that once those children exist they need to be provided for if they are to grow up to be functioning members of our society. Sometimes people can't find work soon enough to meet their bills, and they'll get evicted or go hungry unless they can get help. Or they don't have the right job skills because they never had the chance to go to school, or because they had a horrible childhood and learning disabilities that no one tried to address. Or there will always be mentally ill people who won't be in any shape to work until they've gotten help. And employers will always pay as little as they can and there will always be people desperate enough to work for what they can get — which means if they don't have a way to make up for the shortfall between their wages and their needs they will either have to starve or be evicted or go without necessary medical care. If they don't have social programs or family or friends who are able and willing to help them they will commit crimes or die.

No system works perfectly, and there's no use in shutting our eyes to the fact that there are and will always be a margin of people who need help, because it only means that the problem will get worse. We need to let go of our ideas of how things "should" work, and start looking at how they do work, and at how we can improve that.
posted by orange swan at 8:56 AM on March 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


"She was askin' for it! Shouldn't have worn that dress!"

Asshole.
posted by notsnot at 9:53 AM on March 16

Kind of hard to keep your legs closed when you're kicking and screaming to get away from the guy punching you in the face.

Jackass.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:27 AM on March 16


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.
posted by prototype_octavius at 9:12 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


If these people have no income, and no job, the only answer is crime, and that costs the community so much more.

posted by b33j at 8:15 AM on March 16 [+] [!]


The only communities that would really suffer as a result of crime would be the same communities affected by the lack of assistance; I don't think the lawmakers care if these places cannibalize themselves.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 9:15 AM on March 16, 2009


Welfare is about 1% of the federal budget. So my personal stake is about 140/year. If that's what it costs me to no get mugged or have some poor woman not solicit her wares, it's certainly worth it. I don't care if it's a thousand to one, cheats to truly helped people, it's fuckin' worth it.

You're really not rebutting my comment.

(and blame the victim is the most odious kind of rhetorical bullshit. Fuck you.)
posted by notsnot at 9:22 AM on March 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


And it is true that I'd like to see every pro-life man hang by his balls until they snapped off.
posted by kldickson at 6:44 AM on March 16 [+] [!]


Nice. Nothing like a little sexual violence fantasy to start the day off right.
posted by MikeMc at 9:23 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


A lot of departments of social services are also hotbeds of corruption and graft. A local official could be making some nice money off of welfare "recipients" who never see a dime.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:32 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.

So, are you a social worker? Benefits administrator? Work for the city housing authority? Work for an emergency services nonprofit? Where is that you are seeing cases? What's your background? Because that's a pretty sweeping statement that is, fascinatingly enough, not backed up by any real or anecdotal data that I can find and, given that I work for a nonprofit, interact with other nonprofit professionals on an almost daily basis, have a daughter who works in a Medicaid supported mental health field and number several social workers among my closest friends, that's kind of surprising, don't you think?
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:39 AM on March 16, 2009 [31 favorites]


A lot of departments of social services are also hotbeds of corruption and graft. A local official could be making some nice money off of welfare "recipients" who never see a dime.

I call bull shit. Name one. If you can do that, name two.

I doubt you can, sonic meat machine.
posted by QIbHom at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2009


Let the the enemies of life step down.

Here, prototype_octavius, let me show you to the stairs.
posted by tzikeh at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


A lot of departments of social services are also hotbeds of corruption and graft. A local official could be making some nice money off of welfare "recipients" who never see a dime.

Change "corruption and graft" to "bonuses" and "local official" to "private contractor" and you might be on to something.
posted by MikeMc at 9:58 AM on March 16, 2009


QIbHom, Mecklenberg County DSS, Charlotte, NC, is one. Recently they've had nepotism (hiring family members of city officials after a one-day search). By personal experience I've had a family member entangled with a locally powerful abuser who got sole custody of a child through the auspices of the DSS. I won't share details of this one, if you please.

Furthermore, the entire state of Georgia's DSS is revealed as corrupt in the article you're commenting on. Do you think the poor widdle government workers didn't know they were lying to the poor black woman?

Racism is real and corruption is real. Don't be a moron. People who ignore the abuses of government enable the abuses of government.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:59 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


or just keep your legs closed...
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:46 AM on March 16


Since you joined the site, you've made on average one comment per month. I won't remark on how vile your contributions to this thread have been; I'll just note that you're over quota and we look forward to hearing your opinion again in July.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2009 [26 favorites]


It's still unfathomable the level of anger shown towards the poor considering the trillions of dollars currently going to prop up rich fuckwits who can't do their sums.

No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. - Aneurin Bevan*
posted by fullerine at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


*architect of the National Health Service
posted by fullerine at 10:31 AM on March 16, 2009


So, does this mean that we liberals who left Georgia should go back and start reforming the place?

My heart completely, and totally breaks.

What to do? What to do?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 10:33 AM on March 16, 2009


or just keep your legs closed...
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:46 AM on March 16


Ew. I had assumed this was irony.

It seems somewhat too obvious to point out here that the "tough shit, don't have kids you can't afford" camp is usually the same as the "anti-reproductive rights" crowd.

Vile indeed.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.

Where are you "seeing" these victims? Do you work in the social service field? In the state welfare department? Or do you "see" them on Maury Povich or Bill O'Reilly's shows?

Because -- if you've been seeing them on Bill O'Reilly's show, he has a bit of a bias, you know. So you may not be seeing the full picture.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


sonic meat machine, links? Do you have anything to bring besides your personal experience?

One example does not show a systemic issue.

Government policy is not equivalent to the individual graft you claimed common in your first comment.

Yeah, I realize that is pretty hypocritical of me, after bringing my own personal experience upthread. No, I don't care.
posted by QIbHom at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2009


>It is? Where can I read about this?

Johanna Schoen's Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare is a great recent work of scholarship on the sterilization program in North Carolina.

For a specifically race-centered approach there is Dorothy Roberts' influential Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty.
posted by winna at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2009


No system works perfectly

And that's why I'm an anarchist.
posted by cthuljew at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


the funny thing is that modern social welfare programs were pioneered, if not invented, by bismarck and the prussians, as a hedge against social instability and 'socialism.'

There is an earlier national precident in England and Wales - the Old Poor Law in 1601 - and many cities or town had poor relief through the middle ages which bore a great deal of resemblance to our modern relief (even down to having to jump through hoops to prove eligibility, with administrators fighting to keep the rolls down).

But the reasons were usually the same as Bismark's - trying to defuse social instability.
posted by jb at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2009


Charlotte nepotism
CPS graft in NY
CPS in Kentucky

You might also be interested in this site.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2009


FFFFFFFFFF
FFFFFFFFFFF
UUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUU
posted by tehloki at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2009


I fervently hope, prototype_octavius, that you and yours are able to hang on to your uncommonly good fortune and never find yourselves utterly without hope for the want of ~$200.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:00 PM on March 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Color me convinced. Let's force all of people with limited/no options for living wages/food/shelter/etc to starve out in the streets because there were some abusing the system.

Meh, the humanity.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:08 PM on March 16, 2009


mandy, I'm not arguing against having services for the poor; on the contrary, I'm practically socialist. The issue is that the systems as they stand are corrupt and miserable.
posted by sonic meat machine at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2009


"Bootstraps" as a personal motivator out of socioeconomic circumstances so complex they are overwhelming to the majority of those mired in them is a short-sighted, naive, and often hypocritical stance.

Seems rather the opposite of "love thy neighbor" as well.
posted by quietalittlewild at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


geos, j Roman grain allotments got you beat by near a couple thousand years.
posted by cthuljew at 3:39 PM on March 16, 2009


Sorry if I derailed us into an abortion discussion by bringing up the "pregnant, we can help" thing. I was not trying to advocate for abortion as the solution to welfare.

I was trying more to get at the angle that there is a conservative theory that private charities will step into the gap when welfare is withdrawn, but that there are reasons why in practice those charities might choose to focus too much on pregnant mothers and not on starving/uninsured children. I'd just seen one of those signs for the first time in a while when driving around yesterday, and it was on my mind.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:35 PM on March 16, 2009


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.

Really? Are you involved in welfare work? Do you have statistics to back up this claim?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:40 PM on March 16, 2009


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.

You mean the majority of cases you read about in the paper?
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:56 PM on March 16, 2009


For the record: Previously on Mefi.
posted by dejah420 at 6:03 PM on March 16, 2009


Second, when you raise the flag of Pro Choice, you admit that what goes on in another person's uterus is none of your business.

I disagree. I think it is my business that it be a woman's choice, and nobody else's. That this choice be personal and not economic. And that every woman should have access to the medical interventions available to make this choice.

It seems somewhat too obvious to point out here that the "tough shit, don't have kids you can't afford" camp is usually the same as the "anti-reproductive rights" crowd.


Well, it's not universally true. I'm very strongly pro-choice. I'm also a fan of "don't have kids you can't afford."

But for me, pro-choice is necessary partly so women in these situations can make their own choice not to have children. Free, easily accessible birth control (not required, but available), hopefully accessible without the knowledge of the (possibly abusive) men. Best way to prevent abortions is never to have the pregnancy in the first place. (Of course I also thing abortions should be easily accessible, safe, and much rarer that they actually are.)

Because no, "just keep your legs closed" does not work. Because maybe a woman would rather feed the three kids she already has than have one more. Because maybe the man in question wouldn't understand this, so condoms aren't going to happen (also condoms are kinda pricey...).

My vote-- Depo-provera for everybody who wants it. On a sliding scale, entirely by choice. (Oh wait, planned parenthood already exists. Even in Georgia. Perhaps I should just make a donation.)
posted by nat at 11:36 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Planned Parenthood does not have locations in most of Georgia. Cobb and Gwinnett counties are part of the Atlanta Metro area (northwest GA). Augusta is sort of central east. Savannah is southeast. From Albany (in the southwest, where the subjects of these articles are) to Augusta is 147 miles, to Atlanta is 182 miles, to Savannah is 230 miles. Hey, it's only 99 miles to the Planned Parenthood in Tallahassee. Remember, they don't have cars and there is no public transportation.

As much as I love Planned Parenthood, we need these services in less urban areas, too.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:46 AM on March 17, 2009


CPS is not the same thing as welfar, sonic meat machine. They are different departments.

The old Reaganite fake argument of the Welfare Queen (who never existed) is not the same thing as false accusations of child abuse.

Goverment is not a monolith.
posted by QIbHom at 5:54 AM on March 17, 2009


Ideals aside, it is kind of hard for me to change my mind when the majority of cases I see involve "victims" manipulating the system for their check.
posted by prototype_octavius at 9:12 AM on March 16 [1 favorite +] [!]


Yeah, I agree, but what does Wall Street have to do with this post?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:30 AM on March 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


or just keep your legs closed...
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:46 AM on March 16


Okay, seriously, I apologize and recant my statement, which was clearly made out ignorance (welfare is not my schtick so I really shouldn't have commented- I am clearly not educated on the subject). The source of my opinions: social work internship with DHR my senior year of undergrad and stories from friends who are in social work/contract with state through local ob/gyn offices.

I would have to say that nat's opinion does seem to make the most sense to me. I am not pro-life, but the majority of my friends are.

Enemy of life? I don't this so. Jackass? Asshole? Maybe...
posted by prototype_octavius at 6:39 AM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


In a better world, women and children would be supported and helped, with education, and housing, and benefits that they don't have to beg for. Abortion is not the answer to this problem; proper social programs are.

Well, let's look at this better world, because it exists. For all of the complaining, the UK has a social welfare system which, compared to the US, looks like paradise. A pregnant woman in need of assistance has access to free medical care, a well structured benefit system that gives her priority for housing, and once on benefit, access to job training and higher education. The package of benefit payments, childcare allowance, jobseekers allowance and housing benefit, while in no way luxurious, will maintain a family above the poverty line.

While the system is not perfect and there are homeless mothers, it's a good system. Women and children are indeed supported and helped, with education, housing, and benefits they do not have to beg for.

And with this enormous and admirable social cushion, the UK still has the highest abortion rate in Western Europe - a rate that may soon overtake the abortion rate in the US.

In other words, jokeefe, even given excellent social welfare support, many women faced with unintended pregnancies simply do not want to have a child. That is why we do not means test for access to abortion: the decision to bring another human into the world is not just about the money.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:11 AM on March 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


This just makes me sick.

I always think back to public school when I hear about people trying to cut the rolls. Me, I'm from a family that sunk all its money into divorce. My childhood and adolescent years were defined by my conscious awareness of our family's drop from mid-middle class to somewhere near the poverty line, and the contrast between my lifestyle and my neighbors'. It didn't make for a healthy learning environment, and I was pissed off. After I cut class for 6 months, I found an alternative school program that allowed me to simply show up, turn in my homework, get more, and go as I wished. I'm not joking when I say that that program got me through high school. Maybe I would have matured and got a GED, who knows. But, it was shut down a few years after I graduated.

Taxes and government foresight did that for me. When I think about how small my problems were compared to people in real poverty, and how all it took to save me from myself was, literally, a one-room schoolhouse, I'm eternally grateful to the people who paid the taxes to get me through, and floored by the policymakers who want to take away these little lifelines. It doesn't take a lot. $16.5 billion is a drop in the bucket of federal spending, but that's where they cut, where it does the most good.

I'm drunk (which should explain the disconnected writing), but, I know some bullshit when I see it. This needs to be stopped, and welfare needs to be reinstated. Period.
posted by saysthis at 11:00 AM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


And with this enormous and admirable social cushion, the UK still has the highest abortion rate in Western Europe

I think we might be talking past each other here-- I hope I can articulate what I meant a little better. Social programs and support for women should exist side by side with access to abortion. What I do tend to resist is the idea that abortion should be the first resort, or that there should be social pressure to have abortions because "you can't afford children", which I see (and this is just my opinion) as another symptom of social oppression (to use a broad term). Choice should be that, genuine choice: abortion accessible, contraception accessible, support for women and children available. A society that shames and punishes women for having children-- and further punishes the children themselves-- is one where priorities are terribly broken. The problem in Georgia is poverty, which is what I believe we started talking about. Telling a woman to have an abortion is not the answer to systemic poverty; her choice should be freely made.
posted by jokeefe at 11:13 PM on March 17, 2009


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