Julia’s mother: Why a single mom is better off with a $29,000 job and welfare than taking a $69,000 job


The U.S. welfare system sure creates some crazy disincentives to working your way up the ladder. Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, at least in the short term, to stay at a lower-paying jobs rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits. This is called the “welfare cliff.”

Let’s take the example of a single mom with two kids, 1 and 4. She has a $29,000 a year job, putting the kids in daycare during the day while she works.

As the above chart  – via Gary Alexander, Pennsylvania’s secretary of Public Welfare — shows, the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income and benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income & benefits of $57,045.

It would sure be tempting for that mom to keep the status quo rather than take the new job, even though the new position might lead to further career advancement and a higher standard of living. I guess this is something the Obama White House forgot to mention in its “Life of Julia” cartoons extolling government assistance.

216 thoughts on “Julia’s mother: Why a single mom is better off with a $29,000 job and welfare than taking a $69,000 job

  1. Thoroughly dishonest title. You’re using that conservative dog whistle language to make people think a non-working single mom is making as much as a single mom making $69,000, whereas in fact in the body of this piece you reveal that it’s a mom working a normal $29,000 job. How many $69,000 jobs do you think are out there anyway? And how much conservative welfare do you get for your useless work?

      • the AP??
        The AP is a wire service you dolt. You can’t just point to every newspaper you don’t read it and call it liberal bias.

        • Sir, he didn’t say that AP was a newspaper; he called it a “media outlet” which it is. I notice your American left will put words in the mouth of others–yours is a sterling example.

    • The title *is* accurate. The point is that a single mother with a ~$29k/yr job loses the most money as her salary increases, since the hand-outs cut out faster than her salary increases. To break even, she would need to find a job that pays $68k/yr. There are multiple points on that chart that do similar things, too. That’s just the most excessive.

      The whole point is that “welfare” has created a trap. What rationale is there to try and stand on your own two feet if you literally make more money by staying put?
      (There is, of course, self respect, but that’s so old-fashioned, these days.)

    • Is the English language so hard that the word job, used twice in the title, is that confusing to you? The title is clear that she is working a job earning $29,000 a year. The chart is a simple representation of the facts as they currently exist in Pennsylvania.

    • The real problem is not necessarily that $29,000 with govt benefits = $69,000 without, it’s that someone who is working at 29,000 may not even take a job at 40,000. It might be harder, more hours, longer commute, more gas and the little extra won’t even be worth it.

      The person is therefore stuck at the bottom. It’s rare indeed for someone to have the opportunity to jump from $29,000 to over $60,000 in one step.

      I never want a progressive to complain about the growing lack of mobility again until they start looking at issues such as these.

      • @Syl – Finally, somebody got it right. Thanks. I believe that we do need this “safety net” but that it needs to be revamped so that those who receive welfare don’t have to be afraid of losing ground when they attempt to move up. Doesn’t anybody believe in the “sliding scale” anymore? Must it always be “all or nothing”?

        • I agree that the system needs revamped. We would not even be having this discussion if there were enough jobs available. These people are slamming people that have worked hard for over twenty years and lost everything. They paid taxes and then when they go to seek help in their dilemma people call them down. I have seen many of my friends lose their cars, houses etc. I was making 18 dollars an hour. it was like starting over after a year I have now make 7.90 an hour. Our problems are bigger than single women on welfare….

    • Exactly. Apart from anything else, on what planet are people who make 29K offered 69K jobs? That didn’t happen when the economy was GOOD. 69K jobs are offered to people who’ve been downsized from 99K jobs.

      • Well I was on welfare and I am very grateful for the help. After 13 years of marriage I inherited a divorce and two kids under 3 years. I didn’t want to be a single parent, but it happens and my ex left the US so I can’t get child support. The welfare kept our heads above water and thankfully to Head Start child care, I was able pursue my job search. Successfully I have found job of 60K(salary), the strange thing with the child care expenses and the cost of living in MA, I am not financially any better of than being on welfare, but my psychological being has been immensely improved because I don’t feel anymore like societies garbage which welfare workers make you feel. Now these same welfare workers look at me with envy, and all I can think is kiss my A****. Still, I am very thank full to all those unnamed tax contributors for their help and hope that my tax contributions can help someone like me.

        • Nana, your situation is exactly how welfare is supposed to work. When you find yourself in a financial predicament, social services are there to “Help” you get back on your feet but the responsibility is on you to pick yourself up and take whatever steps are needed to improve your situation and get off of public assistance. Unfortunately, not everyone takes pride in themselves like you have and take that responsibility but want others to do it for them. You are to be commended.

    • The title is ‘Julia’s mother: Why a single mom is better off with a $29,000 job and welfare than taking a $69,000 job’ so where did you get ‘non-working single mom’ from? The facts hurt don’t they?

  2. The point is Dale, they never make it to the 69k because that would require they WORK their way up. Anyone who has ever worked has seen this before. Welfare person applies for job, works a couple weeks, gets first pay check, puts in 2 weeks notice because they can make more collecting welfare than working. Why work when the government gives you free housing, food and spending money? They don’t see the long term picture, and neither do you.

      • Please rovide countervailing proof and documentation to disprove Mr. Jamie. “…you are so poorly informed, it’s pathetic” is not proof, just ad hominine.

        • I know that cash assistance has to be worked for. people receiving it get paid $2.73 per hour. Illegal immigrants get paid more than that. Further if a single mother is making $29,000 they will not qualify for any benefits in most states. You better check it out before you make claims that are not correct. Jobs is what is needed. This country has lost million of jobs and the only new ones are mostly government jobs. If we want this to change we need jobs. As far as taxes, it needs to be redone. But to claim the poor are doing better than someone who is making 69,000 a year is intellectually dishonest. Just face it…We need jobs…I worked in the oil field and when the rigs were stacked it took me nearly a year to find a job…starting over at 7.40 an hour from 18.00. I still took the job and the struggle is so hard. I say we should cut all Congress wages to this, maybe it would motivate them to make changes that would encourage the private sector to prosper so we can work.

        • OK, since you asked.

          “Anyone who has ever worked has seen this before.”

          I’ve been working 2 decades (since I was 14) and I’ve never seen this. Not that Jaime’s sweeping mountain of anecdote had any rational merit to begin with.
          To your larger claim, the actual research shows that people work for the respect of their peers and because they like to feel productive. That’s why I work. Self worth. Why do *you* work? Why do you think your life philosophy is somehow unique? It isn’t. We all are motivated for similar reasons. People like the satisfaction of working a full week, just like you do.

          In broader strokes, conservatives ignore the real issues and deal in fiction. Reality should prevail: People need to eat, kids need medicine, gay people are real, supply side economics has never, *ever* worked. But you folks keep on banging the drum – if we just cut all the taxes and deregulate, the free market will fix everything and lazy people can die in the streets or magically find jobs (the real problem). It’s simply not a credible world view. Conservatism is merely anti-intellectualism and hate-mongering writ large. Read the hate frothing from your posts, sir. You’re the opposite of a reasonable, compassionate person. You champion greed and opulence for the few and labor under the delusion that you’re some kind of special flower of virtue. Well, you’re not. And there’s no good evidence that implementing the conservative agenda will help our country for the better. The entire platform is shallow and founded on ancient doctrine and rage. If my taxes were cut in half, I would not have a major lifestyle change. *Nor would most Americans.* The truth is that most of us who pay larger percentages in taxes are doing just fine. More so, I feel zero sympathy for millionaires whinging about not having more money for their 5th yacht. As long as ‘I got mine’ and base money-grubbing are the core values of your thinking, this country (and the world) cannot move forward. It’s simply not a scalable priority system. The priority should be having a healthy, productive, educated populace. Not a select few holding all the money.

          That said, I think we can probably agree that dummies should stop having children, but we may not agree on who fits into that category.

          • Ralph, one major problem with your simple viewed assertion that conservatives are money grubbing savages… You forgot to reference anywhere in the world where your alternative has created as much prosperity as we have here in the US. What’s really bringing us down is the entitlement mentality that because the US is so wealthy that the poor deserve more and that for no other reason than “just because” we should redistribute wealth to “level” the playing field. The housing crisis was in part caused by the same mentality. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was essentially passed under this assertion that “everyone deserves a home”. What a crock! The basis of the act was to loan to people who not only couldn’t afford to pay the loan but in general didn’t have a good track record of paying bills period. The restructuring of that Act in the early years of the crisis created a perfect opportunity for banks to inflate their loan portfolios with these very risky loans. Why? Because Freddy and Fannie guaranteed them! Face it, there will always be poor people and quite frankly, there will always be more of them then there will be rich. It’s up to each individual to decide which one they want to be and do the things necessary to get there. It’s not easy rising above the crowd and earning more… Nobody said it is…
            In the end, the battle really comes down to prosperity for the people or prosperity for the ruling class(government). Those who would not have made it to the top echelon of the socioeconomic ladder under capitalism would also not make it there under socialism. You can hate prosperity all you want but it’s clear, with that attitude you’ll probably never experience it and it appears you’re bitter about that. This Utopia concept you’re spouting is BS and you know it deep down. You won’t be happy however until everyone is as miserable as you. That’s just a sad existence….

          • Wow – be careful what you ask a liberal for you just might get it. What a bunch of leftist psyscho babble. What the heck does people being gay have to do with this? If you can’t see the disparity and the inevitable collapse of a system where someone making $29K is doing as well as someone making $69K then there is no hope for you. Yet the left still argues for income equality and wants people to pay their fair share. Holy Cow! Give me a break. I’m glad you work to be with your peers and be productive. Unfortunately we have a system where its made too easy not to be a productive member of society and at the same time complaining that lifes not fair.

          • Supply side economics is what we had for THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF HUMANITY until 1933 you marxist dolt.
            It’s nothing more than letting private investors start enterprises instead of corrupt and retarded govt bureaucracies. If you weren’t so deranged with envy you could actually reason out that extorting 50% + tax from entrepreneurs to bribe dipshat voters who believe infantile collectivist dung does not work in the long run. Envy is like fackin heroin to you parasites, an it ill be the death of you when the hyperinflation shat hits the fackin fan. And good fackin riddance. The herd needs culling of you fat, slow, stupid, thieving free riders.

          • Well Ralph, I don’t know what industry you work in, but I have seen exactly that 3 times just in the last 6 months in manufacturing. I have also had one guy tell me, “This is job is a little too labor intensive for me.” Another guy liked to call in tired!! Can you believe that?? Just too tired to come to work, said he had been up all night playing his XBOX….LOL…our manager was letting everyone listen to his call-in message!! Hilarious if weren’t for the fact it shows just how deep our problem is. Also, have seen one guy look at his first check and say, “Hell, I can make more than this on unemployment.” So, he of course promptly quit to go get himself some free money from the gov’t. Just pathetic work ethic in this country today…makes me sad and angry at the same time.

  3. Is the “negative income tax” the Earned Income Tax Credit? And I’m surprised there does not appear to be any shifts in the “Earned Income Minus Taxes” curve at the marginal tax rate breaks?

    • There is no major point shift in taxes. This chart does show a change in rate though, the thin red line appears to be pre-tax income.

      • Joe, I’m guessing (I haven’t watched the presentation) that MA is Medicaid, CHIP (I know) is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Cash is probably Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

    • Based on the shape of the “bulge”, I would say the “negative income tax” includes the Earned Income Tax Credit and may also include some other more obscure credits.

      The curve does have inflection points where higher tax rates kick in. If you lay a straightedge against it, you can make out those points.

  4. There is no one on welfare that I know who would rather be on welfare than make $69,000 per year. Going on welfare is one of the most degrading things that anyone could experience. The way you are treated discourage anyone making above the $10,000 proverty line from applying. Who the hell gathers these statistics? Believe me, no one but the uneducated, low income and extremely desparate dare apply for welfare. It doesn’t give people enough to eat or get a haircut. It is one of the biggest lies going that welfare provides an atomsphere where people can live well. It is one of the right wing last tools to slander Obama and minorities.

    • In my experience, the growing number of people seeking access to welfare benefits don’t care what they look like or how degrading the process is. There is a growing number of people out there with no pride and no compunction whatsoever when it comes to being a parasite, especially when they have the ultimate enabler inhabiting the WH. In my experience the welfare benefits these parasites garner are more than enough for food, haircuts, health care, etc. I’m not sure you have any idea what you’re talking about it. I see this stuff every day.

      • If you see this stuff every day, you must work in social services. It makes total sense that you’d want to belittle the people you’re serving food to. If you could degrade and humiliate them any more, they wouldn’t come in for the free handouts you’re giving them. Problem solved!

      • I have a very hard time believing you. Welfare in Seattle, WA state doesn’t even pay enough for a studio apartment. The waits for public housing are years long. Section 8 is worse. You can only get in if you win the lottery…and they only hold that once every couple years.
        I only hope you have to experience the other side of this situtation just long enough to gain a little empathy.
        You are poorly informed. Half of all americans make less than 30K a year now. That’s thanks to Bush/Cheney.

        • @Mocknbird2: What’s the shelf life on the “it’s Bush’s fault” claim? It’ been nearly four years. Note. I’m not saying I disagree with you, I’d just like to know when, according to you, your claim will no longer be valid.

      • My stepson loves welfare he has four kids both he and his wife take free classes at the community college while their children are in free daycare. They get money for their two cars debit card for gas and cigarettes food stamps free housing and utilities…they have a big screen TV and free cell phones and free medical care.

      • It is true,I have heard stories through friends on goverment assistance of poor people abusing the system,it really is very sad,they make it hard for people who are trying to better themselves

      • Honestly if they would stop allowing everyone to bully us in school and us having daily verbal putdowns day in and day out from our middle class peers from 1st to 12th grade maybe we could have some dignity to lose.

    • You just made the AEI’s point. If you read Arthur Brooks you will know that one of his argument is that people are less likely to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives unless they are able to generate, and or produce things for their lives ON THEIR OWN MERIT. In a deep sense it is a validation that MONEY is not the cause of happiness – self fulfillment is. And it can be achieved through something called the free enterprise system. Why then would you support an administration such as President Obama’s that has seen skyrocketing rates of single moms on welfare, a huge jump in unemployment (hitting disproportionately the minority community), and that has actively worked hard to ensnare people in the grip of reliance on the government?

      • Brian says: “People only go on welfare when they are completely desperate and without hope.”

        You respond: “Which is exactly why we should get rid of welfare!”

        Similar to getting rid of the net in the circus because the only people who fall into the net are the performers who fall.

        You don’t have the net to encourage people to fall, you have the net because without it people die.

        • This is not correct on all cases. I know people in their 20′s who married, and both husband and wife used to work.

          They decide to have a baby and the wife quits her job. She successfully falsified searching for employment for over 2 years. Got unemployment checks while the husband worked and got a decent salary. Never really intended to get a job, but still got taxpayer money and continued to get it because we kept extending the “99 weeks”.

          The system is flawed.

      • Oh Please! Every bad economic nightmare we have experienced since W. has been a direct result of his horrible economic policies. Record debt and deficit under Bush/cheney. NO ONE could dig us out of that hole.
        Unless you are a 1%, you have no business voting republican. Everything I see on Fox news is lies, lies, lies! I’d love to see the average IQ of the avid FOX viewership.

        • Sir, are you smitten with anger and hate for Mr. Bush? Does that mean you automatically support Mr. Obama, who has outspent him 3:1? Interestingly, Mr. Obama has pushed the “Bush Doctrine” into overdrive (7x the drone killings Obama decried were without ‘due process’; Guantanamo still open for business, etc).

          I read your American papers and see that almost 48% of you either work for or receive payments from the Govt. Who supplies that money, especially if the majority of recipients pay no taxes? That’s right: all the workers.

          Prediction: Mr. Obama will be blown out in Nov. At least in my country, he is known as a vain, vapid and poser—truly an “empty suit.”

          • Wow, I almost couldn’t have said it better myself. Well played and a foreigner to boot! Our socialist buddies on these forums usually try to point to some foreign country to back their claims on how well Socialism works…
            To pile on, Bush increased spending based on a War and a housing collapse. If any of the liberals in this forum would take 10 minutes to research these events, the budget might make sense and you might have a different view of the housing collapse other than “the greedy bankers caused the problem”. Much like Welfare, the problem was caused by something much more well intentioned by liberals but it turned into a mess with huge unintended consequences. Look up the Community Reinvestment Act (in more than one place to get both sides of the story).
            The problem Esteban points out is that not only did Obama keep the budget at those inflated rates, he’s increasing those budgets. So, he criticizes Bush for spending so much while he pushes for more spending. I think I heard it described as a scenario where “My wife wrecked the car last week so we had to buy a new car. But instead of paying that car off, we’ve continued to buy another new car each year after the accident”. How mindless must libs be to not see the intellectual dishonesty in that?

        • True – Bush-Cheney got us into two wars. False – record debt & deficit under Bush-Cheney. 0bama has given us some six trillions of dollars in added deficits in less than four years. This is more than Bush spent in eight! You’ve conveniently forgotten that the dems controlled both the Senate & the House for Bush’s last two years. Another thing: Do you know who were the biggest recipients of contributions from the failed Freddie Mac & Fannie May? 0bama, Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, ad nauseam. If we had an unbiased media instead of a leftist “Fifth Column,” all of this news would now be common knowledge.

  5. This is just an explanation of the fact that someone who is getting maximum benefits from the taxpayers who fund the government would actually LOSE money if she/he were to work.

    And, yes, such a person is VERY unlikely to get a job paying $60k+/year.

    That doesn’t justify their taking from the taxpayers, because it’s a better deal.

    • Did you even read the article? (article….hah. Apparently this organization believes it’s fans are incapable of reading more than a paragraph.)
      They are talking about a woman who is working, regardless. No single mother gets 29K a year on welfare. They get 439 a month with one kid. Could you live on that?

      • A single mother with 3 children gets $494 a month and that is with the state TAKING over half of child support for the children as “payment of benefits”. Could you survive on $494 a month? That includes rent, utilities, transportation, and other necessities in which cash is required. Tell me again why someone WANTS to live like this? And no, that’s not subsidized housing.

  6. Now do the same analysis for marriage. How much does the husband need to earn for the single mom with 2 kids and a $29k job to realize a net financial benefit from the marriage?

  7. Speaking strictly as a single mother who got thru undergrad waiting tables, bootleg catering and doing other people’s home repair — this is bullshite. It’s based on the assumption that the $29K mom will get help — she won’t.

    Speaking only from experience here. Mine and all the women I have even known, I mean.

    Gotta love the pundit’s prattle, they sure make what the hell they don’t know one damned thing about sound TRUE.

    It’s not.

    • @Wende: “It’s based on the assumption that the $29K mom will get help — she won’t.”

      I’m not following you. Are you saying that women will not seek the aid that is readily available? If not, why not and what can be done about this? All women or just some women?

      • What she’s saying is the national poverty threshold for a family of 3 is just over 19k, so no, she wouldn’t get help. This is completely inaccurate.

    • You are so right. As a single mother all this is exaggerated. In Ohio an individual must work 128 hours for 350.00 cash assistance. That does not even cover rent and leaves all the other bills that need to be paid. Not to mention one has to have the gas to get to where the government sends them to work. That is 2.73 an hour. They so not mention that people have to work for cash assistance. I would love to have a $69,000 job. I was paying for all insurance premiums on $20,000 a year job. This is so much a bunch of lies. At this salary I did not qualify for benefits. I do not understand where this is coming from but it is not honest.

  8. No one has mentioned the ‘Catch-22′ of health cover, Earn too much and there is no free clinic or Medicaid and the premiums are not affordable!

  9. The major portion of this woman’s “benefits” are going to her children ($20K in Day Care and CHIP alone). I suppose the only way she’d take that $50K promotion would be if the government cut their health insurance and food stamps.

    The only thing this chart really shows is that a two-child household that makes $69K (that is 3 times the poverty level) isn’t doing all that well. Which is something that we already knew.

    • I can attest to that… We are a 6 member household…actually 7 now I guess, since we took my father in after he got laid off… 1 working adult, 1 stay at home parent, twin 4 yr olds, twin 1 yr olds, and 1 non-working adult that is not old enough for retirement…

      Income comes in at about 68k before taxes etc. We are barely getting by.

  10. What about the free cell phones and data plans? and the cell phones for their children? Aprox. 20 states include free cell phones in the benefits package.

    The list should also include free and reduced school lunches, free park district passes, and free Head Start.

    All of these benefits are predicated upon the teen/young woman having a baby. She must gestate a baby or else it’s off to the homeless shelter, just like the men.

  11. Why is EVERYTHING now predicated on how much “help” a person or persons can squeeze out of WE THE TAXPAYERS? This is just sickening. How about go to school get a job and STOP HAVING BABIES until one is married AND prepared to raise them as a FAMILY – INCLUDING the cost of caring for and feeding them! Good GRIEF! Selfish dogs.

  12. I don’t think the public is aware how much the poor get back on their tax returns while not paying any in. Making about 30k in ky, with 2 kids gets you about 8k of other people’s money. Daycare alone is enough to take a third of my salary and the poor get it for free. With food, housing and healthcare. It is degrading but many have no pride so they don’t care.

    • I work 40+ hours a week to keep my bills paid and keep food on the table for my 3 kids and have done this by myself for 8 years with out government assistance or child support. The tax return I get once a year enables me to get clothes and shoes for my children and to make needed repairs on my car and to buy much needed items for my home. I dont live extravagently and I recieve no benefits other then that check, why would you complain about a tax return that we get once a year to maintain things we need? It would have been easier for me to NOT work sit at home on my A** and draw welfare (food stamps/TANF/medicaid) and live in government housing not paying any rent or utilities and lets add in free lunches and book rental assistance, that would cost the taxpayers a hell of a lot more than 8 grand a year right? I work just as hard as anyone and I believe that since I work to put money into the social security fund that I will probably never see I should get that money back somehow. Oh, by the way, my ex-husband who doesnt pay child support makes nearly 60K a year pays taxes so I guess you could say that I get the taxes he pays right?

      • You’re missing the point. If you get back taxes that you have paid into the system as a sizable refund each year – great! The problem is that the EIC is a REFUNDABLE tax credit. This means that even those who bleed the system for benefits all year and have no income get the benefit of a huge handout. You get back taxes you have paid – this is not the case in a lot of instances.
        There should be no such thing as a ‘refundable’ tax credit. You should never be able to gain a benefit from not paying any taxes. 49% of America pays nothing in taxes. I, for one, am sick of carrying the load.

        It is not my responsibility to take care of your children or your vehicle maintenance. I’m glad you are working hard to do so, but I’ll not give you a pat on the back for it – it is your obligation as the one who decided to bring your children into this world. I pay an effective tax rate of 31% to the federal gov’t alone.

        • Let’s just call it what it is, redistribution of wealth. It’s 21st century Robin hood with the Government playing the role of Robin. The problem is, people get used to this sort of stealing and politicians use this to their advantage to get voted in and stay in power. When the moochers outnumber the producers, the country is in trouble and I think we’re there now.

  13. I run a business and I have one employee that will only work over-time a certain time of the month because near the first of the month he has to show his earnings to welfare people… if he makes too much he looses free healthcare coverage for his kids. We offer coverage here, but he can get it for free thru the welfare program. He makes right at 50K a year.

    • I am utterrly horrified that anyone making 2 1/2 times what I make is receiving welfare. I pay taxes to provide free cookies to some guy making $50K per year? There has to be a piece missing from my brain that I would imagine personal responsibility to hold the slightest value in contemporary America. That is a travesty. The Julia story was shocking enough– but this…? It is appalling. Will you tell him this 56 year old grandmother in Idaho wants to grab him by the shoulders and shake till his brain rattles. Please.

  14. The other side to consider: it doesn’t show employer provided benefits. I’d imagine that a large portion of $69k a year jobs provide things like health insurance and retirement plans, among other benefits which aren’t shown. Just because the government isn’t providing these benefits doesn’t change the fact that there are more monetary benefits to a $69k a year job than just a salary. Include these in the chart and we’ll see a different story entirely, me thinks.

    • Steve,
      I am a bit skeptical myself, but the article does say “gross income of $69,000 with net income & benefits of $57,045.” In that context, it seems safe to assume that they are including benefits (but why leave out the details?) It doesn’t seem accurate that after state and Federal taxes that a 69k a year job would give you 57k of cash to take home. If it was strait cash, then only 17% has been taken out for taxes, but the IRS tax bracket for 69k a year is 25% for single folks. However, I do not know what the adjustment for having 2 dependents would be, so I am sure there are further things to consider. I am just pointing this out because even though the wording implies that the 57k figure includes benefits as well, the data presented also seems to be intentionally leaving out some key information. I personally would love to see the specifics used to develop this chart, to include what employee provided benefits are or are not being included. One cannot come to a valid conclusion without having all the data presented, and this seems to be intentionally leaving out key details. Before assuming the best or worst though, I would like to see the data they used to come up with the “net income and benefits” of a 69k a year job. I agree that the chart would be different, but i have a feeling it wouldn’t be as drastically different as you suspect.

    • There is no shame in protecting your children. If you look half the money is exclusivly for the kids. Also there is no breakdown for how much money is paid into employee benifits or the type of coverage. A very inadequate chart.

      • Protecting children is one thing; having children to collect more money is another. I’ve known several people who grew up poor with the protection of a loving FAMILY, and they grew financially and emotionally richer for the experience.

      • There should be shame for having children you can’t afford to feed, clothe and take care of… You’re part of the problem with that attitude.

  15. I hear a lot of talk about “pride” on this forum.. perhaps you feel “proud” to get taxed like a share-cropper as if the government owns your labor.

    More people should be living on the dole. Bleed the Country dry and refuse to pay for services you don’t receive.

    Interesting that you’d all find it just dandy to pay Mitt “tax-a-chussets” Romney’s fees for exercising your right to work.. No income tax, no “federal reserve” to destroy savings, no government run welfare.. those should be the policy initiatives.. in that order only.

    Leroy Fink for President (from Michigan) google him =)

  16. There is an old saying. . .
    “if you dont work, you dont eat.”
    It is that way in aboriginal tibes since the beginning of time.
    What is wrong with our governmental elected leaders.
    They are only interested in what is good for them. . .

  17. I believe that there need to be reforms. Food Stamps, for instance shouldn’t cover things like soda, candy, cookies, etc. There are many families (like my own) that would be extremely grateful for help on the actual basics-flour, sugar, milk, eggs, meat. That being said, I also believe the programs should have a non-grocery segment to help with other necessities like diapers, toilet paper and soaps. By stripping it to the bare basics, you separate those looking for a free ride from those who really need help. Food Stamps aren’t so appealing if you can’t buy Doritos and Pepsi at the gas station.
    My family has occasionally received state benefits, and it is a tricky slide. We do the math sometimes for making it on our own and it’s really scary. I’d be lying if I said that we hadn’t considered staying at lower paying jobs to continue on benefits, but we don’t. Accepting help which comes from other families having to sacrifice (by means of taxation) is humiliating and demoralizing. It has helped us tremendously, and I will forever be grateful for the help I received, but the system needs to be looked at.

    • Julie,

      The problem is you are the exception rather than the rule. Growing up, my family needed help now and then. I had 6 brothers and sisters. My Dad’s union would go on strike for months at a time. We had times where we used the school lunch program. There were even times we had food stamps. These times weren’t often, but enough for me to know the benefits of them.

      This is about those that could care less whether someone else is paying for them to live. It’s supposed to be a crutch, not a way of life.

      I would never begrudge a family the ability to feed their kids, a mentally ill person getting the services they need or a person with MS using the system. It’s called compassion and caring for those in need.

      Of course, you already know this. It’s the folks that are abusing the system that is the point of the article.

  18. The system is broke and it’s obvious that fixing it is going to take time and a lot of hard work. What is just appaling is that the Democrats continue to pander to the welfare crowd just for political gain creating more incentives not to work. Obama’s striping the need to work clause off of the welfare bill last month proves that the Democrats think the free lunch can last forever. It’s sad that someone who doesn’t work, lives better than someone who does.

  19. In my family, I had a “disabled” uncle who qualified for welfare. He married a healthy woman who then worked the system and strangely became “disabled” too. However, they managed to have 7 children in spite of their disabilities during their marriage. Their disability didn’t prevent them from vacationing or successfully procreating.

    Another close family member works in the health care industry. He has shared first hand accounts of people scamming the system to gain benefits. He has reported incidents of blantant and obvious abuse. But nothing happens and the beat goes on at the working taxpayers expense.

      • I am “disabled” too. I have been “disabled” since I could walk. I can function enough to work in a situation where people don’t have to pay me and can put up with my slowness. I’d like to do more volunteer work but then everyone would see I am “disabled” and collecting benefits because obviously I can work because see…I am volunteering. So thanks for that comment about “disabled” people. It’s better to just stay home. BTW you are not a doctor and I hope your uncle knows you are someone he should shun at weddings. I hope you are not a backstabber around him because obviously people like you don’t know what it is like to be “disabled” and should probably eat dirt and die and I wish you would

  20. How will these benefits change after the children have aged out of the programs?

    You have chosen to ignore the the true disincentive in this economic analysis: “Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, ***at least in the short term,*** to stay at a lower-paying jobs rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits.”

    There is a significant drop in lifetime earnings caused by choosing the $29,000 job for the ~15 years while Julia has children (say age 25-40). She will be nowhere near the same pay scale at age ~50, compared as if she had taken the $69,000 job from the get-go.

    This is a very short-sighted analysis.

  21. philosophy *and* verse? I believe we’re on the verge of greatNESS…
    Lest we the eyes to see the rhetoric makes no appearance. And their lines in the sand, while we store up our rage on the other side (the proper side), are more lines to their polls; that’s all.
    *I* offer no solution here, mind you, but there seems some intellect exposed even within the confines of this here digital-debate. (up there).
    Certainly someone has ball-gagged the one person who can see past the illusory “lib” v. “cons.” as sH..jjust a fhirst-guard ah…GEn……DA……*blehck

  22. Alright, I realize that we’ll never agree about the shape of the tax/benefit curve. Some people want it to be higher at this income, some want it to be higher at that income…

    But, for crying out loud, can we at least agree that we ought not discourage people from working?! That is precisely what the current tax/benefit graph does to those working full-time and making $45K.

    Here’s why. The tax/benefit graph suggests that, if you are at the $45K “chump zone” and want to crawl out, it’s just as comfortable to climb the “work more” side of the hole (towards $55K) as it is to climb the “work less” side (towards $29K). But, in reality, it take NO EFFORT AT ALL to climb out on the $29K side! Imagine you are making $18/hour and are already working 45 hours/week, which puts you right at the worst part of the curve. Does it make sense to try to crawl out of the $45K hole by working more (your already working half-days on
    Saturdays as it is), or by working less and applying for more benefits? Man, this ain’t rocket science.

  23. This is an issue that upsets me quite a bit. I am currently a homeschooling mom, and have been ever since I lost my job 3 years ago. My husbands gross income is about 4k over the poverty level for a family of our size. It’s just high enough, that we do not qualify for most welfare programs. He has a lot of money deducted from his paychecks (insurance, 401k, etc…) so we don’t get nearly what his gross income it. Paying the bills, getting prescriptions, and eating is impossible. We live frugally (only one car, no eating out, no vacations, no fancy phone or Ipads). Honest to God, I told my husband, we would be better off if he made 10k a year less so we could live off the system. People living below the poverty level have no bills since the government pays everything. So the income they do have they can spend on nice shoes, Iphones, etc… It’s absolutely disgusting. Can I cry now?

    • I’ll cry for you Julia. The best advice I can offer is for your husband to continue looking for that next higher paying job. Work on the income side as well as the outflow side. I was at the poverty level when I first got married and we lived on ramen noodles and mac and cheese with cut up hot-dogs for protein. We had a child about 11 months later… That made it worse. I’ve never stopped looking for that next opportunity to learn more and earn more. It’s a long journey but it pays off in the end. The best of luck to you and your family. Hang in there and fight the good fight.

  24. Yeah and $69K a year jobs are just falling out of the sky don’t you know. Maybe if you spent more time in the real world and less time in country clubs with the rest of the 1%er elitist @ssholes you would realize that REAL people in the REAL world don’t CHOSE to work in low paying jobs go nowhere jobs because welfare benefits are sooo awesome. You wing nuts really are a cynical selfish disgusting bunch.

    • The point is not that there are $70K jobs falling from the sky. The point is that this woman could save herself the headache of a job with responsibility and career opportunities that she had trained for and trade it for a job where her biggest headache is to remember to ask if the customer wants fries with their order.
      The system is gamed to draw a person in and never let you out. And as long as i is gamed that way, the politicians of all stripes that promise this, that and the other thing will continue to be elected at every level.

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