For Crying out Loud: Women's Poverty in the United States

By Diane Dujon; Ann Withorn | Go to book overview

WELFARE: WHAT IT'S NOT!
Diane Dujon
1. WELFARE IS NOT ENOUGH! Welfare recipients live on about 45 percent of the poverty line, and less than 30 percent of eligible recipients receive housing subsidies. Food stamps only last 10 days, no matter how frugal one is.
2. Welfare is not a planned, all-expense paid vacation to the Garden of Eden. Obtaining and maintaining welfare is hard work. Instead of governors talking about "two years and you're off," it would be nice to experience "30 days and you're on!"
3. Welfare is not "sitting at home waiting for the welfare check." You and your children will starve to death unless you are vigilant and adamant about your right to receive the benefits for which the Welfare Department has deemed you eligible. When there is no money, you spend large amounts of time at yard sales, bazaars, and thrift shops, and you work harder, cooking from scratch and performing household tasks the old-fashioned way.
4. Welfare is not an identity. We are all in and out of the workforce periodically for a variety of reasons (layoffs, quittings, firings, etc.). Sometimes, it's your boss who decides you apply for welfare tomorrow!
5. Welfare is not an aspiration, career goal, or a field of study in which to major. People who apply for welfare are desperate and would make other choices if they could. If the men in our lives were more dependable and less violent; or the job market were more reliable, flexible, and worker-friendly; or the government demonstrated that it valued families by providing universal health care, childcare and paid family medical leaves, we would all have more options.
6. Welfare is not an IQ score, a failing grade, or a shame. We know enough to feed, house, clothe, and educate our children, and that is our first job.

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