Welfare is a great talking point for Republicans. “It’s my money and I want to keep it! It’s socialism!” Great. Keep going with that. By the way, do you believe in social security? Do you complain when you receive that check each month? That’s socialism. You should probably return it.
An article in TownHall discusses how entitlement programs have risen under President Obama.
The major changes occurred when the government allowed more lenient standards for eligibility for benefits. Most of these programs were originally designed to help those who lived below the official poverty line, which in 2011 was $11,702 for a single person and $22,811 for a family of four. But over the years, the federal government has lowered the threshold so that even those earning twice the income considered below poverty still qualify.
My issue here is not with the entitlement programs and the Right screaming for elimination. I actually think that entitlement programs do need reform but not elimination. Rather, my issue here is with poverty itself. The 2012 HHS Poverty guidelines have actually gone down from the 2011 numbers cited in the article. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, an individual making under $11,170 is living in poverty. I don’t think this comes as a shock to anyone making $11,000 per year; they already know they’re in poverty. You know who else already knows they’re in poverty? Someone making $12,000 per year, someone making $15,000 per year. They’re also in poverty but, for whatever reason, our government fails to recognize them as such.
Under the HHS guidelines, someone making $12,000 per year is comfortable. I don’t see how that’s possible. If you live anywhere worth living, your monthly rent would probably be more than half of your take home salary each month. Then we throw in expenses, not luxuries like internet and cable, but necessities like electricity and water. And, before you know it, the monthly expenses are exceeding the take home pay. Now, I’m an advocate of personal responsibility. But, there’s a point where it’s okay for the rest of us to pitch in and help out those less fortunate, those that are still working their way up to a better life. We can’t just sit idly by while our fellow citizens work to better themselves and not provide any support. Anyone who has ever been successful did not do it entirely on their own; they had a support system in place that made it possible for them to become successful. Just because you’ve reached the top doesn’t mean you can now ignore those struggling to follow in your footsteps.