Sunday, October 27, 2013

About Welfare

So there's this repeated meme going around, but before we get to that I'm not just helped by the government, I'm helped by the kindness of others which is letting me stay in my home for less than half the going rate of rent.

But anyway, meme:
So that's why I work so many hours, so you can collect welfare, wear pajamas in public and have an iphone*.

First off, this would have been a perfect place to use an oxford comma and whoever wrote it didn't so 50 points off to Slytherin.  Second, as someone who is on welfare, I have a personal response.  There's a general response here, but I have a personal one.

Ok, let's start at the end: phone?  What is this phone you speak of?  I have a landline with no bells or whistles (or long distance) because damned if I could afford more than that, but a phone you carry with you?  Where in fuck would I get the money for that?  I have to borrow one whenever such a thing is needed.

Pajamas?  Surely you jest.  If I were rich enough to buy an entirely different set of clothes for when I was sleeping then I wouldn't be on welfare, now would I?

Now to the meat of the matter:

I will gladly trade places and work your "so many hours".  You take all of my disabilities, and in return you will get $550 dollars a month to live on.  Be aware that rent here tends to run at closer to $868 a month so that's an income of negative $318 a month unless you can find someone to give you a place to live at far below rent.  But worry not, you also get $200 dollars a month that can only be spent on food.  (Try to spend it on something else and the order will automatically be declined.)

So I will gladly make the trade you seem to want.  You take all of my disabilities and in return get $550 a month plus $200 for food in a place where rent costs over a hundred dollars more than both of those combined (and you can't combine them because the 200 is for food only) and I take your long hours at work.

I am up for this trade.  Let's do this thing.  Just find a way to transfer the disabilities from me to you and we'll get it set up.


* The iPhones in question are not, in fact, iPhones.  Oh sure, some people buy iPhones then get laid off, can't find a job, end up on welfare until they can, and so do in fact have iPhones.  But in reality the phones people are usually talking about are minimally functional phones that those on welfare don't even own.

You see, you need a phone to get a job.  So if you have no phone and are on welfare then you'll never get off welfare.  Most people who get on welfare do get off welfare, so one might wonder what is going on.  I'm on welfare for disability, so looking for a job is not something I'm expected to do (doesn't mean I won't try) and I inherited a landline.  Thus I'm twice removed from the people who get the loaner crap-phones.

But that's what it is, if you're on welfare, looking for work, have no access to a phone, and meet whatever the requirements are you get a phone that someone not looking too closely might think is an iPhone because for all the talk of apple's wondrous designs the iPhone design is pretty basic and a lot of things, including the crap-phones, look like an iPhone.

Once you do get a job and get off welfare (there's a gradation so that those two things don't necessarily happen at the same time; the gradation exists so that you never make less off welfare than you do on welfare, at least not with the checks, other assistance programs might throw a wrench into things) you have to give back the crap phone.

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