The state of welfare in Maine

Sun Journal graphic

A poor, single mother of two contacts Maine's welfare offices looking for help. She qualifies for several of the state's most well-known aid programs, including those that help her buy food, get medical care for her children and heat her home. 

More information:

Her potential take-away: just under $19,900 worth of help for the year.

If she lived in any one of 39 other states or the District of Columbia, a new national report shows, that single mother would receive more help — in some states, tens of thousands of dollars more.  

The Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based Libertarian think tank, ranks Maine 41st in the country for the value of its welfare benefits.

It's a new look at an old issue. But people on both sides of Maine's ever-present welfare debate say the Cato report doesn't tell the whole story.

Advocates for the poor say many Mainers wouldn't be eligible for even the $19,900 worth of programs and the state should be doing more to help its neediest residents. 

"There are people who are struggling," said Robyn Merrill, senior policy analyst for Maine Equal Justice Partners. "There are children who don't have enough to eat. There are people who don't have a home in our state. So we're not doing enough to make sure that doesn't happen. There's no excuse for that." 

Supporters of tighter welfare restrictions say Maine is doing too much already. 

"I don't know of any states where society's collapsed because they're less generous than we are," J. Scott Moody, CEO and chief economist for the Maine Heritage Policy Center,  said. "Arguably, they're more prosperous in many other ways than Maine. That would strongly suggest that we've passed the point where welfare is a positive and it's become a drag on the economy."

Maine's welfare numbers show the answer is likely somewhere in between.

From 13th to 41st

For years, Maine has wrestled with the sense that it's a welfare state.

It's not the only place whose residents feel that way.

"You know what's funny? Every city and state says that. I was in Los Angeles and they were saying that," David Wagner, professor of sociology and social work at the University of Southern Maine, said. 

Maine, like other states, has a variety of assistance programs to help the poor. Most of those programs, such as Medicaid (MaineCare) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), are a mix of federal and state money and rules. A few, including Supplemental Security Income, informally known as Social Security Disability, are paid for and overseen only by the federal government. A limited number, including General Assistance, are shared only by the state and municipalities.

The Cato Institute first published "The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off" in 1995 in an effort to gauge how generous all states were with their welfare benefits. The think tank reasoned that recipients were less likely to leave welfare for work if assistance was too generous. 

The study calculated how much a hypothetical single parent with two children would get if that family qualified for and received that day seven of the most popular federal and federal-state welfare programs. Not every program gives cash — Medicaid, for example, is health insurance that pays the doctor for patient care — but Cato converted all benefits into a cash-value equivalent.

General Assistance, which is a state-local partnership, was not considered.

In 1995, Maine's benefits ranked 13th highest in the country, with just over $19,000 worth of benefits. Alaska came in first, with about $27,700. Mississippi ranked last, with just over $13,000. All of the New England states were in the top 15.

In its 2013 follow-up, Cato again considered a hypothetical single parent with two children receiving welfare. In Maine, the value of food assistance, heating assistance and Medicaid increased. The value of TANF dropped.

So few Maine TANF recipients — 6.7 percent, according to the study — receive dedicated housing assistance when they apply today that Cato didn't include housing in its calculation for Maine in 2013. Several other states also have very low participation and their housing assistance was also excluded.

Maine does provide housing assistance to people through Section 8 vouchers and subsidized housing programs. In 2013, the Maine State Housing Authority spent almost $24 million to provide vouchers worth an average $507 a month to 3,871 families. In 2011, the latest year figures are available, local housing authorities also maintained combined budgets of $119 million and helped nearly 29,000 people with public housing or vouchers.

The Cato study, however, looked only at what a new applicant would likely receive if applying today and it found that hypothetical single mother probably wouldn't get housing now.

In its 2013 follow-up, Cato ranked Maine 41st, with a single mother of two getting just under $19,900. 

That single mother would have gotten more than twice that in the top three places — $49,175 in Hawaii, nearly $43,100 in the District of Columbia and about $42,500 in Massachusetts. Thousands of that would be dedicated to housing.

This time Maine was the only New England state not ranked in the top 10.

"Maine has done a much better job than other New England states in terms of restraining the growth of welfare," said Michael Tanner, who co-authored both the 1995 and 2013 studies. "One of our concerns is that the value of welfare benefits has exceeded the value of a low-wage job, which means that in many states it's a disincentive to work. We think Maine has actually done a pretty good job of avoiding that."

More or less

Moody, at the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, isn't so sure. He's done his own study, "Fix the System."

He said more than 400,000 Maine men, women and children currently use MaineCare, TANF or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. He pointed out that just over 16 percent of Maine households get SNAP, the highest usage in New England and one of the highest in the country.

He projects that by 2016, more Mainers could be receiving MaineCare, TANF or SNAP than working in private-sector jobs.

"That's troubling from a number of perspectives," Moody said. "We clearly have an issue where we need to get welfare under control to make it even sustainable under the long haul."

Gov. Paul LePage, who recently told a conservative women's group that 47 percent of able-bodied Mainers don't work, agrees the state spends too much on welfare.

Official labor statistics don't support that 47 percent figure. When asked about it later, the governor's communications staff said his comment reflected his concern about the number of Mainers on welfare compared to those working.

In response to the Cato study, LePage's spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, pointed out that MaineCare enrollment has grown 80 percent in the past 13 years, from 164,000 to 340,000 people, or about one in three Mainers. She said welfare spending accounts for 25 percent of state spending, up from 13 percent 15 years ago.

And within the Cato study, she pointed out that Maine is 25th in the country — not 41st — if housing is factored in. It's 16th in the country when considering only the value of its TANF or SNAP benefits.

"Still on the high end of the national scale," she wrote in an email.

But even considering Maine's spot at 41, Bennett said the governor believes Maine should be doing — and spending — less for welfare.

"While this study focuses on one hypothetical family, the LePage administration is focusing on how to help individuals receiving government-funded benefits gain economic independence," she said.

Others say Maine should be doing more, not less, when it comes to welfare, especially with health care and job training.

And they have their own studies, including those that show families do better long term when they receive help.

"The Parents as Scholars program, for example, a study that we did with the university in 2002, shows that the folks who have been through that program leave welfare behind permanently," said Chris Hastedt, public policy director for Maine Equal Justice Partners, a liberal group that advocates for Maine's poor. "It's an investment in their future and their kids' future."

They say Maine was thoughtful in making welfare changes in the mid- to late-1990s, when welfare reform swept the country. That's when Maine created the Parents as Scholars program, which allowed TANF recipients to fulfill their work requirements by going to school. It's when Maine started giving transitional child care to TANF families after they left the program for work. And it's when the state started letting TANF recipients earn some money and still get benefits, a move that advocates say allowed people to start working without worrying about losing their health care.

They believe the state is less thoughtful now, with recent changes that place greater limits on TANF benefits, remove thousands of poor adults from MaineCare and prevent tens of thousands of others from being added to MaineCare.

"We're falling backward at a time when the country is moving forward," said Merrill, of Maine Equal Justice Partners. "We have the Affordable Care Act and more people are gaining access (to health care). Here in Maine, 23,000 people are going to be losing their health care insurance January 2014. It is tragic."

They have their own statistics:

Nearly 21 percent of all Maine children live in poverty in Maine, and nearly 27 percent of children under 5 do.

The maximum TANF benefit for a family of three in Maine is $485 per month and it has not increased in 12 years.

Maine ranks 1st in New England and 3rd in the country for residents facing hunger.

They believe the welfare stereotype of an able-bodied adult sponging off the system has led to Maine's current stance on welfare, not true consideration of need in a state with both a significant poor and elderly population.

"Every day feels like a war in terms of the rhetoric that's flying around out there," Hastedt said. "And the rhetoric is so far from the reality. And it drives policy in this area, and it drives it in the wrong way. It drives it away from the very solutions that we need to really make a difference in people's lives and, in our view, really make real reform."

Both up and down

So is welfare in Maine ballooning or shrinking?

Experts say it's actually doing both, depending on the program.

Maine has seen a jump in spending for some programs in recent years, including SNAP, General Assistance and MaineCare. Part of that is because the federal government pumped a lot of money into assistance programs between about 2009 and 2012 in an effort to boost the economy. Part of that is because need increased during the recession. And part of that is because people moved from one program to another as eligibility requirements changed.

Spending on SNAP, for example, tripled in Maine from about $116 million in 2003 to $371 million in 2013. Completely funded by the federal government, SNAP money is expected to dip this year as the government starts pulling back the extra aid it distributed in the weak economy.

In recent years, the number of Maine SNAP families has jumped 60 percent, from about 83,150 in December 2005 to about 133,270 in December 2011. It held steady in 2012 and dipped slightly in recent months, with 131,500 cases this past September.

While those programs jumped in spending and participation in recent years, others, like TANF, have seen a reduction in Maine. 

TANF spending, which includes a federal block grant and a state contribution, fell 16 percent between 2003 and 2013, from about $55.3 million to about $46.1 million.

Maine TANF cases peaked around 2010, about the same time the federal government provided extra money to supplement need and boost the economy. Maine saw about 14,800 cases that December. Two years later, in December 2012, the number dropped to just under 9,600. It's kept falling — to just under 8,300 cases in September 2013.

Part of that is because Maine strengthened its 60-month TANF time limit and provided stricter standards for who could get an extension. And part of it is because Maine started pulling TANF benefits from the whole family when an able-bodied parent wouldn't work, rather than keeping benefits in place for the children.

"Clients now know they're held to a higher level of accountability," said Bethany Hamm, director of programs and policies for the Department of Health and Human Service's Office for Family Independence. "However people feel about it, to let families linger in poverty because they choose not to comply with us is not a good option."

Officials hope a new "Ticket-to-Work" program will also reduce case numbers. That program, which kicks off this winter, will assess each recipient's situation and help provide the training, child care, transportation and other needs that have prevented the recipient from getting a job. The program will be paid for with the savings from people leaving TANF because of the tighter 60-month limit.

Officials in the Office for Family Independence, which deals with some of the largest welfare programs in the state, believe that, overall, Maine is more generous with its General Assistance and has easier eligibility than other states for Medicaid, even with tightened standards that will start to affect adult recipients in 2014. They believe Maine's TANF benefits are the lowest in New England, though probably about average for the rest of the country. 

"The one thing I would add, though, is it's really hard to do apples to apples," said Director Dale Denno. "We honestly haven't got a resource that we can say, 'Go do research on all the states and comprehensively look at all their programs.'"

David Wagner, the University of Southern Maine professor, has studied the issue of welfare. He believes Maine is more generous with its welfare benefits in some respects, but not so much in cash or eligibility. He points to Maine's unusual program allowing TANF recipients to go to school rather than work. That's a generous benefit, he said, but one that also ultimately helps the state by getting people off welfare for good.

He believes Maine might have been more generous with benefits and eligibility, but that has changed in the past 10 years. So has something else.

"Because we're a smaller state, there was a little more sense that these are our neighbors and they're people who are going through hard times," he said. "That may be changing." 

ltice@sunjournal.com

Sun Journal graphic

Common welfare programs in Maine:

  • General Assistance: Given out by towns and cities to poor residents who apply. GA is given in the form of a voucher for food, heat, rent or other necessity. If they aren't disabled or caring for a family member, GA recipients must work off the benefit. They can also pay it back. If they ask for GA more than once, they must prove they spent their money on necessities. GA is shared between municipalities and the state. Towns and cities administer the program. The state helps pay, reimbursing municipalities at least 50 percent for the money they hand out.
  • Housing assistance: Maine provides housing assistance through Section 8 vouchers and subsidized housing programs. In 2013, the Maine State Housing Authority spent almost $24 million to provide vouchers worth an average $507 a month to 3,871 families. In 2011, the latest year figures are available, local housing authorities maintained combined budgets of  $119 million and helped nearly 29,000 people with public housing or vouchers. The Cato Institute study, however, looked only at what a new applicant would likely receive if applying today. It found that a hypothetical single mother of two probably wouldn't get housing now.
  • LIHEAP: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Used in Maine to help poor families pay for heat. Given in the form of a voucher. The average total assistance for a family of three is $450.
  • Medicaid: Called MaineCare in Maine, it provides health insurance to poor children and adults and people with disabilities. Recent changes will remove thousands of adults from the program.
  • SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Formerly known as food stamps. Allows families to buy food in stores with a debit card. The average monthly benefit for a family of three is $526.
  • TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Before the mid-1990s, it was known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or AFDC. TANF typically goes to families that include children, and the average TANF household in Maine has 2.4 people. TANF requires that adult recipients work or go to school. The average monthly benefit for a Maine family of three is $485.
  • TEFAP: The Emergency Food Assistance Program, it was once better known as the "government cheese program" because it distributed blocks of cheese and other food to poor families. Today, Maine gets federal money to buy food staples from the USDA and distribute them to families in need through food pantries and soup kitchens.  
  • WIC: The Women, Infants and Children program provides money for food to poor women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or had a baby in the past six months and to children up to age 5 who are "at nutritional risk." Benefits can only be used on WIC-approved foods and in WIC-approved stores.
Sun Journal graphic

Sun Journal graphic

Frequently asked questions about welfare programs in Maine:

  • Do people get cash?: It depends on the program. For some programs, including TANF and SNAP, recipients get money loaded on a debit card, though only TANF recipients can withdraw it as cash. For some programs, such as General Assistance and LIHEAP, recipients get a voucher for the items they need. And for other programs, recipients get a service. MaineCare, for example, provides insurance that allows people to get medical care.
  • How can recipients use TANF and SNAP money?:TANF and SNAP benefits are electronically loaded onto a recipient's electronic benefits transfer card. SNAP money can only be used at specific stores and for certain items. It cannot be used at an ATM to draw out cash. TANF can be used at a wider array of stores, and benefits can be drawn out as cash. If a recipient gets both TANF and SNAP, the card will only allow SNAP's portion to be used under SNAP rules and TANF's portion to be used under TANF rules.

    Who are the people getting TANF?: According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 68 percent of TANF recipients are children and 32 percent are adults. Of the adults, 78 percent are women and 22 percent are men. The average TANF household has 2.4 people.

  • People get Section 8 in Maine. Why didn't the Cato study include that figure for housing assistance?: Maine does provide housing assistance to people through Section 8 vouchers and subsidized housing programs. In 2013, the Maine State Housing Authority spent almost $24 million to provide vouchers worth an average $507 a month to 3,871 families. In 2011, the latest year figures are available, local housing authorities maintained combined budgets of  $119 million and helped nearly 29,000 people with public housing or vouchers. The Cato study, however, looked only at what a new applicant would likely receive if applying today and it found that a hypothetical single mother of two probably wouldn't get housing now. Several other states also have very low participation rates and their housing assistance was also excluded.
  • What happened to government cheese, anyway? The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, once was known as the "government cheese program" because it distributed blocks of cheese, containers of peanut butter and food staples to poor families. Today, Maine gets federal money to purchase food staples from the USDA and distribute them to families in need through food pantries and soup kitchens. 

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Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Not So Fast - There's More to the Story.

The CATO study does not give the whole picture. Please review the following, from David Sorenson, Maine House Republicans.

****************

The rankings should be seen as relative to GDP and cost of living.

· States that were “generous” included rich states with high costs of living, such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

· States that ranked low, like Maine, included poorer states like Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Idaho.

· Maine may have ranked 41st for welfare “generosity,” but we also only have the 42nd-highest GDP. A welfare recipient in Maine doesn’t need as much in benefits to get by as a recipient in Boston or the tri-state area.

The ranking has serious gaps in methodology.

· Housing assistance in Maine is not included. When included, our rank jumps from 41 to 25.

· General Assistance is not included. GA ballooned in cost 169 percent from 2003 to 2012.

Looking at benefits per recipient gives only one, very narrow view of welfare dependence. Enrollment levels, eligibility standards, and fraud/abuse are hugely important.

· Maine ranks 3rd for TANF cash welfare enrollment

· Maine ranks 6th for food stamp enrollment

· Maine ranks 3rd for Medical welfare enrollment

· Maine’s food stamp error rate is 2nd

· Before Republican reforms, we were one of only seven states to allow lifetime, unlimited TANF cash benefits

· Maine is one of only nine states to provide food stamps and TANF to those convicted of drug-related felonies

· In 2007-2008, Maine ranked 5th for the percent of its TANF recipients not in the labor force

· Maine ranks 2nd for welfare spending as a percent of overall state spending

· Meanwhile, Maine’s poverty rate is actually well below the national average, at 15th lowest (12.9% compared to an average of 14.7%)

· Maine’s inflation-adjusted state welfare spending over the past two decades has nearly doubled while the poverty rate has remained constant.

David E. Sorensen
Communications Director
Maine House Republicans

Cell: 207.205.7793

DONALD FERLAND's picture

And I would question Mr.

And I would question Mr. Sorenson's numbers as well. He is a communications director for the Maine House Republicans. Political parties have frequently tried to spin numbers to prove their side of an issue. When we take the parties out of politics and get "Honest" numbers maybe we would be better able to make informed choices and decisions.

Ken Perry's picture

Interesting

How all New England States are "In 1995, Maine's benefits ranked 13th highest All of the New England states were in the top 15." and all New England States vote Dem. seems to be the norm. As long as people can "collect" more then if they work why should they work? Start screening all parts of the system for drug use and start taking benefits away for life when people willingly and knowingly scam the system, start having DHHS take the kids from the families that are not taking care of them properly. Stop making it so easy for folks to make a career out of playing the system, and start holding the people who do the screening and follow ups accountable, then we might see a decline. But until changes are made it is going to be an open buffet for everyone.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

While Maine is not the first

While Maine is not the first or only state to experience the effects of an "hourglass" economy, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a5FkS3h6EfeM we are feeling and seeing it more starkly. We're an older population, have more health issues (and tend to address health when it's become a problem, not taking a wellness/prevention approach), we have a somewhat stable but overall lackluster economy.

To an extent the great heated discussions I'm reading through are probably just at the front end of a much larger public discussion, possibly, what are we as a society?

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Hope this link works.........

Steve  Dosh's picture

The state of welfare in Maine

Lindsay , 15:00 hst ?
Thanks for that report •
Everyone else ,
No one wants to be on welfare , T A N F , W I C , S N A P , Social Security , Medicare & Medicaid , Aid for Families With Dependent Children , okay ?
Think of that 11/24 ( or whenever you celebrate Thanks-giving )
These are your immediate neighbors , friends , and relatives we are talking about
/s , a family that houses a homeless WW II veteran ( for free )

DONALD FERLAND's picture

"According to the Department

"According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 68 percent of TANF recipients are children and 32 percent are adults. Of the adults, 78 percent are women and 22 percent are men. " Think about this statistic...68% are CHILDREN. I have been reading the comments here and the ones posted to the Facebook link for this story. All anyone can talk about is fraud and taking more away. Why is that? I can tell you what I think. I think it is because people have focused on nothing but the negative stories regarding assistance programs. We rarely get to hear or see the success stories.

What no one seems to get is that these statistics involve people from ALL areas of society. To the 70 year old man who has worked all his life and is now retired and gets a lousy $10 a month in food stamps (which he will most likely be losing now) to the child born with Down's syndrome who qualifies because of the disability to the abused woman (or man) who is trying to get their child(ren) into a stable environment to the woman (or man) who had a job but couldn't afford to pay the child care on the wages they were being paid to the employee who is working (sometimes multiple jobs) at places that do not offer health insurance or who doesn't pay enough to allow the employee to purchase family coverage.

The average a family of three receives in Maine is $485 per month in TANF benefits...how many of you could survive on that small amount and pay bills. In order to receive TANF the adults are REQUIRED to participate in ASPIRE which requires them to volunteer their time, go to school, get training towards getting a job and do job search. They are not just HANDED the money.

In MOST cases people are doing what they need to do to use the program as it was meant to be used....as a helping hand up and out of poverty. We are not privy to the stories about the single mom of 4 who left an alcoholic husband, got assistance, went to school, got a job, and became manager of a company.

It is about time people see the WHOLE picture and not just part of it. It is about time WE stop taking from the 68% of CHILDREN and start taking from those that are better able to afford it. Children committing fraud? I doubt it. Why do so many want to punish those who have not asked for the situation they are in. It is time for a severe reality check for those who think the system is being USED FRAUDULENTLY by all those getting help.

 's picture

Its envy

If the money we coming to the critic, welfare would be wonderful.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I guarantee if Maine cuts

I guarantee if Maine cuts transfer payments by 30%, we will not see social breakdown. We will not see starving bodies in the street.

 's picture

right...

We'll put the credibility of your guarantee right up there with your Maine drivers license.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

My point is you are punishing

My point is you are punishing CHILDREN. You may feel the programs can be cut more then they already have been but in fact they are already at the bare bones. You want more cuts then take it from the salaries of Mary Mayhew and her staff. There is so much ADMINISTRATIVE WASTE in DHHS that it isn't funny. There are so many other things that could be cut that it isn't funny. STOP TAKING FROM THE CHILDREN who are innocent in all this.....oh wait I forgot it's your way or no way, your opinion or no opinion....you are not worth the time because you will never see the nose to spite the face.

Bob White's picture

Maybe these people should

Maybe these people should stop taking from there kids. Have you ever been to a store and people that have kids and they are on the system and they are buying junk food and cigarettes. These people aren't smart enough to realize they shouldn't have kids let them suffer. The state and the people didn't sign up to take care of other peoples kids why should they pay. Your so quick to take someone's else's money that they earned

DONALD FERLAND's picture

And you are so quick to

And you are so quick to ASSUME. If you want to get technical even hot dogs and bologna should be considered "junk food". And a gallon of milk is $4.49 per gallon right now and a 12 pack of soda is only $3.33....gee when finances are tight what is the least expensive to buy? As for the cigarettes...EVERYONE has some sort of vice....People are so quick to ASSUME that all who receive assistance want to be on assistance. People ASSUME it is because they are lazy and don't want to work. Has anyone walked a mile in the shoes of a person getting assistance? Does anyone know the WHOLE story behind the person getting assistance? People who receive TANF are REQUIRED to volunteer, get education, or get job training as well as search for a job....how is this not "earning" what help they are receiving?

Bob White's picture

Read Marks comment

I know some people that are on the system and if you talk to them they say its not there fault..... Even you make excuses for people that are on the system. If it is not there fault then who's is it? Is it the person that is running a business? Sure there are some people that have things come up (lay offs business shut down). "EVERYONE has some sort of vice" you say that, So its ok that the poor dear mother chooses that over her own flesh and blood?????? I love prime rib but I cant have it everyday why is that? Or maybe I should but my kid can go without something. As far as milk goes the nice thing about this country is we have clean drinkable water so I guess if you don't want to spend the money on milk then drink water out of the tap. I know what you will say at this point its not fair they cant have things they like, your right its not but all they have to do is what a lot of hard working people do when they want something earn it. Maybe this would act as a motivation device for them to improve there situation. If you choose to keep making excuses for these people they will never get off the system.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Have you ever tried drinking

Have you ever tried drinking the water in the city? It tastes gross. I for one grew up on good old fashion well water and the taste of city water is not something I would want to drink, not to mention the fact that my children will NOT drink city water and I purposely go to Greene and get gallon jugs of water from my father's tap (which is free by the way). And when I said everyone has some sort of vice I wasn't necessarily talking about things that cost money....for some it is a quiet, uninterrupted bubble bath. And I am not making excuses for people, I just happen to see both sides and am open to start a dialogue that may solve the issues without taking more away from those that really do need the assistance.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I wonder where the people get

I wonder where the people get that "I don't know attitude". I was going to say this is learned behavior watching this president, but I think the appropriate assertion is that this president learn it from the welfare system years ago.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

With so many people on the

With so many people on the welfare dole, many of us know someone on welfare. I have not met anyone yet on the welfare roles that are there due to unforeseen circumstances, such as an illness. Though I'm sure they exist, 100% of the individuals I interact with will never be known for their sound judgement. Their thought process and attitude are why they are in the situation they are in. Sadly to say, they will never escape their bad judgement and perhaps poverty.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Mark.....

Your an idiot................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Oh, emotional break down into

Oh, emotional break down into name calling. That is a winning argument!

FRANK EARLEY's picture

No, not quite......

It's just that sometimes you say things that are so stupid, you even out do yourself.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

In your heart, you know that

In your heart, you know that Mr. Hamilton and me are correct. That is why you must attempt to change the topic with a tantrum and name calling.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Correction.

Actually, I want the government to bring spending down to $2.6 Trillion dollars a year from $3.7 Trillion. Other than that, I really don't care how the $2.6 Trillion is spent.

Just think of all the suffering children will endure when the government can no longer borrow any more money and has Trillions of debt to pay off.

By the way, no one can take from the children what they do not have.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

And taking that $485 from a

And taking that $485 from a family of three, the SNAP benefits, medical coverage and any other assistance away will make a dent in the deficit how? There are not enough $485 recipients to even make a dent. Start closing the tax loop holes, make employers pay a "living" wage, stop giving tax breaks to the richest under the pretense that they are the ones creating jobs...they sure can't prove that by me. Start making companies work with DHHS so that when a client gets trained they can get hired instead of having taxpayers pay for the training of the client, just to be told "We only want experienced people"...how can these people get work experience when companies won't hire them because they have no experience? There are many things that can be done but it doesn't because all conservatives can see is the negative and not the positive....

And as for the children.....you seem to want to take away what little they do have and they are the most innocent among us.

Bob White's picture

Tina you blame everybody else

Tina you blame everybody else for these peoples problems why isn't it the person who is collecting the hand outs? Why isn't it up to the person to get a good job that they can live on or the insurance they need. Your very quick to punish the person who has went out and worked hard to take care of themselves. There are two thing that we wouldn't have if we didn't have successful people 1 we wouldn't have jobs because who makes jobs 2 we wouldn't have charities or donations because it takes people with money and the knowledge to make that stuff happen. The people that work hard are not the bad people and the people that NEED a hand up aren't bad either but the people that have made it a life style well those are the people we need to go after. When did it become someone else fault for your life?

DONALD FERLAND's picture

When did you determine I was

When did you determine I was talking about MY life. I have spent most of my life helping others, whether it be elderly, disabled, single parents, and children. I have given back to my community many times over. I have lived and worked with people on assistance. I have learned the stories and the facts. Unlike others I have seen the system work the way it was intended.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

No, but taking $485 from many

No, but taking $485 from many starts to become real savings.

Living wage: Defined a living wage? What if a person does not produce a living wage worth of goods and services?

"how can these people get work experience when companies won't hire them because they have no experience?" - Internships.

Do you know why your problems never get solved. The answer is because you are too busy trying to blame someone else, in your case, conservatives. You could not identify a crony democrat or liberal if it bit you in the ass.

"And as for the children.....you seem to want to take away what little they do have and they are the most innocent among us."

That statement is pure emotion and lacks any resemblance to realty. Funny how children from other countries who have it much worse than children in the US get by - interesting paradox.

CAROLYN LIBBEY's picture

"get by?" By whose standards?

"get by?" By whose standards? Yours? I'll bet you've never lived in a third world country. And Tina's right so sit down and take a chill pill so you can think more rationally. Oh, and don't forget to pick up your ticket to the Congo.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I've been to India, China,

I've been to India, China, and Thailand. I seen what real poverty is like. That is precisely why I say poor in America really have it good.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Actually, I what the

Actually, I what the government to bring spending down to $2.6 Trillion dollars a year from $3.7 Trillion. Other than that, I really don't care now that money is spent.

Just think of all the suffering children will endure when the government can no longer borrow any more money and has Trillions of debt to pay off.

By the way, no one can take from the children what they do not have.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Great comment!

Great comment, Tina.

Claudette Therriault's picture

I agree Tina.

What gets me is that conservatives tout about how pro-life they are. Pro-life is not just pro-birth. Pro-life is making sure that people of all ages get the food, heat, shelter and health care they need to survive.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Can you provide that people

Can you provide that people will not get food, heat, or shelter if Maine cuts transfer payments 30%? Let's find out.

Claudette Therriault's picture

They don't get what they need

They don't get what they need now. Food Banks are overflowing; people have no money for heat or electricity and they can't afford to pay their rent. I know first hand because I interview these people on a weekly basis.

Reasons why? Injuries, illnesses, layoffs and waiting for unemployment benefits and the list goes on.

Claudette, the government has

Claudette, the government has no product to sell, so there only source of income is taking money from the people, or borrowing from other countries. In order to give to some, they must take from others.

Reasons why people need help? Let me add to your list. Irresponsible decisions. Lack of personal responsibility. Drugs. The list goes on.

Bottom line, taking from my family to give to others leaves me struggling to pay my mortgage, taxes, heat and electricity. I have no extra money to spend at local businesses, thus leaving said businesses struggling to pay their bills and unable to hire new employees. See the vicious cycle Claudette? How do suggest we break the cycle?

Claudette Therriault's picture

I'm talking about responsible people

who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in crisis situations. These folks paid taxes while they were working and they will pay taxes again when they return to work. It's called paying it forward...

You say you have no extra money to spend at local businesses. That means that if some kind of crisis were to hit your family, you may find yourself in a situation where you will need help whether with SNAP or other forms of help.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I'm with Robert on this one.

I'm with Robert on this one. Anyhow, if I get to keep more my money, I can build a safety net of my own. I would not have to see uncle for money.

Everyone of working age should save money. They should first set aside enough money to relocate for employment. All this amounts to is a bus ticket and a few months of hotel and food expenses. If an individual cannot manage to save that much, then they have no business starting a family.

Claudette Therriault's picture

And what world do you live

And what world do you live in? It takes only one incident to eat up your savings, then you play catch up for the rest of your life. People cannot save money with the wages that are getting.

And, we haven't even touched on the thousands of 55 and over people that are being eased out of their jobs without a "golden parachute." Very few places will hire people in that age group.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I live in that half of the

I live in that half of the world that is paying for the other half.

From my first job in high school, I followed the following rules for saving:

1. Save 25% of your gross income - no excuses.
2. Pay your savings before anything else.
3. When considering whether you can afford a product, use your net income after savings, not your gross income. This applies to getting married and starting a family - don't start what you cannot afford.
4. Never believe those who say it is too hard to save for they are envious of your discipline.
5. It is never too late to start.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

What would people do if the

What would people do if the there is simply not enough money to help everyone?

For example, President Clinton shrunk the welfare budget in the 90's and no one ended up starving in the streets. Why is now any different?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Claudette ? Yes ?  Love liƒe

Claudette ?
Yes ? 
Love liƒe •
Love love
Hate hatred
Eschew violence
/s , Steve
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/27/241179078/hawaii-set-to-t...

JOANNE MOORE's picture

People need to be paid a living wage.

When the Naval Base was here in Brunswick and I used to shop at the commissary in Topsham, it was years ago that I was first aware that people in our military used food stamps. I was flabergasted! Here were men and women serving our country not being able to make it on what they were being paid. It got me to thinking about other people who needed help and where they worked and why they needed help. I am talking about working people. For instance, when we think of corporate welfare, we always think about no bid contracts, government subsidies and tax loopholes, bailouts and things like that. When we think about welfare in general it usually brings to mind the usual "mother with two children" or "welfare queens". Rarely do people think about the "working poor". These people get up every day and go to work and yet do not have enough income for living expenses.

If people were paid a living wage based on the cost of living where they lived, there would be less welfare. But as long as we subsidise businesses that pay substandard wages, and you know who they are, we will always have many more people asking for help just to make ends meet.

I would like to see a follow-up to this article about working people who are not paid enough, the places they work and the fact that for many, a 40 hour workweek is a thing of the past.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

People who volunteer for

People who volunteer for military service know their earning potential; it is published in yearly pay charts. That said, why would anyone in their right mind have more kids than they can support without having to take money from others? Why? Doing so is simply irresponsible.

Thomas Hamilton's picture

Where is the father?

"A poor, single mother of two contacts Maine's welfare offices looking for help. She qualifies for several of the state's most well-known aid programs, including those that help her buy food, get medical care for her children and heat her home."

Where is the father of her two children?

Jennifer Chretien's picture

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is not the same as Social Security Disability Insurance. SSDI is for people who have been determined to be disabled by Social Security AND have paid into Social Security for a minimum amount of time. SSI is for those who have a disability and have not paid into Social Security for that time frame. If you receive SSDI you qualify for Medicare, I don't believe that just having SSI will qualify for Medicare. Having a disability typically qualifies you for Maine Care.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

SSDI recipients increased 20%

SSDI recipients increased 20% under the Obama administration. This is one technique used to shrink Obama's unemployment rolls, simply move people on to long-term disability.

And now, stress over fear of losing a job is considered a qualifying disability. It is crazy.

RONALD RIML's picture

It's not those 'Single Mothers' costing us in 'Welfare'.......

Where to Cut the Federal Budget? Start by Killing Corporate Welfare

$100 Billion in Corporate Welfare according to Forbes Magazine.....!!!

Read the entire article. Here is an excerpt:

"Among the most outrageous expenditures is corporate welfare. Desperate businesses now overrun Washington, begging for alms. Believing that profits should be theirs while losses should be everyone else’s, corporations have convinced policymakers to underwrite virtually every industry: agriculture, education, energy, housing, manufacturing, medicine, transportation, and much more.

My Cato Institute colleague Tad DeHaven has published a new study, “Corporate Welfare in the Federal Budget,” on business subsidies, which he figures to cost about $100 billion a year. Slashing corporate welfare obviously won’t balance the budget—which is why middle class and defense welfare also have to go on the chopping block. However, cutting business subsidies would be a good start to balancing the budget. Moreover, going after corporate welfare is essential to create a budget package that the public will see as fair."

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, What comprises

Ronald,

What comprises corporate welfare? Please define the term for the readers.

America's Dr. Right

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Exactly what is corporate welfare, here's an idea............

If you take everything the Republican Party holds near and dear, take everything Ted Cruz stands for, and I will bet, that you will have all the ingredients to form a definition to Corporate Welfare............

You might be suprised that

You might be suprised that Democrats support corporate welfare as well. As far as Ted Cruz is concerned, don't believe everything you hear about him via liberal new media outlets as truth. There is a reason establish Repubs despise him.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If you listen to the liberals

If you listen to the liberals who post on this web-site, you may think the Republican party is very powerful. Just a handful of republicans are to blame for all the countries ills. Just a handful of republicans control what is done (or not done) in the Senate and Whitehouse. How do they accomplish that - telepathy? Shoot, I heard some liberal blame Bush for Obamacare problems. It was Bush's fault that Obama could not spend the appropriate amount of money to get the system up and running. What? That is crazy talk. I cannot help but wonder how we survive as a Nation with that level of stupidity. Then again, perhaps the nation is not surviving.

Mike Savage explained it

Mike Savage explained it well. Liberalism today is a mental mind disorder!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yet, you fail to enumerate

Yet, you fail to enumerate them herein.

RONALD RIML's picture

You're too lazy or ignorant to link to Forbes' Article provided?

Then perhaps you should be commenting on the Weekly Reader Forums for 3rd Graders, Mark.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Welcome to the 3rd Grader

Welcome to the 3rd Grader forum.

If you are looking for a standard response to America's Dr. Right, please click on "cut-n-paste" responses now.

If you are looking for an original opinion to America's Dr. Right, please click on "original thoughts" - ERROR 404 page not found.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Hmm

I guess that Ron...nald is still looking for a cut-n-paste response!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I was asking your opinion,

I was asking your opinion, not what the Forbes' article says. Funny that you mentioned 3rd grader forums since 3rd graders are not mature enough to formulate an opinion on their own; they are content with cutting and pasting other people's thoughts, not unlike your behavior.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

I just have to comment on this

You are always telling me my "opinion" doesn't count because I don't provide links. You can't have it both ways Dr. Wong.

RONALD RIML's picture

Claire - Simply ignore Mark.....

He considers the World his 'Burger King' and that he's always entitled to having it "His Way" - like a number of the Mopes I dealt with as a Cop.....

Someday he'll wake up to the fact:


MARK GRAVEL's picture

I always have my opinion my

I always have my opinion my way, so do you.

That said, I can say that I am not a coward like those who suppress opinions standing behind a badge and a gun. No wonder people have such disdain for police, especially if they have characters similar to yours.

I can tell you if I did get my way, the Whitehouse would have had a different tenant in 2008.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

What link do you feel

What link do you feel deprived of having? The link to the 3rd Grader forum, which is a contrived piece of sarcasm from Ronald Riml?

What link are you referring to needing?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Just what does "informaly known as", really mean??????????

There are several points I feel have been omitted in gathering information for this article. I would bet that benefits for housing assistance would be much higher in other states. the general cost of living is astronomically higher in some other states than it is here in Maine. Take for instance a struggling mother of two who needs assistance say, down in a suburb of Boston. They do have them down there. Compare rental properties. My two bedroom apartment in Auburn, all utilities included, last year was about 800.00/ month. That same apartment in a city like Norwood Ma, just south west of Boston, no utilities, and no off street parking, and this was ten years ago, $2300/ month. Everything is more expensive, so to help a struggling mother of two, would require substantially more. I think if these surveys should reflect the actual cost of living and base the amount of benefits on that amount. It's unfair to compare Maine and Mass, they're two different animals.
Also, what exactly does "informally known as" really mean. Supplemental Social Security is a specific program. It has it's own requirements, and is generally there for people who haven't had enough work experience to qualify for regular Social Security. I was lead to believe it was a separate entity. I receive Social Security Disability. My benefits for that program, were determined based on how much I have paid into the program all my life. I received a Social Security benefits card, and am treated exactly the same as Senior citizens receiving SS. I was only 52 when I started receiving these benefits. Certain people do consider themselves my employer based on their misguided opinion that they are paying my way. Obviously from reading statements like Supplemental Social security, is also known as Social Security Disability. I also pay more than I did with my last employer, for my medical coverage, as well as my prescription medication. I also have to cover all medical coverage Medicare doesn't cover. For that I have what is known as a "Supplemental" insurance policy, I pay a monthly premium just like normal insurance.
I don't consider myself collecting welfare, I worked hard all my life, and only stopped due to a severe illness. I wish the SJ could explain that statement...............

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Here is another fact Frank.

Here is another fact Frank. Individuals collected SSDI increased 20% under the current administration.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

"News Flash" for Mark...............

The administration doesn't have a whole lot to due with the number of people receiving SSDI. As long as there are still illnesses and injuries going on out there, people will need the insurance.............

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Frank, The Federal

Frank,

The Federal Government, which includes this administration, controls the purse strings. This administration could very well say SSDI budget is cut in half, not likely, but they have that power. Wow, I'm not sure what world you live in; Government plays a direct role in how much money you get - end of story.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

My you sound chipper this morning.............

It amazes me how one person can have an opinion on so many things they have no experience with. You know everything there is to know about everything. You know more about trucks, robotic manufacturing "with their little PC's", and Disability Benefits.
I spent a good chunk of my life, with hands on, learning about those things, yet you and "Google" can sit there and proclaim your expertise.
With all that going for you, I have never, with the exception of maybe three people, heard anyone, by name, agree with you about much of anything. So tell me "oh wise and knowing one". How can you make so many wrong assertions and still consider yourself intelligent? It's just amazing..................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yes, I do know what I'm talking about.

Perhaps you don't know I have invested my career in engineer. I hold degrees in electrical and computer engineering. I hold a number of patents in my industry - you can Google that.

I also, spent years restoring old vehicles as a hobby. I've torn down vehicles to the frame and rebuild them. I've taken the best of several vehicles and manufactured my own hybrid vehicle.

I attribute my broad knowledge to my willingness to take risks. I have more failures under my bent than successes. That said, I have many successes because I attempt many more things than the average joe.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

You think having degrees helps????????????

I have a degree in computer electronics, electronic engineering, and law enforcement. Right now those three degrees represent 264 square inches of wall covering. I've had numerous jobs as well, I built homes, I was a lineman for a local phone company, I spent a good number of years throwing drunk people out of bars. I even went bankrupt and lost a home to foreclosure. Ya, I've learned a lot in life to, but those last two little incidents in my life taught me the most. I thank God every day for being able to learn what I did from those two little cluster f*&+ks. All that before I was 46 years old.
I feel I've earned the right to sit back and bitch and moan all I please. I might as well, I've put my crappy boat away for the season, it's hibernation time for me.......................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Then I would say you failed

Then I would say you failed in the manner in which you applied your schooling.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I would say I was doing pretty good................

I would say that I applied my schooling, except the Law Enforcement part, pretty well. I was doing just what I wanted, was making more than I had hoped for, and truly enjoyed going to work every day. So how did I fail in how I applied my schooling.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

When I screen job applicants,

When I screen job applicants, one trigger that I personally look for is to see how many difference jobs this individual has held. When I see a job applicant who has jumped from job to job or career to career, ...... well it is a negative mark in my book. The is a clear indication that I may not want to invest in this individual for that may not be around long enough for me to recuperate my investment.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

P.S. That behavior is also a

P.S.

That behavior is also a sign of emotional instability.

Bob White's picture

If you have nothing to do you

If you have nothing to do you could get a job........ Oh yea you have an excuse for that sorry

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Frank does have lots of time

Frank does have lots of time to cruse in his new luxury SUV since he is collecting SSDI payments and otherwise has noting to do with his time.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Again, please explain your comment...........

Give me one reason why, I shouldn't be allowed to have whatever vehicle I want. Just what connection does collecting SSDI have with how I spend my time.
Your not one of those Republicans who feel that because I was stupid enough to get sick, than if SSDI is my only income(which it's not) than I be forced to live in squaller, and poverty all my life.
Back when I was driving trucks, every year about mid-spring time, I observed this annual migration of very expensive and really cool, motor homes heading north. They traveled at a much more leisurely pace than I did, so I would first see them some where down around Georgia. My next trip South a couple of weeks later, They made it up to about New Jersey area.(lot's of casino's in New Jersey area), soon enough they would make their way back to Maine. Now most, if not all these really cool, really expensive Motor homes are owned, not by scrapping young CEO types. They are owned by retiree's. Most of whom are collecting the same thing I am.
Now why is it fair for them to own a really nice Motor Home, and split the year between Maine, and Florida? While you and Mr. White, seem outraged that I'm not living in a gutter someplace, living off food scraps. Why are you fixated on a disabled person who isn't dirt poor? Mr. White has this thing about me not going out and finding a job. I am still employed by the same company I was when I got sick. I just can't work anymore. Not my choice by the way. It's nice to have a company stand behind their employees even when they can no longer function as they once could. I still get invited to all the functions, a huge dinner party in the winter, the company Christmas Party, a company picnic at Fun Town every year. I can't attend a lot of these things, but it still feels good to be part of the team. I still have contact with people I worked with, and go to the plant every once in a while to see whats new. I became disabled I haven't died yet. If I want to drive a luxury SUV, that's my prerogative. I shouldn't have to have to answer to anyone. I earned everything I have. Personally, I just think your jealous...................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

First, SSDI and SS are not

First, SSDI and SS are not the same thing; you keep thinking they are equivalent.

Second, if the concept of a safety net is to keep people from falling into poverty, there is something grossly wrong with a safety net that is generous enough to allow people to attain expensive assets while on the system.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Here is your education for

Here is your education for today. There is social security which is for retirees. There is SSDI which is for disabled people who have worked enough in their life to have paid to get this form of disability. And then there is SSI which is for disabled people who have not worked enough in their life. Now if you think about it both social security and SSDI have been paid for at some point by the recipient. SSI, however, has not been paid for by the recipient. Now that we have that straight....can you figure out what it is you think you may know but don't.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Tina, don't bother...........

The guy's a moron, who believes that SS or SSDI isn't anything but taxpayer supplied welfare. Therefore people such as myself should only live in squaller, and thank people like him everyday for the meager scraps of food I do receive. And for Gods sake, don't ever buy anything nice..........................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If an individual can afford

If an individual can afford to purchase a luxury SUV, I would say they are not close to flirting with what you call "squaller".

FRANK EARLEY's picture

OK I'll try this with you, again......................

What are the differences other than one doesn't require you to be 65. Also, I had to start paying into this whole system with the first paycheck I ever received, and from every single one since. Why do you feel I'm not entitled to reap the fruits of my labor? This hang up you have about expensive assets, is a little bizarre. Where in the rule book are the list of things you are and are not allowed to spend your own money on. Please enlighten me.
You seem to feel that the fact that I've had many different occupations over the years as a detriment to possible employment. Yet you state that you yourself have had the same type of employment history, only yours was to gain knowledge, if I'm not mistaken.
Who, by the way, would ever let you interview potential employees, accept possibly your own company. You don't exactly strike me as the sharpest knife in the draw. To be honest, I don't see how to many people would be able to sit through an entire interview with you. With your negative attitude and contrary logic, I could see a lot of people walking out, scratching their heads....................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"What are the differences

"What are the differences other than one doesn't require you to be 65."

Like you have to be disabled to collect SSDI, that is kind of a big difference between SS and SSDI, as big as the Grand Canyon I would venture to say.

Thomas Hamilton's picture

I agree

SSDI is a good thing which is meant to keep a disable person from falling into abject poverty through no fault of his/her own. But, it is not meant to be the icing on the cake of an early, and comfortable retirement. It is a form of insurance but it is also a form of welfare - certainly not the same as Social Security that has been paid for by wage earners.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Careful Thomas Hamilton.......

You are starting to sound a lot like our Mr. Gravel here. You are wrong, You can argue all you want, but stupid people refuse to accept the truth. Please explain to me just how differently my SSDI benefits are acquired as apposed to SS. My benefits are a direct result of what I have paid into the system all my life. I received a statement at the very beginning of the whole process, detailing every penny I paid into the system from my very first job. Even though I was relatively young when I started receiving SSDI, it will still be years before I have received as much as I paid in. I pay my own medical , and supplemental plus prescription coverage. So how do you consider this welfare. Stop listening to Mark Gravel..............................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I think Mr. Hamilton did a

I think Mr. Hamilton did a fine job of summarizing the truth. Whether you are willing to embrace the truth or not is a very separate issue.

Given that Government finance is a “pay as you go” system, you were actually paying for beneficiaries at that time. There is no savings account with Frank Earley’s name on it.

Current taxpayers are financing your SSDI. There is no guaranteed benefit awaiting you. So the takeaway is that you paid someone else’s benefits; so what?

People like Mr. Hamilton and me can lobby congress to change the rules, like adding means testing to those individuals currently drafting on SSDI. The government, or I should say the taxpayer, owns you nothing – period. I believe that you know your benefits can change at anytime regardless of what you think the taxpayer owes you.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

You have no idea of what...........

You have no idea what your talking about. I'll tell you what, you and Mr. Hamilton go to Washington, you get the benefits lowered. Then you will need to become a House Republican, because they have been trying to cut SS benefits for ever. I'm sure they could use your incredible super Republican powers. You may even make speaker.
I don't know where or for that matter why, you get these urges to just take something away from someone, anyone. It's like you have this paranoia, this fear that someone just might be getting something your not. Like it will destroy everything you ever had in life. Well I got some news for ya. I receive SSDI, and like it or not, it is not welfare. Just because Mark Gravel says it over and over again won't make it so. I receive it legitimately and am allowed to do with those benefits as I please. I report everything I may take in over and above my benefit amount, when ever I need to. I don't live on a month to month basis, I use my money responsibly therefore allowing me some nice things from time to time. Everything I do is completely legal and proper.
OK enough of that for right now, I was wondering, are you, Mr.Hamilton and Bob White going to form some sort of club together. You all have the same "speak out and do nothing" attitude and I just thought it might give you guys some company. I mean there's like only two or three people who even come close to agreeing with anything you have to say.
I'm going to have to leave you and Bob alone for now, My typing fingers are getting worn out. I'm sure you can find someone else to play with you for awhile. See Ya.......................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You can rationalize all you

You can rationalize all you want, but you cannot deny that SSDI is a transfer of taxpayer money to individuals.
If it is not welfare, then what is it?
The Government is certainly not in the indemnity business - what is it?
The Government is certainly not a savings and loan - what is it?
The Government is certainly not in the annuity business - what is it?

It is a transfer of taxpayer money to someones pocket. It is welfare.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Do you hold a patent on........

the ability to blow smoke out your arse? Because I don't for one minute believe a word you say, except for your being one greedy, selfish s.o.b.

And you can Google that!!!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yes, sticking your head in

Yes, sticking your head in the sand to avoid unpleasant truths is a human coping mechanism. However, it ever changes the facts.

America's Dr. Right

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Benefits

I love how the right wing likes to lump all government money as welfare except of course for the corporate no bid defense contracts, oil and farm subsidies and the cash money we hand out to people in Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan as bribes. Social Security and Medicare are a form of government sponsored insurance that people pay for. I get a monthly bill for Medicare and I paid plenty for my retirement program. They are not welfare and I wish the right would stop picking on seniors. There aren't enough jobs for the young and healthy in this country and it would not improve things to have 90 year old dementia riddled folks job hunting too. Personally I am not bothered by the fact that Mississippi gives out less welfare money. They also have high infant mortality, high illiteracy, high early death rates, high crime and they soak the federal government every chance they get. We do not need to compete. I disagree that states that give out less welfare do not suffer the consequences in social squalor.

 's picture

You mean like this no-bid

You mean like this no-bid contract that has cronyism and fraud all over it?
Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.
Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.
The government is full of sleazy crooks that are only enriching themselves and their friends at our expense. It's a two party system and you and I are not invited. Vote them all out.

or how about this? no-bid contracts are up 9% under Obama.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/no-bid-us-government-cont...

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Many of us see the same

Many of us see the same behavior from government that you are seeing. However, I remained perplexed that a certain segment of the population thinks government is greater than sliced bread and needs to do more. I can only speculate these people are on the receiving end of someones tax liability.

I think we see them for what they are and how they line their own pockets at our expense. They throw a few crumbs to the takers for votes.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Government contracts

In the 50's and 60's the government was spending its money on building American roads, railroads and electrical grids and financing homes and college education for Americans and investing in scientific research to benefit Americans. We built the biggest, richest economy in the world and became known as one of the countries with the highest rate of upward mobility In the last 20 years we have been investing in roads, schools, weapons and electrical grids for places like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Israel Libya, and pretty much any country that has a supply of oil. Upward mobility in this country has diminished by more than a third and the gulf between the rich and the poor is getting us closer and closer to a medieval society every year. The contracts I have in mind are of the Halliburton, KBR , Exxon, Boeing, Blackwater variety. And you can add to that the Wall Street bennies the government dishes out to those guys every year. The government obviously cannot exist without hiring some people in the private sector although it seems they are way less efficient and more costly than government operations. We need to have more oversight when it comes to cost when private companies get hired by the government. We can thank conservatives for always insisting that private companies do it better though there is scant evidence of that. That experimental plane costing billions every year that is now trillions over budget and more than 10 years overdue and still cannot fly would be an example of what I have in mind.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"In the 50's and 60's the

"In the 50's and 60's the government was spending its money on building American roads, railroads and electrical grids and financing homes and college education for Americans and investing in scientific research to benefit Americans."

Don't forget to say that the US has paid back "zero" principal on that and all the other loans made since then.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

There are many interesting

There are many interesting pints of data in this article. All that said, I couldn’t help but wonder if the father of these two progeny is supporting his children or is it all the taxpayer?

Year 2010 census data shows that 49% of Americans get some form of government benefits, such as Social Security, food stamps, Medicare, WIC, SSI, SSDI, and housing to name a few. Moreover, the number of Americans receiving government benefits will significantly increase with Obamacare subsidies for Americans earning up to 400% of the poverty level [1].

This cycle of the welfare state will end.

[1] http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-49-americans-ge...

RONALD RIML's picture

And you will end the cycle of the Corporate Welfare State when??

about the time J. Scott Moody of the Maine Heritage Policy Center votes a straight Democratic ticket???? Bwa-haa-haaa-HA!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

P.S. When I say better living

P.S.

When I say better living through smaller government, there are no exception clauses to that statement......

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Riml sarcasm on a Sunday

Riml sarcasm on a Sunday morning!

Surprisingly, I would like to drive corporate subsides, along with farm subsides, down to zero along with corporate taxes.

RONALD RIML's picture

Yet you never mention Corporate welfare until I do -

only personal.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

P.S. Don't forget that I

P.S. Don't forget that I address a comment in response to my comment.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I attempt to address the main

I attempt to address the main theme of the originating letter. In this case, it is about transfer payments.

If you or someone else writes an opinion letter about corporate welfare, I'll comment on it.

Unlike others, I try to keep my eye on the ball - the topic at hand. Al though it does not always end up that way.

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