Get a Job?!?

I hadn’t before thought of welfare as a subsidy to low-wage employers.

politics of equality

The American demonization of public income assistance is both legendary and scientifically demonstrable. Survey research by political scientists has repeatedly shown that strong majorities of Americans favor “aid to the poor” while equally strong majorities disapprove of “welfare.” Powerful ideological encoding teaches generation after generation that “welfare” is a wasteful government giveaway to lazy moochers who ought to find jobs and work for a living. In reality, as a new study from UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education finds, 61% of Medicaid recipients are employed, as are 32% of those receiving temporary income assistance. This isn’t entirely a surprise. In 1996, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility Act, requiring people receiving public assistance to be working or looking for work. What the 1996 law did not provide was any guarantee that real employment opportunities or living wages would be made available.

As working class wages stagnated…

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