I take no pleasure in writing about issues of race, but I take even less pleasure in witnessing the racial falsehoods and myths that politicians and the media are all too willing to advance. I refer to the advancement of these tales as shameful lies because the tellers know better. Those who accept these fallacies are the willful ignorant because the truth is not hidden.
Over a period of years, Reagan told the story of the "Chicago welfare queen" who had 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and collected benefits for "four nonexistent deceased husbands," bilking the government out of "over $150,000." The real welfare recipient to whom Reagan referred was actually convicted for using two different aliases to collect $8,000. It was a shameless lie! Still, Reagan continued to use his version of the story even after the press pointed out the actual facts of the case to him.
In telling a tale about food stamp fraud to a Southern audience, Reagan referred to a "young buck"
( "buck" denotes an African-American man) using his food stamps to buy T-bone steaks. Politicians employed racial imagery and racist references to Blacks in order to appeal to the worst instincts and fears of Whites. Divisive, racist claims also served as a justification for economically regressive policies. Sadly, today's politicians continue to use the same tactics; and sadly, far too many people believe such statements to be true.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) defended GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently, arguing that the former House speaker's repeated claims of President Obama being "the greatest food-stamp president" were correct and devoid of any racial undertones.
"There is no race code," West said
. "In fact, since President Obama has been in office you've seen a 4 to 1 increase in food-stamp recipients in the United State of America."
The Truth about food stamps:
Under President George W. Bush
the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. In the 12 months before Obama was sworn in food stamp recipients tripled.
While under President Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. 444,574 fewer recipients during President Obama's time in office than during Bush's. In fact, the number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October.
The racial breakdown of food stamp recipients is as follows:
Race Percent No. of Recipients
White 33.7% 13,395,000
Black 22.4% 8,909,000
Hispanic 16.7% 6,637,000
Facts that are not considered:
- 79% of food stamp benefits are awarded to households with minor children.
- 47.8% of all recipients live in households where family members are employed.
- 8% of recipients are elderly
Finally, the number of recipients would have increased by millions, over the last decade because of the number of natural disasters that called for a government response.
During the Bush administration, emergency agencies responded to 4 major hurricanes, tornados in Arkansas and Oklahoma and floods in Minnesota and Illinois.
Likewise, during the Obama administration citizens required disaster relief
in Tennessee, Mississippi, Iowa, Kentucky and Illinois because of floods during 2010, while in 2011 states were ravaged by both floods and tornadoes.
The Truth about medicare:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum drew criticism after saying, "".I was talking to someone who works in the department of public welfare here, and she told me that the state of Iowa is going to get fined if they don't sign up more people under the Medicaid program.... I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."
He denied ever making the comments, when clearly he did. My question is what he meant by "somebody else's money"? Black people pay taxes like everyone else. If there are any "Blah" people in America , you can wager they pay taxes too. In fact, Blacks paid taxes for decades and had no civil rights to enjoy the benefits of their committed revenue. By george...that means for decades, people's lives were made better with somebody else's money....Black people's money!
Medicaid and Chip (Children's Health Insurance Program) provide coverage to more than 31 million children. Medicaid provides health coverage to 11 million non-elderly low-income parents, caretaker relatives, pregnant women, 4.6 million seniors and 8.8 million individuals with disabilities.
Race Percent No. of Recipients
White 43% 19,501,500
Black 22% 9,689,100
Hispanic 28% 12,523,200
While, many recipients of medicaid also receive medicare, this is what medicare enrollment looked like in 2009:
The Truth about welfare:
In the early days of the United States, the colonies imported the British Poor Laws. Those who were unable to work due to their age or physical ability were assisted with cash or alternative forms of help from the government. Those who were able-bodied but unemployed were given public service employment in workhouses.
In the 1880s and 1890s, caseworkers visited the poor and trained them in morals and a work ethic. Don't ask because I have no idea.
Prior to the Great Depression, a Civil War Pension Program provided aid to Civil War Veterans and their families.
When the Great Depression hit, welfare as we know it really began. The Social Security Act established a number of programs designed to provide aid to various segments of the population; unemployment compensation and AFDC (originally Aid to Dependent Children) are two of the programs that still exist today.
In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act; also known as Welfare-to-Work, it required work in exchange for time limited financial assistance. Recipients of TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, were required to work at least 20 hours per week, as well as meet additional requirements.
The following data came from a 2009 chart
which was updated 8/03/2011.
African American 34.1
Native American 1.4
Some feel that these percentages are disproportionate to the population numbers, and I don't disagree. However, I would suggest that the same is true of the number unemployed and mired in poverty.
As the presidential primaries go forward and dog whistles become sirens, this information will enable us to discern when we hear them. It's time to stop the divisive politics...we are ALL Americans.
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