Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welfare in Massachusetts

Can some of my liberal friends please defend a study by the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute which found that the typical welfare package, which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance totals the equivalent of $24 per hour or $50,540 per year. 

I can tell you from experience that this package is more than many entry level jobs. 

What incentive do the long term dependents of welfare have for seeking out employment?




Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package — which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance — if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.
“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.yNeJv2nn.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package — which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance — if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.
“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf

Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute. - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute. - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute. - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package — which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance — if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.
“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package — which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance — if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.
“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf
Massachusetts pays its welfare recipients what would amount an pre-tax wage of more than $24 an hour, and ranks third in the nation in terms of dollars doled out per welfare collector, according to a new study released by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package — which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance — if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.
“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/08/study_massachusetts_welfare_pays_better_than_entry_level_jobs#sthash.I2zvqo7P.dpuf

2 comments:

  1. When you phrase it that way, you're assuming that "dependents" are dependents simply because they don't have the incentive to find work. In most cases, there just isn't work to be found. There is a lot of literature suggesting our unemployment isn't cyclical, but structural. If that is the case, then many of the dependents cannot find jobs because they aren't trained properly, not because they don't want employment. Because of rising education costs, though, that kind of upward mobility isn't an option for most - it's a question of equality of opportunity. When you consider the fact that, for most, wages haven't risen (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/05/05/wages-job-growth/2134207/)then you have a system that's really not working in their favor. Put another way, if you were a dependent, and assuming you had the "incentive" to work, what would you do?

    In a more dramatic scenario, what would you do if you were born into a low-income neighborhood where your chances are being further dampened by a failing public education system that is now receiving even lass funding?

    In short, the defense of welfare is that you're putting too much of an impetus on personal responsibility, and too little on the impact of the environment you're born into (not by choice). I'd argue that there are many people who work a lot harder than many kids at BC who have far less positive outlooks in life simply because they weren't afforded the opportunity -- whether it be in the form of private school, connections, etc.

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  2. Ian makes some good points. Unemployment is partly cyclical and partly structural. On the latter point, college can help but it's expensive and not for everyone. Trade schools can help close the gap, but the long-term unemployed need to do something to make themselves more marketable. Waiting for the next check isn't a solution. That's easier said than done, to be sure and plenty of them are trying to do just that.

    I've known people who have said they won't start looking for work until their benefits run out. That drives me nuts. I don't think Ed is arguing that welfare should end (correct me if I'm wrong on that, Ed). I do think that paying over 50k a year in benefits provides a powerful disincentive to do anything but sit. Finding a job that pays more than that can be hard. Many people wouldn't take a job for 55k when they can make 50k by doing nothing. Leisure is valuable.

    There aren't any easy solutions. The economy is struggling and the costly implementation of Obamacare may make it yet harder to find full-time employment. While government can and should help, it's not the solution. In the end, we have to make things happen for ourselves.

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