This afternoon, I received an email from a relative with the following attachment:
The text below the image was as follows:
This morning I went to sign my dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said,
“Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare.” So I explained to her that my dogs
are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging
clue who their Daddy’s are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with
housing and medical care. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes
to qualify. My dogs get their first checks on Friday.
Damn, this is a great country!
That emphasis in the original, although I’m saving you the huge font size in which it was originally written. Although I am still debating the merits of a direct response (for reasons that are personal), it provides me an opportune moment to spread a little bit of knowledge.
First, most recipients of welfare aren’t “mixed in color.” If you mean “multi-racial,” they constitute only 1.2% of welfare recipients in 2007-08.
Second, it is true that unemployment joins the top of the list of reasons why individuals start taking public assistance, joining divorce and a health crisis. Does unemployment make someone lazy?
Third, since I know “can’t speak English” is code for “Mexican immigrant:” Mexican immigrants are more likely than whites or blacks to move off the welfare rolls within a year.
“This research refutes welfare reform assumptions that immigrants and disadvantaged native citizens seek out and maintain welfare assistance for the same reasons,” said Jennifer Van Hook, associate professor of sociology and demography at the Pennsylvania State University. “In the case of Mexican immigrants, welfare seems to be used primarily to minimize the effects of gaps in employment, not to avoid work or perpetuate dependency.”
Also, at least among children, only 1.4% of all kids on the TANF rolls are “qualified alien.”
Fourth, a small number of families getting assistance get a “check.” According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2000-01, 98.9% of families (in the aid system) got assistance with medical costs, 20% live in subsidized housing, 8.8% get subsidized child care, and 11.9% get a “check” that amounts–on average–to $244.22 per month.
Fifth, it is a great country, especially for the middle class and rich. According to one estimate, we spend 1% of our federal budget on poverty reduction (including welfare). We spend 12% helping the middle and upper classes through tax credits, no interest mortgages and home investment incentives.
This is only a start of a response to the insanely mistaken claims on which this joke relies.