Didn’t need no welfare state

Opening to All in the Family
Everybody pulled their weight.

The Associated Press released this article yesterday about California making deep cuts to its welfare programs and I couldn’t help but notice how each new agency picked it up and spun it a bit differently. News10.net, for example, only gave it four paragraphs and with little statistical information or specifics. The Contra Costa County Times, on the the other hand, provided over 30 paragraphs with many statistics and specifics about the cuts.

At any rate, here are some numbers that caught my eye…

The state has one-eighth of the nation’s population but one-third of all welfare recipients. California is one of the few states that send welfare checks for children when their parents are no longer eligible. About three-quarters of California’s 1.5 million welfare recipients are children 18 and younger.


California will spend $6 billion…this fiscal year on its welfare programs, or roughly 7 percent of a general fund budget that has shrunk by $17.5 billion over the past three years.

Where to begin, right? 7% seems reasonable, but then 6 billion seems like a ton o’cash to keep folks treading water. Is this temporary, “just til you get back on your feet” type assistance or is this a lifestyle choice?

Some more quick facts:

  • The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) program is the state’s largest cash grant program in 2011’s $6 billion welfare services budget.
  • In July, 1.4 million people applied for CalWORKS. Of those, 1.1 million were 18 or younger.
  • Cal-Learn, which helps dropout teen parents complete their educations has been suspended for a year. It cost $43.6 million in 2010.
  • CalFresh, California’s food stamp program, had 3.7 million applicants in July and cost $559 million in 2010.
  • 1.3 million people received $750 million in Supplemental Security Income and state supplementary payments.
  • $380 million was spent on in-home supportive services for 426,000 people.

My guess is, like everything, the folks that abuse programs like these ruin it for those that use them to stay afloat while they look for work. So, it seems this is more of an accountability issue than anything. Not exactly a revolutionary observation, I know.

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

14 thoughts on “Didn’t need no welfare state”

  1. Oh Ron. Federal income tax was originally temporary. Golden Gate Bridge tolls were originally temporary. Even the federal telephone excise tax was originally temporary, enacted solely to pay for the Spanish-American War. … of 1898 for those of you too young to remember. Yes- EIGHTEEN NINETY EIGHT- over 110 years ago. You’d think we’d have paid off all them cannonball debts by now, particularly since America “won” (really!? what did America “win” if it is still paying the debt 110 years later?). No government program is ever “temporary.” [Ah-cough-firmative action]


  2. It’s a shame that people do abuse these programs. I’ve seen it most apparently with unemployment (especially among those who are the least needy). But I know even more people who’ve used welfare or UE when they’ve had no other choice to stay afloat. I’m completely with you that there ought to be more accountability and incentive to use it as a means to greater self-sufficiency. It’s a shame that it’s so acceptable in our society to exploit our government assistance/services, because it does serve the public good and those that need it really do need it – and if there’s ever a time that people are learning that it’s now (as everything from public transit to library hours are being slashed).


  3. @Dil You bring up a great point with comment about it being a shame that it’s so acceptable in our society to exploit our government assistance/services.

    I think that is where a lot of the problem lies. We know it is done, we accept it, and in fact, we build it into our pricing/budget structures.


  4. @turty_squip: wrong. didn’t your state sales tax get reduced from 8.75% to 7.75% in 2011? thus, a temporary states sales tax program was ended.


  5. @mezzicun: Your government is, by threat of violence, taking your money, and you don’t even know how much they are taking. Sad. And you are wrong. State sales tax is SUPPOSED to get reduced on July 1, 2012. Jerry Brown is trying to prevent that. And now internets sales will also be taxed. And its 8.25%, plus whatever municipal taxes apply, usually around 1%.


  6. @turty_squip: then why do all of my sales receipts from the holidays indicate a sales tax rate of 7.75%? and i know all about the governor’s attempts to reinstate the old rate. plus, pete wilson’s increased sales taxes were also phased out during the early-mid 1990s.


  7. @turty_squip: and what do you mean exactly by using the term “threat of violence”? i know exactly how much in income taxes and sales taxes i pay because i’m always reviewing my pay stubs, sales receipts, etc., when outlaying money. maybe your municipality is adding .50% to the existing state rate of 7.75% to get an 8.25% in your locality.


  8. Opps, my bad: the state sales tax rate is actually 7.25%, beginning July 1, 2011. you can read it at the board of equalization’s website if you don’t believe me. the sacto area adds .5% to give me 7.75%.


  9. in case you’re lazy, here’s a quote from their website and a link to it.

    “California has many special taxing jurisdictions (districts), which are funded by a transactions (sales) and use tax rate that is added to the standard statewide rate of 7.25%, effective July 1, 2011. The tax rates for these districts range from 0.10% to 1.00% per district. In some areas, there is more than one district tax in effect. In others, there is no district tax in effect.”


  10. You ever try to buy something without paying sales tax? You put your “$0.99” on the counter and walk out with the item. What happens next? Nuff said.


  11. You know what I dislike almost as much as people who abuse our welfare system? That would be people who end something with “nuff said.”


  12. My brother had a real rough patch last summer (layoff + divorce) and took food stamps for about 4 months to put some food in the fridge for his high schooler son.

    Was a pretty funny/sad tale to hear the bureaucratic crap he had to go through to get the food stamps to stop. So yes it is sad when losers exploit the system. But also recognize that the system (ie the government bureaucracy that doles out the cash) thrives on ever increasing budgets and in ramming aid down any open mouth they can find.

    A dependent population makes for predictable elections, you know.


  13. I hope you know that Supplemental Security Income and In-home supportive services are for the disabled? IHSS is a less-expensive alternative to the state providing care for the disabled, on the theory that your family will do for minimum wage what nurses would want real money for.


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