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Category Archives: Welfare

10% of Amazon workers in Ohio are on food stamps

On January 9, 2018, CNBC reports that Jeff Bezos (né Jorgensen) — founder/chairman/CEO of Amazon and the owner of Washington Post — surpassed Microsoft mogul Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man, with $105.1 billion in wealth.

Gates, once the world’s richest man, is now worth “only” $93.3 billion.

17 days later, propelled by the launch of Amazon Go, Bezos’ net worth increased another $2.8 billion to a total of $107.9 billion. (CNBC)

So it’s a downright disgrace that 10% of Amazon’s workers in Ohio are on food stamps (SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) — the working poor in America. Amazon is one of the largest employers in Ohio, with more than 6,000 workers and thousands more to be added soon at three new big warehouses.

But Amazon is also one of the largest employers in Ohio of workers who need food assistance to get by.

A study by the think tank Policy Matters Ohio found that according to the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, as of last August, as many as 10% or 1,430 Amazon employees or family members in Ohio were getting food stamps. That places Amazon 19th among all Ohio employers in the number of employees receiving SNAP. Just months before, Amazon didn’t even rank in the top 50.

The Amazon employees on food stamps include both full- and part-time workers, but it is likely mostly part-time workers require food assistance. Amazon operates data centers, wind farms, and Whole Foods outlets in Ohio, but the largest number of employees are at two big warehouses near Columbus.

While more than one in every ten Amazon employee in Ohio are on food stamps,  Amazon gets millions of dollars in state and local subsidies at its warehouses, including (Bloomberg Businessweek):

  • $17 million in tax incentives from the state of Ohio,and over $1.5 million in cash from JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development agency, as part of a two-warehouse deal — all funded with income from the state’s liquor monopoly.
  • At least $123 million in tax breaks and $2.9 million in cash grants in four deals with JobsOhio since 2014.
  • A 15-year exemption on state and local property and sales taxes, and $1.4 million in cash, in a 2014 deal with JobsOhio for Amazon spending $1.1 billion to build three data centers and a promise of 120 jobs.
  • No property taxes to Licking County for 15 years, a deal that Amazon negotiated in 2015 with local officials and JobsOhio.

At the same time, Amazon‘s new facilities in Ohio, totaling almost a million square feet, make use of public services like the fire department and emergency responders. At least once a day, a medical unit from West Licking Fire Station 3 makes a run to the Amazon warehouse 3.1 miles away, in the township of Etna, about 20 miles east of Columbus. Steve Little, the fire district administrator, said the calls for routine medical issues that occur in grueling warehouse jobs come at all hours, including shortness of breath, chest pains, and myriad minor injuries. During the busy holiday season, the warehouse sometimes issues multiple emergency calls a day. Little said, “We have to protect, but we get no extra money. We have no voice in these deals, and we get no cash. Our residents are being forced to pay instead.” In November 2017, voters in Little’s district were asked to approve a five-year, $6.5 million property tax levy to keep the fire department operating.

The deals Ohio made with Amazon create surprisingly few jobs. Ohio’s Republican state auditor David Yost says: “$123 million is a lot of money, and you ought to get a lot for that. It’s really hard to know how much the state of Ohio paid per [Amazon] job.”

Ohio’s job-growth rate has trailed the U.S. average for 57 consecutive months; in August it was an anemic 1.1%, compared with the 1.5% national rate. In 2013, Yost threatened to compel JobsOhio to be more transparent by showing him more numbers. So Governor John Kasich pushed a bill through the state legislature stripping public officials of the right to audit JobsOhio’s books. A private auditor now conducts an annual review, which is partly redacted before publication.

I thank God John Kasich didn’t win the GOP primaries and wasn’t elected POTUS.

See also:

~Eowyn

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LA Times asks, “Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?

nancy pelosi tweet

Demorats own this.

Doesn’t take an econ major in junior high to solve this riddle.

Kerry Jackson at the LA Timeswrote this op-ed piece: Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some states — principally Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia — initiated welfare reform, as did the federal government under President Clinton and a Republican Congress. Tied together by a common thread of strong work requirements, these overhauls were a big success: Welfare rolls plummeted and millions of former aid recipients entered the labor force.

The state and local bureaucracies that implement California’s antipoverty programs, however, resisted pro-work reforms. In fact, California recipients of state aid receive a disproportionately large share of it in no-strings-attached cash disbursements. It’s as though welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place. Immigrants are falling into it: 55% of immigrant families in the state get some kind of means-tested benefits, compared with just 30% of natives.

Self-interest in the social-services community may be at fault. As economist William A. Niskanen explained back in 1971, public agencies seek to maximize their budgets, through which they acquire increased power, status, comfort and security. To keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, California has an enormous bureaucracy. Many work in social services, and many would lose their jobs if the typical welfare client were to move off the welfare rolls.

Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. More than four in 10 households spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2015. A shortage of available units has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies.

“Counties and local governments have imposed restrictive land-use regulations that drove up the price of land and dwellings,” explains analyst Wendell Cox. “Middle-income households have been forced to accept lower standards of living while the less fortunate have been driven into poverty by the high cost of housing.” The California Environmental Quality Act, passed in 1971, is one example; it can add $1 million to the cost of completing a housing development, says Todd Williams, an Oakland attorney who chairs the Wendel Rosen Black & Dean land-use group. CEQA costs have been known to shut down entire homebuilding projects. CEQA reform would help increase housing supply, but there’s no real movement to change the law.

Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average. Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics, author of a 2015 Manhattan Institute study, “Less Carbon, Higher Prices,” found that “in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced … energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income. In certain California counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15% of all households.” A Pacific Research Institute study by Wayne Winegarden found that the rate could exceed 17% of median income in some areas.

Looking to help poor and low-income residents, California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022 — but a higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60% of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs. And research indicates that it could cause many who do have jobs to lose them. A Harvard University study found evidence that “higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants” in the Bay Area, where more than a dozen cities and counties, including San Francisco, have changed their minimum-wage ordinances in the last five years. “Estimates suggest that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating),” the report says. These restaurants are a significant source of employment for low-skilled and entry-level workers.

Apparently content with futile poverty policies, Sacramento lawmakers can turn their attention to what historian Victor Davis Hanson aptly describes as a fixation on “remaking the world.” The political class wants to build a costly and needless high-speed rail system; talks of secession from a United States presided over by Donald Trump; hired former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. to “resist” Trump’s agenda; enacted the first state-level cap-and-trade regime; established California as a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants; banned plastic bags, threatening the jobs of thousands of workers involved in their manufacture; and is consumed by its dedication to “California values.” All this only reinforces the rest of America’s perception of an out-of-touch Left Coast, to the disservice of millions of Californians whose values are more traditional, including many of the state’s poor residents.

With a permanent majority in the state Senate and the Assembly, a prolonged dominance in the executive branch and a weak opposition, California Democrats have long been free to indulge blue-state ideology while paying little or no political price. The state’s poverty problem is unlikely to improve while policymakers remain unwilling to unleash the engines of economic prosperity that drove California to its golden years.

h/t PJ Media

DCG

Switzerland: No citizenship for refugees and welfare recipients until money is repaid

Although not part of the European Union, Switzerland partakes in “resettling” Syrian refugees. In 2016, the Swiss government announced they would take 3,000 asylum seekers from the war-torn country, as well as resettle up to 50,000 asylum seekers who had crossed the border into Switzerland, mostly from Italy.

Unlike the other European countries and the United States, however, Switzerland isn’t stupid in being charitable.

Joseph Curl reports for the Daily Wire, Jan. 10, 2018, that Switzerland, where the average annual GDP per capita is nearly $80,000, recently enacted a new  law that prevents residents who receive welfare benefits from becoming citizens until they pay back the money they took.

The new regulations that took effect January 1 specify that:

  1. Asylum seekers and refugees who received handouts in the previous three years can’t become permanent residents — and thus, on the road to becoming full citizens — without first paying back the government.
  2. Refugees must prove they are making efforts to integrate into society in order to win citizenship by showing they have “cultivated contacts” with a number of Swiss people.
  3. There are also new language requirements, which vary depending on the canton they live in.

What Switzerland is doing is tough love.

Being charitable doesn’t mean one has to be a sap, a doormat. Nor should an open door policy to refugees and migrants be only one-way, where the host country gives and gives, but receives little or nothing in return. Human nature  being what it is, such a policy simply leads to the welfare-recipient feeling “entitled” and even contemptuous of the giver. Refugees and migrants have a responsibility to repay charity with hard work and a willingness to assimilate to become responsible citizens.

Why can’t the U.S. be more like Switzerland?

~Eowyn

Trump letter enables states to require Medicaid recipients to work

Medicaid is a 1960s-era Lyndon Johnson anti-poverty Great Society government program that provides free health insurance (as well as benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services) to low-income adults, their children, and people with disabilities, totaling 74 million recipients in 2017. Jointly funded by the state and federal governments, Medicaid is managed by the states, with each state currently having broad leeway to determine eligibility. Although states are not required to participate in the program, all have since 1982. Medicaid recipients must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

The Affordable Care Act, i.e., Obamacare, significantly expanded both federal funding and eligibility for Medicaid, to include all U.S. citizens and legal residents with income up to 133% of the poverty line.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determines the poverty thresholds, updated each year by the Census Bureau. For the 2017 poverty thresholds, go here. As an example, the poverty threshold for a family of four is $24,600. That means a family of four with an annual income of $32,718 (133% of $24,600) or lower is eligible for Medicaid.

Like Medicare and Social Security, the federal government’s spending on Medicaid has burgeoned since the 1990s. If nothing is done, Medicaid spending will balloon to $1½ trillion in 2022.

↓Click image to enlarge↓

The Trump administration has signaled from the outset that it wanted to set a more conservative tone for Medicaid. On the day in March when she was sworn in as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), Seema Verma dispatched a letter to governors encouraging “innovations that build on the human dignity that comes with training, employment and independence.”

Currently, 10 states intend to impose work requirements on able-bodied adults who are receiving Medicaid, but they need federal permission to do so. The 10 states are Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. Three other states are contemplating the work requirement — Alabama, Idaho, and South Dakota. (Washington Post)

Today, the Trump Administration issued a letter to state Medicaid directors which, for the first time in Medicaid’s half-century history, enables states to cut off Medicaid benefits to Americans unless they have a job, are in school, are a caregiver or participate in approved forms of community service — an idea that the Obama administration had consistently rejected.

To those who, predictably, will accuse President Trump of hard-heartedness, the letter specifies that:

“States must comply with federal civil rights laws, ensure that individuals with disabilities are not denied Medicaid for inability to meet these requirements, and have mechanisms in place to ensure that reasonable modifications are provided to people who need them.

States must also create exemptions for individuals determined by the state to be medically frail and should also exempt from the requirements any individuals with acute medical conditions validated by a medical professional that would prevent them from complying with the requirements . . . . As many Medicaid beneficiaries live in areas of high unemployment, or are engaged as caregivers for young children or elderly family members, states should consider a variety of activities to meet the requirements for work and community engagement . . . . States will be required to describe strategies to assist beneficiaries in meeting work and community engagement requirements and to link individuals to additional resources for job training or other employment services, child care assistance, transportation, or other work supports to help beneficiaries prepare for work or increase their earnings.”

CMMS could approve the first Medicaid work requirement waiver — probably for Kentucky — as soon as tomorrow!

Please keep President Trump in your prayers.

~Eowyn

Elderly Meals-On-Wheels volunteer attacked by machete man

File this under “No good deed goes unpunished”.

Dom Amato reports for WCAX that on Jan. 5, 2018, a 73-year-old Meals on Wheels female volunteer was dropping off meals at Harbor Place in Shelburne, Vermont, when she was attacked by a man wielding a machete.

Harbor Place provides temporary emergency housing with services, run by the Champlain Housing Trust.

Police had responded to calls about a man with a knife smashing out car windows. Corporal Jon Marcoux of Shelburne Police said, “On arrival we found that this person who was reported to have a knife, had actually attacked an elderly female.”

32-year-old Abukar Ibrahim was the one with a machete. From his picture (see below), it is not clear if he is a black American or a Muslim immigrant.

Corporal Marcoux said Ibrahim “barricaded himself in the room. After two and a half hours, he came out on his own.”

Marcoux  says the Shelburne Police Department gets a fair number of calls about Harbor Place: “I think anytime you put a lot of people in a place, not necessarily Harbor Place, but any place, the more contact people have with others, especially under trying circumstances, I think generates more calls.”

Ibrahim is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, on the charge of attempted murder. He is being held at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility. His victim, the elderly woman, sustained multiple injuries, was taken to the hospital and later released.

Question: Given the fact that some 40% of homeless people are mentally ill or drug addicts, would you minister to them, like the 73-year-old Meals On Wheels volunteer? Or is doing so just asking for trouble? Not trying to be cynical, but would you think this woman to be a “useful idiot”?

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: Be kind

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

The dictionary defines the adjective “kind” as being generous, helpful, and caring. Isn’t that what the second greatest commandment’s “love your neighbor as yourself” means?

When was the last time you were kind — generous, helpful and caring — to someone in need? And when was the last time someone was kind — generous, helpful and caring — to you?

And who — in our welfare state where “charity” and “kindness” are enforced by government through confiscatory taxation — are “the least among us”? (For me, homeless and suffering animals are among “the least”.)

Here are some kindness quotes:

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” ~Anonymous

“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are.” ~Anonymous

Don’t be yourself — be someone a little nicer.” ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~Henry James

And may the peace and love and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

See also:

~Eowyn

Majority of Muslims in West Europe are on welfare

In Germany, Muslims account for 1 in 7 Germans 32 years old and younger, and a whopping 80% of them are on welfare.

In Denmark, some 84% of all welfare recipients are non-Danes, most of whom are Muslims.

The latest is that only 20% of Muslims in the UK are employed full time, which means the rest of them don’t work and are on welfare.

National Economics Editorial reports, Oct. 6, 2017, that a new study conducted by Sheffield Hallam University on behalf of UK government’s Social Mobility Commission found that:

  • Only 1 in 5 (19.8%) British Muslims aged 16 to 74 has a full time job.
  • In contrast, more than 1 in 3 (34.9%) of the overall population in England and Wales have a full time job.
  • Muslim women in the UK are more likely than all other women to be economically inactive with 18% of Muslim women aged 16 to 74 recorded as “looking after home and family” — compared with 6% in the overall population.
  • Only 6% of Muslims are in ‘higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations’ compared to 10% of the overall population.
  • Their scant presence in professional-managerial occupations is due to British Muslims having lower levels of qualifications. Only about a quarter of Muslims over the age of 16 have ‘level 4 and above’ (degree-level and above) qualifications. Their lower levels of qualifications, in turn, are due to Muslims’ lower educational achievement.
  • Not surprisingly, since so many Muslims don’t work, nearly half of UK’s Muslims (46%) live in 10% of the “most deprived” (poorest) districts.

The explanation for all that, according to the Social Mobility Commission, is —  wait for it — RACISM, specifically “Islamophobia”.

In other words, it’s white people’s racism that Muslims are on welfare, are less educated, and do not have professional-managerial jobs. That half of the world’s Muslims are inbred from generations of incestuous first-cousin marriages — with attendant birth defects, mental illnesses, and cognitive retardation — has nothing to do with it, of course. /sarc

And the Commission’s recommendations? Affirmative Action policies, as in the United States, including:

  1. Increasing financial support for Muslims to attend university.
  2. Reforming Britain’s education programs with “sophisticated and practical diversity training programs with a focus on religious diversity”.
  3. Forcing businesses to acknowledge their “unconscious bias” in hiring, and undergo training in “diversity, religious literacy and cultural competence”.

See also:

~Eowyn

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