So the article linked above is very interesting, it's in the middle and makes no judgements but speaks about what has happened to cause some of the rise in numbers of American's receiving aid. I would like to pose another reason, which is that wages and also retirement monies have not kept up with the cost of housing, food, utilities (be it gas, electric or oil) and medical costs.
Yes, I do make more money now then my mother did in the 80's raising two small girls all alone and refusing to go onto welfare because of the shame tied to it. She started out as a Grade 3 working at as a state worker in upstate New York. At a grade 3 she made $5,280, which was well below the 1985 poverty line of $8,850 (http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v48n7/v48n7p48.pdf warning pdf). I was able to eat one candy bar a month (yay!) but otherwise sweets were rare until the 90's for my family.
So looking cost of living and how it's changed? Take a look at this website: (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/70yearsofpricechange.html) and if we look at the difference in wages between 1980 and 2008 the average wage doubles, which isn't bad right? Except if you look at the other items listed and most of those items costs didn't double, they tripled at least. The cost of bread went from 50 cents to over 2 dollars.
So thinking about this, the average wages have doubled but everything else has probably outstripped our ability to fit into a paycheck. Perhaps this is the reason why a mother and a father have to work to make ends meet. Perhaps this is the reason why more people in America are pulling on the services available to them from the government in order to make it through. This isn't about people buying too expensive a car or a big screen television, it's about the price of bread and electricity. It's about how the dream of owning your own house is slowly disappearing. If the banks restricted their loans only to the people who could definitely afford it and have shown fiscally they would have no problems, how many sales would there be? Of course I do not agree that if you can't afford it you should still have it, but we have enough empty buildings and worn down houses that we just might be able to have housing for every single family.
But that is neither here nor there.
It's just that I'm sick of the conservatives who simply want people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It has never been that easy and it's simply getting harder. What is a liveable wage? What does it mean to be able to pay all of your bills each mont without worrying about having enough left over for food? I don't know what that's like. They certainly do not know what it's like to run out of money every two week because their paycheck doesn't stretch to cover everything, or else they wouldn't complain about people asking for help because they can't find enough pennies to buy a gallon of milk for their children.
What does it really cost to make the essentials we need in America? Are the big companies bleeding people dry?
I play World of Warcraft and I'm afraid that our economy is kind of the way all gaming worlds go. There is copper, silver and gold that the characters collect or earn during gaming time. They use that gold to buy items ingame. At first it cost 2 silver for a stack of leather. Now it costs 5 gold. Because people want more money. Because people are selling things at 15,000 gold instead of 150 gold. They are ratcheting up the price because they can and they want to get rich. I'm afraid that that is what is going on here. I love the history of the US. It has promise, but I worry that the conservatives and tea party members will drag this country down into a dark age with serf's.