Blame the Welfare Crowd!
By: Ryan Young
Oh Bill! Another caller on the open line calling for cuts to welfare recipients. 90% of them scamming the system said Bill. If they can cut jobs and services they can cut all the people taking advantage of the welfare! I cringed at the thought of the collective heads of hundreds or maybe thousands of uneducated curmudgeons nodding in agreement. After all, that is the way people like Bill have been taught to think. Only a lazy bum would be on welfare right?
As a single father who has worked since age 15 and recently fell through the cracks myself, I could tell Bill a thing or two about how the system works. If people like Bill actually educated himself by talking to some of the 15 people he described as scammers in his neighborhood, then people like me wouldn’t have to write blogs explaining how silly their logic is. I would tell Bill that I don’t get everything paid for by the government. I get help with rent (max $550 a month!) and prescriptions for the kids, but I pay my own power bill and my own phone bill. I don’t have cable because I can’t afford it. I don’t have a social life. I buy my own groceries and I have to pay for all of the extras that come with having three children in school. My bi-weekly pay after the power bill comes out is $211. Do the math Bill. That is $422 a month left over to raise three children. I don’t know how all these welfare crowd types are living as high on the hog as Bill describes. Maybe he can put me in contact with them so I can seek their advice!
Now I won’t disagree with Bill that there are a fair number of people in receipt of income support that could probably be working. I would also have to agree that there are certainly families that have multiple generations living on the system. We all know the type of people he is referring to. Most towns have at least a few, but throwing the number 90% out there is a little much don’t you think Bill? Like any government system, people will always find a way to scam but I personally think it a very unfair assumption to publicly state that all but 10% of income support recipients in the province are receiving their pittance legitimately. C’mon Bill, time to turn off the radio and come back to reality.
Never mind the fact that Bill has no idea what the personal situations of most of these people are. He doesn’t care if they are unable to find child care, or if they have an addiction, or maybe a disability that keeps them from working. People like Bill would only be happy if you had to go declaring your personal business to him and every other curmudgeon by wearing a placard on your chest pronouncing you a lazy bum! People like Bill are so struck by jealousy at the fact that someone might be getting something from the government that they are not that they feel compelled to lash out and make absurd statements. Bill doesn’t care that a single parent with three children is living on less than $1000 a month including their rent. It doesn’t hurt him that those kids will never get to eat a $9 cauliflower because they are eating dented cans of snap peas and diet cola that they got from the food bank. No, people like bill don’t like to think about those things because they do not support the narrative that they want to believe.
All of these things make me angry but the thing that makes me angriest is where people like Bill point his finger. Cut em all off! Let em fend for themselves! They are the ones to blame for what is wrong with this province! I wish people like Bill would stop to think for a minute about the words they say and how foolish they sound to anyone who has had the misfortune of falling through the cracks. Why is it that the finger is always pointed at the bottom and never at the top? It is the elected officials and bureaucrats who make the rules. They are the ones who put up barriers where they should be building bridges. They are the ones who encourage three generations of welfare recipients because it is easier not to act than to do shake the boat and something different. I wish people like Bill would call open line and say, you know I wish the government would do more for people to help get them back to work. I wish the government would support our vulnerable citizens and help to build them up into productive members of society instead of sinking deeper and deeper into bad health and depression by the endless cycle of a dead end system. The Bills of the world need to wake up and realize that the problem does not lie with the single mom of the single mom. It lies with the lack of courage of bureaucrats and members of government to create strong policy that supports the people at the bottom and encourages them to believe in themselves.
Bill was a real caller, but he is also a metaphor for all of the people who feel the way he does. It is always easier to blame the person at the bottom than to take on the top. I guess it is hard to see the point of view from the bottom unless you have been there.