Warning: Adult language follows.
So the welfare-hating conservatives on social networks like Facebook and G+ are busily sharing this image around again.
It pops up every two weeks or so, with a lot of “THIS IS SO TRUE LOL” and “THIS IS OBUMMER’S FAULT” comments from people who look, on average, to be about 15 years old.
Some typical responses from the welfare-hating crowd.
Christine M A******: “Sad but true.” [She knows this because of her Learnings…in Social Studies 101 at Dead President High School.]
Ben H***: “Well, at least we’re not paying for all their health care….oh, wait a minute….” [Did you catch that “they” there? Who do you suppose he means?]
Julie Z*******: “I deal with these people everyday! They are pigs!” [“Pigs,” you say? Not like you, I’m sure, insulting people in need.]
Hey, people on welfare, conservatives would like you to know the rules. So here they are.
- If / when you lose your job, be sure to sell all your nice electronics and luxury goods immediately and make sure you are always dressed well in public (but not too well, because then you are clearly not in need of any financial assistance and will be judged for not immediately selling all your nice clothing, too).
- If you’re on welfare, cover up your tattoos, or people will snark that you are spending your welfare money on body art, even if you have had those tattoos for years, or you have a friend who is a tattoo artist who did them for free.
- Are your shoes nice? Better not wear them in public, especially while at the grocery store paying for food with food stamps, because you MUST have somehow magically converted those food stamps into enough expendable income to buy those shoes. Never mind that they were a gift, or you bought them years ago, or that they actually have huge holes in the soles and tattered insoles because you can’t afford to replace them.
- As a bonus, be sure not to have a job with flexible hours or work from home or work as a stay-at-home parent, because judgmental people will be on your ass and assume you are on welfare based on limited or non-existent evidence (even if you are not) and whine bitterly about having to contribute to social safety nets for the needy. That is right: You don’t even have to be on welfare at all, you can simply be out in public with your kid(s) during normal business hours and have total strangers assume you are on government assistance if you don’t look prosperous. Isn’t that cute?
But, hey, you know who will also be first in line with a hand out for benefits when they lose a job or fall on hard times, have family to house and feed, and qualify to receive them? That’s right: The same people who spend a hell of a lot of time claiming that people on government assistance are all undeserving and grifting the system and not really in need because they are, say, clean and are not wearing rags or being extra-careful to only appear in public while exhibiting visible signs of long-term poverty like, say, neglected teeth or unkempt hair and tattered sackcloth outfits.
Oh, you might also want to (5.) sell your car, too, unless it is a Piece Of Shit, because clearly no one receiving unemployment benefits or welfare could possibly have purchased a decent vehicle long prior to losing a job, getting a divorce, having unexpected healthcare expenses that devastated their finances, or just generally falling on hard times. You also don’t ever want to borrow a friend or family member’s car if you DO sell yours to make ends meet, because if it is even slightly nice or of recent vintage, you will be judged as not being needy enough for assistance of any sort.
Think this is an exaggeration? The GOP thinks that if you own a car, you shouldn’t be on welfare.
Think this is an exaggeration? Some Republicans are busily trying to make it a law that if you own a car of any description, you will be unable to receive SNAP benefits (that’s food for the poor, if you aren’t familiar with the term) until you sell that car. This plan is Rush Limbaugh-approved, so you know it is empathetic and fair and kind-hearted and rational. (Yeah…no.) So while you are struggling to find work, and being told that you need reliable transportation to be hired (try to find a decently compensated job that does not require employees to have their own transportation), and being scorned for being unemployed, Republicans want to take your personal transportation away (while blocking any public transportation-related programs, mind you) or deny you help with food. Nice people.
Yes, you must sell everything you own that is even remotely nice, you must dress nicely (but not TOO nicely) when you are out in public, and you need to feel like a complete and utter failure before seeking help. Never mind that it is nearly impossible to get by without a mobile phone or reliable transportation these days.
Hey, poor person; hey, you unemployed person: your phone is too nice and isn’t there public transportation you could be using instead? Of course, anyone who has ever had to rely on public transportation realizes that it is unreliable, often late, sometimes fails to arrive at all, is almost always dirty and smelly and unpleasant, and if you need to get to work or home from work using it, then you get to hang out in unsafe places (often in the dark, and rarely covered to protect you from rain or heat or wind) by yourself (enjoy your mugging).
Of course, if you do wind up sitting on a sidewalk with a cup, these same assholes will walk past you like you are invisible or hiss “get a job” at you.
Most welfare recipients are white.
You heard me.
“According to the U.S. government, the majority of welfare recipients are white, live in the suburbs, have two kids, want to work, and stay on welfare an average of only two years.”
Who is the stereotypical Welfare Queen now?
You know what? People who post this kind of image and yuck it up and say “SO TRUE LOL HALLELUJAH YES?” Fuck ’em. Selfish bastards. (They better hope nothing bad ever happens to them…though, if it does, it will not be their fault, even though YOUR situation is definitely 100% YOUR fault.) Enjoy that DELICIOUS government powdered macaroni and cheese mix and generic peanut butter, you grifter, you.
I just want to kick people who make image memes like this really hard, right in the junk. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was some neckbeard living in his parents’ basement and feeling all butthurt that his job at Wendy’s forced him to pay taxes. OH GOD HOW HORRIBLE HAVING TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF A SOCIETY WHICH YOU ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. Golly, taxes sure do suck. I, too, wish I could be a selfish infant and never have to spend a penny on anything I don’t want to spend it on, even while I benefit from national parks and museums, Medicare, Social Security, FDIC insured banks, the Post Office, emergency services like firefighters and police officers and rescue services and 911 service, and public schools and public libraries, and funding for the arts and public broadcasting, and clean air and water, and interstates and bridges and tunnels, and safe food and medicine, and scientific advances and space exploration and national disaster preparedness, and weather reports and storm tracking, and garbage pick-up and sewage treatment plants and roads that are swept or plowed, and so on.
Maybe you should live in Somalia where there is no government, taxes or welfare.
Oh, wait, no, I am not a big whiny baby who would rather live in Somalia where there is no government or taxes or welfare and everyone is so very free to just do whatever they want and they all live in peace and luxury and good health. (Except they don’t.)
Conservatives, it may fit your personal narrative and make you feel better about your courageous stance of denying the needy any assistance (while protecting tax breaks for corporations and toadying up to the wealthiest people in our country) and assuming that every single person on assistance is lazy and taking advantage of the system and so on, but I do hope you will remember to eat your words with a nice side of crow should you ever be in a position where you or a loved one need a little help from your neighbors. You probably won’t.
As mentioned above, I’m very familiar with the all-too-common conservative refrain that goes: “All MY problems are 100% not my fault, all YOUR problems are 100% due to bad decision-making and laziness on YOUR part, so while I deserve some help when I am struggling, you need to Learn A Lesson About Personal Responsibility and Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps and Not Be A Beggar.”
Aren’t you glad that there are some liberal folks who are willing to lend you a helping hand when you fall on hard times? Because you and your conservative friends typically begrudge any kind of assistance to anyone…unless they are already rich or are a business…or unless it is YOU who needs some help.
The least you can do, if empathy and compassion are too difficult for you, is not be an arrogant dick about your extreme selfishness. Give it a try.
The newest “funny” anti-welfare meme circulating around Facebook by assholes who enjoy demonizing the poor claims that the poor are spending their welfare checks on luxury goods. O RLY? Do tell.
Some choice comments from the anti-welfare crowd.
Boo H***: “Drink’n from the hater-aid :p”
Erica A*****: “LOVE this!!! fuck welfare!! SOLO WORKING MOM RITE HERE!!”
This person ALMOST gets it, but not quite: Lynn W*****: “?^sad thing is, you should be the one eligible for it, @Erica A***** not the drug addicts that haven’t even bothered looking for a job in the past 5 years. It shouldn’t be looked at as a degrading thing, it’s supposed to be when people are at the end of their rope and have no one to turn to and need to put food on their families tables. But now a days, its become some sort of sick joke and I hate watching my checks deplete to pay for the depletion of the human race. Its sad really.”[Translation: I know nothing about poor people, but I am certain there are simply scads of them using MY TAX DOLLARS to buy drugs, even though statistics show just the opposite.]
Josh J****: “This is perfect!!! Haha!” [Translation: Mocking the poor is Probably Slightly Less Boring Than Working! I am laughing Eventually! Tee hee!]
Sarah A***: “LMAO!” [Translation: Me, too! HA HA, you’re poor!]
Linda M*******: “You betcha!!!!” [Translation: Sarah Palin’s lack of compassion inspires me!]
Fay T******: “DAM !!! Loveit” [Translation: I am clearly a scholar and have put a lot of thought into the plight of the socially and financially disadvantaged. FUCK ’em.]
Kent V*********: “Hard to believe anyone would be dumbass to do that…but Im sure theyre out there!” [Translation: I know nothing about the subject, but I am certain that there MUST be some poor people out there buying iPhones!]
Jenn D****: “Lmao very true…I know someone who gets help from the gov yet went out and got the iPhone smh. It’s crazy how much money is spent on people who don’t need it but feel entitled to it. They can try but it’s easier to not and get by in life with as little effort as possible” [Translation: I know ONE PERSON who gets welfare who bought a phone. Fucker doesn’t deserve that phone. I am horribly jealous. Furthermore, my sample set of ONE validates your sweeping generalizations about every other poor person on welfare.]
Anthony D******: “This is a must share” [Translation: I can’t wait to spread the HATE THE POOR message to all my friends and family members on Facebook! They will be so impressed with my deep understanding of social issues and taxes and welfare, and will admire me for my compassion and concern for those less fortunate than myself. Oh, HA HA, no, just kidding. FUCK the poor.]
Joe K***: “Yeh I know a couple guys this totally applies to- they both get SSI and the minute they get paid they immediately go bananas and buy a bunch of crap they can afford and dont need, then are broke 3 hours after getting paid. Then 2 days later they pawn the overpriced crap they splurged on (which they never should have bought in the first place) for beer & cigarette money… some people just never learn. They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting different results. If you only get paid once a month and only get $700, for Gods sake, leave some of it in the bank for emergencies, groceries, bus fare, or in case you need smokes!!!!!!” [Translation: Joe knows TWO PEOPLE who are totally bad at managing money, so that means ALL poor people are the same! Great logic, Joe!]
Amanda C*****: “?^^^ welfare is government assistants for people/family that cant get a job or need extra help…NOT FOR IPHONES lol” [Translation: I, too, believe this fairy story about people on welfare all owning iPhones. FUCK ’em!]
Scott H*****: “OMFG YES!!” [Translation: I, too, hate the poor and I believe this nonsense and I am so excited I AM SHOUTING ABOUT IT.]
Tamera H**********: “I see it SO MUCH!! I Phones, Tattoos, Alcohol, and always buying cigarrettes! Yet they need food stamps and a welfare check…Ohhh! I almost forgot the EXPENSIVE vehicles with spinner tiresss!!!!” [Translation: I do not understand how food stamps work, and I am a judgmental asshole. Fuck the poor, right in the ear!]
Andy C**: “capitalist or socialist it should be illegal to take more than your share or rip someone off….”
Andy C**: “only handicaped peoople need iphones, rest of people just play games”
Andy C**: “im sorry i meant retards” [Translation: I am an asshole.]
Rose P***-I*****: “This so true and soooo funny! I see this everyday!” [DO YOU NOW. Did you ask all those people for a glance at their finances, so you can make the determination that they have not spent their money in a manner acceptable to your sensibilities? I fucking doubt it.]
Katherine G******: “wtha about child support. i know someone who spend $2000 of child support money to buy gucci suit” [Prove it. I don’t believe you.]
Douglas K*****: “Just end welfare alltogether. If you do not work you do not eat…natural selection takes it from there” [Translation: FUCK THE POOR, IF THEY CAN’T GET A JOB, THEN JUST LET THEM ALL DIE.]
OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE ALL YOU STUPID ASSHOLES SO FUCKING MUCH Eventually.
My (angry!) response to the welfare haters.
“If you think someone on welfare can afford an iPhone, you are mentally deficient. It is more likely that they fell on hard times after purchasing the phone or being given the phone as a gift (such as being laid off or having a family member die, or dealing with medical expenses). Welfare checks do not come anywhere close to covering the cost of a new phone. Further, that person on welfare probably paid as much in taxes over the years as you have, if not more, so it is their own tax money being used to help them out when they have fallen on hard times. Try a little more compassion and a lot less of this bullshit “let’s pick on the poor” fantasizing.
I have also just been informed by someone who should know first-hand that sometimes the government hands out a cheap pre-paid mobile phone with 250 minutes on it to the very poor who can’t afford a landline, so they can look for work and communicate with officials handling their accounts. And yes, that phone does look, at a glance, like an iPhone, but it is not. It is a cheap piece of shit. They didn’t buy it, there are a limited amount of minutes allowed, and they do not own it; once off welfare, they have to give it back. (P.S. Did you know that about the pre-paid phones? I didn’t. I learned something new today.)
If you are on food stamps you can NOT buy non-food items AT ALL. No alcohol. No tobacco. No “hot” food from the grocery deli. No pet food. No toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, aspirin, vitamins, etc. Just food. And some jurisdictions do not allow pre-prepared foods (like frozen dinners). Food stamps are distributed via debit-card like food stamp cards, they are not little pieces of paper you can buy or sell or trade for things. The average allotment per meal for food stamps is a dollar and change. Think hard about how well you can eat for less than two bucks, then do that three times a day for months on end.
Oh, people on food stamps can buy birthday cakes from the bakery, but I suppose they should just suffer in silence and not waste their food money on something as frivolous as a child’s birthday cake. Your anecdotal evidence of one or two assholes you know working the system does not indicate that every single other person receiving aid is likewise irresponsible or taking advantage.
There will always be stupid people who do not manage money of any kind well, but that is not an excuse to pretend that the poor, who are struggling to EAT and not be homeless, and to find work when work is hard to find (I have three advanced degrees, great references, a lot of skills, a lot of experience, and I send out a MINIMUM of 50 applications every single day and I have been unemployed, after a layoff, for almost a year…why & how would someone who has fewer of those qualities and advantages than I have manage get a job more quickly or easily than I?) and I hope that some of the most judgmental among you have to experience what it is like to fall on hard times through no fault of your own and to hear nasty comments about it constantly from uninformed, rude, thoughtless people like yourselves who think it is funny to mock the down-and-out and impoverished and to make snap judgments about them.
When and if it happens to you, I hope you will remember every single derogatory and nasty comment you ever made about your neighbors and fellow citizens who are struggling to survive, and I hope you will feel a little shameful about it.
Be sure to sell all your worldly goods, even if you have to take a financial loss (because poor people don’t deserve anything nice, right? and it is your job to assume that they spent “your” money on anything that isn’t completely crappy, correct?) and never buy anything but the bare essentials while you are at it, too.
Have some goddamned sense. So fucking rude.”
Then, finally, after a couple dozen more “LOL”s and “SO TRUE”s from these hateful morons, one guy finally, finally says something sensible:
Rick Penn: “If you think that “welfare” is now (or ever has been) a significant part of any sort of economic problem faced by the country, then you’re very easily distracted and you’re a perfect fit for the GOP. If you want to look at a welfare problem that actually hurts us in our wallets, take a look at corporate welfare. Those numbers are staggering, but you won’t hear about them at the Republican convention.”
Rick Penn, ladies and gentlemen, someone who has an ounce of compassion for people who are less well off than himself, who is aware of the real “Welfare Queens” in our society (corporations turning huge profits who are still getting generous tax breaks and huge corporate handouts, all while they are busily off-shoring American jobs and stashing a lot of their revenue in tax shelters) and who realizes that memes like this which are trying to demonize the poorest and least powerful among us are complete and utter mean-spirited, ignorant bullshit.
Well done, Rick Penn.
I shared the “Poor people are buying iPhones LOL” meme on my Facebook Wall and it sparked some more discussion:
Me: “Here’s the latest “let’s hate the poor and pretend that trying to survive on the tiny allowance welfare provides is a total picnic” bullshit circulating around today. These nasty assholes need a kick in the junk.
It’s not at all possible that the person with the phone purchased it before falling on hard times, or was given it as a gift, or is borrowing it. No, they assume that “their money” is supporting someone else’s ability to buy a fancy toy.
It also ignores the fact that most people on welfare are white single moms who are looking for work and who stay on welfare less than 2-5 years total, and that the people on welfare have usually paid their fair share of taxes for years and so it is their OWN money that they are being granted to help them out now that they have fallen on hard times. You can’t even GET welfare if you do not have dependent minor children, or if your household income tops $9,000-11,000 annually, which is actually far below survival level.
Insensitive compassion-free judgmental assholes. I am sick of their crap. I hope they all experience the “joy” of having to live on welfare and food stamps and see how much fun it is, firsthand. I suspect they won’t be quick to sell off their mobile phones or vehicles the minute they fall on hard times, either. I hope they also hear a lot of comments about how they are “clearly” cheating the system just because they are not dressed in rags and able to bathe regularly, and I hope they remember their previous bullshit condemnation and shitty comments and that they are all repeated back to them by other shitty people every single day while they struggle to eat, pay bills, and keep a roof over their heads.
In short, I wish for a swift dose of karma to the people who think that welfare is “free money” and a lot of fun and games. They are wrong, and I will be thrilled if I ever find out that some of the Vaguely Unpleasant offenders wind up crying into their government cheese and powdered milk about it.”
Lee F****: “Seriously. What a bunch of raging douchebags.”
Xenubarb G*******: “If you have no landline, a cell phone is the option as pay phones are kinda scarce on the landscape these days.”
Lee F****: “Yes, and asking a prospective employer to call a pay phone probably doesn’t work too well, either.”
Cathy D*****-W*******: “to the judgemental a$$h*les…check that cell phone carefully. It may not be an iPhone. It may be one of the free cell phones provided with 250 minutes monthly to people on disablility, or welfare. Because many rely on a government issues cell phone because they have no land-line…and good luck finding a pay phone nowadays. Or for some people, coming up with the .50-1.00 for a call on a pay phone if you found one. […] this is one very mean-spirited cartoon. And, yes, I hope karma gives a major smackdown to ppl who are so petty.”
Lee, Xenubarb and Cathy ALSO get it!
Why do these people always rage about “their” tax money being spent to feed hungry people? Do they really think that everyone on food stamps has magically avoided paying taxes their entire life? Unless they are minor children, they probably haven’t!
Feeling smug that you have never been on welfare, and think you are qualified to make ignorant comments about poor people? Perhaps you shouldn’t feel so smug.
I’m here with two BAs and an MA, a great work ethic, good references, great skills, a great resume, lots of experience, Caucasian, healthy, whole-bodied, from an upper-middle class family. I send resumes out every day and I am taking paralegal courses online to get YET ANOTHER degree, all so I can get a job.
Anything remotely nice I have, I bought long before I fell on hard times or my family has generously given to me.
I did everything right: Went to school (twice! and now, THREE times!) and got good grades, paid my bills, paid my taxes, have never been arrested even once for anything, worked hard for my employers, and made responsible choices. I saved for retirement, I had investments, I had regular old savings and a checking account, I had medical insurance, I bought nothing whatsoever on credit, I own no luxury items, my car is almost 20 years old, I have been actively seeking work for months, my unemployment benefits ran out…and whereas I am not on welfare (I do not qualify, as I do not have a child), I am on food stamps. Without them, I would starve. I have zero dollars left to my name. Zero. As in none.
So you think about that before you judge.
If you think I’m having a Mildly Decent time begging for financial help from my mother while simply trying to EAT on a regular basis and while being rejected over and over and over again as I look for work, you are out of your tiny mind.
I do not know how I will be able to buy my next tube of toothpaste.
It is scary out here.
I certainly do not own a fucking iPhone, but I do have a decent phone I was given as a gift six years ago. I suppose, if you squint and are very stupid, you might mistake it for an iPhone. God help the motherfucker who tries to claim that I bought that phone with “his tax money” to my face, because then I MIGHT just get arrested for turning him or her into a bloody greasespot on the ground.
Don’t be an asshole.
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