The Thirty Years War: Beating Up on ‘Welfare Mothers’


As Lauren Tara Capra puts it, “Another panel, another group of rich guys talking about income inequality in America.” This is horrible (boldface mine):

Ferguson was responding to comments made by Jeff Greene, the billionaire real estate investor and Democrat who lost (badly) a 2010 bid to represent Florida in the Senate.

Greene recalled a single mother with five children he met on the campaign trail. She was fat (“over 300 lbs”) and depended on a welfare check of just over $600 to put food on the table for her kids, once numbering five. But one kid died in a gang fight, another was locked up and two others were involved in gangs and the drug trade, Greene recalled.

“She could barely take care of herself, much less her kids,” he said, resigned to the idea that this unnamed woman would never work or even attempt to work, much less wean herself off welfare.

While Greene was busy commenting on how society needed to change for the sake of those kids and other members of the future workforce, Ferguson cut him short.

Why, he wondered, was Greene letting this lady off the hook? Why doesn’t she get up off her fat lazy butt and get a job?!, he demanded, with his Scottish brogue in full Braveheart mode.

“Taking from the successful and giving from the unsuccessful” was what Ferguson ran away from during his dark days in subsidy-heavy Europe, he said, bemoaning his now-shattered American dream.

Not only is he not getting paid enough as a Harvard professor, Ferguson said, but the U.S. is on a dangerous path toward European-ness.

“The solutions have to come from us,” he proclaimed passionately, “the private sector and philanthropy.”

…“I love that Niall Ferguson – what a great guy,” said one grey-haired fellow attending a later panel. “He really knows what he’s talking about.”

Never mind that there aren’t any fucking jobs for her to have. Employers aren’t going to hire someone with massive child care responsibilities and few skills–hell, they’re firing people who attended college and whose only flaw is having too much student loan debt (not sure how someone’s supposed to cut that Gordian Knot). And it’s not clear how the children are doing any better with a mother who’s working for minimum wage either (didn’t we go through all this shit twenty years ago?) Besides, it wasn’t unemployed single, minority mothers who blew up the economy, was it?

But what I really love is a guy who has a virtually lifetime-guaranteed six-figure income with good benefits–never mind any consulting fees–and who has the gall to complain about how oppressed he is. Besides, since the Clinton era welfare reform we’ve massively reduced welfare rolls, so it can’t be the decrease in welfare payments which has shattered Ferguson’s dream.

These people are missing circuits in their heads.

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