Herald thinks welfare moms should dress commando style
To the editor:
What a relief to see our elected officials finally getting tough on the aid recipients who spent 0.002% of last year’s welfare funds on underwear ("Pol gets tough on welfare abuse", Feb. 15).
How dare these women buy high-quality, inexpensive undergarments from Victoria’s Secret? Wal-Mart should be perfectly fine for poor people. Or maybe they should make do without underwear; if beggars wandering the streets half-naked in rags was good enough for our ancestors, it should be good enough for us.
It’s even more outrageous that some of these women are shopping at outlet stores. If they’re going to use taxpayer money on underwear, the least they could do is pay full price.
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One thing about the Herald:
It's good for a laugh or two.
Is THAT what the Herald reported?
Do you believe that VS lingerie is another "unmet need" that taxpayers most pony up for?
Jonathan puts the Ventura Family mindset on display:
When Maribel Ventura, one of Claribel's 17 siblings, was asked by the Globe how she would respond to angry taxpayers, she responded, "Just tell them to keep paying."
Do you believe that VS lingerie is another "unmet need" that taxpayers most pony up for?
I'm curious what you think I wrote which suggests that belief.
Did I use the word "lingerie" anywhere in my letter?
Do you understand the difference between "lingerie" and "underwear"?
Do you understand that Victoria's Secret sells high-quality underwear at reasonable prices?
Do you understand that many women buy normal, run-of-the-mill underwear, not lingerie, at Victoria's Secret?
Do you understand that underwear is something that, typically, even people on welfare are expected to wear?
Do you understand that the assumption you and the Herald made that the purchases at Victoria's Secret were for "lingerie" has absolutely no evidence to support it?
Do YOU understand that I AM PAYING FOR THIS. If you are getting MY tax dollars for free, you buy the cheapest of the cheap. You don't like it, then get off welfare.
If it's about not wanting welfare to exist...
Then be honest and admit that it's about not wanting welfare to exist. Don't pretend it's about "lingerie" and "welfare abuse." That's just stupid.
But thanks for confirming that you really do think we should go back to the days of beggars wandering the streets dressed in rags.
Thanks for misunderstanding
The topic was Victoria's Secret vs Target/walmart. Not about Welfare in general.
But yes, Welfare is supposed to help people in hard times so they don't go begging on the streets. It's a way to get you through the hard times so you change your life, get a better job/get yourself organized or whatever it takes to get yourself back on your feet.
And that does mean sacrifices, including buying the dirt cheap underwear.
We were on food stamps for a time, and Mom shopped for groceries 4 towns over so no one she knew would see that we were in a pinch. You read about Victoria's Secret purchases and it rings of "wow, look what I'm getting for free, isn't this nice".
Welfare is an emergency measure, and those spending the money should treat it as such. Unless you need nice work clothes to get a better job, anything else should be cheap, cheap, cheap.
You and I have fundamental disagreements
I don't think a time when people had to shop 4 towns over so no one knew they were having trouble was "the good old days" or an ideal to aspire to.
I don't believe that people who are facing hard times deserve to be humiliated.
My religious tradition teaches that the ideal form of charity is not to give people the absolute minimum, but to give them enough to live with dignity. In fact, my tradition teaches that the community has an obligation to support people who fall on hard times in the lifestyle to which they were accustomed before their fall.
Clearly, that is not an absolute, but just as clearly, attempting to impose rules about what kind of underwear poor people are allowed to buy runs afoul of it.
I don't expect you to agree with any of this. I understand and respect your point of view, but I entirely disagree with it.
was the most civilized flamewar I have ever seen on TEH INTERWEBS.
Enuf already, huh?
How about giving us all a break and just getting over yourself for the rest of the afternoon?
"It's a way to get you through the hard times so you change your life, get a better job/get yourself organized or whatever it takes to get yourself back on your feet."
This is such a simplistic argument that I hear so often from those that have no idea what it is really like to be on public assistance and/or understanding the real causes that puts one on public assistance (which are many) and why it is not that easy to get off. Especially in this economy.
"We were on food stamps for a time, and Mom shopped for groceries 4 towns over so no one she knew would see that we were in a pinch. You read about Victoria's Secret purchases and it rings of "wow, look what I'm getting for free, isn't this nice"."
First of all, how long ago was this? 60s? 70s? 80s? The reason I ask what year, is that at different points in history it was cheaper to live and also easier to find work, especially if you did not have education. (My family were blue collar workers who worked in factories up until the 1970s. Those same people would probably would have a good chance on being on public assistance today with the higher cost of living and lack of jobs for those who did not go to college.) Did you have a Dad that worked or was she a single Mom? If a single Mom, who took care of the kids? Child care costs today are quite expensive if you need to utilize day care. This makes it difficult to get off welfare if you have kids. (Yeah, I know. Then don't have 'em. As I am not a judgmental type, I will not go there. Suffice to say, kids get born, for one reason or another, and it poses a problem for Moms who want to get off public assistance.)
All I am saying is for someone who had a taste of watching your Mom being embarrassed and traveling four towns over to shop, you should know better and have more understanding. For I am sure that when this was happening in your family, there were people thinking the same thoughts about your family back then, that you are saying now on this blog. And I am sure their criticism was not warranted as your criticism is not warranted.
"We were on food stamps for a time, and Mom shopped for groceries 4 towns over so no one she knew would see that we were in a pinch."
How much food could your mom have bought with all the gas she wasted on those needless trips? Pay me back the tax money your mom owes me for being such a spendthrift!
You tell 'em, John.
Damn right. They're to buy only the most miserably uncomfortable, shoddily-manufactured, cheapest-made garments in all of Thailand. They'll pay for your hard-earned tax dollars with their abject misery, and by god they will LIKE it. After all, it's clearly their faults that they're poor--if only they had your gumption and derring-do, they could pull themselves up by their bootstraps rather than wallowing in their own contemptible squalor.
But why stop at underwear? What about their food stamps? We're just letting poor people buy all the champagne and caviar $165 a month will supply? That doesn't sound like the America that my grandpa fought to defend. If they're going to eat on our dime, they should eat their gruel, and it should be of the poorest possible nutritional quality minimally capable of sustaining their miserable, useless little lives. And they'd better just be grateful they didn't get the back of our hand instead, so they should shut up and take what they get like the good little non-people they are. That will teach them to have the audacity to be poor.
The only problem here will be enforcement. I'm assuming you're going to ride around with anyone on public assistance, monitoring their purchases to make sure they meet your exacting standards. It is, after all, your personal largess that lets them buy their bulk undergarments from Walmart, and god knows we can't trust these miserable wretches with any sort of macro OR micro management of their own lives.
people who want lower taxes.
tl;dr nothing new.
It's okay, johnmcboston.
The $208 spent at Victoria's Secret was my tax dollars and I told them it was okay to spend it there. Sorry for the confusion.
I think, when I checked, your $208 paid for 3 minutes of a cop using overtime detail work to shut down the Zakim to let Tom Cruise land a helicopter on it. Don't quote me on that though. You should probably check for yourself.
Do you understand that
FWIW, I was unaware of these things. I am in fact dubious that they're true, but can allow as how it might be so. My impression based on my own experience with VS is that they sell grossly over-priced very shoddy goods, which have the sole virtues of brand caché and, as noted by another commenter, a wider range of sizes. So if they're also selling quality, low priced goods, good for them, and maybe they should start advertising that fact to those of us who abandoned them with the words, "What is this shit?"
That said, I have no problem with people on public assistance using their subsidy for luxuries. If someone wants to live on ramen for a month so that they can afford a chintzy acrylic bra that will fall apart in two months, because owning that bra subjectively improves their quality of life that much, more power to them.
Hardly a luxury
To find a bra that fits.
If you wear above a D cup in just about any size, particularly in a band size below 36, VS is about the only place to go.
Alternative bra source
We love Lady Grace very much for this purpose. You just have to be certain of your size or risk being groped by stern elderly Russian women. (The employees, that is.)
who woulda thunk my fetish would be called out on UniversalHub....
Put away that Babushka and the stainless grille
... and go shave so you can't pretend. Seriously - that's what the internet is for!
Here's a challenge
Ask the Herald if they can find a size 32F or even a 36DDD bra at Wal Mart.
Oh, but you can.
It's in the bedding and linens section, you just need a needle, some thread, and scissors, a large sheet, and not care what others think.
You can go to the feed store for powdered milk, too
My mom did, damnit!
See, being poor can be clever and fun too! Just be creative!
See also: raising rabbits for Pets or Meat.
I'm not really poor, but being an avid collector of the sort of stuff you can only find at place (aka being a total and utter nerd) as well as a Bio Major and a Music Performance Minor with a concentration in Asian Studies at a college in Minnesota (believe me when I say the prices here are twice that of back home in New England) is a pretty good approximation of it. I've been living on Cup Noodles for three months now....luckily, the cost of getting them from the stores at home and mailing them here is one cent less than that of getting the packages here.
I'm creative and a total cheapskate.
About the raising rabbits for pets or meat, well, as I have already said, I'm in Minnesota right now. Rabbits are as common here as snow is back home in (Greater) Boston.
...means posted to multiple blogs. I post most of my stuff on my own blog, and I simulblog some Boston-centric stuff on UH as well.
So your nuggets of wisdom are
So your nuggets of wisdom are so important, sometimes you need to share them even wider that your own popular blog allows?
Speaking of "nuggets of wisdom"...
There are people who read UH who don't read my blog. There are people who read my blog who don't read UH. Some of the people in each set might find my Boston-centric blog postings interesting, so I share them with both. This is hardly uncommon, unusual, or unreasonable. But thanks for the pointless anonymous sniping; it really adds a lot to the discussion.
NO ANONYMOUS SNIPING
is pointless......they're called "sharp shooters" for a reason, you know...
I dunno what's worse, that
I dunno what's worse, that the Herald ran yet another phoning it in expose on welfare fraud, or that Universal Hub thinks defrauding taxpayers is no big deal.
Defrauding taxpayers is a big deal
Defrauding taxpayers is a big deal. However, (a) there is no evidence that any fraud took place here, and (b) even if it did, is going after fraud that's less than 0.002% of the total welfare funds spend last year really a sign that DeLeo and the Herald are getting tough on fraud and putting their priorities in the right place? I think not.
it IS a big deal, to those who pay taxes
A- $175,000 on liquor stores, including a $102 tab at a Dracut bar
$644 at beauty supply stores, salons, and even a tanning booth in Fall River.
$664 at PETCOs and other pet supply stores; $127 on jewelry stores
as well as the $827 at Victoria’s Secret stores across the state, including $208 at a Hyannis outlet.
Seems to me these are examples of fraud, in that they are not uses intended for welfare funds.
B- so a little bit of fraud is ok in your book?
And since you are so sanguine about taxpayer money, tell your readers- did YOU pay YOUR state income taxes @ the optional higher rate of 5.85%?
Sure you did...
This game of misinterpreting and gotcha becomes tiresome
A- I didn't write a letter about the other purchases. I wrote a letter in particular about the Herald's insistence on the usage of the word "lingerie" for the purchase of what could have been, as far as anyone knows, cotton underwear. And I think the point of my letter was quite clear, i.e., that welfare funds are supposed to be used for "necessities," which includes clothing, and the last time I checked, underwear was clothing.
B- No, it's not OK. But economically speaking, it's not worth pursuing if it's so small that the cost of recovery would be greater than the loss from the fraud.
I'm sorry to see you trotting out the idiotic "did you pay the higher tax rate?" canard that Howie Carr rolls out like clockwork during tax season every year. It's so moronic that I'm not going to bother wasting my time or energy explaining why. But here's a clue: I pay the same taxes as you, so I have just as much right as you to have an opinion about how tax dollars are spent.
can't have it both ways
"(a) there is no evidence that any fraud took place here"
There IS evidence that fraud took place; the liquor, the beauty and tanning, pet supplies and jewelry, and likely naughty nighties @ VS, too! (Kee-rist, if it was about underwear, CVS sells underwear, as does Target, Wal-Mart, et al. And less expensively than VS.)
"B- No, it's not OK. But economically speaking, it's not worth pursuing if it's so small that the cost of recovery would be greater than the loss from the fraud."
So we shouldn't punish crime if it is not cost effective? It is also to deter future miscreants from abusing taxpayer funds.
(And it is obvious from your comments that you did not opt to pay your state income taxes @ the higher rate- why not? Don't you want to help people live "in the lifestyle to which they were accustomed before their fall?" Apparently you wish to continue living in the lifestyle to which you are accustomed, which is fine, but don't berate or denigrate those of us who also wish to, who wish to not see their hard-earned dollars squandered by those who disburse, and abuse, our tax dollars.)
Once again intentionally misconstruing my words
Why do you continue to pretend that I made any statements about whether the other charges were abuse (note: not fraud), when I have clearly and unequivocally stated several times that I am discussing only the Victoria's Secret charges. For example, I have never argued, nor would I, that using TAFDC to pay for tanning isn't welfare abuse; I agree that it is, and agree that it should not be allowed.
and likely naughty nighties @ VS, too!
It is no more "likely" than not that the items purchased at Victoria's Secret were anything more than underwear. You have zero evidence to the contrary. If your argument is predicated on an assumption for which you have zero evidence, then it is a flimsy argument indeed. And since you're the one talking about "crimes" allegedly having been committed, have you ever heard of a little principle in the American legal system called "innocent until proven guilty"?
So we shouldn't punish crime if it is not cost effective? It is also to deter future miscreants from abusing taxpayer funds.
First of all, we are not talking about punishing crime, because even if there was welfare abuse, I can find no evidence that it would constitute a crime. There is a difference between welfare abuse, i.e., using welfare money for unintended purposes, and welfare fraud, i.e., fraudulently obtaining welfare money to which you are not entitled. The question of fraud is entirely separate from this discussion.
Second, our government and legal system make decisions every single day about which laws and regulations to enforce and which ones to let slide even though the "right thing to do" would be to enforce them. Always enforcing every single law and regulation would be impossible from both a practical and financial point of view.
This is just as true for retail businesses, which constantly walk a fine line between convenience and accessibility for their customers and making it easier for thieves to steal from them.
It is amusing that someone who seems to think that it is all about the money is advocating enforcement action which there is no doubt would cost taxpayers more to implement than it would save.
Does that offend my moral sensibilities? Yes, it does. But do I prefer to let a small number of people get away with a little bit of questionable purchasing rather than spending even more to stop them? Yes, I do.
So in other words, you don't
So in other words, you don't pay the higher rate. Typical liberal.
Here's a thought
Set up a system to flag unusually large purchases in places where one would not expect the funds to be used.
My bet is that it could become an efficient system for flagging people who have the cards under false pretenses.
$200 for clothing is NOTHING when you have a kid grow out of EVERYTHING over night. I dropped $350 in one afternoon for a 13 year old who Incredible Hulked his entire wardrobe within a week's time ... and that was at Target and AJ Wright.
You do realize the .002% does
You do realize the .002% does not include the cash taken from the ATM and just some of the amount charged via the charge card. So in fact the percentage of abuse could be significantly higher as the majority of EBT users withdrawal cash before purchasing their items.
Also, I shop at VS and I wouldn't call it low price.
well said haviland. couldnt
well said haviland. couldnt have said it better.
What is EBT supposed to be
What is EBT supposed to be spent on? I don't know much about it, but I thought it was the electronic equivalent of food stamps. The Herald article doesn't actually say what the rules are.
"$208 at a Hyannis outlet" -- was that spent by one person? That would buy a lot of Hanes.
It's for "necessities." Recipients can withdraw cash from ATMs and at supermarkets. I could find no specific rules posted online for what people are allowed to spend it on.
Note that all of the grandstanding about prohibiting the EBT cards from being used for alcohol or cigarettes is completely pointless unless they also stop allowing people to make cash withdrawals, which it's exceedingly unlikely that they will do. So it's all bullsh*t political grandstanding.
"$208 at a Hyannis outlet" -- was that spent by one person?
There's no evidence that it was, but let's assume so, because that'll allow us to take some extra potshots at poor people.
I totally agree. The poor are
I totally agree. The poor are the easiest people to villify. God forbid a poor person have the ability to shop for the undergarments of their choosing.
The poor are too easy of a target, there are much bigger fish to fry especially when it comes to misuse of taxpayer money.
Why should they have the
Why should they have the choice of what to buy when everyone else is paying for it?
Why should you have the choice of what roads to drive on when everyone else is paying for their maintenance?
I think it would be perfectly
I think it would be perfectly reasonable to have a rule that one person can't spend $208 of EBT money on underwear all at once.
If you want to take public money, you have to agree with any rules that go along with it. And setting reasonable limits on categories of purchases could help people learn to budget properly.
(I don't know if this actually happened, or if $208 was the annual total at Victoria's Secret for everyone who used EBT.)
I agree, EBT benefits should
I agree, EBT benefits should not be spend this way. I think the whole "cash" option some people can get from EBT should be done away with. There's virtually no reason why EBT needs to offer cash anymore. We have section 8 for folks rent, Mass Health for all health care costs (including prescriptions), food stamps for food, and for what little is left (like Toilet Paper and Soap) can be just be added to be allowed on EBT. Clothes should be allowed but only up until a certain dollar amount. There is absolutely no reason why cash should be given out. (if there's a need, you must contact the DTA first for approval)
EBT is a saving grace for many folks, but for others its a way of life. I can guarnetee that the minute the cash benefits are cut off, many of these folks will high tail it to find employment. I'm sorry, but you cut off "the dole" and people start to do strange things. Why should I continue to pay for someone who is lazy or wants to work the system. The technology allows for tracking now, thats why EBT benefits are given out on Quest ATM Cards instead of physical paper stamps (like it used to be) so things can be tracked better (and prevented people selling Food Stamp Coupons at face value for cash). The state just needs to change the ramifications of what can and can't be purchased. The POS system at the store takes care of the rest.
EBT is a TEMPORARY solution, not a permanent one. You shouldn't be allowed to collect longer than a year within a 5 year period. Im all for helping someone who's down on their luck, but I won't pay for someone who makes a living off of it. Most welfare "lifers" have no inclination to get a job when there's no end sight in benefits. Why work when you can live off of someone else's dime?
I don't nessarily want the entire system to go away, but I think it needs major overhauling and more scrutiny. The tax payers of this nation are being milked dry by over-dished out social services. There's so much fraud going on in the system, its just not funny anymore. And of course the states do virtually nothing due to budget costs (it just costs too much to hire the staff to investigate fraud claims, so its easier and more cost effective just to allow everyone to milk the system. (Yes the DTA is well aware of fraud but due to budget cuts, they can't investigate most of them).
I just get tired of standing behind someone at Tedeschi's, who's buying 40 bucks worth of junk food on their EBT card, when every knows any convenience store is going to have prices sky high verses even the most expensive grocery store. This annoys me by all hell.. mostly because the purchasers really could caress because its not their money. (and I'm that jackass that DOES say something, and I usually get dirty looks).
I want lower taxes
I am ambivalent about disallowing cash EBT withdrawals
Disallowing cash EBT withdrawals could potentially reduce inappropriate purchases, but it would have the affect of shutting out small businesses that don't accept credit cards from being able to sell products to people on welfare. This would likely have a severe negative effect on businesses in low-income areas, exactly the businesses those areas need to avoid becoming blighted.
You might argue that those businesses could start accepting credit cards, and you're right, they could, but that wouldn't actually solve the problem. Because you are not only proposing that cash withdrawals be disallowed, you are also proposing that specific products be allowed and disallowed when using the EBT card as a credit card. For that to work, a simple point-of-sale credit-card terminal is not sufficient -- the entire store inventory needs to be computerized and coded, and the cash register needs to be computerized and know how to run every purchase separately through the filter of what is and isn't allowed. A huge chain like CVS can do something like this (e.g., when you use an FSA card to pay at CVS, it automatically allows the card for permitted medical expenses and disallows it for others), but small neighborhood businesses simply can't afford it. What you're proposing would put such businesses under.
I can guarnetee that the minute the cash benefits are cut off, many of these folks will high tail it to find employment... Why should I continue to pay for someone who is lazy or wants to work the system... Most welfare "lifers" have no inclination to get a job... Why work when you can live off of someone else's dime?
Your stereotypical opinions about people on welfare are not supported by the available facts.
You shouldn't be allowed to collect longer than a year within a 5 year period.
Welfare is already limited in most cases to 24 months out of any five-year period, so those "lifers" you're talking about are working for three out of every five years.
EVERYONE SHUT UP AND STOP COMMENTING
it's obvious that this guy's a troll.
What's obvious is that YOU are an idiot
One can agree or disagree with the OP, but it seems clear that you yourself are very close to a troll (and not a very bright one either).
First of all, hello fellow channer.
There is a difference between very close to a troll and actually trolling. Also, all of my troll posts on here were actually under the category of counter-trolling.
Besides, we all know what we're REALLY supposed to call OP, and I'm not going to be the first...
You're not one-tenth as clever or funny....
...as you think you are.
This doesnt have anything to
This doesnt have anything to do with welfare, but looking at jikamens blog, it seems he is a professional complainer.
I was needing someone to have an argument with...
fyi, underwear is lingerie
you are completely bending the words in the story to fit your opinion... just as you have said other people on here are doing the same thing to your words. first of all, the very definition of lingerie is "womens underwear." you cannot argue that lingerie and underwear are completely different. underwear is a type of lingerie. so, that aside, it IS completely frustrating that a politician who probably spends more of your tax dollars on crap, has the right to be "outraged" at other people spending tax money poorly. talk about the pot calling the kettle black. BUT, that doesnt mean that he is entirely wrong.
i am privileged for the very fact that i have a job and am above the poverty line. i am not rich by any means. i pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. i am not opposed to helping people less fortunate than me, but there is a fundamental difference between "needs" and "wants" that this country is completely confused about. i personally have to make wise choices with my money because i cannot afford to spend on luxuries. do i always succeed in making wise purchases, no, but it is money that i earned and if i make a poor decision, i have consequences... big or small. we have to be wise with our money, and those that use assistance - whether in the form of food stamps, housing, etc, should have to be even more conscious of how they spend it - seeing that it has come from other people that worked for and earned that money. unfortunately, people walk around with a sense of entitlement - rather than appreciation and thankfulness. (this whole country - on and off assistance) so people believe that they "deserve" this or are "entitled" to that. NO, it is not a NEED to shop at VS. it is a want. now, do NOT twist my words. i am not saying that people should walk around in rags. i am not saying that people should shop at walmart. (actually the opposite - another story for another day) i am not saying that i think people that are poorer than others should have to buy the worst cheapest thing they can find, but there IS a line to be drawn, and where that line is drawn is where the disagreement lies. spend some time in third world poverty - you will quickly realize the difference between need and want.
also, just as much as you say that there is no evidence to support that these purchases at VS were on "lingerie" - and when you say lingerie, i am assuming you to mean fancy teddies and such - there is also no evidence or support to say that they were the cheapest items of essential undergarments in the store either. just saying.