Thursday, June 08, 2017

Bad Liberal

I get what Ed's saying about manipulative stories like these, but at the same time, it's very difficult to read them and not get frustrated. I've seen this stuff before, and have talked to social services workers who can attest first-hand that multigenerational families can and do learn how to work the system, and pass it on to the next generation. It is a mistake to simply fixate on the meager amounts provided by this or that program, because of the gray and black economies that exist in such communities (again, seen it first-hand).

Look, I'm not going to claim to be the Keeper of the Secrets to Success, but -- and this is just a thought -- maybe stop hoarding animals and having kids and living on fast food. Put down the cheeseburger and take a walk around the block once in a while. Hell, maybe go on down to the free public library and find a nice book to read, and then another, and then another. All of those things tend to impact the ol' bottom line financially. This is perhaps even more essential if you (for example) have an IQ of 75 and are therefore barely able to take care of yourself, incapable of even helping to manage a household.

But the adult daughter has four kids and counting; where is/are the father(s), and his/their financial contribution? Why can't the state offer her a financial incentive to get her tubes tied, instead of being forced to pay for more future wards of the state? Is it possible, just remotely, to give these kids something other than ramen noodles and ice cream and video games, and then wonder why they're bouncing off the fucking walls? Could the time wasted on holy-roller nonsense be spent any more productively, any way at all? If there's a common thread to these types of articles, it's that the subjects never have any ambition or vision for actually bettering their lives; their only goal is to make sure their benefits aren't getting cut.

This is what conservative think-tank weasels are talking about when they prattle on about the "culture of dependency," except, well, you know....

Most social services programs are designed to help the less fortunate get over the inevitable hump in life, and move forward. For people whose entire lives are one interminable, multigenerational hump, what can you tell them? This is less about the terrible coincidence of being disabled four generations in a row, and more about knowing how to apply for disability benefits, and passing that knowledge along to the next generation. The rest of the world is simply expected to endlessly subsidize lifetimes of poor decision-making and impulse control. There are at least six people in that house, and not one of them will ever hold a fucking job.

The anecdote in the beginning of the article about one of the kids dropping the puppy on its head, while they all stand around and wonder durrr, let's give it human medication says it all. It makes sense that they named it "Miracle," because it'll be a goddamned miracle if that dog is still alive in another year. It's a good thing the article at least didn't bother with which way the "matriarch" voted, if she voted at all, because it really doesn't matter.

Again, Ed's point that the increase in SSI and disability cases largely due to broke-ass states trying to shift fiscal responsibility on to the feds is 100% correct. But that doesn't mitigate the facts about the family in that Post article, that while there may be some cherry-picking to some extent, I have seen worse cases in the news in California.

The people who work in the programs sincerely want to help people in need. But there are few things more frustrating than having someone come in with the greatest reluctance just to get some job-seeking assistance, maybe a month of food assistance to get them over that hump to the next job, and only being able to give them bare minimum; and then having to deal with someone who is on the third or fourth generation of being on the dole, has no intent of looking for any sort of job, has no larger goals for themselves or their family, and in fact seems almost to deliberately sabotage every one of their life decisions, expecting someone else to step in and clean up the mess.

It would be easier to find compassion for Kathy Strait and her family if they did anything, anything at all, to improve their lot in life, and at least give those kids a fighting chance. But short of injecting them in the neck with speedballs, I'm not sure how they could fuck this up any worse.

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