Work can be a hassle.
Waking up before dawn, driving to the office, listening to co-worker noises (including voices), typing stuff using semi-proper grammar and punctuation … all of that can weigh on you after a few minutes.
Fortunately, in many states, welfare pays more than the 9-to-5 grind, according to a study by The Cato Institute.
How much does welfare pay? It depends on where you live because welfare benefits are distributed at the state level.
Instead of cutting-and-pasting the entire study I will give you my analysis of the 52-page PDF in all caps like a blog commenter.
IF YOU HAVE A MINIMUM WAGE JOB AND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR WELFARE, TAKE AMTRAK TO WASHINGTON, D.C., TODAY
Why? According to the study, a welfare recipient in the nation’s capital could receive about $50,000 a year in pre-tax benefits. Divide that by 52 weeks and 40 hours and you get a “wage” of more than $24 an hour.
The writers of the study allege the “high level of benefits” make the poor “reluctant to accept available employment opportunities.”
A liberal think tank may draw a different conclusion, like “the minimum wage needs to be raised to above what welfare pays in each state.”
Even conservatives have trouble believing the study, so it is OK to be skeptical of this and anything else you read.
Cato writers admit most on public assistance do not sign up for every possible benefit. For the purposes of their study they used the benefits a single mother of two might receive from the following programs: TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, aka ‘welfare’), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka ‘food stamps’), Medicaid (health care for the poor), Section 8 (housing payment assistance), LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infant and Children nutrition program), TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program).
Here’s the “hourly wage equivalent” for the Top 5 states:
Southern states have a lower cost of living. In Georgia, welfare pays less than minimum wage ($7.25):
Here are some more interesting tidbits gleaned from the Cato study:
The writers of the study are not down on poor people. They say “there is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy or do not wish to work. Indeed, surveys of welfare recipients consistently show their desire for a job.”
But they say “states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.” But, as I said earlier, some would suggest raising the minimum wage is a better alternative.
A Pew Research Center study released in December of 2012 found that 55 percent of Americans have been on at least one of the six largest government safety net programs.
Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to cut the food stamp program by 5 percent, but the Senate will likely shoot down the measure.
Here’s some more news you may find interesting: