Friday, January 20, 2012

Newt Gingrich and the 'Welfare President'

Yesterday I heard a piece on Public Radio examining Newt Gingrich's assertion that President Obama is "the welfare president." Getting by the obvious racism implied in that statement, it simply isn't true. If there is a welfare president, based on the number of recipients, that would be George Bush.

Welfare roles spike when the economy tanks. Who put the economy in the toilet? One guess.

There are a lot of other misconceptions about welfare, as well. First would be that African-Americans make up the bulk of the welfare roles. White people actually account for 36 percent of recipients with Black people at 22 percent and Hispanics at 10 percent. Half of recipients are children, 10 percent are old and 20 percent disabled. If we want to shrink the roles, the easy way would be to starve the children, an option that Repubs seem to think is on the table.

This is a program that began during the Great Depression and has provided some kind of emergency backup for most of its recipients since then. People don't want to be on welfare--as Gingrich so acidly suggests--but would rather work. When jobs are scarce, that option is considerably decreased, but to blame the victim here is so typical of the right-wing nutcase fringe, of which Gingrich is the reigning king, given the defections of his kindred spirits from the Republican race.


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