These 11 States now have More People on Welfare than they do Employed!

Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2011, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and other benefits, the average U.S. household below the poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support. What’s the problem with that much support? Well, the median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day. To put it another way, being on welfare now pays the equivalent of $30.00 an hour for a 40-hour week, while the average job pays $25.00 an hour.

End Email

The creator of this graphic, William Baldwin, used it first at Forbes.com in Novermber of 2012 to compare private sector workers with those he considered “dependent on the government.” Since then, it has been circulating in various forms and I received this one on February 20th. Baldwin’s idea of government dependency included pensioners, people working in the public sector (like me), and Medicaid recipients. I would not consider pensioners and people working in the public sector as “dependent on the government” as Baldwin describes, let alone as welfare recipients as this email claims. The idea that 11 states have more people on welfare than employed is flatly false.

The second part of this chain email comes from a Weekly Standard article, the same one we saw Huckabee citing only a few weeks ago. A simple Google search on the claims of the article (for example I tried “$168 a day”) will land you on every major conservative blog that is perpetuating the idea. The problem with the article that we discussed before, is that it classifies 83 government programs as “welfare,” when most of them do not come close to fitting the definition of a handout like food stamps, that Conservatives decry for creating learned helplessness. These include education programs (one of which, TRIO is doing good work at my school), medical programs, adoption programs, etc. This disconnect cements the rating as False.

- Judd

You can see the graphic in its original context here.

You can see the claim in the second part of the email in the original Weekly Standard article here.

See the claim purported after the graphic repeated in an earlier post here.

See what happens when you Google “168 a day“.



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