There are many different types of welfare. There are straight-up handouts to those who haven’t earned them. There are programs to bridge a gap and help a family in dire need. There are things like unemployment, which people somewhat earn while they work, and collect after they lose a job. There are tax “credits” which are a fancy way of disguising welfare payments. Most are bad. Some are even worse.
And this story on WalletPop.com about a man on unemployment emphasizes why it is so important to reduce all welfare to the absolute minimum, helping only those who are worst off and in an emergency situation.
The story starts innocently enough: The failure of Congress to pass a particular bill means 1.2 million unemployed people won’t get extended unemployment benefits.
The author is entitled to his own opinion about whether or not this bill should be passed. I, of course, think it should not be passed because it expands government even more during a time when government should be shrinking. We don’t need another cost put on the working people and the entrepreneurs (who incidentally start companies that create jobs, unless the government makes it too risky or cost-prohibitive).
But the author of the article, Aaron Crowe, probably picks the worst possible person to hold up as a “victim” of this unpassed bill.
The “victim,” Richard Hutnik of Poughkeepsie, New York, has been on the government dole for three years. He cites his weekly unemployment check at $430, and if you do the math, that works out to over $67,000 collected by Hutnik for the last three years for not working.
But Hutnik wants more. He’s 42 years old, and appears to have no responsibilities in life other than paying for a $630 dorm room he rents. Yet in three years he hasn’t been able to find gainful employment? NO. In three years he hasn’t found a job he wants to take, and why should he, if he’s able to survive on welfare for three years without ever lifting a finger? He even goes so far as to admit that he could have a job at Wendy’s if he wanted one, but obviously it’s a lot more convenient to sit at home and get $430/week for doing nothing than actually going to a job.
We’re supposed to feel sorry for Hutnik because after receiving $67,000 for doing nothing, he wants his unemployment benefits extended even more. Otherwise he’ll have to go live with his “emotionally abusive” father.
(UPDATE: The WalletPop writer has amended his article to say that the benefit of $430 was every two weeks, equalling annual payments to Richard of $11,180, for a total of$33,450. This makes his refusal to take a lower paying job even more ridiculous. Certainly there are jobs paying more than the $932 per month he’s receiving from unemployment. Even with an $8 an hour job, he could substantially improve his financial situation.)
Dude. Hutnik should have taken a job flipping burgers about 33 months ago, and should not have been allowed to collect unemployment for three years. Sure, he might have had to take a job he didn’t like, or one he felt over-qualified for, or one that is not in his field of expertise. But that’s what we as Americans should do…. support ourselves instead of expecting someone else to do it.
There was a time shortly after graduate school when I was working three jobs. I had a professional job, a part-time retail job, and a bar gig on the weekends. Why did I do it? Because I wanted to survive financially. And it didn’t kill me.
But why should Hutnik get a job if we’re going to allow him to sit on his butt for 3 years and get paid for it?
We don’t need more unemployment benefits. We need our citizens to be more motivated to take jobs that will help them get by. If they’re working and the government is handing out less money, then our economy grows. It’s simple economics that it’s better for people to be working and keeping the cash within the private sector, rather than having our government raise our taxes (which discourages job creation) and passing out money to those sitting around.
I realize that plenty of people can’t find jobs in their fields, and they won’t like the job or the pay that they may be able to find. But people should do what is necessary to get by until they can find a better or more suitable job.
Hutnik has a master’s degree in information systems and is supposedly looking for a job in his field. I don’t think he did himself any favors by tell his tale of woe to WalletPop. Imagine being an employer interested in Hutnik and imagine doing a Google search. And up pops this article with him crying over not being able to feed at the government trough for more than three years. Would you hire him? I wouldn’t.
this country is not the country I know any more. We need to change the wrong direction set by those liberals and obama.
The heart of your comment is that you’re outraged about money being wasted on your behalf, and I share that sentiment.
Do I know people who are sacks of crap that should have gotten a job 6 months ago instead of whining about how low their unemployment check is, of course I do!
There are always people who are going to abuse the system, that’s a poor reason to scrap the entire system.
I’m not saying the system should be scrapped because of people who abuse it. I’m saying it should be scrapped because the system itself is inherently broken. NO ONE should be paid for months on end to sit home and do nothing. They need to get jobs.. even ones they feel they are beneath them… and they need to SUPPORT THEMSELVES, not expect someone else to support them.
You need to factor in social unrest in the picture. Sometimes you do things to preserve civil order that don’t make sense on an individual level.
Societies that have let massive public disruption happen develop big problems. Read up on what happened in the Hoovervilles that sprang up in major cities during the last depression. We’ve got a social safety net, because we’ve already run the experiment on letting massive amounts of people fail and the outcome is bad.
Ah yes. The threat of social unrest. Makes for good sound bytes, but that’s about it. Then again, maybe those of us working and paying the way for people who don’t want to work should start a little social unrest of our own.
You see, a guy like this is inherently a failure. Us cutting him a check every month for 3 years does not stop him from being a failure. Now he’s just a failure who has no incentive to pay his own way.
I say we let guys like Richard choose their own level of failure. He can have unemployment for a maximum of 6 months and then it stops. At which point he can take an available job like the one at Wendy’s he mentions, or he can go live with his mean elderly daddy and complain to WalletPop about it. I don’t care which he chooses, as long as I’m not the one paying his way.
How dare he sit on his ass for 3 years while taxpayers support him because he doesn’t want to take an available job? Shame on government for allowing this to happen.
And what about those who can’t find any job after 6 months? We should create a system where they can apply for additional cash benefits which would be only enough to afford the most basic food and living conditions for their family. In exchange, we would offer them a job at which they’d have to work at least 40 hours a week… that job would be some sort of community service that is not fun or desirable. An unglamorous job with horrible pay that is just enough to feed the family, and all of a sudden lots of people have lots of incentives to take available jobs they would otherwise feel are beneath them.
I pretty much agree with everyone here, I’m British and I’m fed up with my taxes being wasted on the constrant stream of handouts that my government offer. If you’re young, hardworking and responsible then the British government hates you, in a nutshell. If you get knocked up at 16, the government pays all your rent, your taxes, give you loads of money week after week, and the more kids you knock out year after year the more money you get for doing nothing. It’s a broken system which punishes the hardworking and responsible with extreme taxation, I’d hate to see anybody live under that. It actually makes me envy America, and I mean that as a compliment to you guys.
In Britain we have no right wing, the 3 main political parties are central, and then people turn to the British National Party as a protest who masquerade as right wing, but looking at their anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation agenda, they are basically just racist, dirty socialists who would take our country and make it into the equivalent of Cuba or North Korea. We need the GOP!
Instead of jumping on those who use social services, how about we look at the system’s mechanisms that creates and preserves their positions.
This “self-reliant,” “self-made” attitude in America only marginalizes those people without the drive to excel. Not everyone connects with Type A energy. Many of us are watching the people of this country running around in madness with a total loss of heart. Busy, busy, busy.
And, the busier, more ambitious, and more that the Type As have to prove, the more expensive the cost of living becomes for the rest of us. It is the Type As that have created this corporate structure that we now live under the influence of. When Wal-Mart moves into a town and dozens of mom and pop stores close, and then local accountants, advertising agencies, and other vendors loose their source of income, the strains on the average non-ambitious Joe and Jane increases.
Ambitiousness in America is setting the sites of the people too high. And, in my eyes, it is no surprise to hear of these welfare-dependent people who have given up their lust of love, who have dropped their dreams, and who feel overwhelmed by the system.
I think the topic shouldn’t be to address the social services system. Rather, I think the topic should be how to inspire people to live life more fully. As long as ambition (in the sense of proving self-worth to the world and oneself) is the prime motivating force in the labor market, which it appears to be along with meeting the needs of survival, then the creative, zest for life energy will be challenged, unappreciated, and ultimately destroyed.
No soul wants to live a mediocre life with a substandard government income. It is our nature to thrive, to reach like the flowers towards the sun and open ourselves fully. I wonder what we can do to our system to encourage more of this. This is a holistic vs a symptoms approach.
I’m really surprised at some of the hateful comments directed at Mr. Hutnik. I personally know him and have actually accompanied him on trips to interview prospective employers in places close and far.
He doesn’t appear to be just sitting around waiting for a phone call. However, some people are self-saboteurs and deny themselves a good life. I do agree that the system in place is broken and encourages pacifism and laziness. However, you have to look at the demographics; some places have truly no jobs and other places have jobs that may not be desirable. That said, when the going gets tough I think we should all chip in and do our share. But- to call Hutnik a “inherent failure” or suggest suicide as an option is cruel. In fact, he has contemplated suicide and maybe his seeing this blog will be the final motivation. I’m sure you all will be satisfied that the “drain has been plugged”. If he’s such an flawed person, then why should he exist? Why should any of these people? Let’s follow the lead of supporters of eugenics and genocide these useless slackers? Right? Is that the ultimate solution? I don’t know.
I’ll tell what I DO know: Thanks to welfare programs and Federal Pell grants I have been able to focus on my education and better myself. I tried working and school and it just did not work out. My employers were not flexible and the living conditions combined with long hours of work resulted in poor grades and health problems due to sleep deprivation and stress. I needed a ticket for while, a opportunity to completely immerse myself in scholastic endeavors. After all, Leibniz and Newton didn’t invent calculus while toiling in the fields; they had supporters who funded their research. If I had continued to work mindless, self-alienating jobs like Wendy’s and expected to rise out of poverty, I would still be homeless now.
The fact is that low wage work can not provide for even the barest needs. I needed to further my education and gain some upward social mobility.
When you’re working 60+ hrs/wk to cover you’re rent and food, there is NO time for school, therefore you are stuck in a perpetual hell. Now that I am in school and and am doing quite well ( Phi theta kappa, President’s list last two semesters ), I feel empowered to go out and utilize the knowledge and skills I’ve obtained. The added credibility of a college education, which will put me in a better position to obtain a
decent job with good benefits, is invaluable, and would not have been a possible option for me without some outside supports. Sometimes we need a break. That’s what social services IS for and I support them.
What I don’t support is people who have zero desire to do anything with their life at all and expect or feel
entitled to get a check. Why would anyone want to live like that anyway? I mean welfare is chump change!
I lived in a shelter and saw what the bottom really is, and if you’re just living on welfare then, trust me, you are at the VERY bottom of society.
So the problem is HOW people are taking advantage of the system. If you’re using the system and tax payers’ money with the result that you’re going to be a productive member of society who can pull their own weight and even possibly give back, that’s a good thing. But if you’re just at the bottom and have given up on life or are happily content playing Farmville all day on a stolen laptop in a government subsidized house with no desire to move ahead…now THERE’S a problem!
But how do we deal with that kind of problem? Somebody posted talking about our society being too ambitious. That has a grain of truth. Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone is cut out for college. If you follow Hernstein and Murry’s theory of a social meritocracy than we can see that the poor have few options. Their quality of life is limited by their intelligence. However, through years of industrialization and capitalism we have come to define a good society based on “hardworking” and “self-reliant” people. However, these values undermine the capabilities of everyone and certainly overlooks human character. We don’t care about you as a person, only how productive you are. Since the pool of wealth has funneled into the top 10% and consist mostly of Euro-caucasian elites with high intellects, they have set the bar for what we should all strive for. This in turn has set the values for how we measure occupations and what will be paid for various services. This whole mentality basically leaves many in the gutter. If you can’t hack college, and you’re not physically endowed or a great bullshit artist, then you’re going to be a poor sucker who takes low paying jobs. The good jobs, or at least the one’s that pay well and won’t kill you in the process, are ones that demand a high intellect. Fortunately, most with limited cognitive skills naturally gravitate towards more
“physical” work and enjoy getting their hands dirty. But there’s always that grey area, those who are mentally challenged in some way, yet are smart enough to know that they are considered “common” and
are aware of their plight. That’s torture. Those people see the dream and will NEVER touch it. Sad.
But then there’s the idle rich…
So back to the issue? What about lazy people? Why are they lazy? Sure, we allow many to be lazy. But
what is actually causing certain people to want to vege 24/7? Maybe it’s the processed crap that is sold everywhere. Blame Wendys! Oh, gee, maybe it’s the video games, or Facebook, or all the other mindless crap that clutters minds and fries braincells. SLACKERS!!! We gotta do something man!
Well I think we need to inspire people. People are lazy not just because they CAN be but because they
GAVE UP. When people see realistic goals that are obtainable and desirable, they become driven. When people see few options and their life ideals are not obtainable, they lose desire. Think about it. Would you fight a losing battle? Would you attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with just a duffel bag? If you knew that no matter how hard you tried you’d never succeed, would you pursue the American Dream? That’s the problem. Alot of people who are riding the system are those who have lost faith. They don’t feel valued anymore. I think we need to change our views of social class and give more credit to the underclass. Everybody has some kind of talent. Be it ditch digging! Ok…fine. Then I think that the ditch digger should be able to afford a modest lifestyle and still have options. We need an economic system that will inspire people of ALL capacities to strive, that will give value and credibility to workers, regardless of their limitations.
I can’t go on. Time for feedback.
Your article was brought to my attention by someone who emailed me it.
You will be happy to know that I will be starting part-time office cleaning for $200/week, before taxes, set up because I got diagnosed with a depressive disorder (thus considered “disabled”). After taxes, it isn’t going to be enough to enable me to pay my student loans, that clock in over $300 a month, but that is life. Yes, I am taking my Masters degree in Information Systems and using it to clean offices. The money isn’t sufficient either to have my own place. I did face a choice when the unemployment ran out. I could of got rid of the car, declared myself destitute, and threw myself fully into the welfare system, without a phone, no Internet and no car either. I decided instead to keep the car and put up with a verbally abusive father who offers death threats to my mother on a regular basis.
Social services where I am is less humane than the DMV. You call it help? It is a farce that doesn’t help anyone at all. It traps people into a situation that is hopeless, where you don’t find answers. It breaks people down, and stores them in a system they can’t get out of. After a few years, then they are thrown out.
By the way, I hadn’t been on unemployment the past 3 years. I only had been when they extended it. I got laid off from IBM in 2004, and then had 6 months. I went from making $50K a year to $12.50/hr. After that, went a year still, had unemployment, but also researched trying to get a business going. I burned through my 401K money with a business partner who spent like a drunken sailor, and ended up bankrupt as a result. Then I landed a $20/hr job doing a level 2 helpdesk position. This was 2006-2007. The helpdesk closed and I was out of work (the helpdesk manager took his own life after being let go).
Since then, it had been job hunting, over and over, having Wendy’s tell me I didn’t have quick serve experience. And it went on and on and on. Flip burgers? You go there with a Masters and you get the overqualified. It just doesn’t happen at all. I remember I went into a KFC and spoke to a manager, and he looks at my job application and gives me a WTF,
And I started a non-profit, to get work experience so I could be employable again. I was told by multiple recruiters that if you are out of work over 6 months your career is over. So, I did that in hopes it would work. The only way I could be able to do anything professional and be able to pay the bills was that, volunteer work.
As for the original article, I signed up for Help A Reporter Out, and saw someone wanted a request the impact of the unemployment not being extended, so I responded. That is the reality of the situation.
Anyhow, feel free to not care here and use situations to prop up your political agenda if you like.
By the way, if anyone cares, feel free to contact me, and I can fill you in on what happened in greater detail. You can call me lazy for all I care, or whatever other insults you want to hurl my way, if you feel it would be productive.
hi Richard….totally GET what your saying…I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood, made fun (unfortunately) of those “on welfare”…got my master’s degree in elementary education, taught for 4 years…left the profession to open my own business w/ my fiance (at the time) …we were struggling, but some really good reviews boosted business, and things were looking really promising…i got pregnant, we hired some ppl to help look after the business…lomg story short, 1 month after my son was born, my fiance, was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer and was dead within 3 months….i did a VERY quick sale of the business…and after paying some bills off, had about $4,000 left from the sale…i could not find a professional job, so i figured i will work as a waitress or in a restaurant….NOT SO EASY WHEN YOU ARE A SINGLE MOM OF A TODDLER/BABY…anyway, long story short I AM NOW APPLYING FOR WELFARE!!! and i see, as an educated person (who has seen the other side) that the welfare system is DEF> DESIGNED for failure….your treated terribly, made to wait for hours and hours for set apt.’s….you are given misinformation CONSTANTLY which results in you (the recipient) having to run around endlessly for documents, travel to other offices, and basically get super frustrated and SUPER MISTREATED by the welfare dept staff…like your a piece of dirt, you leave their feeling like a criminal BIG TIME….its humiliating, intimidating, DISORGANIZED….horrible of you have kids bc you have to sit there in the office with them all day bc i guess the system is designed to frustrate the recipients…..uhhh, I am venting, but to be more coherent, I think there are MANY misconceptions about recipients of public services and about HOW programs are being executed….LETS NE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER LETS TRY TO BE EMPATHETIC RATHER THAN DISGUSTED AND ALL MIGHTY IN OUR ATTITUDES AND OUTLOOKS>….i understand, many ppl think they work so hard and are so wonderful and noble (I guess I used to share that perspective to an extent) but its not so cut and dry…
I can only hope you are never out of work. The last I knew, unemployment is a program for people who have lost their job through no fault of their own. It is a government entitlement, not welfare. I think there is a real big distinction between the two programs. Further, Hutnik was NOT on unemployment for the entire 3 years as you led the masses to believe. God, I hate that when negative comments are made without all the facts. Further, the man is from what he says, doing what he can given all the circumstances he is going through. In todays economy, many adults are being forced to go back home and maybe to unhealthy environments that will not be helpful to an already stressed situation, being out of work. Unless you have been there, done that…I think your “personal” views have no merit. I also would like to add that as an after the fact, it comes out, Hutnik was NOT getting $430 a week…he was getting $215 a week. Take an $8.00 an hour job, if you can get that, and what is take home after taxes! Throw in gas/travel expenses. Give me a break. Yes, when unemployment is exhausted, then it makes sense, rather than -0- income.
Further, I know from experience, I have an associates in Human Services and for a year, my application with a not-for-profit sat on someones desk before I got the phone call and yes, I was hired.
Prior to that, applying for jobs, I was informed for another position with a hospital, that they had over 260 applicants for one opening. You need to get down to reality, lady. For you Hutnik, keep on plugging and kick your mean father to the curb-mentally. He’ll get his eventually.
As an afterthought…welfare I believe, keeps one down to the lowest level. It is my understanding that when the laws changed in most states, that welfare would be given to females with children under five for 3 years. During that time, it is mandatory for the woman to obtain either a two year degree that will assist in obtaining a specific job skill position (secretary, billing, paralegal, medical tech, nursing, etc.) or a trade school for same. No cash assistance will be given for producing more children once application for assistance is approved. Get pregnant again, no cash is provided. The mother is given medicaid/foodstamps/housing assistance and daycare; and depending on where individual lives, possible travel allowances(bus, train, taxi) for a short period of time. As for men, I believe welfare is given only for foodstamps/medicaid and a very short period, cash assistance. In many states, they have to work x-amount of hours for that cash assistance. The bottom line-in almost all circumstances for those in and on the “system”, education is paramount to getting out of the mud, to making a better life for oneself. If drugs and alcohol are issues-they need to be addressed as well. For those who have absolutely zero desire to change their lives, I do not know what the answers are..
I want to post one more thing here. I have been trying to contact the writer of the WalletPop article to fix things, but they haven’t. This is the only article to come up besides that. Here is the info (PLEASE post this here):
* I had my Masters degree in Information Systems before I started work at IBM. I did software development, software test, QA and Unix System admin experience. Only after I got let go by IBM in 2004 did I do helpdesk, as a contractor.
* I believe Bunning had a point in doing what he did. I don’t consider him a Scrooge. Washington is going to have to do something about unemployment.
* I don’t want a handout. I do want to work. It is why I took the janitor’s position. I want to be able to make enough to pay my student loan back and be able to support myself. I hope this isn’t too much to ask, that a job go somewhere. I had said in the article, I would be able to land a job at Wendy’s IF lucky. Unfortunately, I get the overqualified line.
stfu you goofy ass
I know teenagers who have kids so they don’t have to work. If teenagers had to get a job then the teenage pregnancy would drop overnight. This is a sad but true situation. They know the government are trying to shorten there life cycle of welfare, so then they make a bad excuse to get social security benefits, that I might add they have never paid into it. They can do this because welfare you get that stupid medicaid card. The bottom line people want free hand outs,whether or not it is welfare or unemployment and I might add they usually let a bum thief in there life for free room and board, why they are collecting there 700 dollar a month food stamps and when the money runs out, watch out. You going to be stolen from until the next check arrives or they sale there drugs for a side job. I am not directing this towards Hutnik, I don’t totally know his situation, some people do need ssi and welfare, but the bottom line is most people live the way i described in might no so good article.
There are people that have committed suicide because they’ve been out of work for so long. Depression is typical amongst the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed. Unemployment is no joke.
For any of you to suggest that those of us that are unemployed are slackers that want a hand-out is sickening. The stories are told over and over again. How do you handle sending out hundreds upon hundreds of resumes with no response? The answer is that after over a year…it is not so good.
Your suggestion that we just get a job makes you sound like a truly clueless individual. All we WANT is a job. We live every day hoping for a response to our daily efforts to obtain employment. I’ve applied for everything from coat check girl to high level management positions. It is all work I can do and am prepared to do to survive, to take care of myself, to feel like a contributing member of society again.
Then people like you come along to kick me when I’m down. You have no idea what it is like out here for the unemployed. You don’t have a single clue. It gets bad enough that death sounds better than continuing to live this nightmare.
I have worked all of my life. I was laid off in 2008. I have competed for fewer jobs with a higher number of applicants from day one of my layoff. So far I haven’t been the lucky one to get the job.
What I don’t need is another person with a job telling me that I don’t have a job because I’m not trying hard enough. I’m hard enough on myself. I ask all the hard questions of myself. What I know is that I have done everything humanly possible to become employed again. The jobs just aren’t there. You better hope to God you never have to find out what we’re experiencing out here.
Ok, more of an update.
Hello Tracey, is this better for yourself and others out there that I ended up losing the job as a janitor 3 days in because of my back issues, and then sent me home? I ended up on medicaid, which enable to me to get surgery to end pain in the back, but have permanent numbness in my foot, and am still not recovered. I still am not able to sit for any length of time, and can’t find a job now. Does this count in your book as “really in need”?
I am able to do things on my back, if someone can hire me, but not even sit or stand prolonged periods. And nope, there is no disability available to me either, because you have to be totally blind or something else. Due to the economy Social Security has seen an uptick in 50% increase in people applying for disability. You know, individuals who can’t find jobs due to the economy being what it is, and their condition is such employers won’t hire them?
But hey, more power to you. Keep on thinking it is just lazy and greedy people who are ripping off your tax dollars. Maybe you can end up advocating like a Rich Becker who replied in the original post that I should have my life terminated so his taxes can be lower.
thank you !!! i REALLY HOPE everyone who is soo arrogant about social services and unemployment do not find themselves in a bad situation….again, I have ALWAYS had 2 jobs, i luv 2 work….who DOESNT LUV TO feel productive? hello…its just NOT that easy all the time…but it is easier for ppl to blame those that are unable, disabled, or just fallen on hard times….I can tell you, I would MUCH RATHER work than be on public assistance…
For those who are interested in the latest news about what I am doing, I did get a second back surgery (on Medicaid), and am still recovering. Besides this, my current work status can be seen here:
Back to doing phone tech support from home, so I have work. Currently limited on what I can do retail wise due to my back.
As further closer to this thread, and may it be the last one ever in it, I started a job in website support October 2015, and I moved to a new city I am making middle class wages again and have health benefits. Consider this to be closed.