Hatred For The Poor
Some people say in defense of ignoring and hating the poor that, “No one ever got a job from a poor person” but they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Poor people employ lots of people all the time. There is a heueueuege poverty industry bringing in billions where rich people use their “contributions” for tax breaks in large “non-profits” that take additional government funds and then exploit the poor. They employ people who are working in these non-profits for low wages far below poverty levels, bringing in even more millions to create rich tax havens and pay their upper management extremely generous salaries.
Consider some “employment for the rich” here and check out the immense list of 169 non-profits raking in the dough for the ONE CITY and ONE PROGRAM for the state of Wisconsin:
Now multiply this 169 + by 49 other states: Then consider the cost where these “non-profits” pay a small percentage of their take into the “services” they supposedly provide, paying their top directors hundreds of thousands of dollars while contracting with the government asking for even more millions in grants for these shoddy services ~ but the millionaire and billionaire tax breaks still keep rolling in:
Some of these “employers for the poor” have been convicted of fraud and are still contracted by the government in spite of their blatant, greedy taking from the poor to pay the rich and entitled after appropriating these millions from state and federal governments in grants. They spend on themselves literally 10-20 times and more for these contracted “services” to the poor than the actual services they give to their clients.
In WI as in other states, some of these “non-profits” spend an average of $46-57,000 per client when in fact the direct service costs far less with say, a $50.00 rent voucher, partially subsidized government funded childcare, or keeping the heat and lights on for a low income working family with government funds. A government agency would cost far less than what they spend now on these contracts ~ and would at the very least have union support for livable wages with their workers AND create decent employment.
Yes the poor DO employ people in many more ways than you think. And yes the rich then use their millions to hide behind fraudulent and greedy “non-profits” for their tax havens that do little for the poor or the rest of society compared to what they do for themselves. These entities ensure little in return but hey, they pay themselves generously while pretending their exploitation of low wage “jobs” generated for the poor by the Poverty Industry don’t even pay the rent for a family, and while giving little in “services” that costs millions more than what is necessary.
Now the Poverty Industrial Complex has generated a bigger industry, coming out of Title IV Social Security funding that took Welfare out of Social Security and then added the American Safe Family’s Act (AFSA) enacted at the same time. These billions are now being spent to empty low income family homes of their children, where false allegations of abuse abound, and children are permanently traumatized then “sold” to the highest bidders in adoptions. We are calling this industry “The Adoption and Foster Care Industrial Complex” where billions in Social Security funding is now being spent on the taking of these children and selling of them to adoptive families. Scroll down to page 13 to the graph from the following study done by the Annie E. Casey Foundation for costs spent on taking children versus the amount spent on “Family Preservation” and you will see that over 1000% more is spent on the taking of children than for keeping them home:
I do not use the term “sell” lightly. By “selling” children I mean that state agencies get huge rewards from Title IV Social Security funding each time they take a child, around $6-8000.00 per month per child depending on the state where they reside, and between $50-100,000.00 per adoption. Tell me why any of them would want to return a child home with financial incentives like that, giving thousands for taking a child and getting nothing for returning them home? As a matter of fact, according to my DSHS director, not only is money taken away for returning the child to their homes, but future funding is also withheld because they returned home.
Because of the rampant hatred for the poor, many believe that “in the best interest of the child” (never really legally defined) means a child is provided with more stuff from upper income adoptive parents. But adopted kids have an abysmal and troubled success rate, where many drop out of school, alienation from their adoptive families, and homeless, often beginning in their teens. They go to prison from the roots of the trauma and alienation from birth families. Kids who have been in foster care are 7 X more likely to face this future than if left in their birth homes and adoptive care is not much better.
In fact, adoptive parents could be Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Mary of Nazareth , but the enduring lifelong trauma a non-abused child undergoes from the loss of their birth family could never be replaced. One might think, “Well the child is better off in a higher income home, with parents who can provide for them …” But this is simply not true.
Indeed the statistics for children who have lived in foster care show that after being removed from their homes, they are 3-5 X more likely to be abused than if they had been left in their homes, after being traumatized from the loss of their family. Statistics for children, who are kept in the home and the family given services, show that, even with drug addicted birth parents, children do by far better.
The harsh criticism we all feel entitled to make for a mother is no more clear than in this NY Times blog by a woman who defends low income moms:
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/parenting-under-scrutiny/. But there is little concern with the 3 X more likely neglectful forcefully imposed alternative when a child is taken by the State, nope there is only praise for foster care and adoption, which is much more likely to further abuse and/or neglect these kids.
Our government knows all these things are true, but still use whatever means they can in the media, the courts, and in their agencies to lead Americans into believing they are “protecting” children when in fact the only things they “protect” are themselves. The corruption begins because this Social Security funding is only meted out for the taking of children and nothing is given for Family Preservation. Indeed the more children taken, the more money pours into State DSHS coffers where other funding has dried up.
While poverty is not per se a legal reason in most states to take children, the conditions of poverty are the direct definitions for CPS accusations of maltreatment and neglect as a reason to take children from their mothers. The consequences of homelessness are part of these abuse definitions, as is the illness of a parent, inadequate medical attention because of affordability or lack of insurance, and lack of affordable childcare among many other reasons directly related to poverty.
In the 9th Circuit Court case Humphreys vs County of Los Angeles, the state of California admitted that over 80% of their abuse allegations were false. If CPS false allegations happen this much in CA, rest assured it is happening in your state. Yet still hundreds of little kids are taken from their parents and given away for no other reason except to make a buck off the backs of them.
No one is contending that protecting children is not a necessity in cases of some sick adults ~ but when 80% of alleged “abuse” is admitted to be false, what are they doing to these children and why are they destroying their families? Oh yeah, that’s right … it is because their hatred for the poor entitles them to use these little kids as political footballs in order to make a damn buck for themselves.
So instead of assisting the parent where there is no funding, hatred for the poor precipitates the taking of children where the money keeps DSHS employees, the courts and even “defense lawyers” in well paying jobs with benefits and bonuses. After the taking of a child happens, any newborn baby siblings are literally swept out a mother’s arms in the hospital with “potential abuse” being the reason. These babies are warehoused in foster care and sold. DSHS even has a “shopping network” where potential adopters can “shop” for their newest family additions and then place orders!
Hatred of the poor is not only affecting children. The billions being appropriated from Social Security for these foster care and adoption activities is a big excuse to cut disabled adult services due to “a lack of funds”. Now they are cutting off the disabled from SSI and SSD and any hope of survival benefits, which is already inadequate and would not pay the rent ~ much less other needs such as energy costs and other necessities. The cuts are happening by the thousands at this very moment. Worse, they want to “privatize” Social Security by throwing it to the Wall Street snarling dogs who would literally be selling their grandmothers for a buck. God forbid that the wages workers paid into this account would actually be for We The People instead of We The Corporations!
Hatred of the poor created a whole new industry while at the same time making more social problems for our country. If you have been in meetings with DSHS Suits as I have and seen this hatred of the poor literally permeate the room with disgust for the very people who employs them, you would know that perpetuating this hatred and drawing out the myth that one is poor merely because they “choose” poverty is being used every day in order to give the “haves” more haves, it has little to do with eradicating poverty or helping anyone but the elite.
What are the solutions for this mess? Here are a few suggestions, and more can be added with comments, indeed any ideas are welcome, we could use this information to take to our legislators both local and national:
First of all we need to see poverty for what it is: An institutionalized, artificially manufactured societal condition that is based on racism, sexism, ageism, and classism. The reasons for poverty is merely a frame of mind pretending only the rich and elite “work hard” and thus deserve any breaks while the poor, no matter how hard they work or whatever they contribute, add nothing to society and deserve no breaks. Yet it is a fact that the poor contribute +300% more of their incomes for revenue in regressive taxes alone than the rich. http://www.itepnet.org/state_reports/whopays.php The poor make far more sacrifices to pay those taxes and use less of our infrastructure such as roads, courts, and tax structures than corporate and rich deadbeats who pay far less if any taxes at all. So tell us again, WHO is deserves the support???.
Start with DSHS upper management who would never admit it, but who actually detest their clients and pass this attitude down the line to their employees giving these workers financial benefits as incentives to deny services for puny reasons that would never stand up in court (while of course keeping their $100,000 per year management jobs). I have seen this displaced hatred with my own eyes. There is indeed a “war on the poor” and there always has been. It is time to stop it and begin with the very people who are supposed to be a support for the poor, not make matters worse.
Most importantly, not being satisfied with the millions of dollars DSHS agencies receive to take kids and put them into foster care from Title IV with few questions asked (in my state there has not been an HHS audit in almost 9 years), they then go in and take even more money out of the paltry meted out discretionary funds needed for the most desperate of families out of TANF, food stamps, and Medicaid. In my state as in other states, Title IV Entitles already receiving millions then go in and remove and additional 1/3 of the TANF (the old welfare) funding alone, and as well as going after Medicaid, and food stamp funding for themselves.
This needs to stop. In my state the governor cries that there isn’t enough money for these desperate families, but thinks nothing of taking 1/3 of this money to pay already entitled DSHS agencies and their workers, their hundreds of consultants, and family court who already get millions free and clear, no questions asked ~ but then refuse services and use the conditions of poverty to keep themselves funded by crying “Abuse!” and taking children from their families. They do this because family court requires no due process of law as in other courts. It simply takes a case manager or even the person who might like your job, to point their fingers and say they know you are abusing a kid, and then, within 20 days if you do not respond, it is so and on a permanent record accessible to anyone (including future employers and landlords) for the rest of your life.
I wish I were, but I am not making this up.
Forget almost all contracted services. Whether private or non-profit, the truth is that these entities cost much more and merely become echo chambers to “back up” illegal and immoral DSHS decisions. They then hide behind “confidential” services as private businesses where We The People are unable to scrutinize them. Lies, prejudice, and misrepresentation used to cover up wrongdoings have no consequences. They not only are a high cost for government grants but often charge exorbitant private fees to their court ordered clients whenever these contracted entities enter into anyone’s life.
We need to use this available funding for education and for job creation for the people who need it. Spend Title IV Social Security funds on education for low income workers with support for families while they pursue their degrees.
Invest in affordable housing for all, disabled, families, and elders.
Make medical assistance so everyone can access it.
Instead of using the billions of Social Security money now being spent on taking children for social workers, judges, millions on courts and all their consultants, CASA workers, and foster care, use it instead to support low income families and the disabled with the things their much lauded poverty level McJobs can never provide ~ such as affordable housing, medical care, child care, schooling and financial support needed.
We need to face the fact that the War On Drugs is an abject failure and that drugs need to be legalized. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ( http://www.leap.org ) will tell you some very real reasons why this is important, most significantly the murder rate that more than any other reason, involves drugs. Poverty does *not* generate more drug use than in upper income neighborhoods, who use as much as the poor, perhaps even more but it is much easier to hide in privately owned homes.
However the enforcement for illegal substances is far more prejudiced within the low income community than in upper income communities. Indeed, since illegal drugs are a commodity the poor can use for desperately needed income, the upper income often come to poor neighborhoods in order to secure their own habits where selling drugs, even without personal usage, is a higher crime. Upper income people are less likely to see prison time or face the devastating consequences the poor face with the same crime.
As it immediately stopped the violence in the 1930s with the legalization of alcohol, with the legalization of drugs, no longer will we pay the high costs of the huge drug populations in prisons, the needless murders, abject poverty from the legal consequences of this war, or the horrible border wars we see today. Taxing and controlling drugs would ADD revenue to State coffers, where CA is anticipating an increase of 7 BILLION dollars from legalized marijuana alone, not even counting the “side” businesses that would be generated for their state.
Hatred of the poor is rampant and long lasting. Over 15 years ago when Welfare Reform was being enacted, the blame of the Welfare Queen low income mom was a concerted diversion from the REAL Welfare Queens; the rich, large corporations and the military. At that time in 1996, corporations paid less than 8% in revenues (where the poor and middle class paid upwards of 60% and small businesses the rest), the military in peace time was taking almost 50% of the budget, and welfare was less than 4% of the budget.
Blaming the poor, especially helpless low income mothers was using the most vulnerable population who could never defend themselves, and a, “Quick! Look over there, Welfare mom! Welfare mom!” This hatred of the poor took Welfare out of Social Security and made it “discretionary” meaning legislators could cut at will and cut they have, making welfare now less than 2% of the budget, calling Welfare a ”Temporary Assistance to Needy Families”, (TANF) that killed our safety net for the existing poor and now with the typical lack of foresight does not exist for the New Poor, the falling Middle Class.
Recently while in discussion around the Title IV funding and TANF with Representative Jim McDermott’s office, his financial aide made an offhand statement that haunts me today. Representative McDermott was the chairperson of the powerful Ways and Means committee with the subcommittee dealing with poverty funding. In this cavalier statement after I kept asking questions, this financial aide finally told me that this funding is difficult and a political football (not his words, my gist of what he was saying) in an attempt to explain this difficulty about negotiating with miserly legislators and explaining why it was so bad. He said in essence, “Look, the hatred of the poor makes negotiating this funding a VERY difficult job …”
So even the Ways and Means subcommittee chairperson’s staff people know Representative McDermott’s task is a hard one. Why is it so? This hatred has makes it near impossible for any helpful funding and policies, therefore causing more misery every day.
Some of these changes may be radical, but really most if not all of them would actually save lots of money. It is far cheaper and is actually more successful to stop child abuse by giving families assistance than to take their kids ~ 1000% cheaper ~ but because of our hatred we would rather spend billions more taking kids, putting them in even more abusive situations, and then selling them than we would for the 1000% LESS to help their birth families. It is far cheaper to assist the disabled than to let them go to the streets where crime, further suffering, much more expensive unattended medical issues, and danger abound but instead we prefer to spend this money destroying entire families and their children for life.
Besides being an international embarrassment to our country by the way we treat the poor because of this hatred, we put our entire country at risk. We wonder why the intense anger and disgust for our nation with its hypocrisy, why the disconnection from the Powers That Be, why the needless suffering, and why our country is becoming a laughing stock abroad when anyone can see that 3rd world American poverty is rampant and belies the so-called now-fake “American Dream”.
Displaced hatred directed at the poor costs lots of money. Dollar for dollar this hatred creates only agony for families, their children, the disabled and the poor when this funding could improve millions of lives if we saw poverty for what it is and use this funding more wisely.
Even Representative Jim McDermott’s office will tell you this is true.
Cat in Seattle
Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (P.O.W.E.R.)
Copyright peoplesing.org 2009 Reprinted in full with permission