Comment 26863

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2008 at 23:24:55

The amount of money spent on welfare and similar social programs is fairly tiny, an almost unnoticable amount of your tax bill. Corporate welfare, on the other hand, in the form of massive white-elephant public infrastructure spending on big firms on friendly terms with the government is huge. Look at old George W, he's virtually tripled the American national debt, and nearly all of that spending has gone toward the banking and defense sectors. Similar programs are in effect in Canada - we virtually give away our natural resources (or, in some cases like lumber, actually lose money allocating "licences" to cut on crown land) to any company willing to extract them, in exchange for "creating jobs".

I live in the North End. Some days it's beautiful, some days it's freakin' terrifying. The issues of human inertia and welfare dependency are definitely real. On the other hand, it's hard to see people down here as exploiting anyone, except maybe the meth dealers.

Living in poverty in this country means a stiff deal wherever you go. Slumlords milk you for rent on buildings which should be condemned, you go to Money Mart instead of a bank and pay a 3% tax just to get your paycheque, to say nothing of the payday loans, and work is low paying, demeaning, dangerous and dead-end. Even on welfare, life's pretty rough. $500 a month isn't much to live on (most people I've known on OW lately pay it entirely in rent), and abuse from workers is endemic. It's easy to imagine how after having to jump through ridiculous hoops for that long something like job training would seem like one more stupid appointment. One of my best friends, for the record, went to chef school off a welfare job training grant, and has been working in the field ever since, though that was a few years ago now and they were phasing out that sort of help soon after. Welfare may sound like the easy life when you're not on it, but being treated like a refugee, a flood victim and a criminal gets quite tiring after a while.

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