I have heard otherwise Progressive people refer to people on welfare or unemployment or even Social Security as “slackers.”

Here’s the thing:

The “slacker” thing is a myth.

A friend of mine has given the following feedback: “Back when I used to manage a McD’s I had a manager shortage and was putting in over 70 hours a week. The only other manager I had REFUSED to work more hours because she would loose her welfare check if she made too much money. I’ve had other experiences with that same sort of mentality and I know first hand of people who have deliberately arranged their lives so that they don’t have to ever give up their welfare or social security or whatever else they happen to be on, even when they have the opportunity and are capable of doing without that government check.”

I know what you are talking about here, but these people are not “slackers,” they are merely doing a balancing act to get the most “buck for the bang,” as it were. Such balancing acts can make the difference between eating and not eating.

People on unemployment, seniors on social security and some welfare recipients do this. First off, they are encouraged to do it and taught how to do it by the various social service officers involved. They would all much rather take higher paying jobs that would utilize their skills, but many of those jobs either don’t exist anymore, or the pay has been down graded from what it once was.

Typically, the average unemployment, social security or welfare client cannot make it on that money alone. It’s really a piddly amount. However, they can make it by carefully balancing a part-time job with their benefits. The way the system works is that if you make too much during a given week, you get no benefits. But, if you stay within a certain limit (which will differ from person to person, agency to agency, depending on other circumstances) they can actually make more money then they would with just the part-time job or just then benefits alone. Especially in the case of Unemployment, which rewards you for being employed part-time.

Seniors have to be especially careful, or work under the table. And, btw, how do you know your “slackers” aren’t working under the table elsewhere? They certainly can’t tell anyone, even you.

Like I said, the “slacker” thing is a myth. I’ve seen it over and over again. I actually know of people in our Order who are working part-time, receiving some unemployment, and working “under the table” to make ends meet. One person I know in particular works over 70 hours a week this way, and is still struggling to make ends meet, and supporting a disabled wife (she could get SSI, but their combined income (part-time job plus unemployment) is too high for them to qualify – either for SSI, MediCal or even food stamps). Currently they are driving a car with no reverse because they have no extra money to get it fixed.

Anyroad, my point is that it’s not all as black and white as the media and the right wing would have you believe.