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Old 10-22-2005, 02:03 PM
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Welfare Myths

I've noticed that some members run with the stereotypes about welfare states. Here's the myths versus the facts, using American studies:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Five Media Myths About Welfare
1) Poor women have more children because of the "financial incentives" of welfare benefits.

Repeated studies show no correlation between benefit levels and women'schoice to have children. (See, for example, Urban Institute Policy andResearch Report, Fall/93.) States providing relatively higher benefits do not show higher birth rates among recipients.

In any case, welfare allowances are far too low to serve as any kind of "incentive": A mother on welfare can expect about $90 in additional AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) benefits if she has another child.

Furthermore, the real value of AFDC benefits, which do not rise with inflation, has fallen 37 percent during the last two decades (The Nation,12/12/94). Birth rates among poor women have not dropped correspondingly.

The average family receiving AFDC has 1.9 children -- about the same as thenational average.

2) We don't subsidize middle-class families.

Much of the welfare debate has centered around the idea of "familycaps"--denying additional benefits to women who have children while receiving aid. This is often presented as simple justice: "A family that works does not get a raise for having a child. Why then should a family that doesn't work?" columnist Ellen Goodman wrote in the Boston Globe(4/16/92).

In fact, of course, families do receive a premium for additional children, in the form of a $2,450 tax deduction. There are also tax credits to partially cover child care expenses, up to a maximum of $2,400 per child. No pundit has suggested that middle-class families base their decision to have children on these "perks."

3) The public is fed up with spending money on the poor.

"The suspicion that poorer people are getting something for nothing is much harder to bear than the visible good fortune of the richer," wrote columnist Mary McGrory (Washington Post, 1/15/95). But contrary to such claims from media pundits, the general public is not so hard-hearted. In a December 1994 poll by the Center for the Study of Policy Attitudes (CSPA), 80 percent of respondents agreed that the government has "a responsibility to try to do away with poverty." (Fighting Poverty in America: A Study of American Attitudes, CSPA)

Support for "welfare" is lower than support for "assistance to the poor," but when CSPA asked people about their support for AFDC, described as "the federal welfare program which provides financial support for unemployed poor single mothers with children," only 21 percent said funding should be cut, while 29 percent said it should be increased.

4) We've spent over $5 trillion on welfare since the '60s and it hasn't worked.

Conservatives and liberals alike use this claim as proof that federal poverty programs don't work, since after all that "lavish" spending, people are still poor. But spending on AFDC, the program normally referred to as welfare, totaled less than $500 billion from 1964 to 1994--less than 1.5 percent of federal outlays for that period, and about what the Pentagon spends in two years.

To get the $5 trillion figure, "welfare spending" must be defined to include all means-tested programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, student lunches, scholarship aid and many other programs. Medicaid, which is by far the largest component of the $5 trillion, goes mostly to the elderly and disabled; only about 16 percent of Medicaid spending goes to health care for AFDC recipients. ("What Do We Spend on 'Welfare'?," Center for Budgetand Policy Priorities)

Furthermore, the poverty rate did fall between 1964 and 1973, from 19 percent to 11 percent, with the advent of "Great Society" programs. Since the 1970s, economic forces like declining real wages as well as reduced benefit levels have contributed to rising poverty rates.

5) Anyone who wants to get off welfare can just get a job.

Many welfare recipients do work to supplement meager benefits (Harper's,4/94). But workforce discrimination and the lack of affordable child care make working outside the home difficult for single mothers. And the low-wage, no-benefit jobs available to most AFDC recipients simply do not pay enough to lift a family out of poverty.

Although it is almost never mentioned in conjunction with the welfare debate, the U.S. Federal Reserve has an official policy of raising interest rates whenever unemployment falls below a certain point--now about 6.2 percent (Extra!, 9-10/94). In other words, if all the unemployed women on welfare were to find jobs, currently employed people would have to be thrown out of work to keep the economy from "overheating."
Quoted from: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1302

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eight Great Myths About Welfare
MYTH: Poverty and homelessness have grown in spite of the trillions of dollars spent since 1965 to help the poor; therefore, these programs have failed.

FACT: These programs have succeeded and are succeeding in getting people out of poverty and homelessness. As Michael Harrington reported in The Other America (originally printed 1962, most recently printed 1997) not everyone was living like Ward and June Cleaver in the 1950's. Poverty hovered around 20 percent. In 1964, Johnson declared "war on poverty" with his "Great Society" program. The increased welfare payments reduced poverty to 12 percent by the end of the 60s.

As Nancy Amidei said in a speech at the Family Reunion conference in Tennessee, 1992: "Joan Growe, the Secretary of State of Minnesota is a former welfare mom. Judge Sedgewick, an appeals court judge, is a former welfare mom. Two members of the Montana legislature, two members of the Wisconsin legislature, a couple members of the Pennsylvania legislature. (Probably members of the Tennessee legislature are all former welfare moms.) Whoopi Goldberg is a former welfare mom. Carol Burnett is a former welfare kid. Bishop Weakland in Milwaukee is a former welfare kid. Six members of Congress (that I have been able to identify) are former welfare kids. I have run into former welfare kids and former welfare moms who are now PhDs and County Executives, nurses, career Army officials, police, Head Start aides. They are all over the place; they are terrific people and they are welfare success stories."

More people, new people, become poor and homeless daily, therefore the numbers grow. The increase in poverty and homelessness is due to grave problems in our economy, like the income of the lower 20 percent of the economy falling during the "economic boom", 6 out of 10 of the "new jobs" being under $10 an hour -- a wage at which no one can afford a market rate apartment -- racism (the median income of a Hispanic family is $3000 a YEAR), sexism, and a widening income gap. It is not due to welfare programs failing.

MYTH: Supporting welfare is a burden causing financial hardship to working class Americans.

FACT: Together, AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and Food Stamps are by far the largest items of the welfare budget. Yet in 1992, AFDC formed only 1 percent of the combined state and federal budgets. Food stamps also took up 1 percent. (Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, "Cash and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY 1990-92," Report 93-832 EPW and earlier reports.) If you expand the definition of "welfare" to include all one-way transfers of benefits for which no services or repayment are required in exchange (such as student grants, school lunches and pensions for needy veterans) then welfare takes up only 12 percent of the combined budgets. (Sources: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, "Cash and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY 1990-92," Report 93-832 EPW, and earlier reports; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Government Finances, series GF, No. 5, 1992.)

What is creating a financial hardship on working- and middle-class Americans? The rising percentage of American wealth gravitating to the top 1% of the population.

A counter-argument says that money given to wealthy citizens and corporations gets spent in ways that benefit the rest of the economy, and all people, including charitable donations. Yet money that is given to the very poor also gets spent: locally, in ways that benefit the grocer and the landlord and other small businesses. Money that goes to the wealthy often ends up being saved or invested overseas, circulated back into stocks that continue to drive up inflation, or spent on expensive houses that got built where affordable housing used to be.

In 1990, the poorest income group -- under $10,000 -- actually gave the highest share to charity: 5.5 percent. (Survey by Gallup Organization and Independent Sector, cited by Boston Globe, "U.S. Charities See Increase in Gifts," December 16, 1990)
From http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/Inequality&Health.htm
"Two recent studies, published in April in the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, examine all 50 states within the U.S. Each study defines a measure of income inequality and compares it to various rates of disease and other social problems. It is the gap between rich and poor, and not the average income in each state, that best predicts the death rate in each state. States with greater inequality in the distribution of income also had higher rates of unemployment, higher rates of incarceration, a higher percentage of people receiving income assistance and food stamps, and a greater percentage of people without medical insurance.

"Interestingly, states with greater inequality of income distribution also spent less per person on education, had fewer books per person in the schools, and had poorer educational performance, including worse reading skills, worse math skills, and lower rates of completion of high school."
MYTH: Welfare recipients commit a lot of fraud, at the expense of American working people.

FACT: Besides the fact that a lot of welfare recipients are American working people, a study in Massachusetts showed that vendors committed 93% of welfare fraud. This aspect of the welfare system drastically needs reform: it is harming recipients as well as taxpayers. But all of the political attention is on limiting the amount of money going to recipients.

And although the fraud by welfare vendors is terrible, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the burdens on the American taxpayer of military fraud, government waste, and corporate welfare. The Savings and Loan bailout alone cost $132 billion.

MYTH: Welfare dependency is the result of the moral failings of poor people: addiction, unwillingness to work, lack of family values and sexual control.

FACT: People need assistance when they are in financial hardship, and they are usually in financial hardship for economic reasons.
From the National Coalition on Homelessness:
"While the last few years have seen growth in real wages at all levels, these increases have not been enough to counteract a long pattern of stagnant and declining wages. Low-wage workers have been particularly hard hit by wage trends. Despite recent increases in the minimum wage, the real value of the minimum wage in 1997 was 18.1% less than in 1979 (Mishel, Bernstein, and Schmitt, 1999). Factors contributing to wage declines include a steep drop in the number and bargaining power of unionized workers; erosion in the value of the minimum wage; a decline in manufacturing jobs and the corresponding expansion of lower-paying service-sector employment; globalization; and increased nonstandard work, such as temporary and part-time employment (Mishel, Bernstein, and Schmitt, 1999)."
I'll take the individual accusations one at a time.

MYTH: People are poor because they are addicts or alcoholics.

FACT: Alcoholism and addiction are not limited to poor people: they are found at all levels of society, up to the Presidency. While epidemiologists debate whether alcoholism and addiction are most likely to be found in certain social classes or ethnic groups than others, they generally agree that they are more likely to be the result of the stresses of poverty than the primary cause. Something to remember, though, is that addiction often depends on availability. The addictions of poor people are limited by income. Compare this to physicians, for instance, who have the greatest exposure and easiest access to opiates: their addiction rates are higher than those of most if not all other professional groups, but they are not living in poverty.

MYTH: People are poor because they are lazy.

FACT: Single parents on welfare are certainly not lazy: ask any parent how "restful" it is to be at home with a small child! All parents, not only welfare mothers, should have the choice of staying home to care for their own children, and most middle class mothers do not work full time when their children are young. It is still controversial whether children benefit most from full-time parenting or from parents who work outside the home, giving the children some exposure to day-centers and other social settings outside the home. But the Republicans who most strongly push for welfare reform that forces young mothers in poverty to work outside the home are the ones who most strongly insist that all mothers should stay home with their young children and not work!

Moreover, many people who work full-time qualify for food stamps, subsidized housing and other forms of "welfare": there is no city in the United States where a person earning minimum wage can afford a market rate apartment.

The majority of people on welfare have been in and out of the work force, returning to the welfare rolls when they lost their job or disaster (illness, car accident, house fire) struck.

MYTH: Most of the people on welfare are unmarried mothers who have extra children so that they can get more money.

FACT: Although one in four children under 18 receives welfare benefits, that does not mean that a few women on welfare have lots of children. From official government figures, "The average monthly number of TANF families was 3,176,000 in fiscal year (FY) 1998. The estimated total number of TANF recipients was 2,631,000 adults and 6,273,000 children. The average number of persons in TANF families was 2.8 persons. The TANF families averaged 2 recipient children, which remained unchanged. Two in five families had only one child. One in 10 families had more than three children."

MYTH: Welfare rewards people for doing nothing, destroying their dignity and character.

FACT: A study by the Cato Institute claimed to prove that welfare paid better than work (at least, low-wage work) therefore logically no one would choose to work if they could go on welfare! The study, however, was later shown to be flawed.

In March 1987, the General Accounting Office released a report that summarized more than one hundred studies of welfare since 1975. It found that "research does not support the view that welfare encourages two-parent family breakup" or that it significantly reduces the incentive to work. The GAO report was summarized in Frances Piven and Richard Cloward, "The Historical Sources of the Contemporary Relief Debate," The Mean Season: The Attack on the Welfare State, Fred Block, Richard Cloward, Barbara Ehrenriech and France Piven, editors, (New York: Pantheon, 1987), pp. 58-62
Quoted from: http://anitraweb.org/homelessness/co...ightmyths.html

So please - keep condemning those "lazy" people who "take your money" so they "don't have to work"... but keep in mind that you're deluding yourself.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2005, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolriss
I've noticed that some members run with the stereotypes about welfare states. Here's the myths versus the facts, using American studies:
You think these are myths because you have found a study that supports your claim?

Hmm I have been to homes with a woman, who had 13 children.
I said 13

I have been at homes where mom doesn’t know the date of birth for her missing child.
SO I would like to see how these studies were conducted.
OHHH and the classic. The greatest study. I have had my neighbor pull me aside, and ask for my help to get custody of his daughter. (He was a habitual crack user, and lived in fecal matter. When I went to his home, (Mind you he was my neighbor) it actually caused me concern since I saw cockroaches walking to and fro. Anyways this fine outstanding young man requested my help to get custody of his child. He explained WITHOUT custody of his child, he would not be able to pay rent. You see if he had custody, he would get a check, and that check could pay for rent.
That was why he wanted his child.
Thanks for dispelling my myths about welfare, and a welfare state.

Here is a study you should conduct.
Goto a place, say a project, where over half the people are on welfare, and then see what you see.
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:15 PM
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I don't think that "I've seen this" can really compete with nationwide studies carried out by competent institutions.

Of course we've all seen poor people who are idiots; we've also all seen rich people who are thieves. It doesn't mean that all such are the same.
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777
I don't think that "I've seen this" can really compete with nationwide studies carried out by competent institutions.

Of course we've all seen poor people who are idiots; we've also all seen rich people who are thieves. It doesn't mean that all such are the same.
True.
However, when one views sucha thing, on a grand scale, (Say it for all of South East DC.)
I think it clearly DDOES.

Second.
Whenever you have a study, as shown before, it can say MANY different things. remember the regonal crime trends?
How about we break does crime by race?
No you dont do that, WHY? because there are MANY more factors involved.
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:38 PM
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Yeah - but you've already stated that DC is like the arsehole of america, so maybe in other places things are quite different.

The idea, for example, that by having enough kids you can "earn" money on welfare is preposterous. - you can only do this if you systematically kill them and cover it up. Kids just cost far too much.
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:22 PM
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How ever Symptom i would LIKE to see more then one study to show a variety of views on the topic, like MPDC said, he only shows us one...yes i said one. Any intellect knows yu need more then one source(s) of studies, stats and what not to show BOTH good and bad sides to ANY topic.
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPDC
You think these are myths because you have found a study that supports your claim?
The fact that studies "proving" these myths right tend to invariably be wrong also supports my claim. The fact that most of these myths are stupid (I mean really - anyone who has more children just to get more money is an idiot!) also supports my claim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPDC
Hmm I have been to homes with a woman, who had 13 children.
I said 13
Yes, and so have I - but the household I went to wasn't living below the poverty line. *gasp* They have 13 children. So what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPDC
Anyways this fine outstanding young man requested my help to get custody of his child. He explained WITHOUT custody of his child, he would not be able to pay rent. You see if he had custody, he would get a check, and that check could pay for rent.
That was why he wanted his child.
And the guy probably didn't realise - as Symptom has already most keenly pointed out that anyone who does this is a moron because they don't get that children cost a heap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
How ever Symptom i would LIKE to see more then one study to show a variety of views on the topic, like MPDC said, he only shows us one...yes i said one.
No, actually, I'm showing a lot of different studies. Check the second link - I basically had to remove all the different citations just to make it easier to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
Any intellect knows yu need more then one source(s) of studies, stats and what not to show BOTH good and bad sides to ANY topic.
Except that "studies" which show the "bad side" tend to invariably be wrong, or show a problem that nobody's arguing against (like the answer to the "Welfare recipients commit a lot of fraud, at the expense of American working people" myth").
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777
Yeah - but you've already stated that DC is like the arsehole of america, so maybe in other places things are quite different.

The idea, for example, that by having enough kids you can "earn" money on welfare is preposterous. - you can only do this if you systematically kill them and cover it up. Kids just cost far too much.
No the more kids you have the more money you get.
Now who makes you spend the money on the kids?
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777
The idea, for example, that by having enough kids you can "earn" money on welfare is preposterous. - you can only do this if you systematically kill them and cover it up. Kids just cost far too much.
For the record, it is a fact that the more children you have, the more money you get.
No questions asked.
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:20 AM
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I guess these guys havent visited a home here that is full of kids being abused/used for the check...i do wish they would come here then and worked were i did, and see the kids i worked with(they were disabled, but the folks got money none the less). He laughs now, but he should come here and laugh, then he might actually turn away in shame, knowing he full of bs. I am going to say it once, and i am going to say it again, PEOPLE do take advantage more then you think. Trust me i have seen it, time and time again. So lets get rid of that system and show these people you have to actually work.

Just makes me sick that these people are so blind to that type of system.
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Old 10-23-2005, 05:35 AM
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Kol is correct that on a national level, many perceptions about welfare recipients are inaccurate. Compared to all the people receiving welfare benefits throughout the nation, the plight of inner city poor does not have much statistical impact. It is also important to define terms, critics of welfare tend to lump all transfers to the poor together (to make the cost seem large), while proponents tend to focus on specific programs (to make the cost seem small).

I do note that the poverty rate in the US dropped from about 40% in the 1940s to about 20% in the 1950s before the Great Society programs. 1960 to present, it has gone down to about 12%...45 years to get less of a result. It is misleading to ascribe all progress in reducing poverty to anti-poverty programs when poverty was going down rapidly before many of the programs were in place. We have no way of knowing what the current poverty rate would be without the Great Society programs, the perception depends on one's politics, but it is all guesswork. Critics of anti-poverty programs will claim that the poverty rate would have continued to go down and would be lower today if they hadn't been implemented, proponents will say the improvement would have stopped sooner. Neither really knows. I would say that it probably follows the pattern of nearly all government interventions in the economy based on moving money from one place to another: some gains when the new program is novel that in time go back to about what it would have been without the intervention, with a slight overall drag on the economy from maintaining the obsolete programs.

In short, it isn't as bad as many people think it is, but it isn't very good, either.

Automatic monthly payments to anyone who turns in a tax return indicating an income below the poverty line to bring them up to the poverty line would probably be an improvement...the smaller bureacracy needed would more than make up for payouts to more people, including a small percentage of cheaters. That's not a good idea (and not a very Libertarian one, but at least it isn't as control-freakish as a massive benefits bureacracy), but it is slightly less bad than the current system, and change is less disruptive when it is incremental. This system would have the effect of slightly reducing the cost of some programs and freeing up alot of government employees to do more useful work. It would also free up beneficiaries from spending 20 or more hours a month pursuing their benefits...some of them just might be able to put that time to good use. It would be good padding in case of social security benefit problems, too. Is this a sellable idea? Have I missed an important flaw? If it follows the government throw money around effect I noted earlier, it should at least have some short-term progress before improvements level off, and the maintenance cost would be lower...even though more benefits would be paid out.

I AM concerned that the ease of getting benefits would encourage many on the edge of the poverty line to stop working, but hope enough will use the time freed up to improve their skills to make up for it.

Last edited by Mister Agenda; 10-23-2005 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 10-23-2005, 05:47 AM
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I guess i just dont see it. I have seen much crap in working with childern of disabled and non-disabled to see that there is users of the system, yes i have seen actual decent people using the system to help them live till they get back on their feet, but to support a group of people who will use the system, no thanks. If we ahve to keep the system, make the system work for itself then. Make sure that the welfare users dont stay on it that long then...like a few years. Then tell tehm they HAVE to find something even if they have to work two jobs. OK, i think i have spent my time explaining how this system of his will not work.
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Old 10-23-2005, 05:58 AM
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Have you been drinking Dragon? hmmmm? jk
The "system" is the way you described it here in NC. A person on welfare has to at least prove they are looking for a job....I have to post more tomorrow, it's late. This could actually get a bit juicy!
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Old 10-23-2005, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IsIs214
Have you been drinking Dragon? hmmmm? jk
The "system" is the way you described it here in NC. A person on welfare has to at least prove they are looking for a job....I have to post more tomorrow, it's late. This could actually get a bit juicy!
Remember there is a difference between unemployment, and wellfare.
very different.
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPDC
For the record, it is a fact that the more children you have, the more money you get.
And for the record, it's about an extra $90 for each child. Good luck supporting your household on what your children get you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
I guess these guys havent visited a home here that is full of kids being abused/used for the check...i do wish they would come here then and worked were i did, and see the kids i worked with(they were disabled, but the folks got money none the less).
"Mean World" Syndrome. You're exposed to one side of the facts so much that you expand it to think it's all the facts.
They're the minority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
Make sure that the welfare users dont stay on it that long then...like a few years.
And the fact that many welfare users work and still require the financial aid means nothing. These people are on it because they need it, and for many people it's damn hard to get anything better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
Then tell tehm they HAVE to find something even if they have to work two jobs.
Many already work three.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
OK, i think i have spent my time explaining how this system of his will not work.
"System of his"? This is the current bloody system you idiot, and my "system" looks nothing like it.
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