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The Suburbanite
  • Why don't young people want to work? Look to welfare payments

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  • Jim Hillibish seems mystified as to why unemployed young people don't want to work (Nov. 24 column, "American dream takes another hit; where are young people who could work but don't?") .
    One reason for this is that you can live fairly comfortably on welfare, and if you can be satisfied with a pastime of video games and parties, boredom won't be an issue.
    According to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, "Based on data from the Congressional Research Service, cumulative spending on means-tested federal welfare programs, if converted into cash, would equal $167.65 per day per household living below the poverty level." This is based on data from 2012. "Nearly 95 percent of these costs come from four categories of spending: medical assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, and social/housing assistance."
    This amounts to $61,192 per year, tax-free. Not everyone below the poverty level will collect this much, but many will collect even more. Compare this with the median household income in 2011 of $50,054, before taxes.
    Does this mean that young people today are somehow inferior to those of earlier generations? Of course not. This is just human nature responding to a welfare state that has grown beyond all reason.
    Recently, Congress has allowed a recession-era boost in food stamps to expire. Perhaps this will inspire more young people to seek employment, but since it amounts to only about a $36-per-month cut for a family of four, don't expect anything spectacular.
    JOHN LEONATTI, LAKE TOWNSHIP