Monthly Archives: December 2008

Farming subsidies as talked about in class…

I found this that directly relates to the subject, it’s pretty interesting.

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Suing to raise [welfare] payments….

I came across this article in the New York times talking about recipients currently on welfare who are suing the state to raise the amount of money they receive from assistance.  According to the article the payment that people receive from welfare has not risen since 1989.  This has caused many to have to struggle to get by on a daily basis.  “It’s an absolute abomination that this grant hasn’t been raised in so many years,” said Assemblyman Wright, of Harlem. “That these folks on public assistance are able to live at all on less than $200 or $300 a month is a true testament to their survival skills.”

The lawyers representing these welfare recipients filed the class-action lawsuit, accusing the state of violating a Depression-era constitutional provision that requires it to provide adequate financial assistance for its neediest residents.

I am curious to see if this lawsuit will actually be able to make a change in the amount of assistance these recipients will receive. Take a look at the article:


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Undocumented can’t get public benefits:guide

“Undocumented can’t get public benefits:guide” is a Daily News article I happen to stumble upon online.  Author Albor Ruiz discusses the new Guide to Public Benefits for Immigrants released 2 wks ago by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the New York Immigration Coalition and the Community Service Society of New York.  It is a guide to public benefits based on immigration status.  For each benefit, the guide provides information on who qualifies based on immigration status, income limits and other requirements.  the author states that its readers will discover that in general, only U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or immigrants with a qualified alien status can qualify for benefits.  He’d hoped that the guide would dispel some myths about how the undocumented take advantage of taxpayers by “clogging the rolls of public assistance programs”.  Unfortunately, judging by the comments posted, I doubt this changed any readers minds.

I found many deeply unsettling and racist comments posted as responses.  They go on and on about how illegals are scum and leaches- it gets worse than that…. 

 I dont understand how people continue to hold on to erroneously beliefs even when they are not supported by facts.  This reminded me of the readings in “Why Americans Hate Welfare” where we learn how the media influences what we perceive to be the truth.  I can only imagine how many base their beliefs on images they may have seen of America’s poor which most likely were the faces of blacks or hispanics and if the later was seen, many Americans assume they are undocumented.  

Below is a link to the full article WITH all the comments

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A second look at Welfare programs in other countries…

After hearing about the welfare programs in other countries it made me wonder about the welfare services that are offered in Guyana, South America, which is where my family originated from. I did some brief research and it made me realize that to even have a program that provides aid in a country when you are down in the dumps, is a luxury.

Now the government says that you can receive pension, but how many people actually have a good job in this country. When you take away the 15% that are unemployed and then take away those who work for next to nothing, you are not left with many who can find a good government job that has a pension plan.“In 1990, about 40 percent of the country’s workers were in minimum-wage jobs, earning the equivalent of US$0.5 per day (at December 1990 exchange rates). These low wages, often not enough to even cover the costs of commuting to work, helped explain the high rate of emigration.” Even though this information is outdated, I have seen how hard it is out there. My cousin is a police officer and she makes $30,000 a month in Guyana which is an equivalent of US$150.

I hear Americans complain about taxes but in this poor nation they charge they recently (2007) enforced a new tax of 16% on everything you buy, including food. I was there this past Christmas and it just made me really angry because they were definitely not seeing that money back.
Americans might say over and over again that they oppose increasing government spending on welfare programs, in reality, they support the majority of programs defined as “welfare.” The majority of social welfare spending is on education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. In fact, only 17% of government social spending is directed toward means-tested programs that target the poor.

Guyana is a poor country that lacks a lot of the bare necessities that we take for granted each day. Of course you will never see this in the tourist area but take a walk to the country. Imagine not having a mailbox and just making routine trips to the post office just to check. If my mom wants to send money down, she has to call and let my family know in advance so they can go to the post office to collect it.

I have included a link to read about the welfare services in Guyana (don’t wry it’s not long : )) for all of u who won’t read it at least read the quote.” Statistics for 1988 showed 164 physicians in Guyana, which made for a physician-to-patient ratio of one to 5,000. About 90 percent of the physicians were in public service. Guyana’s 789 nurses made for a nurse-to-patient ratio of one to 1,014 in 1988” Makes u wonder…

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Fighting an Insurance Company When They Don’t Pay

From US News & World Report, via The Week:  When Timothy Stewart’s insurer paid only $2,600 of a $13,000 hospital bill, he brought in a hired gun.  Medical billing advocates, armed with insider information on billing practices and insurance policies, can help consumers uncover errors and settle disputes with healthcare providers and insurers.  You can find such an advocate – as well as information on disputing medical charges on your own – at the Medical Bill Advocates of America website,  These experts have various arrangements for payment – some charge by the hour, some base their fee on how much they save their clients.  For Stewart, it was well worth the cost.  After some professional prodding, his insurer agreed to pay the bill in full.

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