Fox News hosts believe it’s excessive for welfare recipients to have air conditioning, and say that welfare creates a culture of dependency and discourages people from seeking jobs.
On last Thursday’s FOX & Friends, Fox News co-hosts Elizabeth Hasselbeck and John Stossel discussed whether people really need to be on welfare. After all, some welfare recipients that Stossel interviewed had air conditioning in their homes, and even televisions.
Hasselbeck referred to Stossel’s interviews as an exposé on “the ugly side of entitlements,” and said that “The motivation to get a job is almost non-existent in 35 states.”
“As the number of people collecting welfare and disability checks continues to grow,… it seems, so does America’s ‘culture of dependency,’” FOX & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said at the opening of the segment.
Meanwhile, Stossel explored the history of welfare in the United States, which he, of course, said “used to be done by private charities, which did it better…” Stossel then says that the “War on Poverty” created dependency, and he uses a rudimentary line graph to show how Americans were lifting themselves out of poverty until welfare came into play.
Doocy then says that during the last presidential election conservatives said that people would vote for Obama because he’s “giving away so much free stuff.” “We all get free stuff, I mean, I’m getting Medicare now…” Stossel replies. “Way to go! You earned it though,” Doocy responds.
Not once was any mention made of the many statistical facts that one may ordinarily think to consider in a discussion about government welfare. Just two months ago, a study found that the average American household earns less today than it did at the end of the Recession, in 2008.
The study also looked at unemployment rates and income data. It found that while unemployment rates have fallen, income has not substantially increased. Nearly every demographic is worse off today than before the Recession.
The United States is one of five countries in the world where the gap between the richest 10 percent of the population and the poorest 10 percent is widest. In 2010, the top 10 percent had 15.9 times the income of the bottom 10 percent, according to OECD data released in May. The U.S. also has a higher share of its population living on less than half its median income.
During a time of high corporate profits, worker wages have remained stagnant. Last year wages feel to a record low of 43.5 percent of the GDP. Meanwhile, costs have risen, and employee compensation has fallen substantially during the same time that corporate profits hit their highest share.
Furthermore, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows that most participants in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) are either children or elderly. Their data also shows that, for the majority of households participating in SNAP, job earnings were the primary source of income.
The number of Americans who are “food insecure” also remains at elevated Recession, or 2008, levels. USDA data shows that, last year, 17.6 million U.S. households struggled with having enough food. Of those, only 59 percent used a government assistance program such as the food stamp program.