I am providing 3 links below. The first link is about a woman, Amanda Clayton, who won 1 million dollars in the Michigan State Lottery last year. At the time, she was receiving $200 in food stamps each month. She did not cancel her public assistance and continued to receive these food stamps.
The next two links are from the movie, Cinderella Man. In the first scene, you will see Jimmy Braddock turning to his former boxing colleagues to ask for money after just signing up for public assistance (scene not shown). In the next scene you will see him being interviewed about returning the public assistance money he received from the government. Before you say, “this is Hollywood”, please know that this movie is based on the actual events that occurred in Jimmy Braddock’s life. We know this is factually accurate.
Opinion: Let’s remember that public assistance was provided by the government to help people who really needed it and had no other way out. It is one of the roles of government to provide such help in desperate times. Let’s also remember that those payments, while handed out by the government, actually come from the taxes of other working Americans. As a taxpaying American, I believe we (our country) have an obligation to help those who are struggling. I also believe that public assistance is not a right or something to be taken advantage of. That’s why I believe the lottery winner in Michigan should have discontinued her benefits. This is called fraud and taking advantage of the system, which is morally wrong (yes, I said it).
My questions to you:
1) Do you side with the way Jimmy Braddock viewed public assistance (helping a good man when he’s down) or with Amanda Clayton’s view, (I have bills to pay too – hey, it’s free money)?
2) Do you understand that public assistance leads to higher taxes out of your paycheck? Does it seem like Amanda Clayton was playing the system?
3) There is a current debate in government that looks at the amount of weeks someone should receive unemployment benefits from the government. Right now, it is 52 weeks (one year). Some say that it should be extended. Others say that the government, which is 13 trillion dollars in debt, can’t continue to support people who are out of work for longer than a year. What is your opinion? Be sure to look at it from all angles.
4) Do you think that the current generation of Americans have a different viewpoint of public assistance than those Americans who lived during the Great Depression? If so, what factors have led to this change?
5) This debate rages on, particularly with the “Occupy Wallstreet” movement. Some say this movement has legitimate points. Some say this viewpoint is the problem with America. On the other end of the spectrum, the “Tea Party” movement is saying that the Government needs to balance the budget and decrease taxes. Others feel their views are extreme and insensitive. What say you?
6) Finally, did you know that 70% of lottery winners blow through all of their money within a few years. http://journalstar.com/special-section/news/article_ecba141b-3e59-5914-a321-38b4adb20733.html. Did you catch that this woman, Amanda Clayton, who is still on public assistance, has two house payments? That means she went out and bought another house and probably a lot of off “things” with her money. My guess is she will be in the 70%. This embedded article says that character is the difference between profiting and blowing the money.