And who exactly are these so-called takers?? Legions of them, apparently! Do these right-wing pundits and leaders have any clue how small a portion of Americans actually subsist on government benefits? Do they understand that it is a fluctuating, rolling group of people, who gain or lose benefits based on changing life circumstances, the economy, and aging in and out of eligibility? I don't know for certain who they actually mean with these classist slurs. But if they think there is a large, static group of losers, sitting at the bottom of society, thumbing their nose at rich people and raking in free money, they are deluded.
Maybe they need to stop talking and do some research.
The number of people in a given year getting some government assistance, (school lunches, weatherization, etc.) is around 8%. There is simply no accounting for what Romney meant by his 47%, and I can't imagine what Bill O'Reilly meant by saying that 50% of America voted for Obama because they "want things." Who knows what category of breaks and benefits they are counting to get up to that number. I guess you get close to that if you include veteran's benefits and Medicaid, and apparently they are excluding incentive and benefits for the wealthy. It's just a bizarre number. It's truly perplexing to figure out who they are talking about.
We can probably remove the unemployed from the "takers", since they are a group that right-wingers seem more reluctant to blame for their situation. We'll also presume to set aside the elderly and disabled. If we're really generous, we'll imagine they would hesitate to label as moochers folks who can't make enough on minimum wage to feed their kids, or those whose work is seasonal or inconsistent, who have to apply for help with their heating bills. (But even if you throw back in the working poor and the nursing home resident in with the "takers", you don't get above 9% of the population.)
But once you get down to the people I have to assume they are really talking about, people who are actually living on TANF, (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a.k.a. welfare,) people who are receiving more than 50% of their lively-hood from government benefits, they are talking about 1.7% of the population.
And if they are saying that group, tiny as it is, is some sort of threat to the well-being of the country, they have a lot to learn about the folks they are accusing of getting a free ride. Living on welfare is a miserable existence, and the vast majority of people who are that poor engage in constant efforts to get into a better situation. Most people on TANF participate vigorously in the program requirements in hopes of getting off welfare. They sign up for the job training and budgeting classes offered in some states, and take advantage of any job placement help provided. If there are people on welfare who voted for Obama because they thought his policies would affect their lives, it wasn't out of a hope that "oh goodie, maybe he'll make it so I get to stay on welfare longer!" It wasn't because they want "things", unless by things you mean bologna sandwiches for their kids or an asthma inhaler from the clinic, or sheets of plastic for their thin-paned windows in January.
Nobody wants to be on welfare.
But let's say for argument's sake that there is a group of takers. A fraction of that fraction of the population who appear to want to be on welfare. Folks who have given up and grown dependent, who plan their lives around the day that check rolls in so they can blow it on who knows what, who have convinced themselves that since Obama cares about the poor, he must be planning to increase their benefits. Well, Paul Ryan, Bill O'Reilly et.al. can rest assured that those hapless folks are not taking over the nation. Welfare work requirements are firmly in place, despite Mitt Romney's lies during the campaign. The lifetime limits on the number of months one can receive welfare are in place. Stipends for any additional children born during one's limited eligibility phase barely cover diapers, so no one is having babies to get bigger checks. If there are folks who truly feel like it would be a dream come true to live off the government for life, they are out of luck no matter who is president.
I go back to wondering then who these "takers" are. Who are the people that want all this free stuff, and what is the free stuff?
I wish there was some way to measure what percentage of every income level is made up of takers. Whatever the number of poor people hoping to exploit the system, I'm sure it is matched by the percentage of middle-income people with the same dysfunctional personality type, coasting along in undemanding jobs, sloughing their work off on other people, not contributing to society. And certainly there are high income people living off family wealth and investment income, feeling entitled to benefits just for being rich, without ever thinking creatively about how to make the world a better place. There is no corner on the "taker" market in any echelon of society. Being a taker is a character issue, not a class issue.
It is the height of condescension to accuse poor people, even those who at some point need society's help staying warm or getting enough to eat, of having a greedy, lazy, selfish mentality; of voting for Obama so they can get "gifts" and "things", and of having as a group a lesser moral character than some advantaged, hateful, judgmental politician or media personality.