The Myth of the Welfare Queen

We've known for a long time that the "welfare queen" myth, started by Ronald Reagan was exaggerated. See this link for an enlightening story from On the Media about the history of that. 

Sure, there are examples of people abusing the system and we should always fight that.  

But, nobody in their right mind can buy in to this myth when you see the numbers of what we actually spend as a state to help parents and children, you know, eat

In the end, if you can reach "queen" status on this money, I'd say you have super-human penny-pinching abilities.

I'm sharing these statistics directly from Children's Action Alliance. The source for much of this information is the state of Arizona, itself. Here's a link to some more information to back all of this up. I can't seem to attach the one-pager PDF here for you. But if I can figure that out, I'll post it in the future in case you if feel like having something to share.

As an aside, I would submit to you that the sum total of abuse from things like food assistance for families and children pales in comparison to even one year of corruption and abuse (and loss cash) that we saw in Iraq in the 2000s.  But, don't get me started...





TANF Cash Assistance 

  • Arizona has the 9th lowest TANF cash assistance benefit level - $278 per month maximum for a family of 3 compared to the national average of $445 per month maximum. 
  • Effective 7-1-16, Arizona will have the lowest lifetime limit for TANF cash assistance - 12 months. 30 states continue to use the federal 60-month limit; 13 states use 24 months or less, with the lowest (other than Arizona) being 21 months. 
  • In 1994/95, more than half of Arizona families in poverty who had minor children received TANF cash assistance; by 2013 fewer than 1 out of every 9 families were receiving TANF cash assistance. Nationally, TANF Cash assistance reaches 1 out of every 4 families. 

Early Education 

  • Arizona has the 3rd lowest participation in preschool of any state - 67% of Arizona's preschool-aged children do not participate.  
  • Due to an enrollment freeze beginning in 2009 and limited enrollment since then, the number of children in low-income working families benefitting from child care assistance dropped from 29,000 in February 2009 to 11,000 in May 2015. 
  • Arizona and Kansas are the only states still basing child care assistance rates on market rates in the year 2000. 
  • Arizona's reimbursement rate for child care centers for 4-year olds is 42% below the 75th percentile of the 2012 market rate. Arizona reimburses at $515 while the 75th percentile is $888. Only Michigan and Missouri have bigger gaps. 

K-12 Education 

  • Arizona's K-12 spending per student is two-thirds of the national average. In 2013, Arizona schools spent $7,208 per student, compared to the national average of $10,700. 
  • Between FY 08 and FY 15, Arizona's K-12 per student spending (inflation adjusted) was cut by 17.5% - the third highest in the nation. The dollar reduction was $663 per student, the 10th highest in the nation. Of the 30 states that cut spending, the average cut was $460 (9.8%). 

Health Care 

  • Arizona is the only state that does not have a Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - known as KidsCare in Arizona. Enrollment in KidsCare ceased January 1, 2010.  

Unemployment Insurance 

  • Arizona's maximum weekly payment of $240 is the national's 3rd lowest. The national average is a maximum of $424 per week. 

 C h i l d r e n ’ s A c t i o n A l l i a n c e A Voice for Arizona’s Children since 1988 


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