It’s the American motto and dream: Pull yourself up by your boot-straps. Accept minimum-wage jobs if you must, but always remember that your hard work will pay off. That mantra is increasingly obsolete, however, according to a new survey about the nation’swage and hour claims; in 35 states, residents on welfare make more than those working a single minimum-wage job. In addition, 12 states and Washington, D.C., pay about $15 per hour, more than twice the minimum wage.
This situation raises a number of questions for Florida residents; currently, more Hispanic families are receiving welfare assistance than any other ethnic group. The most recent study, conducted by a libertarian think tank, took into account federal support programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps and Medicaid, among others. A discouraging 1.8 million families receive TANF, with 35 percent of affected children categorized as Hispanic.
Even more upsetting is the fact that welfare benefits pay more than the starting pre-tax wage for a first-year teacher in 39 states. Welfare recipients in Hawaii stand to make nearly $61,000 each year. Even so, Florida ranks among the least generous states, with benefits totaling just $12,600 annually.
Researchers say a large percentage of welfare recipients are trying to leave the aid systems by obtaining jobs on the economy. Still, when welfare payments eclipse the average entry-level job available to those vulnerable populations, it may be increasingly difficult to wean recipients off of the aid. When welfare benefits in seven states and Washington, D.C., pay more than $20 per hour, workers are far less likely to seek minimum-wage positions.
The crux of the problem in this case may lie with employers, who refuse to promote fair payment for their workers. Victims of wage law violations could stand to lose even more than those who work a single minimum-wage job because of employer exploitation. This social phenomenon is sure to have an increasing impact on the national economy as fewer workers find benefit in pursuing entry-level employment.
latino.foxnews.com, “Cato Institute: Welfare pays more than twice minimum wage in a dozen states” No author given, Aug. 21, 2013