Trump Wants to Turn the Safety Net Into a Trap (01covert) (01covert)

Oct 01, 2018 · 176 comments
Eric (Seattle)
The ugly men and women who dream this sort of effrontery up, do they think they've somehow purchased the right, to place themselves above the rest of us, with the right to outlaw our compassion?
N. Eichler (CA)
Who in this administration stays up at night thinking of ways to create difficulties for those who are the weakest among us? Perhaps they hold classes and whoever is able to provide the worst, least humane, most punishing new rule gets an A+. No need to wonder what the homework assignments are - we know by the nearly daily assaults against the most vulnerable. They, in this administration starting at the conman in the White House, are among the most vile and mean-spirited we have ever seen. Remember the sign held high in front of the White House which read in part, 'Tick-tock...' November 6th, 2018.
Ineffable (Misty Cobalt in the Deep Dark)
Minimum wage should be $35.00 per hour now. Then we would have very few on welfare.
Maria (Pine Brook)
Trump wants to save us taxpayers $2.7 billion dollars per year. Please explain again what’s wrong with that?
Tumiwisi (Privatize gravity NOW)
"But if the Trump administration gets its way, virtually any assistance the government offers will be smeared with the same sentiment". Government assistance will carry on, as it did for the past 50 years, in the form of corporate welfare, multi trillion bailouts and legalized tax avoidance. GOP and Dems are two sides of the same coin. Pecunia non olet, but those who use it to suppress others - and their enablers - make our air increasingly suffocating.
MEM (Los Angeles )
Let's imagine for a moment that all unauthorized immigrants leave and only a few wealthy immigrants are allowed entry to the US. Since illegal immigrants pay more in taxes across the board than they receive in benefits, local, state, and federal budgets will be hurt, not helped. Since most of the people who support strict immigration policies, including the incarceration of children, in effect, also oppose living wage laws and safety net benefits for citizens, more low income and working class Americans will be forced into poverty. No one will actually benefit from these outcomes.
Maria (Pine Brook)
Your statistics about illegals paying more in than taking out us wrong. If they have children that go to school and avail them self’s medical care and school food we are paying at least $15.000 per child per year
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
What a monumentally disingenuous sentiment. For the same reason that Europeans do it, Trump seeks to minimize benefits automatically exploited by illegal aliens in order to disincentivize their illegal entry into our country. He’s not likely to lose a single legitimate vote for his actions and he make pick up quite a few. But I understand Bryce’s outrage. If by ideological conviction you flog this curious notion of open borders, which supports an osmotic process of peoples moving across frontiers seeking better economic opportunities birth-countries have failed to provide, and to escape failed and failing societies (while importing pieces of those failed and failing cultures into ours in multitudes), then you’re understandably outraged at such disincentives – because they’re likely to be effective. Trump’s actions do not affect citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders). When understood, most Americans will support these actions because most Americans want something material done about our clear loss of control over our borders.
M (Seattle)
If you can’t afford to live in the US, don’t bother coming.
Ineffable (Misty Cobalt in the Deep Dark)
@M I can't afford to live in the U.S. My bloodline has been here since my William White walked off the Mayflower in 1620. This countrys' current oligarchy enshrines greed, abusively aggressive competition and ill will. They steal the worth of other peoples work and think they are clever. By doing this they have destroyed the acceptance of good will and concern for each other that holds communities together. They eat children and laugh about it. They are disgusting ghouls.
Peacekat (Albany, NY)
Let's stop immigrants from depending on our publicly subsidized highways too--they cost the taxpayers even more each year than food stamps. And what makes them entitled to drink our water or breathe the air we purify with our tax money? If we make it illegal for immigrants to inhale, it doesn't hurt America -- just immigrants. Since they'll all be lawbreakers, we can deport them all. No mercy. Think how much money we'll save in legal costs alone! Go on, just google it! And they should start charging kids room and board for staying in those air-conditioned tents.
drdeanster (tinseltown)
Good luck getting the crops picked, the lawns mowed, the vegetables chopped in restaurants, the school buses picking up white non-immigrants, the slaughtered animals processed, the houses built and the potholes fixed . . . with that policy. Does it also apply to the foreign workers on visas that Trump loves so much to staff his golf courses and Mar-a-Lagos? Enact that policy while doing everything to resist a raise in the minimum wage or the rights for unions to collectively bargain for workers and watch the economy slowly crater. Gotta be great for home prices and rental rates too, although some parts of the country clearly need some relief from the shortage of affordable housing.
Kurfco (California)
"This rule therefore hurts everyone, not just immigrants," Huh? Why does this rule hurt "everyone"? It only applies to immigrants. This country has refused to take immigrants likely to become a "public charge" since the Ellis Island days. Google it. Many immigrants were turned around there and sent back home because they were thought to be likely "public charges", incapable of taking care of themselves. And this was way before today's much more extensive and expensive entitlement programs. It's one thing for an immigrant to fall on hard times after being here for five years, but we shouldn't be accepting folks who start out dependent on entitlements. This proposal will hit illegal "immigrants" with US citizen children the hardest. That's why the bleating chorus is out in force. We must end the lunacy of Birthright Citizenship.
Rh (La)
This is about the only policy that makes sense in this administration’s dystopian management of governance. Each legal immigrant gives an legally binding undertaking of not becoming a recipient of public aid hence they violate it as soon as they apply for one. Hence the implementation of this rule is legal and appropriate because the blatant violations of this policy by legal immigrants and their extended chain is estimated at over $40 Billion yearly. Simply stated the USA is not the welfare dumping ground of the world
Karn Griffen (Riverside, CA)
Tragic!
NJB (Seattle)
This article makes a strong case for opposing restrictions on safety net programs that help Americans and permanent residents of the US, something Republicans are have been trying to do for years. But I fail to see why this assistance should extend to temporary residents (with the exception of approved refugee and asylum claimants) whose case for being here rests on their ability to establish economically. Nobody despises this administration and the GOP more than I do. But most countries who accept immigrants have robust regulations in place to ensure that temporary visa/work authorization holders etc do not become public charges, and to discourage those who have not established that they can become economically self-sufficient. I don't see that as mean but, rather, as sensible, particularly in a country such as this one where the safety net is a frayed and tattered thing perpetually under attack from the right.
ZenShkspr (Midwesterner)
I'm continually amazed by people sneering at taxpayer's expense while they drink clean water and drive on public roads.
ron l (mi)
I don't like the slippery slope argument when it's used by Republicans, particularly gun advocates. I also don't like it when it's used by New York Times editorial writers to argue against restricting public assistance for immigrants who are not citizens. I don't believe that American citizens will be shamed into not applying for public assistance because it is denied to migrant workers. This argument seems disingenuous. Personally, I'm a liberal in terms of favoring a social safety net but can see the need for restrictions on public assistance to migrant workers who are not citizens
oscar jr (sandown nh)
So I am told that 90% of Americans believe in God. I am Most certainly confused, how can that be. First the dreamers, then infants and children being separated at the border, now we starve them. Wow what kind of followers are you? I really do not understand the logic of the American people. I do not understand why people can not comprehend that not making a company pay a living wage that,that is in fact welfare for companies. No one likes welfare more than corporations. It allows them to underpay there employs and shift the burden to US . It is called responsibility ! When a person is permitted to enter our country we give them certain rights. You can not offer the services to them and then tell them if they do use them you can't come back. Seems counter productive not to menchin cruel and inhumane. See but do not touch
Max Deitenbeck (East Texas)
What is it about desiring our government act in a humane manner that makes conservatives so angry?
Nikki (Islandia)
This article does not indicate whether the proposed changes would apply to immigrants who have already received permanent citizenship, or only those on more temporary visas. That is a very important distinction to make, and one other countries already do make. If an American emigrates to Canada, until he/she receives permanent citizenship (which will take years if it ever happens), he/she is not covered by Canada's national health insurance and must purchase private insurance. Look around the world, to the countries that have safety nets, where you might actually want to emigrate to. If you're an American, getting citizenship and full benefits will be difficult to impossible if you don't have family there to sponsor you.
[email protected] (Joshua Tree)
okay, I have 12 votes for mean v 14 for just plain stingy. a minority of 3 so far vote for racist. cast your vote now in one of these 3 categories: mean, stingy, racist. no doubling up! so far, there have been no votes tallied in the more positive motivation categories, and so none have been named. "frugal" was suggested but failed to find support. an early groundswell for " limited resources " petered out for lack of sponsorship, as did "welfare fraud".
JRS (rtp)
OMG, it is articles such as this one, that really are throwing the wrench into the prospects of Democrats ever having control of the federal government. When the nation is focused on the Supreme Court and the faults with the current justice system, you almost had me, I was just at the point to trust Democrats to do the right thing for the citizens when advocacy for illegal immigration and open borders is taking precedence over the needs of our citizens. Housing shortages for the poor and working poor, homelessness, HEALTHCARE for everyone and what the illegal immigrant advocates want are rights for citizens of latin Americans who sneak into our country. Voting is a farce; it does not help my family if Democrats are clueless to needs of citizens.
MarkH (Delaware Valley)
@JRS Like several other commenters here, you seem to have misunderstood. This proposed rule applies to people who are here 100% LEGALLY. People who obeyed all the laws, followed every rule, filled out hundreds of pages of forms, paid thousands in fees, endured interminable waits for the slow federal machinery... This has NOTHING to do with law breakers.
Dr. Ricardo Garres Valdez (Austin, Texas)
Hilarious. Meanwhile Trump is spending in the military over 824.6 billion dollars and nobody complains. "2" is bigger than 824.6. I guess.
PAN (NC)
Sub-livable wages is a tax on the rest of us to subsidize stingy employers. Indeed, those who briefly partake of the safety net actually paid for it in the form of taxes themselves - or more cruelly, paid for it by working for sub-livable wages. Perhaps those immigrants who are working but need a hand could avoid paying taxes if they are not going to receive benefits. Republicans many years ago wanted to take away Social Security from immigrants while continuing to collect Social Security taxes from them - that is theft (what else is new). Work requirements is nothing short of slavery and lowering wages - forcing one to work for an unlivable pittance the greedy employer is willing to pay.
[email protected] (Joshua Tree)
unless your family is Native American, or came over on the Mayflower, the odds are your own ancestors, possibly your grandparents, arrived nearly penniless on our shores, hoping for escape from tyranny and privation... and eventually, often in the next or a succeeding generation, with help including generous federal land giveaways, made it to achieving the American Dream. no more. and No Irish Need Apply, Kavanagh. things are different now.
JRS (rtp)
@ Pottree, Many of my family did come over from England on the Mayflower or landed at Jamestown, no kidding, and the other half came over during the second passage from AFRICA, but I am thoroughly disappointed in the Democratic Party for advocating for illegal immigrants from latin America.
Barbara (SC)
I think it's time to take down the Statue of Liberty--or at least Emma Lazarus's poem. The current administration is doing everything it can to make the United States unattractive to immigrants and to keep out as many as possible. If my grandfather--who fled a pogrom after he saw his sister raped and murdered--were alive today, he would not recognize the country that took him in at age 12, without his parents. Worse, he would probably have been kept out, meaning his descendants of the past 100 years would not have existed. Yet we are a family who has contributed much to the good that is in this country, like so many other immigrant families. I'm not as proud of being a second-generation American as I used to be.
WillT26 (Durham, NC)
@Barbara, I agree. The Statue of Liberty needs to go. Too many people believe that the Statue, and the poem associated with it, somehow dictate US policy in regards to immigration. The Statue of Liberty was made in 1886. In that year there were about 50 million people in the US. There were about 1.7 billion people on the planet. It is beyond silly for people to use the Statue of Liberty as an argument for anything today. So I agree- both should go. They were meant for a different time. Now it is time to think about the well being of our own people and society. And if that means you are no longer proud to be an American then I am sorry for you. You can always emigrate to a country that shares your giving values- although, I am afraid, there are none. Every nation on earth prioritizes its own people over foreigners.
HapinOregon (Southwest Corner of Oregon)
Food stamps and Medicaid are how Walmart, Amazon, etc, employees subsist on their pay. Get rid of them along with immigrants?
Brenda (Morris Plains)
We can solve this relatively easily: admit not a single unskilled immigrant. The number of MDs on welfare is tiny. Like every other country, we should not admit anyone who is, or realistically threatens to be, a drag on the taxpayers. If immigrants are so poor or unskilled that they “cycle on and off assistance”, what possible rationale exists for admitting them? And it’s a quirky definition of “independence” which includes subsisting at taxpayer expense. (Query whether the sponge needs to admit that status to be a sponge?) We may have to do this for citizens – a questionable proposition – but we most certainly don’t have to subsidize the trip for poor immigrants. Why, pray tell, should we admit anyone who requires Medicaid? Let them go home, where medical care is probably “free”. And if there is a “low wage service economy”, whose fault is that? Immigrants, who undercut American wages. There will always be a “service economy”, but it does not have to be “low wage”. Send illegals home, slam the door on unskilled legals, and the resulting labor shortage will greatly improve the ability of poor Americans to command better wages. If immigrants are dipping into the taxpayers’ wallets to the tune of $2B, consider: in a few years, the savings could pay for the Gateway project. Our immigration laws require revision, so as to exclude anyone without readily marketable skills. If one's only asset is a strong back or a resident cousin, we don't need you.
Mamawalrus72 (Bay Area,CA)
@Brenda This has got to be one of the nastiest, self-serving posts I have read. Take away your own health insurance and "there but for fortune go you or I." The unskilled worker who arrives here could very well become the skilled physician who saves your life.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@Brenda Many businesses have always paid minimum wages. This can not be placed at the feet of immigrants. Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the USA and most of their workers qualify for food stamps. How many illegals work there? Inquiring minds want to know. Second. Morris Plains is one of the wealthier towns in America. The median income of its residents is $106K. Why are the wealthiest among us the most hateful and cold hearted among us? And for the record, we have a household income of almost $120K and pay a goodly amount in taxes yet we don't begrudge lending a helping hand to those who are struggling. Third. Where is your apoplectic outrage directed at the billions in corporate welfare? Not surprisingly the right is conspicuously silent on that.
HapinOregon (Southwest Corner of Oregon)
@Brenda And once the immigration laws are revised based upon a person's "use" to society, we can do the same for citizens who lack "readily marketable skills". Just thinking of all the money saved can boggle the mind...
Ronny (Dublin, CA)
Conservatives scramble over the pennies while they let the $1 trillion bill slip right past their gaze. Welfare is small potatoes compared with the $1 Trillion per year we are borrowing in order to give wealthy stockholders a huge tax cut.
MS (Mass)
@Ronny, Illegal aliens cost the town, state and federal governments a total of about 116 BILLION annually. That adds up quickly and it is not chump change.
Tumiwisi (Privatize gravity NOW)
@MS Actually it is $118,631,495,637 and 31 cents. I pulled my number from the same place you did. PU! I need to get out for a breath of fresh air...
MarkH (Delaware Valley)
It remains undecided, whether the the proposed rule includes CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). I recently terminated my own health insurance, because the premiums are financially crushing. Some people kindly recommended to us, that we pursue affordable insurance for my foreign-born stepdaughter, newly arrived in the USA. A few day's later I saw the headline about Trump's satanic proposal, and thought "Thank God we didn't get this health insurance for her -- it could have led to her deportation." Yes, deportation. If her residency (green card) were denied because she had benefited from CHIP, she would have no legal basis to remain here, and a deportation order would ensue. Our family income makes us just eligible for CHIP. It would make health insurance for our little one manageable. But she remains uninsured, because (for now, at least) we don't dare take the risk. If this administration's perverted sadism does not accord with your concept of justice, then voting "D" in November is a vital necessity. A Democratic congress might be able to pass legislation reversing this unreasoning, visceral xenophobia.
Dan Locker (Brooklyn)
I agree with Trump completely on this. By making America look so rich and easy, we are stealing workers from developing countries. This must be stopped so that these countries can grow and prosper. This is just another form of enticing in slave labor.
FunkyIrishman (member of the resistance)
This is nothing new, and even though the changes are dramatic (among so many other regressive things republicans are doing), it is going to be temporary - Until Democrats get back into power in 2 years to reverse all of the hardships. Not only is there a change in America going on, (leaning more Progressive) but there is a change going on in the Democratic party - true Progressives, minorities and especially women are taking on the establishment (corporate republican lite DINOs) and winning. Along with the trillions in tax theft, and the new crushing republican taxes (tariffs), there is a reorganization (deconstruction) of the economy and how it works. Many sectors are being crashed on purpose, so that the money men can then swoop in to buy up things for pennies on the dollar. It is being replayed over and over again every time a republican administration gets back into power. What fuels it all is the subsidization by you (the taxpayer) of all of the social programs that allow businesses to pay far below a living wage. Americans are turning away more and more from these jobs, so the next available source is low cost immigrants. - hence the changes. It is all that simple.
cheerful dramatist (NYC)
@FunkyIrishman Thankyou for your comment, I so appreciate someone here noticing that the progressives are winning more and more elections. I honestly get tears in my eyes the more I learn about these election winning progressives. Just the fact alone that as far as I know they will not take corporate money and be bought and actually want to serve the people, all of them, not just the ones who voted for them, gives me hope. I wish the NYT would stop treating them as if they are some odd life form found under a rock and not of any importance. Why do even prestigious news outlets like the NYT still judge a candidate by just how much corporate money they can snag? Look out for Beto, everyone and his like. Go to the Justice Democrats' website and see how half of their candidates have won primaries. They only started their organization barely two years ago and were told by experts that if they were lucky it would take them years to even get one candidate elected as dog catcher. They only support Progressive candidate who will not take dark money and obey the big donors. They have practical plans for everyone to thrive in this country. Stop listening to the propaganda of the corrupt politicians of both parties. Yes the Democrats aren't as bad, but more often than not they are slaves to their big donors and the rest of us get the crumbs.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
"The average American will use between four and five government benefits in a lifetime, and yet 44 percent are against “welfare.” Right now, some public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, still enjoy widespread support. " Perhaps it's time to educate Americans on what programs are part of the social safety net and how much "welfare" most of us use during our lives. I'm sure there are a few out there who complain about moochers who would be shocked, just shocked to discover that they too have used a government program to stay afloat or lower their taxes. Once again Trump and the GOP prove that it's not how hard you try that counts, it's how hard they can make it for you to have a decent life that counts more. You can bleed and they'll just lap it up and cut even deeper. Vampires are nicer than these folks.
Mmm (Nyc)
Why would only cash welfare payments be included in the determination of whether a person is a public charge? So the government provides someone (and their family) with subsidized food, shelter, and health care -- racking up tens of thousands of dollars of in kind subsidies -- and you believe they are net contributor to our tax base? That's a ridiculous view. We can have sympathy and compassion for the poor without wanting to import additional mouths to feed who can't even support themselves. I want immigrants with PhDs and employable skills -- not people who drain resources from the rest of us.
Monte (NY, NY)
@Mmm This is a VERY Short sighted view. Immigrants even on public assistance put THEIR kids through school and college and they grow up to be Doctors and Lawyers, businessmen etc. Its ALWAYS been that way for immigration in America. From the Irish to the Italians to the Indians; they all strive for a better future for their children. All government programs of their worth take the long view.
Mmm (Nyc)
@Monte First, it hasn't always been that way. There were strict limits on immigration during the middle half of the 20th century (and the economy didn't exactly suffer considering the U.S. experienced the highest economic growth in its history in the 1950's). Second, even granting that unskilled immigration was key to supplying the bodies to tame the frontier, now that we inhabit the entire continent and our airports, power grid and highways are at capacity, why not accept that 400 million American is enough. Third, as per this article, many existing Americans are on food stamps and housing subsidies. Why not take the money you intend to spend on welfare transfers to immigrants and re-allocate to existing Americans -- perhaps to education so we can raise own kids to be doctors? Why import more people who we acknowledge are siphoning off these resources?
MS (Mass)
@Mmm, You forgot to add in the free public schooling and other educational costs, including ESL classes. As our property taxes increase annually to keep up with these costs.
KarlosTJ (Bostonia)
Hey Bryce, you might have missed this, maybe because you're not that good at math. The "Safety Net" is a trap. From 1930 thru 1990, the US population (census) rose from 112.78M to 248.77M - more than doubled (2.2x). From 1930 thru 1990, the US expenditures on all "Safety Net" programs rose from $4B to $1049B - a factor of roughly 246x. This is only possible if more people are in the Safety Net now as a fraction of the population than back when it was instituted. As a result, the "Safety Net" is obviously a trap - long before you were ever born.
Q (Seattle)
@KarlosTJ If only we could find a loophole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner's_law
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@KarlosTJ Gee Karlos, could it also be because people LIVE longer? Nah, that couldn't have anything to do with it!
moses (austin)
@KarlosTJ Hey Carlos "good at math" TJ! So the expenditures grew to 1049B. And what did you say the contributions grew to? I didn't get that part.
John D (Brooklyn, NY)
Elites and do gooders always told us non documented aliens were a "net positive" to the economy of our country and they use little to none of the public welfare that citizens pay for....so which is it? if what they have been shoving down our throats for year still true? this new regulation should have little to no impact on them then and actual will save some dollars to be used for actual citizens in need....
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@John D This is about LEGAL immigrants. Jeesh can anybody in the rightwing sphere read???
Betsy L. (Des Moines, IA)
Heartless and cruel treatment of an administration which is sucking the lifeblood of this country. They are using taxpayer dollars to fund their lazy incompetence.
moses (austin)
We need progressives to propose heavy regulations and penalties for subsidization for corporate conglomerates including agriculture, oil and banking. If this is their game, corporate welfare should be on the block, as well as any other "entitlement".
sooze (nyc)
What about that tax cut for the very rich? I'm still waiting for my cut. Where is it richboy? He wants to cut money for the "little people" and give it to the very rich. If he tries to cut Social Security he's in big trouble. It will destroy him and the Republicans. Wet put money into that our whole working lives.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@sooze I don't think republican voters realize just who funds Social Security. Boomers and the elderly overwhelmingly vote republican so I wouldn't be so quick to put your faith in these ill informed voters. The republicans constantly kick them in the face and they keep going back for more.
Elin Minkoff (Florida)
trump, ryan, and their corrupt, greedy, cruel cronies are THE WORST bunch of liars, criminals, and phony four flushers ever to grace American politics...and that is saying something, because we've had PLENTY of crooks, liars, and imbeciles...but this lot takes the cake. ~~~~~ Everyone is not born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. Everyone doesn't have a father that forks over 14 MILLION DOLLARS to them when they are young, and then proceeds to be so rash and wild with the funds that he creates 5 or 6 bankruptcies along his merry, moronic way...and has to turn to billionaire Russian oligarchs to support his corrupt and stupid endeavors, because U.S. banks will no longer lend him money. In fact NO ONE but these Russians would lend him money...don't you wonder WHY????? When the rest of us fall on GENUINE hard times, we cannot phone up putin or agalarov, or God knows what Russian billionaire, and get them to help us out. That is what the social safety net is for. I am not sure what we even need a government for, if they are hell bent on taking everything away from us, making us poor, lying to us constantly, and robbing us blind, putting U.S. funds in their own pockets and the pockets of their uber wealthy corporate oligarchs and donors. Beyond that they are racists, misogynists, xenophobes, sadists, and the lot of them hasn't one iota of character or integrity. To get ONE of them to do something right, there has to be a unpleasant videotaped confrontation. (Flake)
Josh (Spain)
Ultimately, all government spending on services is welfare in one form or another. Healthcare, infraestructure, defense, subsidies, research grants, public house, job training, etc, etc. It's just really a fight over what we spend it on and what we consider esential, necesary, unecessary, superlfous... 2 billion in terms of the national budget is a joke. The defense budget is around 900B anually atm. We've just had tax cuts that will balloon the national defecit by trillions of dollars over the next 10 years. We spend 150B+ a year on agriculture subsidies of which the largest part goes to corn, a crop we produce so much of we export it dirt cheap and use it for other inefecient purposes such as feeding livestock and making ethanol, the latter of which we finally wised up on and have drastically cut back.
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
If you dropped both Donald Trump and myself out of a helicopter somewhere in an unknown wilderness, I know which one of us you might see alive again. Talk about self-sufficiency. Donald Trump is the dough boy of pampered incompetence. Again though, the attack on social safety has never been about self-sufficiency. That's the excuse conservatives use. The attack on social safety is an elite resentment over people less wealthy than themselves. The only good welfare for them is corporate welfare. They won't pay for it either. I'd like to see policy do a 180 on that phenomenon. Increase the personal tax rates of employees and shareholders involved with companies known for tax avoidance or requiring government assistance. That'll turn some heads.
mrfreeze6 (Seattle, WA)
Reading down this commentary thread, one would think that cutting off the safety net to "immigrants" will somehow bring services to "American citizens." Last time I checked, key Republican leaders (Paul Ryan for example) are now crafting policy to eliminate all safety networks. Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, you name it. They consider not only immigrants to be "takers" but also citizens. So all of this sanctimonious blabber about helping our fellow Americans first in rubbish.
Sasha (Michigan)
The law already states who can and cannot receive Medicaid. People not eligible to use Medicaid have been using Medicaid and getting away with it. They've strained the resources for those who are legitimately entitled to receive it. Why are you complaining that the law is finally being enforced? Look at this link from medicaid.gov about eligibility: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/outreach-and-enrollment/downloads/over...
Elin Minkoff (Florida)
@Sasha: The article is not about who does or does not use Medicaid fairly or unfairly. The article is about pulling the social safety net out from under ALL of us. Not just Medicaid, but Medicare and Social Security.
Max Lewy (New york, NY)
Has anyone, in good faith, compared what the safe net costs, with the income and taxes that the beneficiaries bring in; Or their children once established. The postulate that immigrants cost money to americans has never been proven.Indeed, it is because of immigrants that the US is the country that it is. Or was???
Gerald (DC)
What are other countries' policies regarding become a 'public burden,' the US cannot be the only country which attempts to control the potential for public burdens to swamp the system. But people like you will claim it is.
Elin Minkoff (Florida)
@Gerald: Well, the British used to give EVERYONE a check every single month, no matter how rich or poor they are/were; it may be based on the number of children one has...or not. They may still do this. The Scandinavian countries have child care, advanced education, complete medical care from cradle to grave, elder care, etc., all paid for by the taxes paid by the citizenry. I guess, unlike here, the government is not stealing the funds of their respective countries, and putting those funds into their own pockets, and into the pockets of rich oligarchs and donors. They are using tax payer money for the good of the entire citizenry. How novel!
Gerald (DC)
Do other countries restrict who comes to their country by their means to support themselves? Trump is deviating from the worldwide norm, once again.
Irene (Seattle)
@Gerald Canada and australia come to mind..
Karn Griffen (Riverside, CA)
This shows two things clearly, This administration is totally clueless as to how a majority of Americans really live, and, how totally heartless this administration really is. In sum there is nothing about Trump or his administration that reflects American history or its character, much less its heart.
Dave (Westwood)
@Karn Griffen "This administration is totally clueless as to how a majority of Americans really live" You mean we all do not live in luxury high-rises living off the sweat of others?
Patrick McCord (Spokane)
No they are not punished BECAUSE they need help. This is another liberal distortion of the truth. Illegal immigrants are punished because they are breaking the law. Why are liberals so ready to break the law for their policies? Its sedition. Liberals should try to be civilized Americans that use the legislative process instead of promoting anarchy. Stop telling people to break America's laws.
msquared (Buffalo)
@Patrick McCord This may or may not be a distinction that matters to you, but these new proposed regulations apply to LEGAL immigrants.
Elin Minkoff (Florida)
@Patrick McCord: I have to laugh at your comment. trump and the gop break America's laws every single day. Trample on the constitution, etc. Why do you think a judge green-lighted the Democrats lawsuit against trump for violating the emoluments clause of The Constitution? trump is a multi-accused sexual/financial predator who sits in our White House. He had to settle the trump u. lawsuit for 25 MILLION dollars, otherwise he would have been embroiled in it beyond his inauguration. He is an out and out thief and con artist. And you want to talk about "telling people to break America's laws"????? I guess someone told trump and the gop that they were entitled to do so.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
@Patrick McCord The regulations apply to "LEGAL" immigrants... but don't let the facts get in the way of the red-hatted Trumpublican narrative. That would be out of character, after all.
camorrista (Brooklyn, NY)
Bryce Covert ignores the rule of unintended consequences. Those immigrants who survive these rule changes, who do indeed advance without any government help, will be infinitely stronger than their native-born counterparts, who will continue to collect various subsidies. If the Trump administration intentionally devised a scheme to weaken native-born Americans and permit immigrants to dominate, it couldn't have done better than this.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
@camorrista The states that rely most heavily on federal 'safety net' funding? Don't look now - it's the "deep red" states like Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana... where declining rural communities, mostly white, struggle to survive despite their lack of education, health care and employment; rampaging opioid addiction, primitive religious superstition and self-destructive xenophobia and racism. These "conservative" rural white folks are heavily subsidized with tax dollars from the "libtards," the many blue states that send far more tax dollars to the U.S. Treasury that they receive back. A lot of those tax dollars are paid into the system by immigrants - legal and illegal.
Earl W. (New Bern, NC)
"The average American will use between four and five government benefits in a lifetime, and yet 44 percent are against 'welfare'.”" Count me as one of those average Americans. However, it's a bit disingenuous to characterize my future Medicare benefit, my current Social Security retirement and Veteran's benefits, my former employer health and retirement benefits, and my former home mortgage interest deduction as "welfare". Only the latter three qualify as tax expenditures, while I paid for my Medicare and Social Security benefits from above-average levels of taxes paid over a forty-year working lifetime, and earned my Veteran's benefits from 13 years on active duty. I therefore resent the author's implication that I am riding the dole like someone on TANF, SNAP, or public housing which are simply entitlements with zero corresponding obligation on the part of the recipient. Simply put, social insurance is not equal to welfare, so stop implying otherwise.
Joan Staples (Chicago)
@Earl W. Some companies have used food stamps for their employees as a way of keeping their wages low. As for Medicare and Social Security, as well as Pensions: I paid into those programs, so they are not entitlements. Also, keeping our citizens healthy and out of poverty benefits all of us in the long run. Many Trump supporters would not be able to exist if there were no safety provisions. As noted, the weathy are getting more breaks and the debt is riising -- not because of poor people.
William Davis (CT)
@Earl W. Most people who use SNAP and medicaid pay taxes too, in case you didn't know. They're getting back what they put into the system, same as you. You aren't special.
Sally (SC)
@Earl W., what do you think about active duty military members who must rely on food stamps? Are they riding the dole? The last public figures show that 23,000 of them were using food stamps in 2013. They, like so many working families are working and simply need help. See: https://www.military.com/paycheck-chronicles/2018/02/21/why-do-military-...
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
People who feel the system is rigged against them and that the rich are ripping them off often deal with their feelings by trying to make sure nobody under them rips them off; if the system is rigged against them, they want it even more rigged against those under them. They are helped in persevering by the knowledge that anyone not as deserving as they feel they are is having it even worse. This preserves the moral order of the world so that even if the deserving are victimized, the undeserving should be more so. The result is even more victimization.
Alan (Washington DC)
@sdavidc9 . simply and perfectly said...
michjas (Phoenix )
Trump's hard line immigration policies have run into trouble in the Courts. The Supreme Court long ago decided that illegals had equal protection rights, which included the right to attend public schools. The Court said that the benefits outweighed the costs, The same question is posed here -- do the the savings to the food stamp program and Medicaid outweigh the costs of hunger and sickness? If public education is a right, it will be hard to convince anyone that food and medical care are less important.
Djt (Norcal)
There are so many more egregious immigration/tourism overstay related forms of cheating to deal with. Here's a few: 1. Birth tourism. Trump needs to make a run at changing the 14th amendment to limit birthright citizenship to those legally present. 2. Elderly parent support. Elderly parents are brought to the US with the promise that the sponsors will provide all the financial support needed for life. These people end up Medicare and other programs as soon as possible. Require a plane ticket to be held in escrow to be used when the sponsor can no longer support that person. 3. Visa overstay. Something like 50% of undocumented people overstay visas. If overstays are dominated by certain countries, require funds be placed in escrow for a visit, to be returned when the person exits the country through an authorized border crossing. I'm sure there are other areas in need of attention.
Bookworm8571 (North Dakota)
While I sympathize with anyone having difficulties, there are far too many American citizens who are struggling to find affordable housing, medical care, child care and food assistance and job training, etc. If resources are finite, they need to go first to people who are born here or who have been naturalized here.
Jake News (Abiquiú NM)
@Bookworm8571 Why are resources finite? THAT's the problem! Everyone wh is hungry needs to be fed. Everyone who needs help should get it. Chauvinist.
Karn Griffen (Riverside, CA)
@Bookworm8571 That my friend is heartless and a totally unAmerican position. You sound like the Donald who has no realization that we have a common brotherhood with humanity and as the richest nation on earth ought to reflect our history.
Nancy (Los Angeles)
@Bookworm8571 Do not expect that if the population of people seeking benefits decreases, that the benefits for those who remain on the program will improve in any way. The Republicans have contempt for all benefit recipients, so yes, they'll scare off the immigrants, but then they'll slander the citizen recipients (as they have done for years) as undeserving lazy moochers.
D (Chicago)
Part 2 In the big city the application process is the same, with the exception that nobody calls you on your interview date. So you call back, but nobody picks up and you call again and again and the same story. You go to the office in person, tell them the problem and they schedule and in person interview at a future time. Great, wish I knew to come in person from the beginning. On the day of the interview, I take off half a day or work, unpaid of course, because I have no benefits. Needless to say I spend 3 hours in there waiting because the case worker when she finally sees me, she can't find my pay stubs, which were submitted online with my application. But she has no computer for me to access, to retrieve the stubs and give them to her again, after I've been waiting there for 3 hours. So, in 5 minutes my interview is over. I was livid when I left. I just lost half a day of pay to get nowhere because of the incompetence of one state employee. Let me remind you, the interview was scheduled by them. And that's how trying to get food stamps in the city goes. I gave up, of course. I couldn't justify losing another half day of pay to go through the process again. I can't imagine how people with kids and health issues deal with the system. It is very self-defeating. To think that people can't wait to milk the system, is outrageous. I've been paying taxes ever since I arrived to this country. Let's put the myth of immigrants not paying taxes to rest, once and for all.
markymark (Lafayette, CA)
I wonder how many white US citizens have turned temporarily to Food Stamps during the course of their lives when they were in the middle of a crisis? I have myself, and I know many, many more too. Yet, I never considered myself a 'public charge.' The cruelty of this administration knows no bounds.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@markymark Anecdotal but true. A friend of mine who worked in a supermarket was in need of temporary food stamps of six weeks to get needed surgery for a blood clot that if not tended to could kill her. Her husband was out of work recovering from a work place injury. His employer refused his workman's comp claim so she was the only income for their family of six. Her claim was denied and she was told to ask her employer for free groceries to tide her over! So she didn't get her surgery until her husband was able to heal and find a new job. Luckily the blood clot didn't kill her. This woman has been working since the age of sixteen as has her husband. But be a farmer who can't sell his soybeans because the orange buffoon in chief caused a worldwide economic crises through arrogance and stupidity and you get a nice $12 billion dollar bailout! But that's not welfare!!!
Dave (Westwood)
@markymark Clearly those citizens who have temporarily needed welfare support have forfeited their right to be a citizen. We need to ensure that only the rich and healthy remain in the US. :-)
James Devlin (Montana)
The safety net you speak of is already a farce. At this moment, and for years before, there are thousands of men and women who have been fighting for years and waiting to hear about their disability claims after sustaining injuries while working for this government either in the military or fighting on wildfires around the country; and many more from within private industry, too. Those people are kept waiting in hope that they will soon die and save the government a few pennies from its coffers. That is what the government does. I can do anything for you or anything to you. It prefers the latter if you are simply a manual worker or ex-military, with nothing more to offer after prostituting your body and health for 40 years. If you are one of the Kavanaugh elite, however, you get to cruise through an entitled life -- or get to scam the country by getting ignorant fools to elect you president. Anything for you or anything to you. Government rule #2
George (New York)
So.... tell me again how many people are employed by Wal-Mart and depend on government programs to make ends meet? I guess they are "leeches" too?
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
@George Walmart would be the leech in this case.
stan (MA)
Why are we allowing people to import their problems with them? There are enough Americans who need assistance, who should have first priority for the assistance they need and likely have paid into over their lives. People are confusing being welcoming to foreigners with being abused by those foreigners. We need to stop placing feelings above rational thought and facts - there is not enough money to support everyone unless we start raiding the accounts of the Bezos, Zuckerbergs, et al. of the world - but we don't want to punish good liberals
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Vulgar Trump, after so many lows in decency, has achieved one much lower by cheating on humanity, and exercising cruelty gratis 'freely', just because he can, abusing what was supposed to represent strength from a position of power. Trust, in his hands, looks dirt cheap, to be denied to the least among us. Shameful but not unexpected from an unscrupulous thug running loose on our dime.
MS (Mass)
Poor Americans should not have to compete with illegal aliens or others for anything. As it is now, housing, education and medical care are in short supply and or financially strapped. Tens of 1,000's of migrants show up at our borders each month, we added 2.6 million to the US population in 2016 alone. How is our safety net tenable to help our citizens first and foremost? If you or anyone in your family are ever in need for anything, especially housing and medical care, get in line behind 20 million illegals here already in our country. I ask where in the world can a US citizen go to and just show up and demand services from that country? No place. None. Why are we Uncle Sugar to the world's poor yet not even taking care of our own first?
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
@MS Most other wealthy countries will provide free emergency medical care to visitors who need it. We already limit care to those who we find deserving or who have earned it, and we are getting stingier. We are Uncle Sugar to the world's rich, but not to our own poor. People who can afford gigantic campaign donations like it like that.
Andy Jo (Brooklyn, NY)
@MS I'm sorry, but those people who come to the US without papers are not entitled to Federal benefits. They are expressly denied that help by law (with specific exceptions). They might get help from individuals, from churches, but not the federal government. Exceptions: 1) Benefits (such as schooling) under state control 2) Medical emergency services 3) WIC So, they aren't getting Social Security, disability, unemployment, SNAP... If they do end up getting someone else's social security number, and work with that number, they are paying taxes which they will not receive back in services. No one is "in line" behind "illegals". That is a canard. It is often repeated, but it is a canard.
Josh (Spain)
@MS I'd love to see your "sources" nice try though. The net population change of the US in 2016 was +2.25 million so not only did you nicely round up you then tried to claim those were all "migrants" Everything here is at best misleading and at worst downright false.
Ernest Montague (Oakland, CA)
Let's see. Trump wants to keep illegal aliens from illegally benefitting and taking money from the taxpayer. Works for me.
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
@Ernest Montague Only citizens and rich aliens should be able to illegally benefit and take money from the taxpayer, except that since they pay for and make a lot of the laws and can afford the best lawyers, what they do is not illegal. Money talks. Many Americans do not resent rich scammers, because they dream of being one someday, but they hate poor scammers who are doing it so they and their kids can survive.
D (Chicago)
@Ernest Montague Read the article again. It's about legal immigrants. Look at the picture, it shows a green card.
D (Chicago)
Part 1 Here's a true story of permanent resident on food stamps. As a student in any college town in this country, one cannot find a job that pays enough so that one can do without food stamps. College towns pay terrible wages because they have no economy. The universities in college towns pay terrible wages because they can. I guess students these days only need money to buy an ice cream, because in the real world nobody needs to pay rent, bills or student loans. To qualify for food stamps as a student, you have to work at least 20 hours. You better make sure your employer doesn't cut your hours or calls you to not come in for your shift, because you food stamps are in danger. That $100 per month in food stamps is a big deal. The process to apply for food stamps is pretty straight forward. You fill your application, submit it and then you'll get a phone interview. If that goes well, you're approved. In a college town, the phone interview happens. If you don't receive the call when they say, you can call back and somebody will be able to follow up on your case. After college and now in a big city, good luck with getting any food stamps. Employed just enough hours not to be considered full-time (35h/week), with no benefits and on 3-month probation, good luck surviving. The 3-month probation gets extended for another 3, because why not, the boss is clueless about how low paid his employee is. Part 2 - to be continued.
Prof (Pennsylvania)
Trumpkids and grandkids, Romneykids and grandkids, Rynankids and grandkids, Kochkids and grandkids, Adelsonkids and grandkids, Paulkids and grandkids, and the thousands of spiritual Randkids and grandkids enjoy what Galbraith et. al have characterized as the only kind of socialism America will abide, will not only never benefit from but will have to contribute their relative pittance into supporting safety nets, which will always be nothing more than moral hazards to them.
James F Traynor (Punta Gorda, FL)
The comments are more fascinating than the article. I am the son of immigrants and, as a child and adolescent, was witness to their struggles. And to struggles of others. It gives the lie to the comments in opposition to Ms Covert. As clever and manipulative as some of them are.
F/V Mar (ME)
Now if this plan was also directed to those rural white folks who have been on the dole ... forever, then I might get behind it. Living in a purple state where almost all state and federal welfare go to Trump/LePage supporters is beyond annoying. The blue "elites" (translate - educated) support these folks with their high property and state/federal income taxes; and we're the ones who create voter initiatives that actually help these folks at our expense. In their minds they are entitled to any assistance, but if help goes to the "other" they scream, "welfare, giveaways, my taxes!", the latter being a joke since so many of them don't pay taxes. Bitter. You bet.
Sad former GOP fan (Arizona)
WHO really wrote the draft regulation? My money is on ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a branch of the billionaire Koch brother's network of organizations. For more on this massive set of unelected de facto governments, the story is here: http://kochcash.org/the-kochtopus/ ALEC is a "bill mill" that writes bills for the federal and state legislators to pass as they pursue the draconian agenda of the John Birch Society (JBS). The agenda was crafted years ago by their father, Fred Koch, founder of the JBS. It despises government and seek to reduce or eliminate as much of it as possible. Our governments are being bought out from under us via the Koch's annual spending of $300B to $400B on this monster. The GOP and ALEC have each other on speed dial. This latest effort by Trump to turn back the clock in yet another area of government has Koch fingerprints all over it.
Sad former GOP fan (Arizona)
@Sad former GOP fan CORRECTION. My apologies to all. Koch brothers spend $300M to $400M of their own money every year to influence elections and government policy.
Kam Dog (New York)
As should any immigrant who intends to use, or has used, a tax deduction or benefitted from a tax expenditure, or has or might get money from FEMA or flood insurance, or who has money in a bank that might need help from the FDIC, or has used or might use public transportation. I could go on.
ajarnDB (Hawaii)
How about business owners who declare bankruptcy to avoid paying their bills lose all citizen rights (like voting, running for public office, holding a passport), or does this sound as crazy as saying a mother who gets some food assistance to keep her kids from starving should be barred from ever having a stand in this country of immigrants?
EG (Seattle)
Given that most people’s need for benefits is likely to be temporary, there should be the opportunity to pay back the cost of any benefits (to the states or federal government) before their application for permanent residency is considered. This is especially important since things such as the EITC are not obviously disqualifying, and might have been obtained through a tax filing that seemed routine. Also, consider that many of the people who are most likely to be an asset to America may be young and not have had as much family help to get started; this does not mean that they should get benefits that were intended for low income Americans, but since they may have been even more likely to have fluctuations in their income, they should really be able to avoid penalization through benefit repayment.
michjas (Phoenix )
Trump's green card policy sounds plenty aggressive. That is the point. His attacks on immigrants are designed, first and foremost, to win the approval of his following. When you get down to brass tacks, the impact of Trump's new green card policy is probably minimal. If those ineligible for benefits choose, they can continue to receive Medicaid and food stamps. If they do so, and if Homeland Security keeps track -- which it may or not do -- the immigrants can stay here until deported. And their chances of being deported are slim. The likelihood of deportation has to be factored in. ICE arrests led to the deportation of 65,000 in 2016 and 81,000 in 2017. Trump's deportation policy is definitely more stringent. But when you take note of the fact that there are 11 million illegals, it remains true that most are safe. As with many of Trump's immigration crackdowns, the new green card rules sound terribly inhumane but are likely to lead to deportations of less than 1% of those affected.
EricA (Vermont)
@michjas The fact that few people get deported is little consolation for those people whose lives are destroyed by deportation. Trump's and the GOP''s lack of compassion is horrifying.
Matt (NYC)
So long as billionaires are whining about the need for "tax relief" and the defense budget continues its inexorable march towards an even $1 trillion, I'm not interested in the constant crackdowns on the poor. And no one should engage with the GOP's attempts to distinguish between poor immigrants and anyone else because the distinction is disingenuous. Just as the GOP does not truly care about the the distinction between illegal and legal immigration (they are hostile towards both), they do not genuinely care about the distinction between helping poor immigrants and helping poor native-born Americans (they are hostile towards both). There is enough wealth in this country that we should not be having this conversation. If there must be a crackdown, start at the top. Not the poor... not the MIDDLE CLASS... THE TOP. What difference do GDP and stock market gains make if they only serve to make wildly wealthy people more wealthy? Surely such a robust economy can be used to provide for the general welfare (as described in the constitution).
Ernest Montague (Oakland, CA)
@Matt "There is enough wealth in this country." Well, first, there are about 2 billion people in the world who are destitute, lack daily access to potable water or money, and do not have adequate nutrition, much less medical care. Would you care to integrate that into your carefully worked out equation? Second, I don't appreciate your decision as to how to redistribute the wealth. Why? Because the meaning of "Top" always changes to fit the needs of those redistributing.
Dave (Westwood)
@Ernest Montague "Well, first, there are about 2 billion people in the world who are destitute, lack daily access to potable water or money, and do not have adequate nutrition, much less medical care. Would you care to integrate that into your carefully worked out equation? " Sure ... cut the Defense and Homeland Security budgets and use those funds to provide the potable water, nutrition, and medical care you mentioned (you left out education).
laolaohu (oregon)
When I brought my wife into this country from China back in 2005 we were required to demonstrate that I would be able to support her and that she would not need any public assistance. This was one of the requirements of admission and I saw no problem with it. Perhaps the Trump administration is being more draconian about enforcing them, but it seems the laws have always been there. And that the requirement itself was sensible. Oh, and I am a registered Democrat and have been voting as such since George McGovern was running for President.
D (Chicago)
@laolaohu Finally somebody making it clear what legal immigration entails. Reading the comments here makes it plenty clear that a lot of people cannot distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.
Rhsmd1 (Central FL)
Ms Covert, I dont see you complaining of the australian gov't and their immigration policies, or need to prove assets, in order to immigrate to Australia. why should the USA be different.
Dagwood (San Diego)
I believe Mr Trump’s policies regarding immigrants, asylum-seekers, the poor, and minorities is nicely summarized in Swift’s “Modest Proposal”. Feed these people to the wealthy.
David Henry (Concord)
Sit silently by this sadism as social policy, then watch out Medicare and Social Security recipients: You're next.
me (US)
@David Henry When you allow people who never paid into SS or Medicare to access those benefits, you weaken/endanger those programs for the people who DID pay into them, and you do that at a time when those beneficiaries cannot recover from this theft. Other countries, like Canada and Australia, do not allow immigrants/non citizens to access social benefits that their own citizens have EARNED. Open borders with open access to benefits means the end of any welfare state programs, even good and popular programs.
mrpisces (Louisiana)
@me The rich white people never pay into the system as they spend millions on tax attorneys to game the system out of BILLIONS of dollars. And you are so worried about some brown people getting food stamps? Why don't you complain about how the top 1% is stealing from taxes? Their rich and corporate welfare is in the BILLIONS.
Maggie Mae (Massachusetts)
@me Millions of noncitizens have contributed to their adopted country in myriad ways. They volunteer in their communities, serve in the armed forces, build businesses, work honestly at whatever they do and aim to contribute to the common good. They pay their local, state and federal taxes, and contribute their fair share to support the Social Security and Medicare system throughout their working lives. To deny them benefits they have helped provide for others and EARNED for themselves would be a huge injustice and a measure of how far this country has fallen way from its promises citizens and immigrants alike.
hoffmanje (Wyomissing, PA)
So this new term of public charge, invented by people whom Joseph Gobbels would love. Does that apply to publicly financed stadiums, corporate welfare?
Discernie (Las Cruces, NM)
Who conjures these sicko plans to oppress and denegrate the very ones we need to do the work no one else will do? Don't tell me I think I know; racist hate mongers who are rich and can pay whatever the price for services that make the vegetables and fruits we eat affordable or even available. The idea of self-sufficiency first is nice but the evaluation of needs and capabilities is esoteric nonsense. Who can do it? Even though I have two higher degrees there was a time when I was severly disabled and required food stamps for my kids. How would I have been evaluated? Of course, I got back to work soon enough, but what if I hadn't? Our immigrants have always been the life-blood of our economy and the backbone of family values in our country over the last 200 years or so. Do we forget our roots and who we come from? Do we deny our heritage? At what cost? Do we blame people who fall down or do we help them up? It's as simple as that. When did we become heartless and cold? VOTE THE MEAN STREAK OUT IN NOVEMBER. Let's return to decency and human kindness for God's sake.
JP (NYC)
@Discernie I think most of us remember our roots quite well. The Irish and Italians came to the slums to do backbreaking work in factories and slaughterhouses in the slums of Chicago and New York long before there were even basic worker protections like a 40-hour work week or minimum wage much less free handouts of housing, food and healthcare. The Germans, Swedes and Norwegians who moved to Wisconsin and Minnesota did so not to get cash assistance but to clear the woods by hand, plant fields, and carve states out of rugged, unforgiving wilderness. The values of America have always been the right to make it if you're able to be self sufficient. The social safety net is a relatively recent development and certainly not one that should be extended as an incentive for people who come here to elevate their economic standing not by working but by holding a hand out to take from the taxpayer who is already confronted by shrinking real wages.
Charles Justice (Prince Rupert, BC)
@JP, those were the days when the majority of Americans worked and lived on farms, where keeping chickens, and a cow, and growing vegetables kept the family fed, even in hard times. Those times are gone now, the majority of people do not live on farms, and they must be able to afford a car or pay for transportation in order to work. Also, in those days, people didn't have to pay $1500 rents for a one bedroom apartment.
Maggie Mae (Massachusetts)
@Charles Justice Those were also the days when native-born Americans who were poor worked alongside those immigrant laborers -- suffered similar if not exactly the same indignities and injustices as their immigrant coworkers in the plants, farms and factories of the first Gilded Age. In saying this, it's not my intent to diminish the bigotry that JP's and my own forebears endured when they first came to the US. In fact, bigotry against the newcomers was wide-ranging and deep, as it is now. My only point is that exploitation affected American-born poor as well as their immigrant neighbors, and the ownership class is always ready to use bigotry and empty status markers to pit one group against another.
WillT26 (Durham, NC)
The US must stop importing poverty. Why on earth are we doing this to ourselves and to the future of our country? When did the citizens of this country vote in favor of becoming a third-world nation?
Dave (Westwood)
@WillT26 "When did the citizens of this country vote in favor of becoming a third-world nation?" When they voted to elect Trump President.
Jack Strausser (Elysburg, Pa 17824)
It's all one Republican nightmare: lower taxes, starve government, destroy entitlements, no help for anyone but the rich.
No big deal (New Orleans)
Yeah, and giving ANYONE 18 yrs of free food ain't just someone needing a little help from the taxpayer is it? Whose fault is that!?!?!!? The taxpayer needs answers!
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@No big deal Yet none of you are outraged at the 12 BILLION$ in farm bribes to soybean growers due to idiot trump's disastrous trade policies. Oh but that's not welfare. You deserve it cause you're white. I get it. And just for the record I am also white and have never used any government benefits including WIC when our children were small in the 59 years I have been on this earth, nor have we ever benefited from the earned income tax credit, always getting a refund far smaller than taxes paid. You all love capitalism and free market so much? Bail yourselves out. After all he's your president and you always spout off about elections having consequences. Have some integrity and refuse the bail-outs. Otherwise you're just one more hypocritical "welfare bum".
Memphrie et Moi (Twixt Gog and Magog)
I am a Canadian and don't mind being told it is none of my business but I am also a Jew and feel free to ask. How can you be a Christian and a Republican? I know what my older wiser brother Jesus preached and I know he was not a Republican.
JP (NYC)
@Memphrie et Moi You should look into Canada's own laws they factor age, income, and job prospects into determining who can immigrate their precisely because they don't want ne'er do wells coming to take advantage of free healthcare, etc.
Michael (London UK)
@JP So what about Canada. Answer the question. Jesus was categorically not a Republican was he.
Law Feminist (Manhattan)
Leaving aside the complete lack of morality of relying on immigrant labor but failing to pay them enough to live here, this plan makes no economic sense. Farmers have been saying for several years that there are barely enough workers as it is, and nearly all of them are undocumented. If it becomes impossible to become a legal resident even after years of benefiting the economy, and once a legal resident, there's no ability to rely on the economy to which they've contributed for years, farming and other industries that rely on immigrant labor will collapse. They're already getting subsidies to stay afloat (something none of the fiscal conservatives in the comments seem to mind). What happens when there is no labor pool to keep these farms running? It's often the case that this administration's most vindictive policies make the least economic sense. Add this one to the garbage pile.
Joe Public (Merrimack, NH)
@Law Feminist Companies and industries that rely on immigrant labor wouldn't have to- if they paid a living wage. Unemployment is (thankfully) near a record low. Wages on the other hand are stagnant. If companies can't attract enough workers, it means they don't pay enough.
Law Feminist (Manhattan)
@Joe Public I agree wholeheartedly, but until the laws change to require companies to pay a living wage, this is our reality.
Not Convinced (Over here)
The linked opinion about 4-5 government benefits per "average american" is a sleight of hand. They include things like 529 educational plans and health insurance through employers, etc. Purposefully conflating these with public assistance programs is so ridiculous, it invalidates any argument you are trying to make.
R Fickelb (Dallas)
@Not Convinced In terms of what constitutes a government benefit to an individual the only difference between no money into the federal government and money out of the federal government is who benefits from it. So the government forgoing $260 billion a year in tax revenues (both include and payroll) because the cost of employer sponsored health coverage is not taxable is not a government benefit? According to the tax policy institute that is "the single largest tax expenditure". The mortgage interest deduction costs the government approximately $77 billion a year. There are certainly other government benefits in the form of tax breaks that disproportionally benefit wealthy, but those are two included in the chart in the link. In contrast the earned income credit, which you can only receive if you do earn income and pay taxes, costs the government approximately $73 billion a year and SNAP costs approximately $77 billion a year. No conflating here. They both cost the government money. To me they are two sides of the same coin. I just happen to benefit from one right now and not the other, but were my fortunes to changes . . .
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
This is like all the people who opposed making public space ADA, handicap accessible while refusing to acknowledge that they have a 1 in 4 chance to be disabled and that everybody using the ramp at sometime. Strollers as well as wheelchairs.
Mark (Rocky River, Ohio)
Medicaid is being defeated the same way that ACA has been attacked. make it impossible to access what is necessary to work. Need psychiatric care under Medicaid ( even for the disabled)? Good luck finding any. The reimbursement rates force potential providers to serve other markets. The smear has worked, the same way that it worked in cresting scapegoats in fascist regimes. When will the knock come on your door?
William (Florida)
Business wants cheap immigration - workers that can be exploited and paid very little. And easily replaced by another, even more desperate economic migrant. Thats why the jobs that these immigrants have pay very little - no benefits, and no way to save for a personal safety net. By allowing these economic migrants to obtain government benefits, we simply transfer the costs of having these people in the country from employers, to society as a whole. Why do we have to subsidize big business? The pro-open-borders crowd has been winning, and winning big. Trump has been thwarted at every attempt to restrict illegal immigration, and certain types of legal immigration, by Congress and the courts. When one side pushes too far - here the open borders crowd-you cannot expect the response to be measured or reasonable. It is unreasonable to have open borders. It is unreasonable to stop the president from blocking immigration from certain countries with no background measures in place. It is unreasonable to allow "legal" immigrants to go on welfare, and then chain-migrate 100 of their family members into the US. It is unreasonable to complain that people sneak across the border with little children and then they are separated from their children for some period of time - because you can't lock up children in jail with their parents. So expect Trump to use every tool available to push back - because being reasonable gets him nowhere.
Spence (RI)
@William Being anti border wall does not mean being pro open borders. Congress can't agree on immigration policy. I don't know what an acceptable compromise would look like, but we agree that getting food on our tables should not have to depend on exploited labor.
Juvenal (USA)
Many of these social programs are really subsidizing employers of low-wage earners such as Walmart, who should be paying their employees wages that allow them not to use these programs. This should apply to citizens as well as immigrants and make the issue of immigrants using social programs go away.
Spence (RI)
@Juvenal I like Bernie's idea of taxing businesses for social welfare we pay for them.
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
@Juvenal The social programs take money from taxpayers in general (mostly by deducting it from their paychecks) and put it into dividend payments, making the companies do better and driving up their stock prices.
njglea (Seattle)
I was never afraid of MY government until now. I'm a Caucasian, English descent citizen. Imagine how any person of any color except pink feels right now. This must not stand in OUR United States of America. Not now. Not ever again. Money is not evil. Misused stolen and inherited wealth by socially unconscious men and women is.
Lisa Gaffney (New York, NY)
I will preface by saying I am a lifelong liberal democrat and I believe in the importance of the social safety net. But when I moved to Mexico a few years ago I was required to show I had the means to support myself and not become a burden on the Mexican government and taxpayers. I think given the current problems of enormous government debt that will be passed on to my children and the hotbed political climate regarding immigration it is not unreasonable to restrict the safety net for would be future residents and citizens. I believe immigration is important for the growth and future of the United States but restrictions are needed.
Noreen (Ashland OR)
@Lisa Gaffney I think your liberal democracy (LD) is slipping a little. The mission of LD is that one shares the resources when needed. I am an immigrant who arrived here 54 years ago with 3 small children. I have never collected government assistance, but, I have long been a citizen, & I am collecting my EARNED Social Security now. Ms Covert failed to mention that employees at Walmart are payed so little, they need food stamps to live....Walmart is actually collecting welfare to subsidize their underpaid employees. Public Assistance as a life Style is NOT acceptable for healthy people, but, Public Assistance as an occasional bridge over disaster should not and MUST not be allotted by race, religion, gender, or country of origin. Need is need, and we should meet it.
David Henry (Concord)
@Lisa Gaffney Why the lie about being a liberal?
Expat Annie (Germany)
@Lisa Gaffney The "current problems of enormous government debt that will be passed on to my children" has nothing to do with legal immigrants occasionally availing themselves of SNAP benefits or the like. Did you miss Trump's tax cuts (almost totally for the rich), which are currently exploding the deficit? Seems that welfare for the wealthy and corporations is okay, but not for immigrants. And by the way, how can anyone guarantee that an immigrant--no matter how qualified and hard-working--will not at some point need aid? (For that matter, how can anyone guarantee that a hard-working US citizen will not need aid?) For example, let's say a highly qualified IT worker immigratesto the US, works for 20 years, contributes mightlily to the US technology sector, but then suddenly gets cancer and loses his/her job and needs to use public assistance or Medicare until/if he or she recovers. Under Trump's plan, such a person could be denied residency in the US. Are you okay with that?
ny surgeon (NY)
That is all good. But why are we bringing in people who have never paid taxes here who will need these program? And many of them with no education will never get off them.
hoffmanje (Wyomissing, PA)
@ny surgeon any many will go on to be productive citizens. Most people are on these programs temporarily!
deb (inoregon)
@ny surgeon, your statistics are not accurate. Do you have any sources, other than FOX? Read the article again, this time without the immigrant hate filter. Immigrants do NOT stay on taxpayer funded serves forever. Not True. Fake FOX news. And how could they already have paid taxes before they arrive? The promise of America is that you work hard and you can be a taxpaying, productive citizen who benefits your new nation. Your family and mine proudly proclaim that our ancestors came here with 'only 3 cents in his pocket' or some similar story, and they, according to history, availed themselves of whatever they could to improve their lives, duh. Their character was no better or worse than those who come now. A good example is Chobani's Hamdi Ulukaya, an immigrant. This man's example should be an inspiration to all, but for trump cult members, he represents some kind of threat they sneer at. Your immigrant forefathers inspired you, but no one else gets that opportunity now???
Mark (Rocky River, Ohio)
@ny surgeon. What "Oath" did you take? I don't want you near me in an operating room.
Gary Taustine (NYC)
Critical public assistance programs like these are one of the few areas where a little bit of socialism is actually a good thing, but offering these programs to capable non-citizens indefinitely or repeatedly is unsustainable and it incentivizes migration by those looking for endless handouts instead of looking for honest work. I disagree with aspects of the administration's proposal because desperate people who came to America through proper channels shouldn't be punished for falling on hard times, but economic migrants shouldn't be encouraged or rewarded either. The government is a safety net, not a hammock. Benefits should be awarded or denied on a case by case basis.
OrigamiGuy (Lodi, WI)
This rule's narrow definition of public benefits exemplifies our current administration's (and his party's) war on the poor as well las its relentless push to whiten our populace. It should be noted that among other recipients of public benefits is Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa though Grassley benefit is unlikely to be made available to the individuals targeted by this rule.
Kenneth (Connecticut)
This is a 2 for 1 deal for Republicans. For economic conservatives, it reduces the amount of public assistance spending. For Trumps base, it reduces the amount of people who don't look like them becoming permanent residents. Nothing could be a more classic example of the cynical bargain between a few wealthy republican supporters and the large amount of paranoid white voters they depend on for votes. The only way through this is victory in November.
hoffmanje (Wyomissing, PA)
@Kenneth But many Trump supporters are on such programs.
Expat Annie (Germany)
@hoffmanje Yes, but for Trump's people, it is not welfare, that's what those "other" people get. Don't forget all those Tea-partiers waving their signs, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"
Carole A. Dunn (Ocean Springs, Miss.)
I think this administration stays up nights thinking of more ways of making life miserable for large segments of the population. My fear and loathing of those in power right now grows every day. The message on the Statue of Liberty no longer has any meaning, and if we were honest, there should be signs along our borders that say enter at your own risk.
WillT26 (Durham, NC)
@Carole A. Dunn, The message on the Statue of Liberty is a poem. Not a law. No one voted on it. Citizens get to decide policy- not Statues or poems. The endless flow of millions of criminals into our country has got to stop. If you want to help people do so- on your own and with your own resources. Stop, please stop, trying to force other people to act in certain ways because of Statues and poems. Some of us live in the real world and do not care about silly things.
kah (rural wisconsin)
@WillT26 please do a little research yourself as statistically this country has more citizens that are criminal then immigrants who are. So stop please stop trying to force other people to believe in your non factual hate.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@WillT26 "If you want to help people do so- on your own and with your own resources." Spoken from a person who resides in a state that is one of the biggest welfare states. Do you people even recognize hypocrisy? You go first. Get your state government to stop taking federal government handouts. It's so easy to express indignation when your own state is being funded by other people's, (mainly blue states like mine) money. So easy to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when someone else is paying for your boots!
Bob Sessions (Iowa City)
I'm assuming this rule would apply to the countless farmers (usually corporations) that get public assistance regularly, to corporations and banks getting bailed out when times get hard, etc. These are the biggest welfare recipients in America.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
At the same time, billions in additional subsidies for ‘farmers,’ like Senator Grassley, whose profits may suffer as a result of the Trumpublican program of punitive tariffs and trade war. But none dare call it ‘welfare.’ As for the poor, who will bear the increased cost of food that results from these shenanigans; why, they must learn the lessons of ‘self-sufficiency.’ We’re doing them a favor - yeah, that’s it!
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
@chambolle There is good welfare and bad welfare. The good welfare is called something else, and goes mainly to the affluent or to those made affluent by it. The military-industrial complex and our too-expensive health care system are two major delivery systems for the good welfare; since both also provide something necessary the costs of the good welfare are easily disguised.
newyorkerva (sterling)
The one good thing about these evil proposals is another administration can reverse them.
SSDI Receipient (VT)
2.3 billion dollars is a rounding error in the budget, for what? To make the U.S. appear even more heartless? I won't be affected by these changes, if they happen, but I watch in sadness as the country slides further into social Darwinism. If we can afford the trillions in tax cuts and the role as international bully-boy, why can't we afford the mere crumbs, in comparison, that actually improve the lives of a large percentage of the population, both white and minority? I have been asking that question for decades and am reminded of it daily as the fighter jets take of over my apartment in Winooski VT. What say you Sen. Sanders, Sen. Leahy , Rep. Welch?
Sandi (North Carolina)
How long before they change the rules to anyone who uses the safety net, even citizens? States have already cut Unemployment Insurance to the bone, forcing people who are laid off, and might have otherwise NOT needed food or rent assistance, to need it. This makes no sense. "The beatings will continue until morale improves!!"
ChrisF. (SantaCruzCounty, CA)
One of my neighbors immigrated from Cuba as a child. She remembers the Cuban soldiers stripping the family of everything as they left, including their shoes and the gold crosses the children wore around their necks. She told me that her parents both worked several jobs to support the family. But that, at first, they lived with relatives and wore clothes donated by church groups. Hers is a typical refugee story. Many arrive with nothing. Most work hard to learn a new language, new skills, and a new culture. But they often need initial help. And we can't rely on relatives and churches to help them all. If we want them to succeed, it's short-sighted to deny them a hand up. The benefits of this investment can be great. Failing to provide it can lead to a lifetime of failure, and the very dependency this administration claims to fear.
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