During Fox News’ Saturday edition of Cavuto on Business, contributor Charles Payne told guest host Alisyn Camerota that Americans living below the poverty line “get a little comfortable,” and prefer to rely on earned government programs like food stamps rather than working for a higher income.
“For instance, if you’re making, in California, $44,000 a year and your boss offers you a raise to $50,000, you would probably say, ‘No thanks. Because I don’t want to lose out on things like food stamp benefits, local benefits, my childcare tax credit, my earned income tax credit.'” Payne continued, “In other words, you know, we’re a very generous society. But what we’ve actually ended up doing is creating a wall, a giant barrier for people to move out of poverty into the middle class because that initial transition, they actually lose money and lose benefits.”
Payne went on to criticize Democrats for failing to push families off food stamps and even working to promote the program to families in need. Payne and Camerota agreed that the shame surrounding food stamps has worn off, and that in fact, the stigma is what motivates people to work harder to get off the program.
In reality, Payne’s assertion is completely incorrect. Many conservatives claim that a majority of earned benefits go to low-income Americans, but according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, less than nine percent of earned benefits goes to families and individuals living in poverty. “Federal budget and Census data show that, in 2010, 91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households. People who are neither elderly nor disabled — and do not live in a working household — received only nine percent of the benefits,” the report reads.
While Republicans like to sell the idea that Democrats are creating a type of entitlement-dependent faction within society—one that encourages laziness and a lack of motivation — the facts show this claim is simply inaccurate.
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