Not About Labor On Labor Dy

This comment and the post which follows are not about labor or work of any type.  That is, if you automatically subscribe to all aspects of  “social justice,” and want to use your money to reward those that do not work,  realizing some are capable, but may have no intention to work for the rest of their lives.

The post, taken from New Mexico Watchdog is authored by Rob Nikolewski. The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity  partners with Watchdog groups throughout this nation.

Study: It pays $27,900 a year to not work in NM

By Rob Nikolewski on August 23, 2013
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE — Is it easier not to work than try to find a decent job?

That’s the question some ask after a recent study showed total welfare benefits in New Mexico average $27,900 a year, or about $13.41 an hour if compared to full-time work.

“Poor people are not lazy. Every survey you look at, people on welfare say they’d prefer to have a job,” said Mike Tanner, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and co-author of “The Work Versus Welfare Tradeoff,” which analyzed welfare data by state.

Photo by Katy Warner

TO WORK OR NOT: New Mexico ranks 18th in the nation in total welfare benefits, according to a national study done by the Cato Institute.

“On the other hand, poor people are not stupid either. If you’re willing to pay someone two, or sometimes, three times more than they are likely to make at an entry level job … chances are they are not likely to work real hard to get into that job,” he said.The Cato study estimated the value of the full package of widely-received welfare benefits available in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. New Mexico finished 18th, with an inflation-adjusted increase of $4,191 in benefits compared to 1995.

Cato used such programs as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, housing and utilities assistance, the Women, Infants and Children Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program to calculate its numbers.

The report argues that the public assistance system as constructed may act as a disincentive to work “because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.”

The study comes on the heels of a news story out of Deming, in which a cookie manufacturer said he wants to hire employees for his factory, but jobs go begging.

“We should have a line out the door with people who want a job,” Joseph Semprevivo, CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies told the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership. Semprevivo said he wants to expand his workforce but has had trouble finding people to take the jobs he’s offering at 50 cents an hour above minimum wage.

His company is located in Luna County, which has had the highest unemployment rate in New Mexico for years. It’s currently at 16.5 percent, nearly three times higher than the state’s average.

“There are jobs” in Luna County, said state Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, whose district makes up Luna County. “I think there are some people who have grown accustomed to not carrying their load, or who are not being trained.”

Smith said he’s heard stories similar to the woes at the cookie factory from other employers in Luna County.

“One told me he could hire 35 (employees) right now if they were qualified,” Smith told New Mexico Watchdog.

“If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the list of activities that qualify as ‘work,’” the Cato study says.

Two researchers at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank also based in Washington, D.C., disagreed with the Cato study’s findings, saying the cites programs support working families, not just folks who aren’t working at all.

“To be sure, many working families struggle because their earnings are low and the assistance they receive often isn’t enough to make ends meet, particularly if they have significant child care or transportation costs,” Sharon Parrott and LaDonna Pavetti wrote.

Tanner noted in an interview with that Great Britain just capped welfare benefits at 500 pounds per week.

“If we’re starting to fall behind Great Britain when it comes to welfare reform, maybe we need to rethink things,” he said. “And we need to pursue policies that do generate good-paying jobs in this country. We need to have more entrepreneurship. We need to have more job creation because when we get people off of welfare we’ve got to have somewhere for them to go.”

Click here to read the report.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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