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Half of Americans Getting Government Aid Swear They've Never Used Government Programs

A lot of people think they don't benefit from government help, even if they do.

We see it pop up in the news all the time: The people who most hate on the idea of government assistance are sometimes the ones getting it. Just last week, there were reports that Michele Bachmann's husband gets farm subsidies and reportedly received $137,000 in Medicaid money. A new paper from Cornell University puts this dynamic in chart form, and the results are kind of shocking:


Half of people getting federal student loans don't think they've ever used a government social program. Forty percent of Medicare recipients have no idea their health insurance is funded by the state. And 25 percent of the people receiving that emblem of All That Is Bad About Big Government, welfare, don't connect that paycheck to the "enemy." Given the fact that one in six Americans use anti-poverty programs alone, there's a hell of a lot of people who are deluded about how much the government helps them out.

But the point isn't really whether or not these people are hypocrites or uneducated or ungrateful; more compelling is why they'd see themselves as exceptions. Shame about government help is ingrained into our culture, and so is the narrative of the "culture of dependence." It's not only rightwingers and deficit hawks who feel this way. When my contract position ended temporarily, it didn't even occur to me to apply for unemployment to fill the gap until my father suggested it to me. When I waved him off, feeling embarrassed, he balked. "Are you kidding?" he replied. "That's what those deductions on your paychecks were for."

The contempt for so-called welfare queens and the lazy unemployed masses looking for "handouts" still endures, and has intensified lately as government programs are on the chopping block. Sure, there are a few people who abuse the system, but many have made the point that this is a skewed, racist way of looking at how government assistance operates. And many people might not realize that "government programs" constitute much more than just welfare and unemployment.

We need to stop thinking that people who receive government help are "them." Not only does that attack poor and middle class people without boosting them up, but there's also a good chance we're talking about ourselves.

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via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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via David Leavitt / Twitter

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They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

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via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

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