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  • Monopoly is a classic board game where families sit around to argue and play out their own

  • little simulation of free market capitalism.

  • There is no better system to teach kids about the joys of paying taxes and rent, really.

  • But in Monopoly, unless you bend the rules to keep the game going, when someone loses

  • and goes bankrupt they justvanish.

  • It doesn't work like that in real life.

  • If enough people go bankrupt and aren't allowed back into the game, eventually, they

  • get out their torches and pitchforks.

  • So let's examine how America has bent the rules in order to keep as many people as possible

  • playing the game.

  • This video is brought to you by Skillshare.

  • The problem with wanting to discuss welfare in America is defining welfare.

  • There is no official government definition of welfare and in fact, there is no program

  • with the word welfare in its name.

  • If you were to get seven different people into a room, you would have seven different

  • interpretations of what counts as welfare.

  • I know thisbecause I tried on Twitter.

  • So for the purposes of this video, we're going to go with the programs that most everyone

  • agrees are welfare

  • Where the government is giving you monetary assistance based on your income or inability

  • to work.

  • This can either be direct, or through a subsidy, or through free or discounted services.

  • So does using public roads and relying on the police for protection count?

  • Not really, while it is a “freegovernment service, you're not getting monetary assistance

  • for that and you get it regardless of your income.

  • Does having a federally-backed mortgage or student loan count?

  • Well, that's a little foggy, the government is financially insuring your loan, but not

  • to you directly, it's mostly just insurance for the banks.

  • But when we start talking about tax credits, the fog starts to lift.

  • A tax credit reduces the amount of taxes you owe after taking your deductions and brackets

  • into account.

  • Taxes in the United States are incredibly complex, and someone should definitely make

  • a video explaining them.

  • Would you like to know more?

  • And there are two refundable tax credits you can claim based solely on your income level

  • and family situation.

  • Meaning that if you owe a negative amount of federal income tax at the end of the year,

  • the government will give you extra money on top of getting back everything that was withheld.

  • The Earned Income Tax Credit, or just EIC, was designed to encourage working because

  • you can only get it byearning income.

  • Many analysts in both political parties believe that it helps lift people out of poverty.

  • The credit increases with the more you make and eventually decreases with the even more

  • you make, you only get it up to a certain income level.

  • I wish I could tell you what that level is or what the average person gets, but it changes

  • for literally everyone.

  • What I can tell you is that this credit is claimed on 27 million tax returns and cost

  • the government 65 billion dollars in 2017.

  • Both in lost tax revenue and in having to pay out extra.

  • The Earned Income Credit also increases with your family size, which likewise entitles

  • you to claim the Child Tax Credit.

  • One thousand dollars for every child you have, I guess the government thinks that's enough

  • to pay for childcare for a year.

  • The Child Tax Credit is claimed by 35 million families and cost the government 52 billion

  • dollars in lost revenue and payouts.

  • These two tax credits combined are why almost half of Americans pay no federal income tax

  • Romney was actually right when he said that.

  • But almost nobody who claims these credits would classify it as welfareeven though

  • it fits our definition of direct monetary assistance based on income.

  • Probably because there's a weird stigma about having received welfare and nobody wants

  • to admit that they might have.

  • Take education for example, up through high school it's free for everyone, regardless

  • of income, so that's not welfare.

  • But higher education is a different story.

  • We've already ruled out student loans, but if you filled out a FAFSA, you very likely

  • received a Pell Grant.

  • This is monetary assistance based on income.

  • It's not direct since it goes to the school rather than to you, but it is free education

  • assistance that you never have to pay back.

  • You can receive up to $5920 per academic year for up to six years.

  • Seven million Americans received the Pell Grant last academic year, costing the federal

  • government 28.2 billion dollars.

  • But these are still gray forms of welfare that not everyone would agree counts as welfare.

  • So let's switch gears and talk about the more black and white forms of welfarelike

  • the Obamaphone from the 2012 election, do you remember that?

  • You got Obamaphone?

  • Yes, everybody in Cleveland if you a minority got an Obamaphone, keep Obama in president,

  • you know?

  • He gave us a phone, he gonna do more.

  • The program is actually called Lifeline, it's administered by the FCC and provides discounted

  • telephone service to low-income households.

  • And it was actually started in 1985 by Ronald Reagan.

  • It used to only provide landline phones but has since moved on to cell phones and recently

  • started to offer internet service.

  • Because c'mon, it's 2019 and nobody uses a landline anymorenot even your grandma.

  • It's not a free phone though, it's a discounted service where the FCC only pays $9.25 a month

  • on your bill, you cover the rest.

  • You actually help pay for it with that Universal Service Fund tax on your bill.

  • 10.7 million households are part of the program and it costs the government 1.3 billion dollars

  • a yearthis is by far the smallest program I'm going to talk about today.

  • She actually explains how you qualify in that clip

  • How'd he give you a phone?

  • You sign up, if you on food stamps, you on social security, you got low income, you disability.

  • Your income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Line or you have to participate

  • in another federal financial assistance program.

  • And most of those other federal financial assistance programs are what we would call

  • welfare.”

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is a cash assistance program that fits

  • almost everyone's definition of welfare.

  • It's also sometimes referred to as state-sponsored child support.

  • Its main purpose is to serve as a financial safety net, provide job opportunities, promote

  • family stability, and prevent out of wedlock pregnanciesthat's a weird one.

  • It falls under the Department of Health and Human Services and distributes 17.3 billion

  • dollars to 3.4 million families.

  • Though, like many of these programs, it's actually run by the individual states and

  • each state sets their own requirements and payout levels.

  • Under the program, you are supposed to accept a job within 24 months and be working or training

  • for 30 hours a week, and you can only be on the program for a maximum of 60 months

  • the heck is that?

  • That's uh, that's an asterisk.

  • Yes, I know what an asterisk is thank you, I mean why is it there?

  • Well, like you said, a lot of these programs are run by the several states, so eligibility,

  • time limit, and benefit amounts are all over the place, you know, not to mention all of

  • the exceptions.

  • Ah, so every time that shows up it's because there's some fine print that I'm skipping

  • over in order to keep this video from being an hour long?

  • Yeah.

  • Like how Georgia limits TANF to only 48 months.

  • Georgia actually has some of the strictest TANF requirements.

  • You must have a child under 18 years old - which makes sense, it's called assistance for

  • needy families, not individual people.

  • You must be in a single parent home.

  • Which doesn't make sense since the program is supposed to promote two-parent family stability.

  • And, again, you must be part of or applying for another federal financial assistance program.

  • Perhaps the fact that many of these programs require you to be on other programs is why

  • they call it a safety net

  • You can't just be on one, you have to be on several.

  • For a family of three, that is a single parent with two children, they must have an income

  • under $784 a month and have less than $1000 in total assets.

  • Once you're on the program for ten months, your payout cannot be increased because of

  • having more children.

  • So the myth that some people intentionally have more kids in order to increase their

  • welfare payments isjust that a mythat least for TANF in Georgia.

  • If you meet all of these requirements, the maximum payout regardless of how many children

  • you have is $280 a month.

  • Georgia hasn't increased their TANF payout in 22 years, so taking inflation into account

  • its value has dropped by 37%.

  • New Hampshire is the highest at $1039, California is at $714, and Texas is at $290.

  • You get these payments on an Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT card.

  • EBT itself is not a welfare program, it's just how welfare is received instead of on

  • paper checks because it's 2019.

  • But TANF isn't the only program that uses EBT, by far the most popular is the Supplemental

  • Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP or more commonly, Food Stamps.

  • It's federally run by the USDA, serves 44.2 million people at a cost of 70.9 billion dollars.

  • You can only use SNAP for fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, dairy, meats, and consumable

  • plants and seeds.

  • Basically the food pyramid, but, without the top, no candy.

  • Yes, I know they don't use the food pyramid anymore, I'm old.

  • But you literally can't use food stamps for booze and cigarettes, that's another

  • myth that needs to end.

  • In fact, alcohol and tobacco are at the top of the list of things you can't buy with

  • SNAP, along with hygiene products, pet food, or hot and prepared food.

  • Which means, no fast food either.

  • A good rule of thumb is that if there is no sales tax on an item, you can probably buy

  • it with SNAP.

  • In order to receive SNAP, you must be at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Line.

  • For a family of three that's $2252 a month, and for a single person it's $1245 a month.

  • If you work full-time for federal minimum wage, you qualify for SNAP, just let that

  • sink in for a second.

  • The maximum benefit for a family of three is $505 a month, while a single person will

  • get $192 a month.

  • Just for reference, I spend way more than that on groceries and you probably do too

  • that's why it's just called an assistance program.