By April 15, 2011, I was asking different kinds of questions in “Welfare Information: Getting’ It”: How can county legislators vote the budget without knowing who’s on Welfare and what it’s costing? “All there is to work with is [County Executive] Mahoney’s statement to the legislator’s in which she said, ‘The largest single cost in our budget is Medicaid, a mandated entitlement program that will cost us $100 million local dollars in 2011.’ . . . She also said, ‘In fact, the total cost of Medicaid for Onondaga County in 2008 was $603 million.’ Why is she backing a 2011 budget with 2008 figures? Apparently she hasn’t got information either.” http://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/welfare-information-gettin-it/
The Dept. of Social Services still had not gotten back to me with local information, but the Onondaga County Public Library had connected me up with some important census information. In “Not Welfare, but Poor,” I parsed the information and came up with “Of the 58,000 poor people in Onondaga County, 61% are white.” And “The message is unequivocal: the longer you stay in school the wealthier you will be; drop out of high school and the likelihood that you will be poor goes up astronomically.” http://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/poor-people-young-dumb-and-white/
DSS Commissioner David Sutkowy finally responded to my request for information—information that should be public—after nearly a month. He sent me 59 pages of spread sheets. Instead of sending me the answers to my questions, he sent me the raw data so I could work it out for myself. That’s not the way he would have responded to a county legislator but, what the heck, I’m just a citizen and he doesn’t like me very much. I also happen to be a citizen with a blog that an awful lot of important people are reading but, what the heck.
What was shown in the first assessment of the statistics was that “Rounding off, seventy thousand people are receiving health insurance. Sixty thousand are getting groceries. Only fourteen thousand are getting Welfare.
“Welfare isn’t the problem. Five times the number of people who are getting Welfare are getting Medicaid. . . There are tons more people who need penicillin and potatoes than need help to pay the rent. In other words, there are forty-five to fifty-five thousand people who can pay their own rent, but can’t afford food or medicine.” http://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/who-is-receiving-welfare-and-medicaid-the-answers/
In the next post, “Welfare & Medicaid, Race & Sex,” I learned that “Proportional to the overall ratio of people receiving services, twice as many whites have Medicaid and Food Stamps; blacks have proportionally less Medicaid and Food Stamps . . . Why are whites getting double their share of Medicaid and blacks only getting 3/5’s their share? . . . Maybe we should go ask poor black people why they don’t have Medicaid, then go teach it to poor white people.” http://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/welfare-medicaid-race-sex/
When looking at marital status, education and location, “The most responsible conclusion about marital status and education based on the facts reported by the Dept. of Social Services is this: We don’t know. DSS is not collecting data. How can you plan to get people out of poverty if you know nothing about them?
If you use the figures given—which is statistically unsupportable—then what today’s data says is that single, uneducated people are poor. . . Poor people live all over the city, except the Eastside and downtown. It is not a Southside problem; it is a city problem. There are approximately equal concentrations on the Northside, Westside and Southside.” http://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/welfare-medicaid-marital-status-education-location/
(To be continued)