POLITICS

Why So Many Poor People Hate Welfare

Especially the ones who depend on it

Michelle Teheux
Rome Magazine
Published in
7 min readJun 21, 2024

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If you are living on beans, rice and the tomatoes from your garden, and you see someone else at the grocery store use a SNAP card to pay for a cart full of treats you can’t afford, there’s no way you aren’t going to feel like a chump.

This explains why some working-class people hate welfare. These folks are working their tails off but not necessarily living better than people on assistance. When you’re trying your ass off and sweating the rent, and you know somebody else who gets to live in public housing for almost nothing, there’s some room for resentment there.

I’ve been that person keeping a running total of how much my groceries were going to cost, and putting back a few things sometimes to make sure I had enough money to pay for it all. Food stamps would have helped a lot, but I never quite qualified for them. And yes, seeing others use their benefits to purchase things I couldn’t afford rankled. I’m not going to deny it.

Despite this, I’ve always believed in the need for a robust safety net with no shame, because I understand the root causes of poverty have at least as much to do with our system as with personal choices. I always understood, when I was at my brokest, that my financial issues were…

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Michelle Teheux
Rome Magazine

Lover of literature. Former newspaper editor. Fascinated by everything. Contact: michelleteheux@gmail.com. To buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/michelleteheux