LePage’s 47%

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything because of a very busy schedule. I hope to get a couple over the next few days once the World Series-and you better believe I have posts coming from there. Let’s see what I  can do. Today, I’m going to do something I haven’t done in months. Post a political post. I generally try to stay away from controversial political posts because I don’t want people to see me as not objective or biased. But I’ll risk it today. Consider this a personal editorial.

A couple of weeks ago, Governor Paul LePage claimed that 47% of able-bodied Maine people don’t work. He went on to say that 1 in 3 are on welfare. These remarks have created a firestorm. People should not be mad that a Republican said this. It’s just as bad if a Democrat, a Green or an Independent would say it. However, regarding the remarks themselves. They are not true. They are not misleading. This is a downright lie, which should not help LePage  at all over the coming months as he enters his re-election campaign.

The truth is not hard to find out. I decided to fact-check LePage’s remarks. First, the 47% of able-bodied workers don’t work. According to the Unemployment and Labor Force, Maine has a 65.4% population in the work force. If my math is right, then that means 34.6% of the population isn’t, which isn’t anywhere near LePage’s 47% of able-bodied workers.

It’s a bad example but let’s look at my Facebook friends. Today, I have 185-184 since of my friends recently made a duplicate account. Since most of my Facebook friends are ‘young’ we can see who actually works. I will be including my friends who are not currently employed but are in college as ‘working’ since they are working on their education. Of my friends who live in Maine, there are only 2 who do not work or go to school. One is retired and another wants to. Quite clearly, this is no where near the 47% mark LePage claims. I’m not everybody. I know there are people I have been associated with in the past who aren’t working or going to school. But it doesn’t matter. The 47% of able-bodied workers not working is a lie, and LePage must be held accountable.

What about welfare? We act like welfare is something that means you failed as a society. While I absolutely believe there should be some sort of reform, I’m not about to make people think less of themselves because they happen to be on welfare. You don’t know somebody’s story. I met a guy in a summer school class this year who used EBT when he first got back from the military and needed a little extra help when he was looking for a job. You never know.

According to the statistics provided by the government and the Huffington Post, there are generally a little less than 16,000 households on welfare in the state. Of the 551,601 households, this makes a rough estimate of a little less than 3% of the state on welfare. Again, nowhere near 1 in 3.

If LePage wants to make these remarks, that’s his business. He has freedom of speech. But when these remarks are wrong and many people are upset by them, he will hear about it. He will see what happens next November when people go to the ballots. This is going to be a big obstacle for his administration to overcome.