Letters to the Editor

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CROPS: Let welfare recipients pick produce

Letter by Charles Woodhead Jr., Spanaway on Nov. 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm with 129 Comments »
November 4, 2011 4:38 pm

The article about having prisoners pick apples (TNT, 11-4) shows the downside of tightening rules on illegal immigrants. However we do have a potential workforce available to fill the gap.

All welfare recipients should be required to do some form of work for the money they receive, and this could be one way for them to contribute to society instead of just taking taxpayer money. They could be paid the same as the prisoners with half going to the state and half they keep.

Those on welfare would be money ahead since they would get their checks plus the extra that they earn. The state would also benefit from the $4-plus an hour it would receive from the wages earned by the workers. Other welfare recipients could perform work as their mental/physical abilities allow.

Refusal to work should result in removal from welfare, unless one is totally physically disabled.

Leave a comment Comments → 129
  1. jjohnson67 says:

    That’s a terrific idea. I agree 100%.

  2. Fibonacci says:

    Um, how would welfare recipients in Seattle pick apples on Wenatchee? Will ols Charles there drive them over and pay for a motel?

  3. Voltaire says:

    Amen, Fibonacci

  4. tree_guy says:

    Why can’t welfare people relocate to be near a place that has some work? Vacate your Seattle crib and find a place in Wenatchee. Some of the orchards have temporary housing available. The harvesting season doesn’t last that long. tough it out. Farm workers have lived in tents and soddies (look it up)it didn’t hurt them.

  5. IndependVoter says:

    Take your welfare check and relocate. There is sure to be a landlord just waiting for you. Spend your welfare money on a car and gas. Be a part of the middle class.

    Let them eat cake

  6. What’s the exit plan Charles? How do the recipients get off of welfare if they are working full time in a field? We also need your plan for the children of these welfare workers, especially if they live in Western Washington. Is there daycare available, what about the school age children? Where do they stay/ live if their parent(s) are on the other side of the state? If they receive free and reduced lunch, do the children have to pick as well?

  7. sandblower says:

    There is no way it can work.

  8. IndependVoter says:

    I support “work for welfare” and “work for unemployment”. Both can be done with a voucher system and employers would get free labor. Many countries do it. They would be called “socialist” by the fascist movement in America.

    Would that require thinking outside the “lazy bum” mindset?

    Of course.

  9. IndependVoter says:

    Darn it. My independent thinking gave me away.

  10. Oh, good grief. In this state, welfare recipients are ALREADY required to either hold a job, find a job, or get trained so they’re qualified for one.


  11. IndependVoter says:

    Frida, if we can just get the kids working, maybe some American corporations would mistake us for a 3rd World Nation and outsource jobs to us.

  12. IndependVoter says:

    Why pick up trash? Ecology? We don’t need any stinking Ecology.

  13. IndependVoter says:

    I think this is how he said to “wallpaper”

  14. Indep-voter- you just might have something there! It would be more effective if we had the very pregnant WIC women dropping their babies from the apple trees while they keep on picking.

  15. RalphWaldo says:

    It appears that the migrant labor force isn’t so thrilled at getting in the USA anymore. Their minimum wage spends better in Mexico

  16. took14theteam says:

    Unions would put a kibosh on the idea anyway, It would take away union jobs. Just look what happened when some parents wanted to volunteer to clean up a park or school a while back.

  17. FinaNotAWhina says:

    Union fruit pickers in Washington?

  18. FinaNotAWhina says:

    Didn’t I see prisoners picking up garbage?

  19. RalphWaldo says:

    Correct, Fina.

  20. There are a couple of flaws in this plan:
    1. This is a temporary job that would require relocation and actually working.
    2. Have you seen the prople in stores who use food stamp cards; the growers would need to buy much sturdier ladders.
    3. Picker cabins are merely 4 wood walls, wood floor, and a roof. Inside there are usually benches for use as tables and beds at night.
    4. It is too easy for people on welfare to get by without working and stay warm and dry.

  21. sandblower says:

    Nice stereotypy slyfed. You must be one of those who think the poor like being that way.
    Look up myopic if you don’t already know what it means. It does apply to your current view here..

  22. I think this is a super idea, didn’t they have something like it in the Southeast, until the 1860s? Worked great for them for almost 200 years, so it’s gotta be a winner.

  23. LarryFine says:

    Hmmm, wow… a wallpaper alt fest…

  24. Voltaire says:

    Stay on topic, Larry.

  25. Dave98373 says:

    There may be other factors (daycare, logistic issues, etc…) that may prevent certain people receiving welfare from working…but not all people. And why are only prisoners picking up trash in our communities? Welfare receivers could be used as well as help with our shopping cart problems here of late. I disagree with some here who will come up with excuses for people not wanting to work. I bet that if the state mandated that able bodied people contribute in some productive way in order to receive benefits it would force people to actually take an interest in cleaning up our communities and it also may change how people perceive public assistance in a positive way.

  26. There’s a two reason why the state will not make welfare recipients to be made to pick apples 1 this is a sympathy state. The other has 4 letters the ACLU will not have it, the are the reason why they are permitted to have cell phones, internet ,cable, cigarettes, Alcohol. I’m actually surprise the ACLU hasn’t sued the state when they were denied the right to Gamble

  27. serendipity says:

    Prisons are mostly privatized now. Prisoners are doing work for 10 cents to 25 cents an hour. They do this work for major companies like Micrsoft, Land’s End, The Gap, etc. These companies have moved into the prisons to exploit and take jobs from American citizens besides outsourcing.

    The concern ought not to be welfare recipients, but investors in prisons and prison labor. Check the stock market. Investors are making a lot of money from a stock openly traded on the market called “The Federal Prison Industries.”

    If you want real change, take power away from corporations who are exploiting prisoners. Sixty-six percent of all prisoners are imprisoned on non-violent crimes. This means the war on drugs has been profitable for law enforcement and those with investments in stocks such as the one I mentioned above. Get educated and stop blaming welfare recipients who do not get enought to live on.

  28. Dave98373 says:

    “Prisoners are doing work for 10 cents to 25 cents an hour.”

    Last time I checked the RCW, serendipity, sentenced felons are REQUIRED to work. If sentenced felons refuse work they may face additional punishment. The only reason why the state pays them anything is so that they have something (small as it may be) when they are released. Any money made should go to the victim’s of crime….something that is lost in the debate when people get caught up in defending convicted felons’ rights.

  29. How about this, any company that receives corporate welfare in this state must have its executives pick fruit for a least one week a year or lose the corporate welfare. Here’s how it would work:

    1. If a company receives a special tax break or subsidy from the state that other businesses do not receive. If so they must send 50% of their executives (not rank and file workers) for a least one week during the year to pick fruit.
    3. Failure to meet this requirement would mean losing the tax break or subsidy for the year.
    4. All executives would need to fund their own transportation and living during the time working in the fields.

    Think this is silly, well no sillier than this letter to the editor and the myth of the welfare queen.

  30. tree_guy says:

    There’s an underlying issue here and it’s this:

    Do people who recieve welfare benefits, and who are not mentally or physically unable to work, have a moral duty, perhaps an obligation, to give something back to society?

    There’s no need to respond with a statement about trash clean up or apple picking, slavery, or Wall street excesses. Just provide a yes or no answer.

  31. harleyrider1 says:

    Spend, spend, spend. Give, give, give – don’t ask anything in return. When did asking someone to work for money become offensive? When did the common sense behind that get lost?

    I only wish this economy just affected Chris voters. But if it did, they’d march in the streets and demand some of my money.

    Spend, spend, spend. Give out money to people from other countries so they can live here; give people food and medical stamps but don’t ask that they at least pick apples.

    Keep voting in these people. No hope. No change.

  32. I suggest you add the old geezers sucking up tax dollars for their Medicare, folks sucking up tax money on extended unemployment, and college students sucking up tax dollars for education grants too.

  33. Tree-guy? No. They pay taxes on their unemployment. WIC, Foodstamps, and welfare assistance are temporary with income/ education requirements. Meaning, they work their way out of the system and with their new income, pay back into the system with more tax dollars. The goal is not to have cheap labor available, its to get people on their feet. I’m with afret, we just paid trillions of taxpayer dollars to major corporations and many of them pay 0% taxes. I’d like to see them out in the fields or along the highways first.

  34. beerBoy says:

    As ehill has pointed out – welfare recipients are already required to work. Don’t you people remember Clinton? and workfare?

  35. Oh, treeguy? Forgive me, the answer is No. You play by the same rules- No long analytic diatribe or political boxing or name calling. A simple respectful fine or very well will do.

  36. disp911 says:

    I agree that anyone receiving state aid should be required to work – volunteer or otherwise – to receive their benefits. As someone who has used the state aid programs in the past I can tell you that staying at home only makes not having a job and getting state aid worse. I volunteered while looking for work and it helped me get a job. It was not quick and it was not easy but it happened. Many employers, both large and small, have volunteer programs and utilize people of all skill levels and physical and mental abilities.

  37. jjohnson67 says:

    ehill, yes, they are required to ‘get trained’. They are professional students who for some reason other than their own fault, they can’t keep a job. Just look at how many 20, 30, 40, and 50 year old ‘students’ there are in this state.

    I know, I rented to a mom of 4 who was a ‘professional’ student. I tried to give her a break, but there was always an excuse for her to not be able to keep her job and go back to state-supported full-time student status.

    So sad – always excuses.

  38. You JJohn, know of one person. The state does not support full time students, they offer training, education and welfare to work. Refer to ehil. I know of MANY MORE- some of who are 60+ and let go, students who cannot get a job to pay back their loans, former upper middle class workers who are now working $7 jobs to support their families and have lost their homes. And folks who are working full time but where they were once in the upper middle class, now have no savings, and can barely make ends meet. YET we handed over TRILLIONS to a bunch of rich guys in suits and limos and still insist upon going after the mythical “welfare queen” who if you added ALL of them up in the last 30 years and the monies paid out- doesn’t even make a DENT in the TRILLIONS paid out to the Wall Street Bailout. In closing, may I refer you to the other story out of Yakima- thanks to chasing out the farm workers and cutting regulations, we now have rotten food being scraped off the floor and canned for our school kids to eat. In other news, CHASE bank is gouging YOUR tax dollars from the welfare program by way of a contract with the state PLUS they charge bank fees for the welfare recipients to use STATE ISSUED funds.

  39. … pay no attention to the CEO behind the curtain! Here in the land of Oz!

  40. tree_guy says:

    The author wishes to engage people in a discussion involving the obligation welfare recipients may or may not have to the taxpayers.

    You commenters who are trying to highjack the thread with irrelevant side discussions about the logistical problems of getting the recipients into the harvesting areas (presumably there are already welfare people living in Wenatchee) or the unrelated problem of subsidizing corporate CEOs should be ashamed of yourselves. These are examples of discourteous tread drift. Stay on topic or send in your own letter to the editor.

  41. tree_guy says:

    Need more coffee, that should have said “thread” drift. Sorry readers.

  42. beerBoy says:

    Tree-guy – please explain how pointing out that the original letter’s central premise (that welfare recipients refuse to work) is faulty as they are required to work already is off-topic.

  43. tree_guy says:

    Beerboy, the central premise of the letter doesn’t involve welfare recipients refusal to work. The writer suggests, as a footnote, that in event some able-bodied welfare people refuse to perform some meaningful work their benefits could be canceled.

    The central premise of the letter is an examination of the obligation welfare recipients may have to the taxpayers.

    Lots of people seem offended by the mere suggestion and are attempting to highjack the discussion.

  44. I have been presenting the idea of a work program for several years now, but get heat from conservatives, not progressives. My father was a product of the CCC. He grew up picking cotton, starting at the age of 5. His parents went to South America because that is the only place they could find employment, in the jungles digging wells.

    In Arizona, he was provided a HS education, meals and housing for his hard labor. Based on this construction experience, the Navy had him building landing strips on Pacific islands during WWII and then sent him to Columbia for an engineering degree. He was a vigorous opponent of such programs for young people today, even Pell Grants, even though he himself had become one of the 1% through the efforts of collective society.

    Welfare, at least cash support, and about 90% of it, goes to people with permanent disabilities or temporary conditions that do not allow them to work or it goes specifically to children and infants. If you are an able-bodied person who can work and are not the sole support of children you cannot get cash payments.

    Conservatives are cutting or blocking funding to programs like Vocational Rehabilitation or WorkSource that help recipients of welfare get training and other job assistance that helps them find and keep employment. Any logic in that or is it just the conservative mindset to always blame the poor?

  45. Voltaire says:

    What is the sudden phenomena with the claim of ‘thread hijacking’? Any dialog about welfare recipients and working would be part of the discussion.

    If you want to worry about thread hijacking, take a long look at those who are trying to do Mouseketeer Roll Call of participants, which has nothing to do with the content of the letter.

  46. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Lets add drug test to this benefit too.

    So many are trading food stamps for drugs. Just watch the special on King 5. They trade for drugs and cash for pennies on the dollar.

    When will we stop this wasteful spending and really only help the needy not help worthless drug addicts to get free drugs.

    Anyone on state benefits should do something to earn these benefits. Is there a brave legislator that will craft such a bill???

    Seaquist and Kilmer won’t. They will only try and raise your taxes and fees.

  47. RalphWaldo says:

    As to welfare recipients in Wenatchee, take a look at the unemployement numbers in Chelan and Douglas counties. You’ll find that if you took every single one to the orchards, it would not meet the demand needed, as per an article published in the TNT this week. That’s not to mention that unemployment is an insurance policy and not welfare. If I’m an unemployed tech worker getting $500 a week as my benefit, I’m sure as hell not going to lose it by making $100 in the orchards. Just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean you don’t have bills to pay.

    Welfare makes up 1.9% of the populace. Do the math. There aren’t enough welfare recipients to make a dent in those counties

  48. RalphWaldo says:

    45 million people are on food stamps. If the problem was as bad as a media source has convinced you, there would be a stock market for food stamps and dope.

  49. I bet if some large church would organize the transportation, day care, schooling, meals, adequate housing, health care, job placement and other necessities, a large percent of able-bodied welfare recipients would love to work.

    Prove the issue by organizing something like that in Tacoma. I know that some churches do it on a limited basis and help one or two people at a time.

    In the third quarter of 2010, there were 10,477 recipients of cash assistance from federal programs in Pierce County, with that number dropping to 8,656 in September, 2011, according to DSHS. Those would be the most difficult to serve because they are mostly people with disabilities and mothers with infants and children.

    Basic food program, which is a non-cash program assisting families in poverty, has seen a huge increase recently. It primarily serves the working poor and other people who do not meet the criteria for cash assistance. There are 64,504 people, with an estimate of 90% employment in full-time or part-time employment among them, but they are still ion poverty (one person can make a net of $908 per month, with a household of three, $2008 according to the USDA).

  50. Welfare generally goes to single mothers. So go ahead and turn single mothers into day laborers (in seattle or tacoma?), just realize the state would be responsible for the children while the mothers work. m So which is cheaper? State run child services or pickers?

  51. FinaNotAWhina says:

    There are just under 12,000 households in Douglas County (2010 Census). State average would dictate that 228 of them would be welfare recipients. There are about 28,000 households in Chelan Countym, thus about 532 welfare families.

    How much would it cost to regulate and police a work program for 800 households in 2 rural counties?

    As George H. W. Bush would say: “Isn’t prudent”

  52. the central premise of the letter doesn’t involve welfare recipients refusal to work.

    tree-guy……re-read the letter:

    All welfare recipients should be required to do some form of work for the money they receive[...]Refusal to work should result in removal from welfare

    As ehill and I have noted: Welfare recipients are already required to work and refusal to work does result in removal from welfare.

    So….your complaint about thread drift is thread drift.

  53. FinaNotAWhina says:


  54. ItalianSpring says:

    They will still be able to vote democrat in all elections.

  55. FinaNotAWhina says:

    I doubt a welfare recipient is going to vote Republican so that his or her benefits could be cut so that a major corporation doesn’t have to pay taxes because they are a “job creator” that cuts jobs so that the welfare recipient has no place to work.

  56. What! That would ruin my manicure! Hold my latte, my IPhone is ringing.

  57. jelle? These trolls want to put the children of the welfare mothers to work- free labor. They see it as a benefit because then they wouldn’t have to pay for these kids to go to school.

  58. klthompson says:

    I’m reminded of the old definition of success in America. Secede from the union, declare war on the US, lose the war, apply for foreign aid, and live happily ever after.

  59. serendipity says:

    @Dave98373—-you don’t have the facts straight. Not only are corporations exporting jobs overseas, they are importing them to The Federal Prison Industries. And no, there is no requirement to work. Prisoners work for substandard wages to get money for sundries.

    Many of them also send money home to their families. Many do not get parole as their is incentive to keep them employed on substandard wages. However, a victory this week for those with minor drug convictions which can carry a sentence of up to 20 years which is higher than rape. Our judicial system is broken, Dave. If you lack a job, look inside prison walls then and ask yourself, “Is this punishing a prisoner or taking a job from an American citizen?” The obvious answer is the latter.

  60. serendipity says:

    I meant “there” is incentive, not “their.” Sorry, brain blip. If you want to check my facts, check out the stock exchanged on the market: The Federal Prison Industries. Or call a corporation and ask them how many employees they have in prison.

  61. canonbkr says:

    Give the welfare sponges a card board box and a box of tissue. Actually, the leaves are just starting to fall in Wenatchee, they can use those instead of tissue.

  62. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Refusing to work in the fields should result in a loss of all food stamps, supplemental income & welfare – all of it!!! Unless you are physically or mentally incapable of working!

  63. Hobbledeyhoy says:

    This is the most insane thing I have ever read in a newspaper.

    First of all, lots of welfare recipients already work full time. A parent working a full time job at minimum wage is eligible for food stamps.

    Second of all, we’re talking about single mothers here. Where do their children going during your picking? Should the state provide day care for those children? You’d probably call that socialist. You would probably want the children to pick too.

  64. Hobble? People like 3rdpig would rather have pregnant women on WIC climbing the trees to pick apples and yes have the babies and small kids pick too.

  65. Dave98373 says:

    serendip- I don’t know what your obsession, er, fetish is with criminals but…to each his own. In any event, it has nothing to do with what the writer was trying to relate….and your thought process is kind of creepy.

  66. Charles Woodhead Jr for GOVERNOR !!!! What a Splendid Idea, make the leeches sucking the Guv’mint teat pick the crops. It’s got my vote.

  67. MisterZ says:

    I’m not totally opposed to giving those reciving state assitance, and who are able to do it the choice of going over to work. Any wages earned would be in addition to those recieved on state benefits, and not affect their existing benefits in any way. Further, the state would have to provide some basic transportation, and housing for those who choose to go pick fruit. Charter some greyhound buses to get people to wenatachee, etc and use school buses as worker transportation. dormatory style accomdoations can be setup in local churches, schools, etc. the hook to get people to do this is by not affecting their benefits in any way. One of the problems with the way our welfare and workers compenstation systems is that if you earn so much as a dollar on some po-dunk side job your benefits are impacted. this leads many to choose not to do side jobs and the like because they will loose out, and it creates a lot of unneeded paperwork.

  68. Disabled on occasion means disabled.
    It’s remarkable how the right remakes reality.

  69. beerBoy says:

    meanwhile, for the longterm unemployed (not welfare recipients):

    Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

    Congress is expected to decide by year’s end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.


  70. beerBoy says:


    #1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of “very poor” rose in 300 out of the 360 largest metropolitan areas during 2010.

    #2 Last year, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

    #3 It isn’t just the ranks of the “very poor” that are rising. The number of those just considered to be “poor” is rapidly increasing as well. Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

    (16 more facts about poverty in America at URL)

  71. beerBoy says:

    but….it is because they are all lazy and “sucking at the government’s teat” right?

    How is it that so many Americans have suddenly grown lazy – especially since Clinton the safety net has been continually reduced in scope?

  72. duke_of_hurl says:

    i cant stand that people on welfare have a nicer house than me..they get to go spend all their food stamps and have big dinners with everyone..and go to the doctor so many times it would cost me thousands of dollars even with my insurance..i hate leeches..and i have driven to wenatche to work and cali,oregon,hawaii……welfare..the american dream

  73. nonstopjoe says:

    Work to eat should be the motto of welfare agencies. Get rid of food stamps and I’ll guarantee people won’t sit at home and watch TV.

  74. FinaNotAWhina says:

    drove to Hawaii to work?

  75. It’s simple, the older ones on welfare could provide the day care while the parents work in the orchards. Since when did the “need” for daycare prevent parents from working? I didn’t see a lot of daycare centers when I was was growing up and the schools did not take over the rolls of feeding the kids. These people get food stamps, are you libs saying that they can’t pack a lunch consisting of a peanut butter/jelly sandwich, an apple a bottle of water? I’m tired of hearing that kids are starving and the rest of us must feed them. If that is true, the state needs to remove these kids from the home and lock the parents up for child abuse.

  76. I didn’t see a lot of daycare centers when I was was growing up

    Neither did I – but both parents didn’t need to work to make ends meet.

  77. Frosty? What would it cost to have background checks on all these older adults? Your logic is lacking – to remove ALL those kids from their homes and place them in foster care, WHO do you think then supports them? WHERE do all these homes come from? Let’s lock up the parents for being poor, WHO pays for their incarceration? Pop Quiz brainy- You are recently widowed- service member killed in Iraq. You make $7 an hour working 40 hrs a week. You receive $300/ mo SSI. Rent for a studio is $750/ mo. You have two young kids, daycare is $600/ mo. Utilities are $90 /mo. You don’t have a car, can’t pay gas or insurance, you don’t have health insurance and one child is chronically ill. In your world, you would imprison this person? Nice…

  78. frosty, when I was growing up, there weren’t many day care centers, either. The man of the house worked and made a living wage enough so the woman would not have to work. She stayed home with the kids, so there was very few day care centers. Today, even with both parents working, it is often a struggle to survive for many. That is why, with food stamps, the great majority of people are working, they just do not make enough to provide for their family.

    So far, society has decided that providing food stamps is a lot cheaper and a heck of a lot more humane than locking up all the poor people and building huge orphanages and poor houses to warehouse the victims of our economic system. They tried that in Dicken’s time, if you remember, and it started costing society in health, safety and its moral compass.

  79. fbergford says:

    I think this is a great idea for anyone unemployed! The biggest thing is swallowing your pride and accepting a brainless job. The farmers are offering $250 a day to help harvest their crops. Do the math…eight hours of busting your hump, that’s a little over $30 an hour! 40 hours a week, that’s $1250, times that by four fo the month and you are bringing home $5 grand before taxes!

    As I said before the biggest thing is swallowing your pride and working a brainless job.

  80. FinaNotAWhina says:

    Make those little urchins be born into the world but don’t make sure they eat

  81. FinaNotAWhina says:

    There is no proof that farmers are offering anyone $250 a day to pick fruit.

  82. FinaNotAWhina says:

    “even after advertising jobs with pay of $120 to $150 per day”

    Which is for more like 10 to 12 hours a day

  83. fbergford says:

    Fina…do you read the newspaper, or watch the news or actually driven through Wenatchee in the past few weeks? Cause I have, I drove through Wenatchee last weekend on my way to Chelan and I saw plenty of signs in front of many different orchards that said, “Apple Pickers Needed, $250 a day”…so why are you trying to argue? Do you have any work ethic? Do you know how to do manual labor? As I said before, the biggest challenge is people like you who think a job like that is underneath them!

  84. FinaNotAWhina says:

    Gee, I wasn’t prepared for someone to bring personal heresay to this discussion. I’m so wired in on facts from media and the government websites. I guess I’ll have to take your word for it, because I know you wouldn’t make up something to save face. I’ll trust that you are telling the truth. (heavy sarcasm)

    Your attack on my work ethic which has nothing to do with the discussion demonstrates you have something to hide. Maybe a “thread hijacking” is taking place.

  85. FinaNotAWhina says:

    I know that a government work website isn’t very reliable, but –

    “The harvest of Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Reds and Fuji varieties continues in the Okanogan area. Employers are paying by the piece rate of $18 to $20 per bin. Worker shortages are reported. Housing is limited.

    Growers in Chelan and Douglas counties are picking Honey Crisps, Goldens, Reds and other varieties. Pear picking ends this week or the beginning of next. Employers are paying $18 to $30 per bin depending on the variety. There is an adequate labor force. Farm worker housing is available in both counties.

    Granny Smith, Fuji and Red Delicious picking continues in Grant and Adams counties. Employers are paying the piece rate of $15 to $28 per bin and guaranteeing minimum wage. There is a small need for laborers in the George, Mattawa, Royal City and Quincy areas. Housing is very limited.”

    Pick enough “bins” and you might get $250 in a day. Possibly a whole family could do that. It would make for a great “come-on” to get pickers to show up. If they don’t pick enough, as Herman Cain would say, “it’s your fault”.

  86. FinaNotAWhina says:

    fbergford – since you were right in front of that orchard, we are to assume that you quit your job and took one making $1,250 a week in Chelan County?

  87. FinaNotAWhina says:

    oh, and there are 900 lbs to a bin. Good luck!

  88. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Frida- way to use a war widow as a political tool, but I will play your game.

    They get a large check almost instantly after the spouse passes. Within another short period of time they get the SGLI, $400k. They are still eligible for many other benefits, most likely childcare on post at a reasonable rate.

    An emotional tragedy, yes. But you chose a poor, low class example.

    The right looks for reasons to empower the poor, to lift them off the public’s back and provide economic mobility. The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.

  89. fbergford says:

    Fina…wow didnt know you had thin skin! If you don’t beleive me, why don’t you take a little road trip to centeral Washington and see for yourself. As I said before, the majority of people don’t want to do this job because they think it is beneath them. And you obviously fall in that category because you are defending the right for a person not to pick apples! And yes I was considering moving to Wenatchee for as long as the job was available and working for one of the farmers picking apples because I have been unemployed since May. I didn’t recieve any unemployment benefits because I owned my own business, these past few months I’ve had to do everything from mowing lawns, working at trade shows, holding signs, waking up early in the morning and go to labor ready to see if I could get a job to make ends meet! I recently recieved a job offer here in Tacoma so I’m not going to move over to Wenatchee! I don’t depend on the government to support me, I have personal responsibility and take pride in no matter what I do! The Army taught me that after serving eight years and going on two deployments! After I ets’d in 2007 I started my own business and had to sacrafice alot in order to stay in business. The only reason why I wasn’t living out on the street is because I have a great group of friends and family that will pick me up when the chips are down. And to use a war widow as an example is despicable! I have friends who died that left behind wives and kids, it sucks but they will get by and survive because of the people around them!

  90. BindereDundat says:

    Lump-sum death gratuities are made available when either active duty or retired soldiers die. In the event of death of an active duty Army soldier, a lump sum death gratuity of $100,000 is awarded to the surviving widow. If the service member died within 120 days of retirement from the Army, that lump sum is then $12,420. The death gratuity is a one-time, tax-free death benefit designed to help surviving widows deal with their expenses.

    Read more: Survivor Death Benefits for a Widow in the Army | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6880929_survivor-death-benefits-widow-army.html#ixzz1cxlvqeA0

  91. LarryFine says:

    The more wallpaper changes, the more it stays the same… ===sigh===


  92. LarryFine says:

    “The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.”
    They rely on it !

  93. The right lies and expects 99% of us to be poor.

  94. The right lies and expects 99% of us to be poor.
    Nov. 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Nope. I’m a hard core Rightest. A 53 percenter, I expect 100% of us to have some skin in the game.

    Poor is 99% choice

  95. sandblower says:

    “Poor is 99% choice”

  96. beerBoy says:

    I’m seeing a pattern here – when someone quotes or links something that is directly commenting upon something a right winger has brought into the discussion – it is dismissed as “wallpapering”.

    Without discussing personalities and style several posters here would really have little to contribute.

    Statements like “The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.” Reveal one’s biases but are nothing but opinion.

    Statements like “They rely on it !” are just echoes from those who can’t come up with their own thoughts and, as such, fit the “wallpapering” charge more accurately.

  97. “all have skin in the game” right-wing speak for tax the poor, but lay off the rich.

  98. KnightNDay says:

    Since I am among the 53% that pays Federal Income Tax, I can self-appoint me as spokesperson and say that we understand that designating welfare recipients to travel to Central Washington for a fruit picking season is not reasonable, but ridiculous.

    I say that as spokesperson for the 53% that pay Federal Income Tax

  99. LarryFine says:

    So bB, are contending that democrat politicians don’t base their political future on how many people depend on government for their basic needs ?

    I see a pattern too… a wallpaper pattern…

    Oh, and after you provided a link to the “Palestine News & Information Agency” about the alledged murder (by Israelis) of an elderly Palistinian lady picking berries… don’t expect anyone to place much stock in your links in the future.

  100. “I see a pattern too… a wallpaper pattern”

    When you can’t refute the message, attack the messenger.

  101. I know dejen2 likes to throw out controversial statements (“Poor is 99% choice”) to get a rise out of people. However, I thought this thread could use some factual analysis of why people are poor, and choice isn’t the reason.


    The study linked above, CAUSES OF POVERTY: Findings from Recent Research by Amy Rynell, from the Heartland Alliance (The old Traveler’s Aid Society until 1995) had some interesting statistics and conclusions.

    I think some argument could be made for “choice” in a few of these findings, but not the majority of them. For example, studies have shown that the incarceration rate is dramatically higher for black males than for whites for similar crimes. The crime itself (choice) does not seem to increase poverty, but incarceration (and society’s disproportional response to black males) does significantly.

    Here are the major causes of poverty in the USA as were discussed in this study. Several of these are closely interrelated. Disability and unemployment go hand in glove, for example.

    Unemployment and underemployment:

    – Individuals in households that experience a loss of employment are the most likely to enter poverty.

    – Almost half (49.3%) of poverty spells begin when the household experiences a decline in earnings.

    – Employment alone does not prevent entry into poverty if the wages are too low.

    -one-fourth (24.5%) of the workforce in the United States earns poverty level wages.

    -Workers making poverty-level wages are disproportionately female, minority, non-college educated, and new younger entrants into the workforce.

    -Wages for unskilled and low-skill jobs have declined considerably for those without a diploma since 1971. In 1971, 25- to 34-year-old male dropouts earned $35,087 annually on average, (in 2002
    dollars), falling to $17,114 in 2002.


    -Participation of people in the labor force for people with disabilities 21.3%.

    -Participation of people in the labor force for people without disabilities: 69.6%

    -Even among people employed with disabilities, the hours worked and dollars earned are substantially less than for those without disabilities.

    -People without disabilities are more than twice as likely to be hired as people with disabilities who applied for the same job with the same or similar qualifications.


    – Median household income for custodial parent households declines 40 percent, on average, during the 5 years following divorce.

    Record of incarceration:

    – 60 to 70 percent of people with criminal records generally show any employment per quarter, and quarterly earnings of those working average around $2,000

    – Arrest record without incarceration dies not significantly lower earnings in and of itself.

    Immigration, legal or illegal, does not contribute significantly to poverty.

    -“No significant evidence could be found of immigration having adverse effects on the economic outcomes of the native-born.”
    -“Evidence showing immigrants reducing employment or labor-force participation rates or increasing the unemployment rate is even harder to find”.

  102. DougDemo says:

    thanks tuddo. it is so refreshing to see someone look for substance as opposed to partisan rhetoric

  103. sandblower says:

    tuddo, you only confuse them with facts.
    Conservatism is a reactionary defense of elite privileges against challenges from below. It is always, at its core, about subjugating society’s lower orders. It is power over, rather than power to, that links conservative practice. The attitudes shown toward the poor in many of the comments here reinforce the analysis.

  104. beerBoy says:

    Oh, and after you provided a link to the “Palestine News & Information Agency” about the alledged murder (by Israelis) of an elderly Palistinian lady picking berries… don’t expect anyone to place much stock in your links in the future.

    That link was followed up by significant statistics from Israeli sources. But….never mind those links……

    So are you saying that, because I provide links to facts that are counter to your world view I shouldn’t “expect anyone to place much stock in your links in the future”?

    Gotta ask, why do you feel like you have the role of spokesperson for “anyone” who frequents this board.

  105. itwasntmethistime says:

    Frida — Really bad example. Of all the things the widowed spouse of an Iraq or Afghanistan caualty is going through, financial distress is definitely not one of them. My friend’s husband died in Iraq. She received a lump sum $500,000 almost right away from the Army and an insurance policy (soldiers who are deploying DO buy insurance.) She received her husband’s regular pay check for 3 years after his death, plus social security as the caretaker of his children until the kids are 18. The kids each get $750 per month social security until they are 18 or 23, depending on if they go to college. The kids also get his GI bill money that will pay a significant portion of their tuition for college.

  106. itwasntmethistime says:

    Tuddo — The food stamp thing really isn’t working out very well if you consider all the kids who go hungry between Friday lunch at school and Monday breakfast at school. Parents are supposed to use the cards to purchase nutritious food but instead are buying expensive junk food so the money runs out before the end of the month. I think they should get actual food instead of a debit card.

  107. itwasntmethistime, I would be interested in a link or factual information about the purchase of “junk food” with food stamps in Washington. I know I have read a lot of anectodal references by people who say they witnessed carts loaded with prepackaged food and boxes of Fruit Loops, frozen meals, cases of soda, Pillsbury pancakes, and large bags of chips and snacks, etc.

    Do you know of any actual study that shows these anecdotes to be true? I did see a study that showed that women on food stamps purchased many more carbs than those not on food stamps and tended to gain wait while on food stamps. Interviews showed that women purchased groceries when they got their benefits, usually once per month and purchased items they could store for a whole month. Rice and beans were the predominant items purchased by the shioppers in the study.

    I personally think the WIC system of foods pre-approved for purchase is a good system, but to meet the nutritional needs of a family is much different than infants and small children. I can’t even inmagine the bureacracy that would be needed to determine the bar codes of itmes allowed for purchase and the policing of such.

  108. Uh, gain “weight” not “wait”. I sure wish comments to letters could be edited. sorry.

  109. sandblower says:

    Maybe “itwasntme…” would promote a small tax to pay for the nutritious food program he wishes for the folks who are using food stamps.
    How about a food education program along with teaching folks about the importance of daily exercise? That should be for more than just the poor. It might take more than a small tax unless they could tax retroactively the “More than 99 billions sold” for example.

  110. sandblower says:

    Worth another comment: “The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.”
    Let’s see……..it seems obvious to me that the republicans are standing in the way of President Obama’s jobs bill that would directly reduce the number of poor people. I don’t know of any republicans on the left.

  111. itwasntmethistime says:

    tuddo — Yes, it’s just anecdotal. That’s all I have for you, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Whether I’m picking up a wedding card at The Dollar Tree or photos at Walgreens, the people in line in front of me are invariably purchasing a pile of candy or cookies. Almost every time the customer asks if they can have cash back, and the cashier tells them not with that card. Yet they ask every time. Are there stores or cashiers who will give them cash back? Dunno, but it sounds like it since they always ask.

    You think anybody who is interviewed is going to admit they buy chips with their food stamps? I’d have more faith in that study if the data came directly from the computerized cash registers.

  112. itwasntmethistime says:

    sandblower — You mean like school? That 13 year program where you learn about nurition and food pyramids and have to run around with your friends at least once a week in elementary school and every day in high school? Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to scrap mandatory home ec programs on the whim that every child needed more college prep and fewer life skills.

  113. Got to admit….I do have some ‘tude about folks on food stamps with several spawn in tow…..perhaps there should be a federal program requiring birth control in return for Aid to Dependent Children.

    And…as my food bill continues to rise and I see a couple w/children paying less than $20 cash and getting more food than me with a bill of more than $100 I start thinking about the high prices in the market are allowed to continue BECAUSE my tax dollars subsidize them through food stamp programs.

  114. LarryFine says:

    Only in kardnosland is a stated observation an attack…

  115. LarryFine says:

    After the laughable link you provided to the “Palestine News & Information Agency” any further attempts on your part to inject tangents where ignored by me. Sorry bub.

    What, praytell, gives you the mistaken impression I think I speak for anyone other than myself ? LOL.

  116. bB, I know that the cards are better than the actual stamps, and the stamps were a huge improvement over commodities. I used to help out at the commodity bank (almost all state employees in Texas had to pitch in at rural locations on distribution days because of the massive amounts of goods that needed to be handed out in a short period of time.

    Almost always there were small packages of beans and rice. However, what went with that was determined by excess crop and other food production. Sometimes we would hand out 20 lbs of bacon, and sometimes ten pounds of oranges or 20 lbs of moldy lettuce. One time all we had to give out were onions, sacks and sacks of onions. I’d have hated to be in the school classrooms that month!

    I know you aren’t an extremist on much of anything except what constitutes good beer, but your idea of mandatory birth control was taken to extremes by tieing the tubes of young girls without their permission in the not-to-distant past. Did you see that story out of North Carolina?

  117. BlaineCGarver says:

    LMAO at all the excuses Libs have for not working given an opportunity to do so. Bottom line is that workers out of work will see an opportunity, lazy fifth generation welfare sponges will continue to suck on the government teat and scam all they can.

  118. BlaineCGarver says:

    I can show you the next generation of so-called 1%’ers: They have stayed out of trouble, graduated from high school, not gotten pregnant or fathered children, received post-high school training and are now working a job or two keeping their heads above water by living under their means and advancing every chance they get. You will be working for someone like that in 20 years, that is if you ever get off your azz and get in the workforce.

  119. BristolDoesncount says:

    Consider the Palin spawn of the 99%, unless the Golden Child is paid by the 1% to play the role. Didn’t graduate, mothered a child, would be known as “in trouble” in certain circles, but was rewarded by mom’s friends and faux non-profits. Really worked for it.

  120. sandblower, you mentioned nutritiion education. One of the things that used to be taught at WorkSource (and before that in other DSHS-paid providers) is nutrition and how to provide healthy meals for a family even if you are working one or more jobs. For various reasons,he training had to be shortened and subjects not directly related to finding a job were taken out. It was also “book-learning” and not really practical application for the most part.

    Referrals are sometimes made to churches and other places for assistance for nutrition information and training. The Korean Women’s Association, for example, is one of the not-for-profits with a great track record for helping women and families. (WorkSource staff, as all state agencies, have been decimated, so extra assistance has become harder to give. )

    I think if churches wanted to make a big impact, they could increase their activities in these areas. My sister’s mega church in Arlington, Texas provides a huge food bank, but more importantly, training in nutrition, cooking and meal preparation. They provide hundreds of volunteers to go with women, especially young mothers or immigrants who are not used to grocery shopping, food shopping and help them make the best choices. Then they go into the women’s homes and give hands-on assistance using the women’s own kitchen on how to prepare meals, store them, etc.

    Through this activity, my sister has stopped complaining about food stamps and welfare. She has seen first hand that public-private cooperation is a great system. Neither privitization and dumping all the problems onto churches and not-for-profits or having government be responsible for all social ills works. She’s realized that government has huge responsibilities, capabilities and resources in these areas, but limited ability to solve all the issues without private initiatives like this.

  121. beerBoy says:

    Larry – what does the number “8” or the “Palestinian News and Information Agency” have to do with the topic of this thread?

  122. concernedtacoma7 says:

    I will say it again. The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.

    Attacking the rich will not get one person off of food stamps.

    As long as the dems promise to give more people money they did earn, they will vote democrat. Pathetic, and abusive of the poor.

  123. LarryFine says:


  124. LarryFine says:

    bB, review> Nov. 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

  125. tuddo,

    Education is a choice. If you choose to be educated you will be educated.
    In this country you can get 12 years of education for free.
    Choose education or choose poor.

    “Education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates”


    This is from the government Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  126. “The left makes excuses, and expects the poor to stay poor.”

    Really? Got any quotes from anyone who actually SAID such a thing about expecting the poor to stay poor? Without any quotes to back this up, the only other possible explanation for such a claim is that you think you can read minds. Which is it?

  127. dejen, The Council for Exceptional Children says that about one third of students drop out of school because of disabilities, about one third drop out because they had to get a job to support their immediate family (either parents and siblings or their own children), and about one third drop out because the material was too difficult for them and help was not available for them. Those are not excuses, they are reality.

    While it may seem like a “choice” to drop out, in many cases there are enormous pressures on young people, especially those living in poverty. I am happy for you that you are blissfully unaware of real human conditions for many.

    I salute the students who rise under pressure to stick with it, but also understand that sometimes food and shelter are first priorities, that schools do not adequately serve many students with disabilities, especially mental health disabilities and that we could do more as a community to provide alernatives to assist students who are having difficulty in traditional school settings. In my day we had some awesome technical training and agricultural courses for the non-academic types, but that has lost favor and funding.

  128. MissInformation says:

    Only libs are unemployed

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