Can no one at The Guardian do numbers?

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.

Agreed that $12 an hour ain’t great, it’s about half mean wages for the US as a whole (and lower than that for DC). However, at 70 hours a week (and the second job won’t pay much less than that, DC’s minimum is above the Federal one) is $840 a week, or nearly $44,000 a year. Or, umm, about median income for DC. And, assuming two kids (he doesn’t say, so some assumption necessary) near twice the food stamp eligibility level of $25,000 or so for a family of that size.

It’s simply not possible for what he’s telling us to be true.

Update. 5 kids (see comments)….and he’s blaming Compass for not paying him enough?

Update: BTW, $36k a year puts him in the global 1%…..

34 comments on “Can no one at The Guardian do numbers?

  1. From the linked article, he made $36K last year and has five children, making him eligible for SNAP.

    Perhaps he’s including travel time in his “70 hours”, or perhaps 70 hours is in a good week and he works fewer hours in a normal week.

  2. Another Guardian article:

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/23/us-senate-cook-bertrand-olotara-public-assistance

    Olotara made $36,000 last year. It was just enough for him not to qualify for forbearance for his $89,000 student loan debt but still left him eligible for food stamps, section 8 housing and Medicaid.

    He has 5 kids. Was supposedly a teacher for 5 years, but he went and did a college degree that cost $89K, which suggests that’s fairly recent.

    It refers to him like he’s a new immigrant, but his kids have names like Mason, Gabriella and Justin. And one is about to go to college.

    I’m going to bet that this guy is either a certifiable nutjob, or is getting paid by some union-like organisation to do this and live in squalor (no art on the walls? You can buy prints for a few dollars). Why, if you have 5 years teaching experience, are you travelling an hour to DC to do a cafe job for $12/hr? Why are you even travelling for an hour to such a job? You can’t get a low-grade service job 10 minutes from where you live?

  3. a lot of these stories seem to be “things the Groaniad wants to hear” and stretch the boundries of credibility.

  4. Leaving aside the sad fact that the whole thing is probably a lefty wet dream, it would be interesting to try to date the time from which we ceased, as a society, to have any sense of shame.

    You can imagine that Fagan’s crew in Dickens’ time would have accepted food stamps as a reward for their total lack of responsibility and self reliance. But they would probably have sneered at the wealthy people who allowed themselves to be exploited and therefore the food stamps would not be charity, nore akin to picking a pocket or two.

    Certainly, on the Council estate where I grew up, it would have been a source of shame too hard to bear to have 5 children and then go begging, and furthermore, to complain that begging didn’t pay very well.

    But now, fostered perhaps by decades of Commies, the Graun and the BBC telling all of us that the rich people have stolen our money, it seems that this guy’s outlook is completely acceptable, even laudable.

  5. Food in the U.S. is ridiculously cheap, so I find it hard to believe that he can’t afford to put food on the table. He even works at a grocery store, so he gets first dibs on expired stuff before the dumpster-divers arrive.

  6. @john miller, a lot of the recipients do indeed sneer at those of us who have our pockets picked to pay for it. And demand that we pay more because we are “lucky” to be working ourselves towards early coronaries.

  7. John Miller

    Absolutely correct – i don’t think you would have needed to have been brought up on a council estate to have seen the powerful effect of community and social mores on feckless behaviour like this.

    There are great writers like Charles Murray and Myron Magnet who have been saying this for decades – both are consistently vilified in the Guardian and other bibles of leftist highbrow bigotry. (Huff Post, Independent, NS and so on)

    However, it is clear that the cultural change that these revolutionaries have presided over is one of the most remarkable in human history and whilst I look forward to the worm turning on many of them when ISIS takes over and reasserts a morality about as far from progressive as it is possible to be, an awful lot of pain and suffering will take place before that point.

  8. Food in the U.S. is ridiculously cheap, so I find it hard to believe that he can’t afford to put food on the table. He even works at a grocery store, so he gets first dibs on expired stuff before the dumpster-divers arrive.

    Perhaps more importantly, the guy is a cook so he’d certainly know what to do with whatever ingredients he could get his hands on. If you know how to cook, it’s a lot easier to feed yourself cheaply.

  9. Certainly, on the Council estate where I grew up, it would have been a source of shame too hard to bear to have 5 children and then go begging, and furthermore, to complain that begging didn’t pay very well.

    My Dad told me that state welfare programmes used to be called Assistance. And then some dickhead changed it to something else, and then probably something else again, in order that recipients didn’t feel stigmatised. And now it’s called “benefits” it sounds more like a reward.

  10. Five children? Won’t he think of Gaia? Normally he’d be despised by the Guardian for this. Oh well, needs must I suppose.

  11. My Dad told me that state welfare programmes used to be called Assistance. And then some dickhead changed it to something else, and then probably something else again, in order that recipients didn’t feel stigmatised. And now it’s called “benefits” it sounds more like a reward.

    I don’t know when welfare was called “benefits” but it was certainly at or before we had “Assistance”, look at the Beveridge Report for example.

  12. Stig,

    > no art on the walls? You can buy prints for a few dollars

    He’s got five kids. No art on the walls means either not one of them has ever drawn or painted anything (highly unlikely) or he’s a shit father.

  13. “Ideally, Olotara would take them his native Congo, to see his mother who has never met her grandchildren.”

    He can’t afford to fly six people halfway across the world and back. Normally the Guardian would consider that a good thing.

  14. @Andrew M

    Normally in that mileu it’s the grandmother with the kids and they’ve never met their father.

  15. ‘My American dream is a nightmare.’

    No doubt some American taxpayers think he ought to fuck off back to the Heart of Darkness. Cruel swine!

  16. S2,

    His kids are maybe a bit past that age, but we’ve still got art up from before the kids were born. You know, we made sure we had reasonable incomes before we started breeding. Crazy.

  17. Can I just say how much I enjoy a good rant. Apparently someone called Jamelia (I guess a singer for some sort of modern beat combo) said:

    “A huge proportion of our teenagers are well over the weight they should be. I am all for celebrating people as they are … but I do not think it’s right to facilitate people living an unhealthy lifestyle. I really don’t.”

    “I do think that you should feel uncomfortable if you are unhealthy.”

    I am not sure why anyone would object to such comments but it is fun to see the Guardianistas blowing their tops. Especially someone like Phoebe-Jane Boyd. Who informs us she is a Size 20. I don’t know what that is, but I am guessing it does not come close to petite.

  18. The Stigler – “You know, we made sure we had reasonable incomes before we started breeding. Crazy.”

    Meet the Hajnal line. On the right side of that line people make sure they have jobs and own their own homes before they have children. On the wrong side of that line they do not.

    What do you think is going to happen when you import millions of people from the wrong side of that line to the right side of that line? It is not as if people could not see this coming.

  19. SMFS

    if their argument was that she should mind her own business then that would be a rare sortie towards liberalism for the G. Alas I probably wasn’t.

  20. “but I am guessing it does not come close to petite.”

    Under the new sensitive labelling system I believe a size 20 is “petite plus”.

  21. I don’t know when welfare was called “benefits” but it was certainly at or before we had “Assistance”, look at the Beveridge Report for example.

    Yes, you’re right: I see both terms were in use back in 1942. Good point.

  22. @The Stigler
    “You know, we made sure we had reasonable incomes before we started breeding. Crazy.”
    I did too now I regret it as the system seems to encourage you to do the reverse. I hope by the time my son is an adult your view is logical again

  23. if he gets higher wage he will just have 1 wage. Unless it is decided he isn’t needed there due increased wages bill.

  24. “I don’t know when welfare was called “benefits” but it was certainly at or before we had “Assistance”, look at the Beveridge Report for example.”

    Interesting thing there, with “benefit(s)”
    Don’t know about anyone else but I don’t much remember the noun being used, as opposed to the verb, much before the 70s.
    It’s very neutral term & people did used to use much more active & specific expressions. Like “assistance”.
    That’s, of course, in the realm of ordinary people, not academia& its political offshoots..

  25. Common usage, UK Lib. There’s all sorts of C14th words not in common usage today. Or take the ‘F’ word. Certainly a noun & verb then. Today, most commonly used in the adjectival.

  26. Did people talk about taking “the benefits” from a pension back in Olden Times? The expression is certainly used now.

    Thus, the Pru: “When members take benefits from registered pension schemes (crystallise benefits), they use up a proportion of their LTA. If the individual takes more benefits …”

  27. GlenDorran – “Under the new sensitive labelling system I believe a size 20 is “petite plus”.”

    I would never use an on-line dating service, no really I wouldn’t, but friends (not “friends”) tell me that “fun sized” means obese.

    I do love the flexibility of the English language.

  28. I do love the flexibility of the English language.

    Especially if “fun size” when applied to women means “huge”; and when applied to chocolates means “tiny”!

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