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San Diego County is still failing to enroll needy resident in major federal and state safety-net programs, and this is costing the local economy almost $1 billion a year, according to a joint study by the Center on Policy Initiatives and Partners for Progress. The results of the study were presented at a press conference on October 21.

In 2010, San Diego County was cited as having very low food stamp (CalFresh) enrollment — in fact, the worst of the ten largest counties in the state. Now San Diego has moved up to ninth on the list of ten of the largest counties, edging out Santa Clara County by one-tenth of one percentage point. Last year, only 49.5 percent of eligible county food-stamp recipients got their benefits. The national average is 75 percent. The federal government funds more than 99 percent of the California food stamp program (called CalFresh.)

The CalWORKS program provides short-term cash assistance to the needy. Again, San Diego County ranks 9th of the ten most populous counties in the state. The county also lags in MediCal enrollment.

The researchers figure that the failure to provide for adequate safety net costs costs the local region 6,524 jobs and 24 million annually.

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Comments

swell Oct. 22, 2015 @ 10:31 a.m.

Superficially, an important reason for low enrollment is that the application process is uniquely complex- more so than any other jurisdiction, I'm told.

But underlying that seems to be an administration that doesn't have any interest in the 99%. Planners and supervisors are deeply involved in land deals and major commercial projects. There is a vast divide between ordinary people in the county and the elected officials.

If the county were more like North Park or Hillcrest, where there is an enthusiastic body of politics watchers, the county would do much more for regular and disadvantaged folks.

County (and city) people have an excellent activist radio station, KNSJ.org offering comprehensive local news and more, should they choose to educate themselves. And for you social justice Bauder fans, you can hear the mellifluous tones of Mike Aguirre there. Listening with iTunes or the TuneIn app might be best, or try 89.1 FM.

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2015 @ 1:22 p.m.

swell: You are probably right. The county's inability to take advantage of free money -- money that would bolster the local economy -- would seem to arise from a number of factors: 1.Ideological objections to transfer payments; 2. Indifference toward the poor; 3. Bureaucratic stultification; 4. Incompetence. Best, Don Bauder

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trapin Oct. 22, 2015 @ 10:45 a.m.

Im confused. Isnt this a "good" thing? Who funds the program? How is this "costing the local economy 1B?"

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2015 @ 1:23 p.m.

trapin: The money that doesn't come in is federal money. Best, Don Bauder

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jnojr Oct. 22, 2015 @ 11 a.m.

We don't have enough people on welfare???

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2015 @ 1:27 p.m.

jnojr: San Diego County does not collect the federal transfer payments to which its citizens are entitled.

Incidentally, the big money going for welfare is corporate welfare. Social welfare is indeed too large, but the big cuts should be made in corporate handouts, including egregious tax breaks. Best, Don Bauder

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badger Oct. 22, 2015 @ 11:01 a.m.

business as usual in a corrupt county where the ptsd-afflicted county honcho is rabidly anti-government; especially anti-FPPC, but not anti-government when raising his tax-funded, government salary: " WE ARE NOT FRANCISCANS!"

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2015 @ 1:31 p.m.

badger: Good point. Those who groan the loudest and most often about welfare are business executives, whose companies are feasting on corporate welfare.

Generally, you will find that business executives approve of welfare for the rich but not welfare for those who need welfare: the poor. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke Oct. 24, 2015 @ 5:37 a.m.

Business executives and their political cronies love poor people as they cause poverty by offering low wage no benefit jobs.

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2015 @ 8:39 a.m.

AlexClarke: Yes, and there is more to it than that. I have a theory that mainstream economists do not share -- at least, they don't dare talk about it.

My theory is this: the fact that middle class incomes are declining, adjusted for inflation, and lower-wage incomes are down even before the inflation adjustment, is secretly desired by our decision makers, such as both political parties and the Federal Reserve. Short term and long term interest rates have been driven to record lows (short term almost zero). Therefore, money and credit balloons.

In a normal economy (say, growing at 3 or 4 percent annually), rates that low would create inflation, because people would have more money and credit and would consume more. But in this economy, they do not. The resulting inflation is in financial assets such as stocks and bonds, which are held by the richest in society. Financial asset inflation is not part of the consumer price index. Thus, wealth and income inequality worsens, as the upper 1 to 5 percent prosper even more.

The closest you will hear to acknowledgement of this is when the head of the Federal Reserve will point out publicly that he or she is happy that wages are not rising. Also, Wall Street will celebrate the Goldilocks ("not too hot, not too cold") economy under which growth is very slow, inflation does not rise, but financial assets do. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2015 @ 9:52 a.m.

Bitslice Byte: I am unaware of the provision of which you speak. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2015 @ 8:46 a.m.

John Oliver: The people on MediCal are often dirt poor. They can't pay for their medical care. It would cost the government more to try to collect than it would receive in payments. In my judgment, taxpayers have an obligation to take care of the unfortunate. As a taxpayer, I do not resent my money going to the poor and infirm. Best, Don Bauder

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