A Proud Welfare Queen

I am a welfare queen. There, I've said it. It is really hard to admit it publicly, especially now that we (did I say we?) are being assigned primary responsibility for adding zeros onto the national debt. But it's true. Now wait, before you dial up the "turn-in-a-welfare-queen hotline," give me a chance

to defend myself. It snuck up on me, honest.

See, up until recently I've never owned my own four walls and a roof. Like most other welfare queens (irony is, in those days I was not a we), I just wrote out a monthly check to my landlord and that was it. I never saw the money again once it went down that dark hole.

Then last year I bought a home. So now, instead of sending a check to a schmuck who lives out in the suburbs and works at a bank, I send a check to a schmuck who works at a bank and lives out in the suburbs. Not that earth-shattering a change, really. Or so I thought.

But my world began to crumble last week when I got this official-looking letter in the mail informing me that I was now eligible for a new program. The message was terse: "Congratulations. You are now living in subsidized housing."

It turns out that every single penny that I had sent that schmuck in the bank was going to be subtracted from my taxable earnings. In short, I was in line for a balloon payment from Uncle Sam. Sure, they gussied up the language with technical terms like "mortgage interest" and "income deductions," but I knew. It was nothing but...[gulp]...public assistance.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1995
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