Apostrophe Podcast

Possess the Knowledge

Episode 45: How and from whom does the U.S. government borrow money?

When you need to borrow money, you go to the bank or call a friend to borrow that money from them. This is not the way the government does it.

Have you ever wondered how and from whom the United States government borrows money or how it pays back that money? 

When you need to borrow money, you go to the bank or call a friend to borrow that money from them. This is not the way the government does it. 
This series is about the national debt and the debt ceiling. It explains how the U.S. government borrows and spends money and how the national debt and the debt ceiling may impact the government public policy agenda. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Congress has the power of the purse. This means that Congress gives money to the Government to fund public programs. The Government can only spend money that Congress appropriates. When the Government spends more than it was given, the money it overspends becomes a national debt. To cover its excessive spending or to pay down the national debt, Congress allows the Government to borrow money. 

Congress imposes a limit on how much the Government can borrow. This action is called the debt limit or debt ceiling, which only Congress can increase or lower to avoid catastrophic economic consequences. Disastrous economic consequences may result in government shutdowns due to a lack of funds, leading to furloughed government employees and the closing of national parks and other government facilities.

Now, let’s see how the Government pays down the national debt, increases its debt ceiling, and how and from whom it borrows money. 

While the national debt is money the Government already spent in previous fiscal years, the debt ceiling is money congress authorizes the Government during the current fiscal year. Once the Government realizes its projected financial expenditures are lower than the amount of money Congress will give it or that it still does not have money to pay for past-year commitments, the Government, through the U.S. Treasury, requests that Congress increase its borrowing power or the country’s debt ceiling.
Suppose that Congress agrees to increase the government spending limit. The country increases the debt limit by borrowing money. However, it doesn’t go to the bank and apply for a loan. Instead, it issues debt. Confusing; is it not? Yes, the Government creates debts to sell. Issuing debts, in this case, means the Government will sell what it owns at a lower price than they are worth. 

Just imagine you owing creditors and not having the money to pay them. You end up selling your lands, cars, and clothes to get money to pay them. The Government does the same thing, except that whatever they sell, they have to repurchase them. 

What does the Government sell, and who purchases them? 

Any American or any foreigner, for that matter, can lend money to the U.S. government. 

The Government sells Treasury marketable securities and non-marketable securities. Marketable securities can be transferred from one person to another or from one person to a federal agency. They are Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and Treasury inflation-protected securities. These securities are considered liquid because they mature quickly and are easily converted into cash. Marketable securities carry a higher risk than non-marketable securities. Non-marketable securities are not bought or sold on markets and are more difficult to obtain. The Government sells them to other federal government agencies, individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and people, businesses, and governments from other countries. 

In a much simpler term, People like you and I buy assets from the Government, and over time, the Government purchases the assets back from us with interests. 

Congress will tell the Government how much of and which assets to sell to the public. After the Government receives the money from the sales, Congress will tell them how to spend it.  

In summary, the United States government borrows money to pay for public programs and to cover excessive spending. Congress has the authority to allocate funds to the Government, and when these funds are not enough to cover the Government’s expenses, the Government is allowed to borrow money. The Government borrows money from various sources, such as the public, foreign governments, and private lenders. This money is used to pay the Government’s obligations to the people, pay its bills, and provide funds for future investments. The national debt is an important issue affecting the United States economy and must be managed to avoid severe economic consequences.

Episode 44: Jail vs prison and which one do criminals go to for misdemeanor or felony conviction?

Punishments for misdemeanors range from community service to incarceration and fines up to $4,000. Felonies carry up to life imprisonment or death penalty and up to $375.000 in fines. The American prison system is divided into jails and prisons. Those committing misdemeanors are confined to jail for a short period of time with a sentence of less than 12 months. Local police departments and county sheriffs administer jails. On the other hand, individuals convicted of felonies go to prison for longer periods with sentences of more than a year. A state or the federal government administers the prison system. 

The facilities in which individuals who violate state and federal laws serve their time depends on the length of their sentence, the degree of the infractions they committed, or the types of convictions they received. This series talks about the American prison system, and most importantly, it establishes the differences between jail and prison and which one of these two criminals go to for misdemeanor or felony conviction.
But before I dive into the differences between jail and prison, allow me to explain to you the two degrees of convictions that land criminals in jail or prison. The two degrees of conviction are misdemeanor and felony. For a misdemeanor conviction, the perpetrator receives a short-term sentence and goes to jail. In contrast, for a felony, the perpetrator receives a long-term sentence and goes to prison. 
A misdemeanor is typically a crime punishable by less than 12 months in jail or a crime where the punishment is community service, probation, fines. Vandalism, trespassing, disorderly conduct or crimes whose monetary penalty is no more $4,000 is a misdemeanor. 
A felony is a high-seriousness crime with a potential punishment of over a year of incarceration. However, in certain felony cases, the defendant may receive a sentence of under a year of incarceration. For felonies, the penalties range from two years to life imprisonment without parole or death penalty.
Now that I have explained to you what misdemeanor and felony are and their consequences, let me explain to you what jail and prison are. 
So what is jail?
Jail is for short-term detention for low level or less serious crimes. Local law enforcement and local governments, such as police departments and county sheriffs, have jurisdiction over the jail system. Each police department has a jail, not only to incarcerate criminals who committed misdemeanors but also to hold individuals who are awaiting trial or individuals who are waiting to be transferred to regular prisons. 
When a police officer arrests an individual for whatever reason, the officer takes him first to jail for processing. Once that individual goes to trial, and the judge convicts him, if the judge sentences him for a misdemeanor, he will return to the police department or county jail. However, if the judge condemns him of a felony, whether it is for less than a year, the sheriff’s deputy will transport him to prison. 
So, what is prison?  
When you hear someone goes to prison, know that that person becomes the state of federal property because the state government or the Federal Bureau of Prisons runs the prison system. Prisons incarcerate for long term individuals convicted of more serious crimes, such as murders, sexual assault, drug related crimes. Prisons range from low security to maximum security. 
In summary, punishments for misdemeanors range from community service to incarceration and fines up to $4,000. Felonies carry up to life imprisonment or death penalty and up to $375.000 in fines. The American prison system is divided into jails and prisons. Those committing misdemeanors are confined to jail for a short period of time with a sentence of less than 12 months. Local police departments and county sheriffs administer jails. On the other hand, individuals convicted of felonies go to prison for longer periods with sentences of more than a year. A state or the federal government administers the prison system. 
Before I let you go, let me ask you a question. When a person is sentenced to 18 months of incarceration and another is on death row, in which type of facility do you think they will serve their sentence? Text your answer to 618-823-8701.

Episode 43: Sheriff and a police officer

The United States government establishes different levels of agencies to enforce laws, conduct investigations, deter crimes, and arrest individuals accused of violating state or federal laws. The power of these agencies depends on their proximity to their citizens. Although their jurisdiction differs, they work together toward public safety and promote law and order throughout their operations. 

The United States government establishes different levels of agencies to enforce laws, conduct investigations, deter crimes, and arrest individuals accused of violating state or federal laws. The power of these agencies depends on their proximity to their citizens. Although their jurisdiction differs, they work together toward public safety and promote law and order throughout their operations. 

This series presents the critical differences between a sheriff and a police officer and their role in ensuring public safety. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Sheriffs are elected officials with authority to maintain the peace and enforce the law across their respective counties. Also called local or county sheriffs; sheriffs are assisted in their duties by deputy sheriffs. Deputy sheriffs have the same roles as police officers, except that the police officers only investigate or make arrests in their assigned city. The authority to arrest across the county or within city limits is called jurisdiction. Sheriffs and police officers exist to avoid jurisdiction overlap or to prevent a city X police officer from enforcing the law in city Y. For example, a sheriff of a county comprising Orlando, Boston, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Atlanta, and San Antonio can enforce the law or arrest any citizen within that county. In contrast, an Orlando police officer does not have the authority to enforce the law in San Antonio or in any other city of that county, for that matter. 

Let’s consider the following scenario. Say there is a high-speed chase involving police officers from a local department that then leads into another part of the county. At this point, the police officers will either disengage or ask the sheriff’s department to take over because police officers’ jurisdiction or power to chase resides within the boundaries of the city of their local police department or the city to which they are assigned. Continuing to chase outside of their city limits would have been jurisdiction overreach. 

All American states have sheriffs except Alaska, Connecticut, and Hawaii, Connecticut has a State Marshal System, and Hawaii has only Deputy Sheriffs. In Louisiana, a county is called a parish, and in Alaska, it is a borough. All cities of the State of New York have sheriffs, except New York City, which uniquely has five boroughs. 

So I leave nothing off the table; let me give you a quick definition of a county. 

A county aggregates a specific state’s cities, towns, or rural populations. A county is a state’s territorial, political, and administrative division providing certain local government services to specific residents. A county comprises districts, which are types of political divisions that the local government manages. In a future episode, I will tell you what districts are and their role in state politics. Forty-one states elect their county sheriffs for a four-year term, two elect them for two years, one elects them for three years, and another elects them for six years. 

As a recap, Sheriffs and police officers are responsible for ensuring public safety and upholding law and order. Sheriffs are elected officials and have jurisdiction to enforce the law across their respective counties. Police officers are not elected officials, but rather, they are assigned to a specific city and are only responsible for making arrests and conducting investigations in that city. While sheriffs and police officers have overlapping duties, the scope of their jurisdiction differs. 

Sheriff departments are mainly responsible for managing county-level law enforcement activities, and police officers work crimes and enforce laws within the city limits. Ultimately, sheriffs and police officers play an essential role in protecting the safety and well-being of citizens.

Episode 42: Do you know how much of your tax it costs your state to keep an inmate on death row before they actually kill him?

The death penalty is a controversial topic with many people arguing for and against it. There is no clear consensus on whether or not it deters crime or if it is more expensive than simply keeping criminals in prison for life. However, what is clear is that American taxpayers contribute toward the welfare, education, and life of inmates – including those on death row.

I don’t think that such a question ever crosses your mind. The answer to the cost of the death penalty for your state will blow your mind. 

Listen to the full podcast on www.azazel.info and learn about the insane price tag per inmate that comes out of your state budget every year. Check it out and let me know what you think. 

The death penalty is a controversial topic with many people arguing for and against it. There is no clear consensus on whether or not it deters crime or if it is more expensive than simply keeping criminals in prison for life. However, what is clear is that American taxpayers contribute toward the welfare, education, and life of inmates – including those on death row.

This series does not discuss whether the death penalty is immoral, legal, or unconstitutional or whether it is effective in deterring crime. Instead, it argues on the economics of capital punishment. It pleads for a reform of the death penalty system that would close down the death row, which would allow federal and state governments to repurpose death penalty funds to other social programs.

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the authority of a state or a federal government to legally execute an inmate instead of investing resources toward keeping them alive. 

Many experts debate the cost of the death penalty. Many argue that the price tag to kill a criminal is irrelevant because it is justice well-served and the society is better off with them dead than being incarcerated, even for life without parole. Others advance that killing an inmate is so costly that the government should instead keep them locked up, for it will be a better use of taxpayer monies. 

Either way, you put it, or whatever side you support, taxpayer monies fund the American prison system. This means you, as an American, invest in the welfare, education, life, or death of an inmate. 

A report by the DPIC in 2021 showed that, at the federal level, the average cost to kill an inmate is $1.7 million. The report disclosed that taxpayers picked up a nearly two million dollar price tag for each federal execution. That price tag is about nine times the cost of keeping that same inmate behind bars for the rest of his life. The cost of capital punishment is so high because of legal, pre-trial, jury selection, trial, incarceration, and appeal fees that accompany an execution. Moreover, further research showed that defending a trial in a federal death case is a dog and pony show where defendants with less money had a 44% chance of receiving a death sentence. In contrast, defendants with more money had only a 19% chance of being sentenced to death. In a much simpler term, defendants with low representation costs were more than twice as likely to receive a death sentence.

The death penalty costs vary from state to state, but on average it is about $3.8 million per execution. That is about four times the cost of keeping someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. The state of California has the most increased cost of the death penalty. According to a different DICP report released that same year, the California death penalty system costs taxpayers more than $150 million a year. It costs the state another $100,000 per year to house one inmate on death row and another $68 million yearly to provide them private cells and extra security guards; perks that inmates in the general prison population or inmates who will not be executed do not receive. 

To know how it costs your state to legally kill an inmate, visit the link attached in the notes of this podcast. 


I am suggesting the closing of the death row because it costs taxpayers too much money. Death penalty executions are four times more expensive than keeping prisoners locked up, even at maximum security. I recommend repurposing these funds toward infrastructure buildup, economic growth, and social development projects. 

Studies consistently show that the death penalty is more expensive than imprisonment without parole. Capital cases come with large costs. They  are a burden on state and federal budgets. Taxpayer monies that could have been appropriated to build highways and fund the police have been instead programmed to fund death row executions.

Episode 41: CIA vs. FBI

In this series, I present the agencies of the United States that collect and analyze intelligence to determine whether they may disrupt the country’s law and order. Using comprehensive scenarios, I drill down on the different roles and responsibilities of the CIA and the FBI. Without further ado, let’s begin.

To protect national security and sensitive information, the United States government conducts Peeping Tom operations on foreign governments and their citizens as well as on American citizens. 

In this series, I present the agencies of the United States that collect and analyze intelligence to determine whether they may disrupt the country’s law and order. Using comprehensive scenarios, I drill down on the different roles and responsibilities of the CIA and the FBI. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Officially since 1947, The United States has been strategically spying and investigating foreign nations and their citizens and American citizens to evaluate beforehand domestic and foreign threats to U.S. national or homeland security. 

In 1947, the United States government enacted the National Security Act to establish the Intelligence Community. The Intelligence Community conducts cyber intelligence, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and counterintelligence operations to deter threats posed by state and non-state actors challenging U.S. national security and interests worldwide. 

The Intelligence Community utilizes strategic and anticipatory intelligence to support current operations. It comprises several branches, but the two most popular are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The CIA has no law enforcement function, whereas the FBI does. This means that CIA agents do not arrest citizens whereas FBI agents do. The CIA collects and analyzes information from foreign nations while the FBI investigates the actions of American citizens in the United States. After September 2001, the government extended the FBI jurisdiction to authorize its agents to conduct covert operations and assist foreign governments in investigations of which the United States or American citizens may be a party. For both the CIA and the FBI to get involved, the intelligence to be collected must be vital to the formation of U.S. policy, particularly in areas that impact the security of the nation.

Let me explain to you more straightforwardly. The CIA has jurisdiction outside the United States, whereas the FBI has jurisdiction inside the United States. Therefore, the CIA does not spy on American citizens, and the FBI does not spy on foreign nations and their citizens even if they are operating in the United States unless the actions they committed or are about to commit violate the American constitution or federal laws. 

Let’s go over these following examples to drive the point home. 

Say that the United States learns that Iran is planning to conduct an attack on the U.S embassy in Jerusalem. The CIA would deploy covert operations either in Iran or Israel to collect and analyze intelligence to establish their authenticity and accuracy. If they are, the CIA would apply random anti-terrorism measures to protect the embassy, or ultimately, counterterrorism actions to deter the attack. 

Let’s take another example. Let’s say that the United States learns that a group of Afghan migrants living in California is laundering money to ISIS or Boko Haram. That falls directly under the jurisdiction of the FBI, who at that point, will adopt measures to investigate the Afghan migrants. 

Let’s see this example: The United States learns that the Russian government is sending three citizens to the United States to infiltrate and disrupt American airport operations. The CIA would do anything necessary to prevent these citizens from entering the United States. However, if the CIA fails to prevent the Russian citizens from enter the United States, guess who has the authority to investigate them: Good job, it is the FBI. 

Now, let me tell you about the extended mission of the FBI. To make you understand, I will examine two situations. 

For the first example, let’s consider Joe, who committed a crime in New York and fled to Texas. After you listen to this example, you will make sense of the posters you see almost everyday on TV “FBI most wanted.” In theory, homicides are investigated by state police departments, but because Joe crossed state lines, the New-York police state department no longer has jurisdiction. Therefore, the FBI will take over the investigations because Joe is no longer in the state he commîted his crime. 

For the second example. Let’s consider Mona who owns and operates a business with branches in New-York, Wisconsin, and North Dakota but the headquarters is in Pennsylvania. Suppose the Branch Manager in Wisconsin was assassinated, and rumors were that Mona could be behind the assassination. In that instance, Wisconsin’s State police department may initiate the investigation for finding and discovery. However, the Pennsylvania State Police Department would not have the authority to investigate Mona. The FBI would have such power and a federal court will hear and resolve the case. Practically, the FBI and federal courts have jurisdiction over infractions that involve citizens living in two states or more or citizens who had crossed state lines. 

To recap, the National Security Act of 1947 established the Intelligence Community to conduct intelligence operations to deter threats to US national security on foreign nations and citizens living in the US. The CIA and FBI are both members of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The CIA is prohibited from collecting intelligence regarding “U.S. Persons,” The National Security Act defines “US Persons” as U.S. citizens, resident aliens, legal immigrants, and U.S. corporations, regardless of where they are located. The FBI also has an extended jurisdiction meaning it investigates interstate violations even when such infractions do not directly pose any threat to the country’s national or homeland security. 

Episode 40: The complexity of the American healthcare system

The healthcare system in the United States is complex, with the government, private insurers, and various providers all playing a role. The most common types of healthcare system in the US are single-payer, universal, and socialized medicine.

Healthcare insurance plans and government subsidies exist because even the rich can’t pay in full for their medical bills.

In today’s conversation, I provide a brief overview of the different types of healthcare systems in the United States. I describe government implications in them to make healthcare available and affordable to all Americans.

The American healthcare system is a complex medical platform that involves the government, private insurers, and various providers. The most common types are Single-payer health care, which is a system in which the government is the sole provider of healthcare services, Universal health care, in which the government makes healthcare available and affordable for all citizens, and Socialized medicine, in which the government owns and operates the healthcare system. 

To make you understand better, I will consider Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Tricare, and Veterans Benefits as prime examples. Let’s begin, shall we? 

Let’s start with Medicare. The federal government runs Medicare, but it does not employ the doctors nor does it own and operate the hospitals or the clinics. Medicare is available to Americans who are at least 65 years old. Based on the info I provided, mainly that the federal government runs Medicare, I am telling you that Medicare is a single-payer healthcare system. Therefore, a single-payer healthcare system is a medical plan for which a federal or central government is fully responsible. 

Now, let’s talk about Medicaid. The federal and state governments jointly fund Medicaid to provide public coverage to low-income or very low-income individuals. In the Medicaid coverage, private hospitals employ most doctors and run the medical facilities. Based on the info I provided, primarily that federal and state governments jointly fund Medicaid, I am telling you that Medicaid is not a single-payer healthcare system but a universal healthcare system. Therefore, universal health care refers to a system in which everyone can access health coverage and affordable medical care.

The definition of a universal healthcare system brings me to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Obamacare is a system of medical plans offered to the public by different private health insurers. Same as in Medicare and Medicaid, the doctors and private hospitals sign insurance contracts with the government to provide affordable care to all. Making healthcare available and affordable to all makes Obamacare a universal healthcare system. Obamacare also provides subsidies to eligible enrollees. 

Let’s now talk about Tricare and Veteran’s Benefits known as VA. Active duty and Retired Soldiers are eligible for such plans. The military, through the department of defense, owns and operates the hospitals and employs the doctors. All service members are eligible for the same benefits regardless of age, grade, time in service, or family size. Based on the info I provided, mainly that the federal government runs Tricare and the VA through the Department of Defense, I am telling you that Tricare and the VA are both a single-payer healthcare system and socialized medicine. Therefore, socialized medicine is a healthcare system in which the federal government or a government agency owns and operates all the healthcare facilities and employs all the healthcare professionals, thus also paying for all healthcare services.

As you can see, the single-payer healthcare and the universal public coverage systems are a mix of public and private coverage and medical facilities. In contrast, socialized medicine is a single-payer approach healthcare system that does not involve private insurers.  

As a recap, healthcare is so expensive that federal and state governments provide it free or at low cost, to specific individuals. Employers partner with private insurers to alleviate individual costs for their employees. Healthcare is so expensive that even the wealthiest enroll in plans to cover certain services for them. The single-payer and universal healthcare systems could also be provided through socialized medicine if the federal government decides to employ all the doctors and take ownership and operations of all the medical facilities.

Episode 38: How State Supreme Courts differ from Supreme Court of the United States

The American court system is composed of state and federal courts. State courts are made up of County and Circuit courts, District Courts of Appeals and a Supreme Court, while the federal court system consists of U.S. district courts, U.S. Court of Appeals, and a Supreme Court. Trial courts are also called circuits and district courts. Although federal courts are located in states, they only hear matters related to the federal government.

In the United States, plaintiffs handle their grievances through a dual jurisdiction system of state and federal courts. This means that plaintiffs can file lawsuits either with courts established by their state government or courts established by the federal government. Needless to say that courts established by state governments are called state Courts whereas courts established by the federal government are called federal courts. 
Hello and welcome to Azazel Podcast. In this series, I discuss the court system of the United States and how their jurisdiction differs. I am your host Dr. Bobb Rousseau. Without further ado, let’s begin. 
The American court system is broken into state and federal courts. State courts are composed of County and Circuit courts, District Courts of Appeals and a Supreme Court whereas the federal court system is composed of U.S district courts, U.S Court of Appeals, and a Supreme Court. Circuits and District courts are also called trial courts. Note that although federal courts are located in states, they only hear matters that pertain to the federal government. 

At both levels, the Supreme Court is the highest law of the land. At the state level, there is the State Supreme Court and at the federal level, especially in Washington, DC, there exists the Supreme Court of the United States also called SCOTUS. There are as many state Supreme Courts as there are states whereas there is only one SCOTUS. They handle different matters but a case from a state Supreme Court can be transferred to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

State courts have broader jurisdiction whereas federal courts have limited jurisdiction. Both state and federal courts have diversity jurisdiction, which involves cases between two or more states or between citizens of different states if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. In such an instance, plaintiffs decide with which court to file their cases. It costs more money and more time to file a lawsuit with a federal court. 

In the federal court system, the president appoints the judges, typically for life, and the Senate confirms them whereas in the state court system, certain judges are elected while others are appointed either for a number of years or for life by the state governor. 

When a plaintiff brings a case before a trial or state appellate courts; the judges are required to hear the case. However, the Supreme Court may choose or not to hear such a case. A Supreme court can refuse to hear cases that do not have state or national importance. State courts hear and decide on criminal and contract cases whereas the federal courts resolve cases where the federal government is a party, cases that violate the constitution, cases of bankruptcy, and cases of habeas corpus. 

When Americans violate state laws, state courts have jurisdiction but when Americans violate federal law, federal courts have jurisdiction. State Supreme Courts do not resolve cases that violate a federal guideline or the constitution. As an example, opening someone else’s mail is a small offense but will be resolved, not by  a state court but by a federal court. 

State courts are the final deciders in criminal cases. However, there are criminal cases that fall under the jurisdiction of federal courts. For example; robbery is a criminal case that falls under the jurisdiction of state courts, but if such a robbery is perpetrated on a bank whose deposits are insured by a federal agency, federal courts have jurisdiction. Another example is that murder is a criminal case that a state court can hear but if the victim is a federal elected official or federal officer, SCOTUS has jurisdiction. State Supreme Courts interpret state laws but their interpretation may be appealed to the SCOTUS. For example, a state Supreme Court may allow abortion but any plaintiff can appeal that decision to SCOTUS if they deem it violating the federal constitution. 

Jurisdiction is the legal authority of a court to hear or decide on a case. The jurisdiction of a higher court begins when that of a lower court ends. An appellate court does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine a case on which a lower court has not heard and decided yet. However, plaintiffs can request a case be heard by a Supreme Court without going through lower courts. The justices have the authority to hear the case or downright send it to lower courts for facts and discovery because state supreme courts and all the federal courts are not involved in the process of fact finding and discovery. 

The information I provided is basic and general. Some states may have specific particularities. If you need to know more about the court system of your state, visit the official website of that specific  state.

Thank you for listening and remember to like, comment, share, and subscribe to my podcast.

Episode 37: The American Dream: Is Welfare Helping or Hurting?


Some argue that welfare is a good sense public policy that helps families in need to achieve independence while others suggest that it creates lasting dependency on government benefits. Economists and political leaders are divided on its impacts.

Welfare, known officially as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is a federally funded, state-run benefits program that provides benefits to needy families to help them achieve independence after experiencing temporary difficulties. Economists and political leaders are divided on its impacts on the country’s economic plan and on its recipients. Some argue that if it were not for welfare, various families would have not been able to earn a paycheck while others advance that it is because of the program that these families are not able to earn a paycheck. They went further to suggest that as long as welfare is what it is currently, these families will never achieve financial independence. 

Hello, and welcome to a series on state and federal benefits. Here, I discuss whether the welfare program is a good sense public policy or whether it creates lasting dependency of recipients on government benefits. I am your host Dr. Bobb Rousseau. Without further ado, let me tell you the history of welfare, its impacts on children, families, and the economy, and whether it helps or prevents families from pursuing and ultimately achieving the American dream.

Since its inception in the 1960s, experts have been advancing that the welfare program is killing its recipients’ American dream. While over $25 trillion of taxpayer money funds the program, it is ineffective in alleviating poverty. American economists claim that 20% of working Americans are poor because they live under the poverty line, meaning they are making less than $14.000 a year on average. 

The Welfare program was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty public policy. The goal was to help Americans escape poverty by shrinking their dependence on the government, increasing their self-sufficiency, and reinforcing their abilities to support their families. 

The program fails as recipients remain poor and financially powerless to leave the program. Let’s say that by providing women more benefits to remain single parents, offering more incentives to recipients to have more children, and handing out more money than an actual job would pay, the welfare program deepens poverty, breaks up families, and discourages work. Hold on now; I am not saying that there are more women on welfare or that women who are on welfare are single mothers; I am just pointing out how it is for single women who are in the program.

Welfare discourages recipients from seeking employment or remaining employed and encourages women with kids to stay unmarried. A single mother on welfare receives more money than a married woman with kids. Moreover, a woman joining the program as a single mom and later getting married would see her benefits reduced. 

The most crucial impact of welfare is on children. It becomes a vicious cycle where children, whose parents are on welfare, will likely grow up on welfare or eventually follow in their parent’s footsteps. Welfare undermines the role of fathers in the household because of the men who decide to have kids with different women in welfare because they know their government will take care of their baby mama and their kids. 

American experts suggest reversing the current system, because, according to them, it provides no incentives for its recipients to get out of poverty. I suggest that welfare be a subsidy program instead of a handout program. As such, welfare benefits should be contingent on recipients having a job or actively seeking employment. Moreover, I recommend that welfare reduce the benefits it gives recipients and then invest the extra funds on skill bridge, training with industry, and on-the-job training programs to empower recipients to learn new skills and prepare them to enter the job market. 

I furthermore recommend that the government provide financial incentives to companies to hire welfare recipients and more incentives to them if they offer scholarships to the welfare recipients they hire; the higher the certificate or the degree they are pursuing, higher the incentives the government would give the companies. To ensure the welfare program protects families, the government should require absent fathers to pay child support or perform community service if they cannot afford to pay. I also suggest that the government remove the substantial penalties against marriage. 

The bottom line is that to receive and continue receiving welfare benefits, the recipient must have a job, be actively looking for a job, or attending school. 

In summary, the goal of welfare is to help Americans escape poverty, but the program has been not helping Americans achieve the American dream since day one. Recipients remain poor and are not financially empowered to leave the program. Transforming the program from handout to subsidy will encourage recipients to seek employment or remain employed, motivate businesses to hire welfare recipients and energize these recipients to go to school. 

Thank you for listening, and remember to like, comment, share and subscribe.

Episode 36: The Woman King and Black Panther: One is not worth watching twice

The Woman King vs. Black Panther: Which tells the more authentic African story?


In the African culture series, host Dr. Bobb Rousseau talks about The Woman King and Black Panther. He assesses which of the two movies is more in line with African traditions. He concludes that The Woman King is the better movie because it is more true to African culture.

If you want to see badass African women with shaved heads, long swords, some running with beautiful shoes and others with makeshift sandales or sometimes without any to fight as true soldiers do, The Woman King and Black Panther are definitely the movies you must watch. However, both movies feature two types of Africa and depending on your emotional intake, you may decide to watch one of them at least twice. 

Hello and welcome to a series about african culture. In this series, I talk about The Woman King and Black Panther; two movies portraying African women as fierce warriors. 

I am your host Dr. Bobb Rousseau and without further ado, let’s walk the dog to see which of these stories viewers will always remember. 

I am not a movie reviewer. This is why in today’s podcast, I refrain from reviewing either movie. However, as one who watched both, I take the liberty to say that sequel 2 of Black Panther did not live up to my expectations. It was draggy as there were various pointless plots and many parts that add no value to the whole story. I am sorry if I ruin it for you. Regarding The Woman King, I say that, besides the emotional episode of Viola Davis as General Nanisca, it was the most historically accurate and efficient depiction of African woman tales I have ever seen. 

Woman King and Black Panther are both based in Africa. They feature African women in high ranking warrior roles usually portrayed by men. They were all at war against men. The main characters are either officers, queens, or tech gurus. 

The Agojie warriors from the Woman King fought to free Dahomey from slavery, whereas the Dora Milaje royal guard protected the Black Panther. Black Panther is a futuristic, rich picture storyline out of touch with African reality, whereas Woman King portrays an authentic Africa that gives viewers a functional and no fantasy plot that takes them into the African realism. 

From the beginning of each movie, it is easy for any watcher to see that the Dora Milaje warriors were organized, sequenced, trained to neutralize, and ultimately make partnership with the enemy. Conversely, the Agojie warriors came from different tribes of Dahomey and were trained to kill and destroy. The difference is seen in their respective uniform, their fighting styles, and their weaponry system. 

Black Panther is made to be purely entertainment. Thus the reason the Dora Milaje warriors wear flashy outfits and AI-designed weapons. The Woman King was a “going back to Africa moment ” to show viewers how African women of the 19th were influential in the fights for freedom and individual liberties. The director did a great job depicting the historically accurate and efficient tactics, weaponry, and fighting styles of the Agojie warriors led by General Nanisca, Lieutenant Izogie, and Lieutenant Amenza. 

This is me talking. I was not at all fond of the first installment of Black Panther; I disliked the sequel even more. There was not a consistent storyline and no concise objective as various scenes were irrelevant and many plots were left without follow ups. Black Panther was superfluous and predictable. I predict the third one will be about Toussaint, the son of T’Challa and Lupita Nyongo ((Nakia) returning to Wakanda from Haiti to fight her aunt Letitia Wright (Shuri) for the throne as Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger) did to Chadwick Bossman (T’Challa) in the first one. Godanmit; did they say too much again? 

The Woman King keeps viewers engaged till the end. Whether we are black or white, each one of us sees us on the screen since it tells us the story of the mistreated humankind. We are the woman king in our own way considering that we all have a territory to defend and different values to live by. 

These movies raise the standards for African cinema. I hope Hollywood producers revise their next movies regarding slavery and African lifestyles. Black Panther and the woman king provide the blueprint about an African rich of fascinating stories that have not yet been told. 

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