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Another collaboration with Rachel Swirsky!
I don’t have much to say about the politics of this issue that isn’t covered in the cartoon. Accepting help from the government is seen as morally shameful for the poor – but routine for the ultra-wealthy.
The script for this one was one of those back-and-forth collaborations in which it becomes difficult to recall who wrote what. The initial idea came from Rachel, and the idea for the specific format and layout came from me. The particular gags were written by both of us. I remember that I wrote the kicker gag as “Queen of England,” and Rachel changed it to “Beyonce,” which definitely made it funnier.
Oh, and if anyone’s wondering, there really were thousand-dollar bills once, but the government hasn’t printed any since 1945. If you happen to come across one, it’s still legal tender – but you’d probably get more than a thousand dollars by selling it to a collector. Several different designs were used for thousand dollar bills, including one featuring Alexander Hamilton.
A special thanks on the sidebar to patron N.K. Jemisin, who – among many other accomplishments – recently won the Hugo Award for “best novel” two years running. Rachel and I are both big fans of N.K.’s novels, and you should check out her website.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
At the top of the cartoon, in large letters, is the title “WELFARE vs WEALTHFARE.”
Below that, the cartoon is divided into three columns. The columns on the left and right show regular cartoon images; the middle column only contains a caption for each row. The left column is underneath the word “Welfare” in the title; the right-hand column is underneath the word “Wealthfare” in the title.
ROW 1: HANDOUTS
Welfare Panel: A man holding a grocery bag is startled by an angry man in a necktie yelling at him.
NECKTIE MAN: Let me see those groceries! You better not have spent your food stamps on anything nice!
Wealthfare Panel: A well-off looking man in a jacket and tie stands looking aloof, with his arms crossed and his nose up in the air. Behind him, a man wearing a tie is kneeling on the ground and begging.
KNEELING MAN: PLEEEEASE let us buy you a new stadium! We’ll give you $200 million dollars!
ROW 2: HOUSING
Welfare Panel: A woman stands at a pay phone, the phone held to her ear. She has luggage with her, and an anxious looking ten year old son.
VOICE FROM PHONE: Sure, we can help with housing. Looks like we’ll have space for you in… Four years.
Wealthfare Panel: A wealthy-looking older couple, wearing sunglasses and casual-nice clothes, stands in front of an enormous yacht.
WOMAN: We legally declared our million-dollar yacht our second home.
MAN: So now we deduct its mortgage from our taxes!
ROW 3: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Welfare Panel: A building with a sign, which says “welfare office.” Voices come from inside the building.
FIRST VOICE: Pee into this cup.
SECOND VOICE: But I don’t use drugs!
FIRST VOICE: Exactly what a druggie would say!
Wealthfare Panel: A wealthy looking businessman sits in a large executive chair, reading some papers. Behind him, two younger, slightly nerdy looking people talk to his back, looking anxious.
NERD 1: Look at all these crimes! I’m sorry, but you’ll have to pay a modest fine.
NERD 2: But you can deduct it from your taxes!
BUSINESSMAN (unconcerned, barely paying attention): Uh-huh.
ROW 4: BANKRUPTCY
Welfare Panel: A security guard in a brown uniform lounges in front of a house, leaning on a sign that says “For Sale By Bank.” A father holding an infant, and his young daughter at his side, look aghast.
GUARD: The bank says “thanks for the swell house!”
Wealthfare Panel: Another businessman, seated behyind an enormous desk; the desktop is mostly empty, although he does have a laptop and a desk calendar. Behind him is a big window with a cityscape view.
BUSINESSMAN: Hello, government? I gambled away billions of my bank’s assets. Give me my bailout in thousand dollar bills.
ROW 5:THE BOTTOM LINE
Welfare Panel: Uncle Sam has his back turned towards a mother carrying an infant. His expression shows contempt. He holds out a tiny check to her like it’s a dead fish. A line from the check points to a little ¢ symbol.
UNCLE SAM: Take your welfare, MOOCHER.
Wealthfare Panel: A smiling wealthy man looks on as a smiling Uncle Sam brings in a wheelbarrow overflowing with piles and bags of cash.
UNCLE SAM: Here’s this month’s delivery, sir!
Kicker panel at bottom of strip
We see the necktie man and the food stamps user from the first panel. The necktie man is yelling again.
NECKTIE MAN: You have a refrigerator AND a cell phone? What are you, Beyonce?