|YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!
The contents of this page have been bought with tax payer money!
—Ronald Reagan, who is likely turning in his grave right now.
—Chris's autistic explanation for his Tugboat
The monthly tugboat is Chris's euphemism for his Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, payment, which is deposited into his bank account via direct deposit on or about the 3rd of each month. Essentially, the U.S. government has a taxpayer-funded program to financially support disabled individuals whose injuries or ailments affect their ability to earn a living wage. Contrary to popular belief, Chris's check isn't a need-based welfare check, nor is it meant to replace a paycheck for someone who is unable to work. Chris's disability check is meant to supplement the money he would receive at a low-paying job (the best he could hold down) and provide him enough money to live on his own. Chris, with his massive sense of entitlement, chooses not to work and mooches off his mother instead, blowing his tugboat on vidya. Unfortunately, this doesn't disqualify him from receiving disability.
In 2010, Chris received $809 each month, with $580 going to his parents for room, board, and to pay toward his credit card debt. The rest of it generally goes towards video games, junk food, or other frivolous purchases. However, $229 per month (about $7.50 per day) was (and is) nowhere near enough to satisfy Chris's need for electronic entertainment, pornography, PlayStation Network downloads, a constant supply of Chicken McNuggets, gallons of Coke, and, since the summer of 2009, alcohol. As of January 2010, he owed roughly $3,500 in credit card debt, some on cards of his own and some on cards he stole from his parents. Indeed, according to one of his bank statements, at the end of one month he had fewer than $3 left in his account. Even more, just by straight spending and no other extra income, he put himself $452.57 in the red.
After his father's death in September 2011, Chris's tugboat increased, and as of 2014, Chris was receiving approximately $1300 a month in welfare money.
As a result of 26 December 2014, Christorians predicted he might've gotten his tugboat privileges taken away if he was found guilty. After a long series of continuances, Chris was ruled guilty on the sixth court date, but ultimately was left off with a fine and a probation.
Chris's economic logic
Challenged by a correspondent in the Mailbag, Chris claimed that he is not wasting his taxpayer-funded "tugboat", because he is putting that money back into the economy and indirectly paying the tugboats of others. According to Chris's logic, by purchasing useless commercial goods, he is paying sales tax which the government puts directly back into the hands of the needy. This is irrefutably false; sales taxes go to the state government whereas his tugboat is paid by federal payroll tax, to which Chris has never substantially contributed in his life.
Another thing to take into consideration is that while Chris spends a chunk of his social security on American products like McDonald's (thus keeping the money in the internal economy), Chris spends most of it on video games. The problem is his game systems (PSP, Nintendo DS, Wii, and PlayStation 3 just to name a few) are made by Japanese companies, and while these companies have American bases and a small amount of production occurs in the U.S., the majority is produced, developed in and imported from Japan. Thus, beyond whatever profit the local retailer makes, the vast majority of money spent will be given to the foreign company's employees and fixed costs that keep them functioning, which will be chiefly spent in Japan, thus contributing to Japan's internal economy - the money in essence leaving the U.S. economy permanently. Ironically, if Chris were an Xbox enthusiast (instead of a rabid boycotter), the majority of money spent on it and on many of its games would be put back into the U.S. economy, as Microsoft is an American company.
On the advice of his dead father, Chris has never looked for a job, supposedly because the tugboat gives him more money overall. However, Bob was totally wrong. At the time of this writing, minimum wage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is $7.25, pursuant to federal minimum wage. If Chris were to somehow do a complete 180° on his life, get off disability, and begin working a full 40-hour week, his monthly income before taxes and rent payment would be approximately $1,260 USD. This would put Chris's annual income range, before tax, at roughly $15,100. Subtracting what he pays his parents to live in filth, as well as the 5% tax his income range mandates in the state of Virginia, Chris could very likely be left with a ridiculous $9,000 in spending money, enough for many more sex toys and video games. Contrast this with the $2,748 Chris pulls in annually from the government after paying off his parents.
Even if this weren't enough, the most cursory research reveals that a SSDI beneficiary could have earned from $700 a month in the year 2000, when Chris was 18, to $1,000 a month in 2010 without losing a cent of their SSDI payments. It's clear that Bob's decision to encourage Chris's unemployment comes from negligence, ignorance, blind delusion, or the knowledge that his son is a total failure who can bring nothing but shame on himself and his family. His enabling has caused Chris to miss out on over $100,000 in potential earnings through the end of 2010, which could've bought him a lot of bras, faux-china, children's toys, and PS3 accessories covered in Lego.
If Bob's motivation came from the reasonable assumption that Chris could never survive in a real-world workplace environment, of course, one wonders why he kept unleashing Chris to run amok on an unsuspecting public.
In the Father Call, Chris claims that his disability check is "a stepping-stone in the right direction of [him] moving out." Given Chris's tendency to waste his free money on frivolous junk rather than put it towards anything that might improve his life, he was probably just telling Matt what he thought he wanted to hear.
How Chris qualifies
Chris has never been employed long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits on his own; most Americans have to work a decade to be eligible. Chris, on the other hand, has only been employed for six months (three at Wendy's, three in a pyramid scheme). However, Bob earned retirement insurance in his years at General Electric, and Social Security also lets retirees' dependent disabled children get payments, even if they have never worked themselves, so long as they were disabled before turning 22. As long as Chris earns less than $1220 a month (as of April 2019) and stays unmarried, he will continue to receive his monthly tugboat unimpeded.
Total cost to taxpayers
Rough calculations and estimations say that if Chris lives into his 80s, given reasonable "cost of living" increases to his tugboat annually, he will receive roughly $1,000,000 over his lifetime from the American taxpayer. In this day and age, that's chump change and he'd amass a larger fortune if he simply got off his ass and got a career; of course, it's extremely unlikely that he will live anywhere near that long.
Since Bob's death, it's not known how much of Chris's tugboat goes to his mother to spend on
boxes of useless clutter necessary items, but given that they asked for cash donations in Bob's obituary, she probably has to take most of it.
References by Chris
Chris does not even understand which program he is on. In many emails and posts he mistakenly says that he receives SSI, which is a different welfare program for the poor that has far tighter restrictions and a typically lower payout.
- The earliest known use of the term "monthly tugboat" was in March 2007 in Chris's first e-mail to his half-brother Cole Smithey. When introducing himself, Chris says, "I'm getting by livin' with my folks and a monthly tugboat". He does not actually explain what a "monthly tugboat" is supposed to be.
- An e-mail to Megan from August 2007 recounts Chris's purchase of Guitar Hero with his latest tugboat check.
- During the Miyamoto Saga, Chris claimed he was waiting for his tugboat (in an e-mail to "Miyamoto" himself, no less) to fix technical problems with his website.
- In Mumble #1, Chris mentions that he'll have to wait for his next tugboat to buy some new content for Ape Escape on the PSP.
- In BlueSpike PSN Chat #4, Chris tells Julie that he can't make it to Ohio until his next tugboat comes in.
- Since late 2009, Chris seemed to have mostly given up the term "tugboat", possibly because of its extensive adoption by trolls in the Mumble chats, the Mailbag, and elsewhere. In the Father Call, he refers to it as his "monthly income", while in the Jackie e-mails he simply says he's on Social Security, although he did refer to it once as a "tugboat" in Mailbag #34.
- The BlueSpike Skype logs, quoted at the top of the page shine a light on the origin of the term.
- In one of the Jackie chat logs, he wrote about the reason he deserves the welfare:
[7:47 pm] CWC: Originally, I was given that blessing through my father, on one theory of me NOT being able to do the basics of a job, which I have told you I disagree with fully.
—Jackie, destroying Chris with sound logic.
- Jackie Chat #7
- Mailbag #34
- Social Security Benefits Planner: How You Qualify
- Benefits for Children with Disabilities, Page 7.
- Substantial Gainful Activity
- Jackie E-mails 6
- Jackie E-mails 25
- Rebeckah Bentley E-mails
- Gal Pal E-mails 3
- November 2016 Facebook posts
- December 2016 Facebook posts