ME has spent most of his retirement from service to the United States studying, thinking, and writing about the country he served.
On CNN's Cafferty's File, one of Cafferty's questions regarding raising taxes on the wealthy got a response that went something like this:
"Why should the money the wealthy worked hard for be transferred to the poor, who hardly work at all?"
There was nothing in the response about helping fellow Americans brought low because of the unethical conduct of wealthy taxpayers. There are many who don't believe in the Christian maxim of being your brother's keeper. But I digress; that is fodder for a different article.
I took a look at the 2012 Federal Budget to calculate what percentage of your taxes go toward which parts of the budget. The table below presents my findings, which show how many cents of your tax dollar go to what expenditure area.
The conservatives would again have you believe that almost all of our non-defense dollars go to these freeloading welfare recipients. Of course, right-thinking Americans know that not to be true, but right-thinking Americans aren't spending the advertising bucks to prove it, are we?
The most organized, wealthy, and secretive money-men behind the conservative (libertarian) narrative are Charles and David Koch and their criminal enterprise, Koch Industries. Yes, I do mean criminal, at least according to Jane Mayer in her 2015 book, Dark Money. I just finished the chapter that details both the documented facts and very strong circumstantial evidence that led to a multitude of successful civil trials and occasional attempts at criminal trials against the Koch brothers (so far unsuccessful due to the political machinations and outright bribery by Koch industries). I highly recommend reading Dark Money as it is a factual (sources coming out the wazoo) indictment of the role huge money plays in politics, not only contributing to the political polarization in America, but also in forming the negative and false stereotype of the poor in this country. It is an eye-opener about the dark side of money in politics.
|REVENUE SOURCE OR EXPENDITURE AREA||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2018||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2017||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2016||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2014||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2012||DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2010|
Personal Income Tax
Social Insurance Taxes
All Other Receipts
Less: Social Insurance
Personal Income Contribution to $1 to:
Net Interest on the Debt
$ 0.05 (8.8%)
$ 0.05 (8.9%)
$ 0.03 (7.1%)
$ 0.03 (8.6%)
$ 0.12 (21%)
$ 0.13 (23.2%)
$ 0.10 (23.8%)
$ 0.09 (25.7%)
$ 0.12 (21%)
$ 0.13 (23.2%)
$ 0.09 (21.4%)
$ 0.08 (22.9%)
Unfunded Social Security & Medicare
$ 0.09 (15.8%)
$ 0 08 (14.3%)
$ 0.07 (16.7%)
$ 0.06 (17.1%)
$ 0.06 (10.5%)
$ 0.07 (12.5%)
$ 0.04 (9.5%)
$ 0.04 (11.4%)
$ 0.07 (12.3%)
$ 0 07 (12.5%)
$ 0.04 (9.5%)
$ 0.03 (8.6%)
Other Programmatic Mandatory Programs
$ 0.07 (12.3%)
$ 0.04 (7.1%)
$ 0.04 (9.5%)
$ 0 .02 (5.7%)
Interpreting the Numbers
I added the relevant portions of income receipts, focusing, of course, on personal taxes. I also emphasized Social Security because I adjusted the effect of "paid-for" programs of Social Security and Medicare, as well as unemployment payments. I did this because none of your personal income tax dollars goes to pay for those programs. But, because Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes don't cover the entire bill, the unfunded portion is paid for via the general fund and the deficit.
Further, I reorganized everything in an attempt to make it more understandable as well as bring out some interesting facts the previous version did not. In any event, while some numbers changed from earlier, it is at the margins, so the story I am telling hasn't changed.
Americans have been bombarded daily with two persistent myths since April 2009:
- There has been little or no recovery since 2009. (In fact, some say we are still in a recession.) Conservatives complained that President Obama failed to improve the economy as they expected after the first stimulus dollars were spent.
- Public assistance (welfare) eats up most of the non-defense budget. If you believe conservatives, the biggest threat to hard-working Americans (the 53%, I presume) are the lazy, able-bodied men and women who choose not to work.
Neither claim is correct, even though a majority of Americans believe it's true. It is very easy to throw stones, but very hard to show that those stones are actually blatant lies. That is why propaganda and negative advertising (Left or Right) is so effective. It is even more true because so many Americans have stopped thinking for themselves and just parrot what their favorite talking head says.
What Caused the Large Increase in Tax Receipts
The Current Recovery Has Been Faster Than Previous Ones
To those that insist President Obama has done a horrible job regarding the economy (in spite of, lest we forget, the Conservatives' promise to do everything in their power to defeat his programs), the data clearly show this claim is pure bunk.
In nominal terms, total tax receipts have grown 30% or about 6.7% per year in terms of real dollars from an economy that grew at roughly 2.1% per year. It's not a stellar recovery, but it happened sooner that in previous great recessions and depressions and it was consistent. Had the conservatives not spent every waking hour trying to thwart President Obama, the economy might have grown at a healthier 3%, but, unfortunately, we will never know.
Increased tax receipts is the primary reason the deficit plummeted to $484 billion in 2014, not reduced spending, although that certainly helped as well. And the increase in tax receipts came mainly from an improved economy with 9.8 million more people back at work since 2009.
One could try to argue that the main source of increased tax receipts was increased taxes resulting from Obamacare, beginning in 2011, and the 2013 Fiscal Cliff compromise; but that is not the case. The propaganda campaign against the new taxes (ignoring the tax credits and lower Medicare costs that were part of the deal, of course) was created with the implementation of ACA.
If I take those new excise taxes into account and replot Chart 1, the result would be an imperceptible change in tax receipts. Table 13.1 from my source will show you that since 2011, new receipts have amounted to only $3 billion a year, a drop in the tax receipts bucket.
What impact did the fiscal cliff compromise have? According to the CBO, when the dust settled on all of the tax increases and decreases and spending increases, the deficit would decrease by about $157 billion. That translates to roughly 50% of the increase in tax revenue between 2013 and 2014; the rest was due to growth in the economy, virtually all of the increase between 2010 and 2013 was from increased economic activity.
As to how long America took to recover from the Great Recession of 2008: it was faster than you think. I'm doing research that looks at financially-based recessions vs. other types of recession. The average length of recovery time for a financially-based recession (as measured by returning to the real GDP that was experienced just prior to the recession) is 5.4 years; the Great Recession of 2008 lasted 4 years. Further, the recovery time for non-financially-based recession is just 2.3 years, strongly suggesting that it typically takes much longer to recover from a recession like the one we had in 2008.
So, did President Obama do better than average in bringing the economy back to where it was before the downturn? It would appear he did. In current dollars, the deficit shrank $810 billion between 2010 and 2014. Tax receipts, on the other hand, increased $859 billion. Discretionary spending (what the Capitol Hill battles are all about and one of the pillars on which conservatives stand in balancing the budget) decreased only $169 billion.
How Much of the Federal Budget Is Spent on Welfare?
Public assistance programs, those most commonly thought of as welfare like SNAP and TANF, do not consume an inordinate amount of the Federal Budget, whether on or off the books.
To help explain why, I offer Table 2 which takes a slightly different view on the information contained in Table 1 by comparing data with each other.
Analyzing Table 1
|Annual Growth (Decline)||Change in % of Your Tax $ Used, 2010 - 2014|
DISCRETIONARY - Defense
-2.5 % Points
DISCRETIONARY - non-Defense
- 3.02 %
0.1 % Points
MANDATORY - Social Security (Unfunded Portion)
- 2.8 % Points (Combined SS, Medicare, % UE))
MANDATORY - Medicare (Unfunded Portion)
MANDATORY - Unemployment (Unfunded Portion)
- 27.83 %
MANDATORY - Medicaid
3.9 % Points
MANDATORY - "Welfare"
1.1 % Points
Net Interest on Debt
0.3 % Points
So, Where's the Beef?
Where is the gargantuan growth in welfare programs the propagandists are telling you about, over and over again? It should be clear to you the message the Right is blasting the airwaves with is a hoax, a sham, a "sky-is-falling" bit of histrionics.
The myth is that most of your hard earned tax dollars are going to support those who refuse to work because welfare pays so much they can live "high-on-the-hog.. Well, Tables 1 and 2 show you that message is hogwash. Let's look.
- From Table 1, we see that the Discretionary programs account for around 46% of each income tax dollar spent.
A. Table 2 shows they have been declining a little over 3% a year (or 5% after inflation).
B. Defense spending has declined as a percent of your tax dollar while non-defense has remained constant.
- While the unfunded portions of Social Security and Medicare have increased somewhat, about 1.5% per year after inflation, unemployment has fallen dramatically (as you would expect with an improving economy).
- Medicaid likewise has grown at only around 1% in real dollars.
A. Nevertheless, it is taking a larger, but not unreasonable, chunk out of your tax dollar.
B. Costs should continue to increase as the expanded Medicaid programs kick in.
- Growth in net Interest of the debt has also been very modest and will continue to be so, so long as inflation and interest rates are kept in check.
- Contrary to popular belief, public assistance has decreased in real terms by around 1%! But because other programs have fallen further, the percent spent out of your tax dollar increased 1.1 percentage points, from 11.4% to 12.5%.
So, is the propaganda about welfare spending true or false? I know what my answer is.
How do recipients of public assistance spend what they get? Digging into this information will dispel even more myths regarding "welfare queens" and the idea that public assistance is a disincentive to work. The table below shows you how people spend public assistance and compares those habits to those families who do not receive assistance.
The information is taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Behind the Numbers. Their source is the 2011 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES).
Average annual expenditures, families with children under 18, by receipt of means-tested government assistance, 2011
|Expenditure Category||Families w/ children receiving assistance||Families w/ children NOT receiving assistance||% Difference|
Total Average Disposable Income
Food at Home
17.3 (Cents Out of $1 Spent)
9.7 (Cents Out of $1 Spent)
Apparel and Services
Personal Insurance and Pensions
Take-Aways From Table 2
First, let me point out that according to my unofficial survey, 73 readers think that the minimum amount of money a family of three living in a typical midwest neighborhood needs to barely make it is between $32,600 and $38,400 (see Poverty - What Does It Take to Survive).
Then, consider that the average income for those with children who receive public assistance is only $30,582 per year. This is between $1,500 and $7,500 less than what is needed to barely survive. Then compare that with the $66,525 average income earned by those same types of families who do not draw assistance; this is more than double what the less fortunate have.
Since the average assistance for a family is just shy of $7,000/year, that means they worked for the other $23,000 (this is who the Right call lazy, "free-loading, indigent, ought-to-get-a-job Americans"). News flash: They have jobs, just not ones that pay enough to live on.
Sidebar: The most common refrain I hear from those who oppose helping fellow Americans is that the answer is simple: find a better paying job. What nonsense. Let's assume for the moment that they all do. Then one of three things will happen,
- Employers will simply fill those low paying jobs with new workers who will still need assistance,
- Employers will go out of business because no one could afford to work for them, or
- Employers will raise their wages.
Well, so long as unemployment stays above 3 or 4%, options 2 and 3 simply won't happen.
What will take place then is another cohort of "lazy, free-loading, indigent, ought-to-get-a-job Americans" will join the low-paying workforce and be denigrated by the Right.
Now, consider where each group spends its money. The poor who receive assistance spend most of their money where you would hope they would: food prepared at home (17.3 cents of each dollar earned), housing (38.7 cents), and transportation (17.2 cents), for a total of 73.2 cents. One of the most expensive, healthcare, goes by the wayside (Obamacare almost solved this problem).
On the other hand, those who aren't struggling to exist spend only 61.2 cents of each dollar they earn. Where does the extra 12 cents go? Primarily to healthcare and personal insurance, things to improve your quality of life and protect your future, something the poor simply can't afford.
DEMOGRAPHIC POLL Q #1
DEMOGRAPHIC POLL Q #2
© 2011 Scott Belford
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 04, 2020:
Thanks for the on-spot comments, Nate.
Just an FYI, the question I asked in my hub "Are Welfare Thresholds Too High or Too Low? What Does It REALLY Take To Survive In America?" is
What Do You Think is the Minimum Annual Income a Working Family of Three Needs to Barely Survive With Dignity In America Today.
A "working" family of three is two adults and one kid in Omaha, NE since I did not include a Child Care category.
I looked at your link to see how my results compared to what MIT came up suspecting that MIT did not have the Barely Surviving with Dignity criteria.
My before tax income to barely survive with dignity was $18.21/hr
MIT's was $23.31/hr. (They noted the poverty wage is $10.25)
That makes me feel good about the estimate the hubbers came up with since a "Living Wage" should be more than my "with dignity" wage which naturally should be higher than a poverty wage.
Thanks for the reference.
I also see it is time to update my numbers for 2019.
Nate on July 04, 2020:
@Scott I noticed in the comments here you mentioned an informal poll done to survey the livable income levels needed for a family.
For your reference, I'd offer that folks at MIT have done some really good data analysis on exactly that topic and developed a website that presents living wage information for different household "configurations" and locations. You can find it here: https://livingwage.mit.edu/
Also worth mentioning is the crowd that only refers to "welfare" when it's direct aid to individuals, but ignores "welfare" when it's tax credits for corporations or already wealthy individuals. We allow business to deduct expenses from gross income and only then do we tax net profits... We don't do that for an individual tax payer... So much of how our economy functions uses multiple sets of rules - with the most favorable applying to only a privileged few...
That said, interesting reading - thanks for posting!
bradmasteroccal on March 13, 2019:
"For the record, my political alignment is to confront any party that works against the interest of individuals, their rights, and their welfare (broadly defined)."
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on March 13, 2019:
Thanks for you comments, Nick. Actually, ACA did not guarantee insurance companies a profit. In fact, many lost money and dropped out. What you are talking about is reimbursing insurance companies for "upfront" subsidizing some of the discounts in cost the users, such as your wife, saw. Trump and the Republicans stiffed the insurance companies by not keeping their promise.
The "payback" your family experienced was in the law as well but apparently not very well advertised. I knew about it but so many people, like you, did not. They should have done a much better job of making sure people understood this.
What you experienced with your wife's raise is unfortunate but not uncommon with public assistance. I have never understood the concept of "thresholds". Instead, there should be phase out periods.
For example, I had an employee I couldn't give a raise to (I made it up other ways) because she would lose her housing subsidy; that is just stupid. But then there are programs like EITC which does a great job of phasing out its benefits as ones income grows.
Nick on March 12, 2019:
Any info on what the government paid out to insurance companies as part of the ACA guaranteeing them a profit? Or how about...my now wife qualified for a sizable subsidy based on her income level at the time. 6 months of the tax year, she had a 50 cent raise. Which amounted to 520 pretax dollars that year. Because of it, she had to pay back 78 percent of received subsidies, costing us (now married, filing jointly, and yes i ran the numbers both claiming her ACA plan and claiming her portion of premium as private. It was completely the ACA plan that increased our tax burden suddenly) an unexpected 3500 dollars come tax time. Yes it did save her considerably more overall, but an unadvertised 3500 bill because she made 500 extra dollars is insane.
Cristen Clark on February 23, 2019:
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 17, 2019:
How do you figure, Buster; what did I say about conservatives that wasn't true? If it is true, it is not propaganda is it.
For the record, my political alignment is to confront any party that works against the interest of individuals, their rights, and their welfare (broadly defined).
PropagandahBuster on January 17, 2019:
Are you a fact writer or a propaganda writer? Clearly bashing conservatives places you as not a fact writer but as a politically aligned propagandist. If you want to have your readership "believe" what you write then how about reporting it as news like the weather or traffic. I instantly stopped believing you once you bagged on any political party. What happen to solid journalism?
TJ P. on November 06, 2018:
Also I've seen many comments stating Republican states are receiving far more funding/aid than Democrat states. I'm curious to see that source as in total California represents ~20% of the population but 34% of welfare recipients nation wide. Low to high 10 states welfare spending:
New Jersey: $17.7B
New York: $65.6B
Lastly so many comments outright demonizing & clearly biased against Republicans making many statements that they ignore data/facts while doing that very thing themselves. What concerns me the most is how many clearly stand on the Democrat side at all costs doing nothing more than pointing fingers. The attitude that 1 party is wrong & another always right is dishonest. It's unfortunate that it seems few share my attitude that truth is truth no matter who says it. We all have bias but as a California resident mine is based on my experience watching the Democrat majority tear my state to shreds. Poverty & homelessness are rampant, nothing they have done has helped & in many cases has made things far worse. So often I hear how Democrats are the party that really cares about people but it's an illusion when you consider that people are no better off & actually worse for all their "efforts". States like Texas with low taxes have a surplus, less & less welfare dependants & aren't spending $40k/year per homeless person to deficate & leave piles of needles in the streets like SF.
If we actually want to solve these issues people need to judge the content of actions/intents based on their merit & stop valuing policy soley by the letter next to someone's name. Anything else is tribal & will never be effective, that is if said people genuinely want solutions. I honestly wonder sometimes :/
TJ P. on November 06, 2018:
Dion Sanchez commented that whites are the largest beneficiaries of welfare which is correct but failed to mention why.. They're over 60% of the population so everything else being equal whites would obviously be the majority. They list percentage of recipients by race, not per capita so African Americans are 39.8% of recipients & 12.7% of the population, whites are 38.9% & 61%, Asians 2.4% & 5% then Latinos 17% & 15.9% respectively, give or take. So where 100% would be an equal number of recipients represented per capita Latinos are 106%, Asians 48%, whites 63% & African Americans are 313% as likely to receive aid compared to their representation of the population. That being said I'm not sure what the motive in bringing race in & singling out whites but those numbers could be misleading if population is not also considered.
Anyway not every right leaning person thinks most recipients are lazy or gaming the system, quite the contrary actually, however the welfare system itself hinders recipients, has very much incentivised poor choices & in my opinion holds people back that could otherwise thrive rather than just survive.
As for finding better jobs & a shortage of low wage workers I doubt at all that would happen considering teen employment has drastically declined since 2000 & those positions making less than a "living wage" would be filled again by low skilled teens they were intended for. Sadly minimum wage has priced many teens out of the market preventing them from getting that 1st job as a stepping stone to better & they end up as adults needing help in the very situation we're describing.
What it really comes down to is skills, experience & the value someone brings to the market. Self reliance is crucial & making the sacrifices needed to increase your value to employers is entirely your responsibility. This from a single parent with nothing more than a GED, donated old computer & the neighbors WiFi who was able to learn a trade now worth $250k/year in silicon valley. While I certainly qualified then had I accepted welfare I have no doubt I'd still be scrambling on Christmas eve for $20 to buy gifts while telling myself going 2 days telling my daughter I'm not hungry won't be that bad.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on November 04, 2018:
Thank you for your input, Dion. At least, two of my employees are ones where "welfare" helped lift them out of poverty. Contrary to popular belief, neither liked getting public assistance and tried to get off of it as fast as they could.
Dion Sanchez on November 04, 2018:
Whites are the biggest beneficiaries when it comes to government safety-net programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly referred to as welfare.
White people without a college degree ages 18 to 64 are the largest class of adults lifted out of poverty by such programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The think tank’s 2017 report stated that 6.2 million working-age whites were lifted above the poverty line in 2014 compared to 2.8 million blacks and 2.4 million Hispanics.
When it comes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—the initiative formerly known as food stamps—the numbers look similar...
Just over 40 percent of SNAP recipients are white. Another 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American, according to a 2015 Department of Agriculture report.
Constance Royval on May 16, 2018:
Never have believed those receiving aid where ALL cheating the system. While a few are.it seems to be a blame game for those who refuse to take the time to research ANYTHING for their self and would much rather choose to worship at the feet of their idol of clay. The evil cheat,donnie boy. I have spent countless hours in study of he and his cohorts in crime. Been able to "travel" the globe in this endeavor. The depths of his corruption did not surprise me. While the connection to syndicated crime--THAT has proved quite disgusting. From ocean to ocean. From one National enemy to another,just how much money can one scum bag need. He will NEVER have "DADDY'S" approval-he is long gone.
scotty p on February 10, 2018:
welfare royals. My family of three (1 year old, wife taking care of, I'm disable but haven't had my case adjudicated. We recieve 4800$ a year. If I smoked ciggarrettes, I'd have to smoke less than a pack a day, nevermind, food, rent, medical, and Oregon is one of the better states for SS assistance. Welfare Queens. I tell you what, you could live on welfare in queens if you lived on the subway
Brad on January 31, 2018:
Welfare is only the tip of the iceberg. We give illegals, there was talk that the US had ten million plus of them. They get free education, not free to the taxpayers. They get free medical, not free to the taxpayers, in addition to welfare, and in california they get driver licenses, and we pay for their uninsured motorist.
We have legal immigrants here that can do and have done the jobs of the so called cheap labor illegal immigrants.
Yeah, CA is really great. One of the highest taxes in the Country, They just raised the gas tax and vehicle registration. They also increased the minimum wage. This also increases their tax revenue, but where do the businesses get the additional money to pay more in wages.
What is your point, it can't possibly be that the democrats are better than the republicans tax wise.
The both suck, and the result is that we have 540 billionaires in the US and 10.8 million millionaires after 2008. And Bill Gates double his assets since 2008.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker from Old Bridge, New Jersey on January 23, 2018:
As a casaulty of an unscrupulous former employer, when you hear a poster say, "Your income is your job," that is such a lie! Your income is not YOURS. I should know. I was an accounting manager who saw that employer do the skankiest things HE knew were flying under legal radar and the other employees didn't know.
He bought the company I already worked for as a tech writer 11 years after I began working for the original owner.
When anyone says they know everything their employers do, they are lying lying lying. This was the employer who once told another employer, "I can rip off my employees easier than I can my clients and vendors." And...rip off he did.
He would hire new, unsuspecting employees who don't go around mistrusting everyone on sight. He would tell them it was "profit sharing" company if they asked about wage increases. His version was no raises at all ever. Why? Because all he had to do was tell the employees there was "no profit." Funny how he managed to afford a new car right?
Those of us who worked for the old company were already in our late 50s. So the hotsy totsies who love to claim they know it all have NO idea how being over 50 years old begins the onslaught of much younger, differently educated, though mostly less job experienced, competition can be.
But I digress. If there was a hidden dime to be hidden, he found it. Every fiscal quarter, even though he was warned by the CPA who audited the books that making money from the interest on our payroll tax deductions was illegal, Mr. Know it All ignored it.
Our old company was somewhat insulated from his illegal antics. And there were only 3 of the major employees remaining, 2 VPs and me.
Not that he didn't get a fine from the SEC when he crashed our 401Ks because "he" decided having to pay a financial manager to oversee the 401K deducations went into the right accounts was a "waste of money" and never told any employee for 18 month we had NO 401K because it had crashed when he refused to pay.
We only found out when the oldest employee in his division had to withdraw money from the 401K and couldn't because it no longer existed. I was onto him and removed most of what I had in the 401k before the SEC fined him $70,000 for his taking 401K payroll deductions with no 401K to deposit them in but his own interest bearing bank account.
You have NO idea how slicky boy these CEOs can be. Later, in 2013 he got a huge fine for, as usual, refusing to adhere to EPA regulations. Another $75,000. Desperate to get that money as quickly as possible, he gave all of us 3 days notice and used the money he would have paid in wages to pay the fine.
None of us were surprised and most of us were already past retirement age.
There is nothing anyone can tell me about crooks that I haven't seen with my own two eyes. But, as a single Mom and an employee who learned not to trust any employer, I never needed welfare.
Life isn't perfect. Narrow minds always think it is. Sorry to burst your dream bubbles.
Alex on January 21, 2018:
Great article! Sadly I think very few people these days will be swayed by actual facts. Those that have a hard line opposition to welfare programs typically can not handle facts. Which, in my opinion, is the reason they usually have extreme misconceptions about welfare spending, immigration, employment, and economy. They would rather go off of emotion and the snowball effect that ensues after they start worshiping prominent conservatives and believing all the baseless propaganda that they spread, calling all other information "fake news" (it's funny how much the modern conservative acts like the "hippies" they once ridiculed.) Those on the other end of the spectrum will surely take this and distort it to their liking in what ever fashion they choose to attack the opposite side. Only adding fuel to the fire of partisanship. I really wish people would just use multiple sources (and check references) to come up with their own conclusion and stop all this he said she said bickering. Thank you for trying to keep as fact based as possible.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 17, 2018:
Wonderful summary, Eleanore. Goes to show hypocritical conservatives are; whining about "welfare queens" when that is what they are themselves; relying on rich Dem states to help their own poor economies.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker from Old Bridge, New Jersey on January 17, 2018:
Since I live in a state that contributes the most to the GOP states, I can debunk one GOP conservative theory about why Dem states like NY, NJ and CA all have higher taxes and therefore must have higher wages.
Consider this. Dem states get stiffed by the Republican Majority on their fair share of the tax revenues we pay to the fed. Dem states get an average of 55 cents for the $1 we pay in federal taxes.
Compare that to Republican states, not one of whom gets less than $1.34 and up to $1.87 for that same $1 in federal taxes. Which states are supporting which?
As for welfare, the bid lie of Republican conservatives is which states live off federal welfare tax dollars most.
According to federal statistics, MS ranks number 1, followed by several other GOP states in the top 10. More recently, the 2015 GAO reported that the number of minorities collecting welfare was exceeded by "poor whites" in Republican states like KS, IA, AL, KY, TN, GA and NC. Maine, a basically purple state, ranks in the top 10.
This is not the kind of report most Republicans dare admit to. But once you consider the whys, you see how Republican policies hold their own states hostage to poverty and lack of educational opportunities found in the highest taxed Dem states.
When Republicans spend 8 Obama years trying to mash apart anything that is "too liberal" by their too extreme conservative standards, all they do is rain more poverty on their own people. They do not hurt our Dem states in the least.
Consider what would happen if Dem states decided they had enough of having to support Republican states and withheld ALL federal taxes in their own state treasuries.
These Dem states would in NO time at all be flush with enough money to pay for SS, Medicare and Medicaid out of their own state treasuries. But, what would happen to the federal kitty that feeds all too much to Republican states?
For decades now, Republicans have relied on industries in their states to keep their people working. Most of these are long, long, long obsolete by world standards. Yet, the GOP politicians refuse to admit this.
When CA, AZ and NJ lead the country in the production of solar energy, already the electric and gas utilities are raising rates to compensate for the loss of market share. That should be a red flag to all consumers across the country.
But, you have leadership that wants all of us to go out and buy a coal scuttle, rely on coal for heating and cooling and then allow gas frackers to dig up our backyards when they run out of other places to hunt down their gas deposits.
The actual number of people on welfare who work as Walmartians is limited to these workers in Republican states. Why? Because Walmart doesn't get away with forcing employees in Dem states to file for welfare as an income supplement.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 14, 2018:
Susan, who are you asking your question of?
Annon, If you work, you qualify for EITC.
Also, with 3 kinds, if your household income is less than $31, 500/yr, the federal rules say you should qualify for food stamps; unless there is some reason your state is saying no.
If you are referring to the results of my survey that it takes about $36,000 for a family of 3 to live without cutting back on any of the basic necessities of life, that is the opinion of about 91 hubbers so far who took the time to give there opinion. If you want to submit your idea of what it takes to live, go to https://hubpages.com/politics/Poverty-What-Does-It...
Annon - While your anecdotal experiences may lead you to the conclusions you draw, more scientific studies come to different conclusions. This article, while not research itself, nicely summarizes the many myths about welfare and welfare recipients. https://groundswell.org/7-lies-about-welfare-that-...
Susan on January 14, 2018:
I just read your comment that our tax dollars do not pay for some of these government expenditures. Just where does that money come from? The government does not make money - there is no income producing activity other than taxes. All the money government has comes from taxpayers. Even if you consider civil asset forfeiture - that is money from taxpaying citizens. Please explain.
Annon on December 29, 2017:
My yearly income total is about 23,000 per year. I do not qualify for any assistance other than medical for myself and 3 kids. To say someone who makes 30k a year and gets food stamps is still not able to pay for health insurance is assanine. Also not sure what state still gives ppl fs if they make that much. I pay in monthly bills about 900 but before I moved in with my dad I was in low income housing paying 500 in rent alone and that was based on my income and no food stamps. My total bills at that time were about 1300 a month with car and ins pmtm, daycare groceries and electric and water. To say someone can't live on less than 30k and not have fs is about the stupidestthing I've ever heard.budget your money and sacrifice the phones and cable and internet. That will save about 300 a month right there.
Joseph Marra on December 28, 2017:
The article doesn't match what most Americans see when they go to the store. Also in PA. the benefits given to people on welfare adds up to 60,000 dollars. That's what an assistant DA makes after going to law school. welfare used to be for single mothers, now its a way of life. I worked with people that were on welfare and worked with me. For the most part they have no work ethic. But most of all if they make to much they rather cut back there hours and receive more from the government and work less. also there wages are affected by workers (mostly illegal) willing to work for less. Build the wall (stop illegal drugs and immigration) then work on ports of entry. Merit based immigration and include some retooling of work skill sets and participation in order to collect . We need to help these people feel like part of our society non a sub-group. Go live in the front lines and see what actually happens and stop making excuses for a failed way of life. Education, hard work and an opportunity should be the way we change the culture not political points.
Any time you write an article with a bunch of numbers it means you are trying to paint a faults narrative. Can't be fooled again!
My Esoteric on October 08, 2017:
My guess is Anne G. is talking about the Earned Income Tax Credit which can, and is in fact designed to, pay more in a refund than the amount of withholding taken out. It is a form of public assistance work the working poor.
In fact, an expanded EITC would be preferable to a minimum wage since it doesn't have a downside regarding economic growth. Where does the money come from you might ask? It still comes from business owners and the wealthy, some of which results from more profits from expanded business opportunities from not having to pay a minimum wage. (As workers become scarce for the same reason, wages will increase.)
To me, it is a Win-Win.
Linda L on October 05, 2017:
I am really curious how Anne G. who wrote in 10 months ago believed that a single mother with two children earning min. wage would be able to get a $9000 tax return when her total income would be $13,500 a year if she were making $7 an hour. and thats if she is not sick or takes days off. I really would like to know how this is possible so I can get in on some of that. Lol.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on September 09, 2017:
Actually, Eleanor, it is just the opposite; I am not demonizing welfare but instead showing that the Right's irrational opposition is much-to-d0-about-nothing. More specifically, I try to point out that means-tested social welfare programs make up a small percentage, relatively speaking, of your tax dollar; especially given the enormous good it achieves in spite of its faults.
Looking at this state-by-state answers different questions and is not pertinent to my thesis here. If I were to do a comparison of which states do a better job at supporting its citizens, then the points your raise become quite important.
I do agree with much of what you assert, such as white Americans, by-and-large, would not take the jobs filled by immigrants, whether they get welfare or not, at the wages they accept. But I do disagree with the stereotype that the coal miners want their coal mining jobs back; they don't. What they want is retraining into jobs that aren't dying like the coal industry is (retraining that #LyinLoserTrump is taking an ax to).
My Esoteric on September 09, 2017:
Actually, Eleanore, I don't try to demonize welfare at all. If you read it again, in its entirety, you will find the point I am making is that very little, relatively speaking, of the federal budget goes to "means"-tested social welfare programs. Pointing out that the Right's irrational attacks are much-to-do-about-nothing.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker from Old Bridge, New Jersey on September 05, 2017:
The article tries to demonize welfare without pointing out "which" states get the biggest helpings of welfare, phony SSDI claims and welfare to avoid states paying unemployment.
Mississippi is No. 1 in states that get the lion's share of welfare. If you review the facts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), you see that all of the top 10 states, with the exception of NO. 10, Maine, are Republican states.
At some point, it may be time to force Republicans in Republican states to admit that their states are forcing Dem states to worker harder and longer just to pay our own Dem state taxes and to afford to hand over 65% of every US budget to Republican states either for welfare or some other program.
Another look at the GAO data reveals another factor, that many in these Republican states simply do not do what other states are forced to do: Create jobs. And why should they when it is easier to sit back and accept welfare checks for generations?
The allusion that only minorities collect welfare is inaccurate. In the southern and midwestern states, the number of whites on welfare far outpaces minorities. The reason is simple: Minorities will take jobs as migrant workers, in slaughter houses, as maids and busboys, all jobs too good for the high and mighty whites in these states.
Instead, they fight for a return to coal mining and other jobs that decades ago became obsolete. Whose fault is that they cannot see the handwriting on the wall?
At present the state of TX, which has always been bigoted where minorities are concerned, is struggling to fill jobs just as the Agri states are. Why? Because their Republican constituents refuse to do "slave labor" out in the hot sun for 8 to 10 hours every day.
But then, these are the migrant workers and minorities who get the blame for their laziness and joblessness.
Who's stopping them from taking the now vacant jobs all those undocumented workers are forced to leave?
All I know is that Dem states are getting fed up with trough feeders in Republican states who think life is a bowl of cherries and then toss everyone but themselves the pits.
Melissa on August 12, 2017:
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on June 28, 2017:
I'm sorry you have such distorted view of how the world really works but that isn't the way it really is.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on June 22, 2017:
Most illegal immigrants pay taxes - http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/19/news/economy/undoc...
Illegal immigrants qualify for extremely few benefits - http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/03/can_undocumen...
Illegal immigrants commit less crime than native born - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/trump-illega...
Further, immigrants, including illegal ones, power economic growth in America because that is the ONLY source for continued population growth, one of the two factors in long-term economic health (productivity growth is the other). Native born births fell below replacement levels decades ago. (So, if you want to decrease reliance on immigrants to grow the population, you, and many other native born women, need to have more kids; a little more than one child per woman on average ought to do it)
Jamie on June 21, 2017:
I agree in helping others. Generational welfare is actually happening more often then one might think. Not to mention illegal immigrants here now receiving benefits they have never paid into. Receiving help through welfare in a country they have no contributed to. They is a fine line between enabling people and helping them. There should be a cap on the amount of time you can receive help, the amount of money (regardless of number of children), and mandatory drug testing. Period!!!
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on May 18, 2017:
BJ, let me work on that.
BJ on May 17, 2017:
I wish Table 1 had percentages of total tax revenue or another way to display it as I have an extremely hard time understanding it. Is there a way it can be revised and depicted as a pie chart or a dollar bill split up. Much easier to discuss with folks that claim all their tax dollars go to 'lazy people.'
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on December 03, 2016:
Thanks for reading and commenting, Anne. I attempt to account for the entire federal budget, both receipts and expenditures. Without taking a closure look, my guess is the Earned Income Tax Credit (which I am guessing that is what you are talking about) is included in Mandatory spending. That said, it could be a reduction in total receipts. In either case, you should end up with almost the same answer. (The denominator is different in each case by a small amount.)
Anne G on December 03, 2016:
As a tax accountant, I wonder if this analysis includes the money transferred via the tax code to the poor? For example, it would be typical for a young mother with 2 children who earns minimum wage to get a tax refund of about $9000 dollars, most of which is not an actual refund of taxes paid.
Scarily, the new tax plan proposed by the GOP would essentially eliminate this money (which, I assume, is how they are getting a zero revenue effect while giving the wealthy a huge tax break). The effect on our most vulnerable citizens would be devastating.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on November 24, 2016:
Thank you, I try hard to remain as you describe but, unfortunately, I don't always succeed and occasionally let my frustration show. Thank you also for your referrals to ... whatever these are.
YouHaveMyRespect on November 24, 2016:
To My Esoteric:
I do not believe I have ever witnessed such grace and equanimity as I did reading your replies to many of the comments posted on this page. To have not only kept your temper but replied to such (in some cases) bitter, angry, and argumentative posts tirelessly and without rancor was amazing to behold, especially when certain posters lost their temper over your rational and well thought out responses and resorted to shouting at you (as though that made their point more valid). For that alone you have my undying respect and I intend on referring several people I know to your hub or blog or posts, however you choose to classify them.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on October 23, 2016:
Your comment was very understandable, Mr. J Jr; thank you for making it.
M J jr on June 08, 2016:
We live in a crazy world run by greedy people..It is legislated by the same.Democrat And Republican.Until money is taken out of government Nothing will change. And I mean Money With regards 2 lobbyingOn both sides of the aisle. They take money left and right so they can advertise to be reelected. They tell Through their Constant CommercialsAnd Billboard advertising.The cold calls etc.Both parties do nothing but Pander toWhoever And or whatever Person Corporation PacThey can bring money from. I heard that the Koch brothers we're going to spend 900 million This year on contributions 2 Both The left and the right..? Why? So they can get their favors when legislation needs to be passed In order for them toContinue their Endeavors.. They both have more money then They could ever spend. And I do give David Koch Just a slight nod for supporting public TV and Nova programming Which I really enjoy. But then again They are rich pigs You want nothing More Then everything. We live in a Financial world With infinite possibilitiesFor those who have the means 2Try and achieve Infinite wealth However We live in a planet Which is finite In its resources And its ability 2 Sustain 7 Eight nine ten Etc billion people..Death By A Thousand Cuts.. :-( I apologize 4 Poor grammar AndPunctuation. I love her voice to text is my only option Do to A medical condition.I hate The waist Of theMilitary industrial complex I also hate the waste of those who use Social Programs.Maybe you know someone who is overly rich Then maybe you know someone who is struggling To get by With Assistance.This country America Comma Used to be The United States Of America.. I'm not sure what it should be called Anymore?As for the people who hate I did not always need help. I Used to Do ok Making 70 280 Thousand a year. I wish I couldPay taxes again... Comma HahahaBut seriously I would As long as 60% of it Would not be sent Across this planet to kill and maim In the name Of The United States of America. Thank you For listening And in this case reading
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on May 15, 2016:
Your English is better than many who write here on Hubpages, don't worry. Also, thank you very much for taking the time to read what I write; it makes the effort feel even more worthwhile.
I listened to a lecture not that long ago that spoke, in part, how different parts of the West view "social welfare". While the differences were striking, they did have a common core. He broke it down this way, there is the Nordic version, Middle Europe (including England) version, Southern Europe, and finally the American version. Each reflects their own unique social and political history. Europe has a common history and America, to some degree, reflects a rejection of at least the political history and probably social history as well; in fact, it is that rejection which is why we exist at all (with help from Germany and France).
Our embracement of the enlightenment, of liberalism with its focus on the individual has led to our unique form of social welfare, based on the concept of the "rugged individual". Because of this, and a human's general inability to take the time (or lack's the inability) to see nuance, are the forces behind America's rather draconian approach to social welfare. The rhetoric has finally devolved to a point where at least 20% of our society accept "social Darwinism" as being the best form of American society. That view scares the hell out of me if it is ever successful in the long-term.
"Fairness" is not a concept the social Darwinist understands however I am not sure I agree with your lead into the topic - "I can't understand how people can be morally okay with it that rich kids have it so much easier for anything. “Life is not fair“ ..."
From our point of view the rich kid enjoying the rewards of their parents hard work (or good fortune) is not to be looked down upon or become jealous over (but envy, yes). Many rich earn it honestly and have every right to take advantage of it so long as they aren't limiting anybody else's liberty. It has nothing to do with "fairness" at all.
What IS unfair is if society puts barriers in the way of others achieving the same rewards through hard work and natural talents. That is one of the two great debates in America - whether the Federal government has the duty, the responsibility to mitigate of remove those barriers. Conservatives and old-school liberals say "no", enlightened liberals say "yes".
The second great debate is what to do with those who are artificially held back and are suffering as a consequence. Again, our Right-wing says the gov't should do nothing and most everybody else says the gov't should do something.
Much to our Right-wings chagrin, even the framers of our Constitution felt that the rich should pay more, basically, as you say, out of fairness.
Zerberus Tbh on May 14, 2016:
Today I found this Site by pure chance but have to say I really love your Hubs and the comment sections.
I have just spent a good amount of time reading this roman that is called the comments and learned tons of new things.
All of that hasn't much relevance for me as non American, but I just love economics and consider this a good Saturday.
I can't understand how people can be morally okay with it that rich kids have it so much easier for anything. “Life is not fair“, yeah well why don't you fight for making it a bit fairer? I really consider someone who thinks fairness is unimportant as bad person. I mean isn't it normal to think so?
And I know it's not possible to get EVERYONE on board with such ideas and as long as there are humans there will be bad people like the Koch Brothers - On big CEOs I also have my cents -, but like you already said, one bad apple doesn't ruin the bunch. I think one important step for every country is to tax more based on what you have and what you earn and reconsider the idea of getting as much as people are capable of doing so, not entirely rich people can be rich, especially if they done something for it, but, getting to my opinions on CEOS as well, Nobody needs several billion dollar. If we consider everything you can buy with money as money for a moment. Imagine it, now look at the Forbes list of billionaires and look at normal family (and if you are brave to the third world). Now you can answer yourself who is responsible on the long shot, not as person but their ancestors and the capitalistic system as it is, as it is, among st other things, responsible for imperialism which caused most of the problems that they have in third world countries. Therefore, I don't think you can blame all rich people, but they should take a bit of the responsibility that they don't get worse.
New concept, all money suddenly gets to stuff you can buy with money, in Africa etc. People still die, they won't feel change, but what happens with the mufti billionaires? I can't even think what to do with so much money and they neither. They just having it for making it more, as their purpose. Everyone can have his own purpose in life but with the concept now you see that because they have so much stolen, generations ago but still, from those exploited countries like, India, Africa, and have all that money now the people there don't even have the possibility to get it. It isn't like there is getting more money on earth, even when a government prints more, it doesn't get more. The numbers and the paper get more but the value stays the same Therefore these concepts are not far off reality and its no proof for the fault of billionaires but a really good reason to say they should take responsibility.
And here a link to an other hub in which Quilligrapher explained nicely with source why I think rich people should pay for welfare out of fairness, like a tax on their exceptional opportunitys for which they didnt't do anything for.
I hope my English didn't get too rusty in the weeks of school break and my head didn't go crazy jumping between different sentences I wanted to say
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 08, 2016:
So you think $375/month out of annual earning of approximately $11,000 is too much to pay to keep some of your fellow Americans alive? Especially given the fact that if management paid their lower level workers at the same "ratio" that they did in the 1960s and 70s, the cost to you would be much lower since fewer people would be on public assistance since they would be making a living wage once again.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 08, 2016:
Well, let's see, 10,658 = 0.02% of the people have been investigated, 1,001 = 0.002% were indicted, and 824 = 0.001% convictions; that is as near to perfection as you can reasonably get, don't you think?
Did you know that somewhere around 50% of the known attendees at Koch's 2009 bash of billionaires who met to plot the overthrow of the newly elected Obama have been investigate, indicted, or convicted of at least one major crime (from the very well sourced book, Dark Money) that cost the American public more than all the Medicaid fraud in one year put together? THAT is something I would worry about.
teamrn from Chicago on February 07, 2016:
"According to recent numbers there are more than 58 million people that receive coverage through Medicaid. According to 2011 statistics there were a total of 10,685 fraud investigations and 824 convictions from 1,011 indictments. –"
This is sourced, https://getoutofdebt.org/47479/welfare-and-benefit... and facts substantiated, but I do need to point out that convictions have been declining. There must be no doubt about this.
However, I agree with Sean that there exist some abuse, which should concern all Americans. We have not been completely successful in eliminating the convictions for fraud and abuse, and those abuses are as he described.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 22, 2016:
Actually, no I haven't; it happens so rarely that it is hard to notice. What I do see are young military families and otherwise hard working Americans stuck in low paying jobs (because their bosses keep all the money, whether they earned it or not) that require them to get food stamps to put food in their kids stomachs.
Sean on January 22, 2016:
Also. Have you seen how easily people exploit welfare? Selling their foodstamps for 50 cents on the dollar in exchange for cash(they used to sell the foodstamps directly when they were paper, now they go shopping together) , simply not paying their utility bills all year and asking for a voucher to pay it off. While we are helping so many we are also enabling and destroying so many. If not on a financial basis, reform is still needed. Going to the doctor 2 times a week because it doesn't cost them anything. There are unmarried households who keep their significant other private from the system, and pretend to be paying rent to their significant, when in reality the significant other makes around 90k a year plus the rent payment from section 8.
Sean on January 22, 2016:
Why so many tables and charts? You made it pretty clear in the first chart that Medicaid and Welfare assistance make up 25% of our budget. 12.5% and 12.5% You broke it down into cents on the dollar, but when you pay 1500 a month in taxes like I do, figure thats around 375.00 a month . ( Assuming your numbers are correct. I have seen many reports that are all different from one another. Including the website of the treasury itself )
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on November 03, 2015:
Thank you for your comment, Toni.
Who I "demonize" are those of you who paint EVERYBODY who receives assistance as "taking advantage" of the system. I do not demonize those who put the blame where it belongs ... the SMALL percentage of recipients who ACTUALLY DO abuse the system. That means I agree with that latter group. But, using 1, 2, 10, 100 anecdotes to characterize a group of millions is simply wrong and extremely biased. You would convince me if you presented verifiable studies that show abuse ranges above 20%,
To-date, CBO still says Obamacare is saving money. Headlines from a conservative paper even say so, even though tilt of the article is to the Right - http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/23/ob...
Looking at it from the opposite end, repealing Obamacare would swell the deficit by billions - is that what you want? http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/obamacare-re...
Your cellphone example shows that you accept Right-wing propaganda at face value without checking the facts. See - http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/cellphone.asp
Now, I do agree with you that the recovery is not felt everywhere; thanks to ever growing income inequality, those who manage those who manage the people who produce America's Goods and Services (senior executives, in other words) receive most of the profits resulting from those who work for them leaving very little for the rest of us.
Foreclosures always happen and are at normal levels unlike the aftermath from the Great Recession of 2007, which began one year before Obama took office.
Unemployment rates are now down to 2008 levels and participation rates, while falling, are still well above historic lows and higher that the rates in 1978.; so I don't understand your comments about unemployment which simply state what is normal.
Toni on November 02, 2015:
Ok, so you show that less goes to welfare programs than some believe but there are a few things you neglect. First of all, your bias is obvious when you demonize people who are sick of welfare. I am such a person because I see people who take advantage in ways you would not probably even believe. One example is a family (not married to increase money they get) who gets $2,100 a month in food stamps, SSI for 3 kids, TANF, Sect 8 housing, free cell phones for everyone in the home, huge assistance paying their electric and gas bills, free diapers and changing pads, WIC, Medicaid for everyone in the family, free breakfast and lunch at school for all of the kids, and free therapy for their "special needs" children. I figure they are bringing in almost 6 figures. And don't even get me started on the free education, books, etc that they are offered. This is the norm in their neighborhood. In the bigger cities, we see this a lot. I see it every day. So, while the country as a whole may not have huge welfare numbers, big cities are welfare holes that just keep growing. I'll bet if you looked into where the people you poke fun at are from, you would see they live near cities with massive welfare issues. Most of the people who have a problem with welfare are middle class people who fought for everything they have and just want welfare leaches (NOT the people who need it for short times) to do the same. I'm tired of being demonized for expecting people who are able to work to do so.
Second, you neglect to add in the other costs associated with welfare like the dramatic increase in healthcare costs due to Obamacare (my family's when up 60%+ over the last 3 years). THAT is another form of welfare we are paying for. Oh, and the tax added on to cell phone bills to pay for the "less fortunate" to have cell phones. And don't forget the amount all of our bills go up (gas, electric, etc) due to them giving free or reduced services to the "less fortunate". Your above post is very one dimensional in regards to these other fees/taxes/etc we pay to cover the "less fortunate".
Third, once again the "recovery" you claim is NOT present everywhere. I continue to see people lose their homes and go without jobs for months and months. These are people with degrees who apply for upwards of 20 jobs a week. So, maybe some areas are in recovery but I would wager there are a ton of areas that are not.
I could go on but I think there are enough holes in you post to make it into swill cheese.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on August 03, 2015:
You are not mistaken, Teamrn. The "countable assets" is $2,250 for most families and $3,250 for families with at least one member being over 60 or disabled. Countable assets includes, theoretically, autos although most states exclude 100% of them anyway. But if they don't, then the first $4,650 is excluded from fair market value of all vehicles.
Also, my figure of $30,000 for those who might still qualify for SNAP is right only for family sizes more than 3.
teamrn from Chicago on August 01, 2015:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but (approval for SNAP) is dependent also on how much you have in your bank account. I think you must meet income requirements AND there needs to be less than $3ooo in your savings, checking or other assets
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on August 01, 2015:
Thanks for your read and comments, Johnooo. You start by saying "one thing wrong with your analysis, and it is something nearly everybody forgets." I think I know what you are suggesting as the "one thing"; but I am not entirely certain. My guess is the thing being forgotten is "... Most who claim the minimums above do very little for themselves."
Regardless of whatever it was, the issue I have with the above claim is the use of the word "Most". First, a point of clarification. The results of the survey, which I think reflect reality" are almost double what the "official" poverty rate is. This means full public assistance is provided to families who make half that amount, and then it begins to taper off until the only assistance that may be provided above the $30K/yr income level is food stamps (now SNAP).
Back to "Most". I really doubt that is the case and that the word "Some" would be more indicative of the real world. The news media and talking heads are to blame, I think, for the idea that "Most" is correct. The news media is unwittingly at fault because they only report the abuses, and rarely the exceptions of people "making do". Of course, it is only the abuses which the reading/listening public find newsworthy. Talking heads, most (not some) of which are on the far-Right, promulgate that term because it fits the narrative they want you to believe. Since the talking heads are preaching to the choir, they aren't changing any minds, just reinforcing notions people already want to think as true. It is the media's focus on "bad" that forms public opinion ... in this case that "most" people receiving public assistance are lazy bums and won't help themselves.
Of course, I have no problem with your suggestions, except the automobile and plumber ones. I think of myself as a pretty smart fellow and can learn many things, but repairing modern automobiles isn't one of them. When I was a kid or teenager back in the 60s, individuals could fix their cars with a few tools; today, you need computers (that aren't found in libraries) As to plumbing, most people in need of public assistance don't live in their own home and more than likely live in apartment buildings (which I bet is the case of PBS story). Unless the plumbing problem is the flushing mechanism itself or something a plunger can take care of, the repair is also beyond the capability of a non-professional and is probably the responsibility of the landlord in any case. Also, I think you took the PBS program the wrong way. Given the liberal bent of PBS, I would think their point would be "why, in a country as well of as America is, would people be forced to carry around and dispose of the their own feces?" In Haiti, I can understand that might be necessary because they don't have plumbing in the first place, but not in America. It is just not in, in my opinion, America's moral fiber to force any citizen to do that.
The other problem with the "Most" characterization is numeric. To qualify as most, the percentage must be at least above 50%. So, given that in 2013, 50% of American households earn less than $35K/year, you are implying that at least 50% of those households (or 25% or more of all American households) are families who don't feel like it is necessary to do something to get out of their squaller. That sort of boggles the mind, doesn't it, that such a huge percentage of Americans are "Free-Loading, Indigent, Ought-to-Get-a-Job Americans"
Perhaps you are correct, I don't know of any studies which looks at that specific question, but I seriously doubt it and would need proof that it is true.
A note on capitalism. Historically, regardless of economic system, meaning over the last 300 years, "Slow" growth is less than 1%/year. Since after WW II, slow growth for capitalism is less than around 2%/yr. Unsustainable fast growth is above 4%/year. Most of the time between 1950 and now is spent growing between 2.5% and 3.5%, with spurts for a few years at a time above that level; especially in the 1950 - 1970 period; and even few years below that level during recessions.
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on July 31, 2015:
First let me say that you have done a notable job arguing that welfare burden is nowhere near what arch right wing conservatives say. There is only one thing wrong with your analysis, and it is something nearly everybody forgets. You say, "FIRST, LET ME POINT OUT THAT 49 HUBBERS, if my sample is representative of them, think that the minimum amount of money a family of three living in a typical Mid-West neighborhood needs to barely make it is between $32,000 and $38,000 (see Poverty - What Does It Take To Survive). Then consider that the average family disposable income for those with children who receive public assistance is only $30,582/year."
With capitalism being accepted throughout the world, slow growth is all that the future will bring. If people want to increase their standard of living, many folks are going to have to learn to provide more for themselves expending less. Let me explain. Most who claim the minimums above do very little for themselves.
I am not trying to emphasize indolence here. It is a fact. If the air conditioning fails (lucky to have it) call the repairman. Same for the car. Same for the toilet. Same for food. Same for a leaky roof. Same for torn clothes. Same for broken furniture. And, on it goes.
Folks must realize that they need to put their backs into changing their lives - not the government. Example: Can't afford a writing table? Go to a thrift store and get one for $5 and refinish it. Can't afford clothes, the same. Can't charge the freon in your AC, learn how. Don't know anything about automobiles, learn. Can't afford cable, cut it. Watch free tv and get that kid to mount a TV antenna. Can't afford a TV antenna, look on the internet and find out how to build one. Don't have a computer, go to the library. Get that 16 year old boy who wears his pants below his crack to learn something. I watched a PBS program siting how bad things were in a black neighborhood. The toilet didn't work and she had 3 sons of working age - they used plastic bags to catch feces and then dumped it. Message to Earth, the inner workings of a toilet are not rocket science! I could go on and on, but I can already hear the hoots from the gallery, so I won't. This is the only answer; it is only going to get worse.
teamrn from Chicago on June 07, 2014:
If, indeed Jefferson said that (and i'm not doubting your source), think of the thousands of laws that have been passed with liberal appeal which would be overturned. There is no way that the ACA would survive 17 years of scrutiny of the amendment process.
However, I'm tired off this off-topic discussion, soI'll have to meet up w/ you at a different post! Later, My.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on June 04, 2014:
My personal source was Alf J. Mapp Jr., " Thomas Jefferson: America's Paradoxical Patriot", Roman & Littlefield, 1987. I don't know page because I didn't take notes and I am not going to reread it. However, a quick search of the Internet found the original source:
"Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of nineteen years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right. " -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:459, Papers 15:396
Now, how about your source for your assertion about how he felt regarding the Constitutions adequacy.
BTW, a President can't interpret nor change the Constitution although Jefferson tried in not letting Madison sign Mr. Marbury's commission Adams gave him to be Postmaster as the law required. This, of course led to Marbury v Madison where the principle of Judicial Review was established by upholding Jefferson's actions by finding the Federal law unconstitutional.
Nor can Congress "change" the Constitution; it can only interpret its meaning and pass laws within its framework. Neither can the Supreme Court "change" the Constitution; it can only review Federal and State laws in light of the Constitution to make sure the laws fall within the limits allowed by the Constitution.
But it is that process of interpretation which allows the Constitution to be malleable and adapt as the future unfolds. That was the point of Jefferson's 19 years. He moved off that point because he understood the flexibility of the Constitution.
teamrn from Chicago on June 03, 2014:
Who said the Constitution was meant to be changed generation to generation? Our country was mean to LIVE by the principles laid down by the Constitution.
You said it all right here"...Jefferson was once of a mind it needed to rewritten every generation or so, but by the time he became President, he figured the current process offered enough change...." HE FIGURED THE CURRENT PROCESS OFFERED ENOUGH CHANGE.
#1 Was Jefferson originally thinking that each generation should change the Constitution? If so, did he tell you? Of course not. The timing is slightly off. Please source this.
The fact that he felt the current process offered enough change and that was his final verdict says that he felt that the Constitutional amendment process as laid out, was MORE than adequate. Otherwise, he'd have changed it when he was in office.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on May 31, 2014:
Yes, the Constitution was meant to be changed, but it was also meant to be interpreted as each generation came and went. In fact, Jefferson was once of a mind it needed to rewritten every generation or so, but by the time he became President, he figured the current process offered enough change.
If you read Madison's notes, the only contemporary record of the Constitutional Convention, it will be immediately clear the Constitution was designed to be an admixture of specifics and generalities; the Constitution is the poster child of the art of compromise. The Preamble, which lays out the purpose and duties of the Federal government is very general in scope when it talks about Tranquility, Justice, defense, Welfare, and Liberty; none of which are defined anywhere. In Article 1, Section 8. Clause 1, Congress is authorized to levy taxes and other revenue sources in order to provide for 1) the common defense and 2) the general Welfare of the Nation. The remaining Clauses expand upon or add to, but do not limit Clause 1. (While you might think they do, no Court has ever ruled that they do.) Once again, the terms common defense and general Welfare are nowhere defined and are left up to each succeeding Congress to define.
Further, because of Madison v Maybury the Supreme Court set in concrete its ability to provide Judicial Review of laws passed by Congress to make sure they do not violate the Constitution. Both Conservative and Liberal Courts have abused this privilege, over the years (mainly Conservative Courts mainly because Liberal Courts have only been around since the 1930s.) Normally the most egregious of these decisions, like the "separate but equal" ruling, ultimately get overturned, changed by Amendment (such as the one being introduced in the Senate to overturn the Citizens United and similar decisions), or a correction to the law.
#3: yes I do, that is in my make-up as an INTP, I can't help it. By doing so, I have had my mind changed many times. For example, before my research for my hubs on gun control, I, like many others leaning Left, thought that more legal guns on the street means more violent crimes (as a category); those on the other side think it reduces violent crime. As a matter of fact, after I finished running the statistics, I found it has no statistical impact at all. Consequently, I changed my mind.
teamrn from Chicago on May 31, 2014:
I have to simmer on #1. But:
#2. "Also, the fact that you mentioned the Amendment process is a dead give-away that the Constitution was on meant to be a "living" one""
The Constitution was meant to be CHANGED as needed; BUT it was meant to be difficult so to do, as evidenced by the amendment process. Not back door executive orders or legislation from the bench (as in the SCOTUS), but actual amendments to our Constitution that are approved according to due process laid out in the Constitution.
#3 "When I review an issue, I look at it from the opposite end" But, do you look at BOTH sides of a discussion; or THREE or FOUR sides?. I don't see evidence that you've weighed all sides. But, I've seen the twinges of 'my mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts.' to make me believe otherwise.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on May 31, 2014:
Hi again @Teamrn. good to hear from you and of course I have responses.
1. Actually, it is not material whether a person who receives welfare assistance is honest or dishonest relative to where the money goes, (it is relevant, of course, as to whether they get it all) , therefore I am not sure why I added that adjective. In any case, there are only a few things you can do with a dollar that was put in your hand; 1) you can spend it on goods and services, 2) you can invest it, 3) you can use it to pay off debt, or 4) you can save it. Given we are talking about people on assistance, then it is reasonable to assume their needs are immediate which means investing and saving aren't realistic choices.; that leaves spending or paying off