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 debt. Now, here you have a small point when we talk about paying off debt. to the degree they use assistance to lower their debt burden, then that money does not go back, directly at least, into the economy. So you give me a percentage of the assistance dollar the recipient will use to pay down debt, and I will subtract it from my 100%. What will be left? A number large enough to support the point I was making anyway.
2. After you read (or listen to) the biographies and autobiographies of Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson as well as read Madison's Notes from the Constitutional Convention along with the Supreme Court decision of Madison v Marbury, you will have no doubt as to the accuracy of my assertion. 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.
3. Everything is an interpretation, but I have done a lot more than learn a few facts; I probably have enough hours of college level lectures over the last four years under my belt to get a BA in Early American Political History.
Everybody has preconceived notions, including one of the great conservative icons Buckley. The question is, can a person change their notion as new information is presented to modify their fundamental nature. Buckley and I could never see eye-to-eye because I believe in egalitarianism and he does not. Buckley would believe "It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise" (from Russel Kirk's 'Ten Conservative Principles), I would not.
These are firm beliefs, not open for rational discussion from either side. So when Buckley reviews an issue, he measures it against these and other conservative principles where the individual is secondary to the society. When I review an issue, I look at it from the opposite end that the individual is superior to society. Because of that, opposite conclusion are often drawn.
In formative America, you had the same division. Men like Adams, Franklin (especially Franklin), Jefferson, ultimately Madison, Washington and many others held the individual (although for some that did not include Blacks and women) to be more important than society as a whole; these were the people who signed the Constitution. You had others like Hancock, Henry, Mason, and others, all just as important in securing our freedom from England, who took the society of individual view; that is why they opposed the Constitution.
So yes, that is my interpretation, but I am in good company.
teamrn from Chicago on May 31, 2014:
Dear My; Wow, it's been a LONG time! Same issues:
you made a statement (well, you made MANY and we disagreed on some, agreed on others), but 3 statements I can't forget:
#1 "100% of one of your tax dollars that gets in the hands of an honest welfare recipient goes right back into the economy creating demand." HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS? Who DETERMINES who is an HONEST welfare recipient and a dishonest recipient, and how do you know that EVERY penny goes back into the economy? Why not one pack of Hostess "Twinkies?" Yes, they put money into the sales and healthcare-obesity and high cholesterol- but in general that purchase is mostly markup.
#2. "No, my friend, instead of being a dead document, the writers fully intended it to be alive and well; adaptable to furture times and circumstances." How do you KNOW this? Did the framers whisper this in your ear? Did Thomas Jefferson send you a letter stating the he INTENDED us to make the changes? You do know that a. changes have only been seen to be made LEGALLY 28 (or is it 29) times in 230+ years. And b) to make LEGAL changes requires that we follow the amendment process (which I think is that 3/4 of the states vote YES to a proposed amendment.)
#3. doesn't this seem a bit VAGUE : "Instead, what seems to me more reasonable is that they meant it is the role of gov't, the federal gov't in this case," What SEEMS to me to be more reasonable. That is you interpretation. You also say that you consider yourself a bit of a historian. CONSIDER YOURSELF-you know a few facts. But knowing a bit can be dangerous. You need to know it ALL to know the WHOLE picture and that means looking at an historical issue from BOTH sides with no preconceived notions, and then (and only then) making up your mind which is fact. This is why William F. Buckley parsed his words so carefully.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on May 30, 2014:
Actually all 9 cents goes to those who need it. The funding to run the bureaucracy that manages the various programs are appropriated into different pots, depending on the organization responsible for the program.
Jerome on May 30, 2014:
But now the big question. of that 9 cents, how much actually ends up in the hands of the needy and how much is spent on the giant Bureaucracy to manage it, and the waste, fraud and abuse of the system? I'm betting less than 10% actually gets to those in need
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on October 27, 2013:
Thanks for the comment Chris, but what does the Bible have to say about the well-off stealing from the poor (or poorer in Bernie Madoff's case). How many people who worked for corporations like Enron or Global Crossing who lost their life savings and were driven into the poor house by their illegal stewardship. Or, how about the 10s of millions of Americans laid off from work and forced on the "compulsory" gov't dole because of the the nefarious activities of a few dozen Wall Street financial institutions (none of them were Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, btw) and dozens more around the world?
Does the Bible say "let all these poor people starve to death" because there are not enough Good Samaritans around to pick up the load? I think not. If not the Good Samaritans, who then?
Chris on October 27, 2013:
It's not about not believing in being our brother's keeper. It's about being FORCED to do it by Government. But since you brought up Christianity, here's what the Bible says about charity:
2 Corinthians 9:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
"not reluctantly or UNDER COMPULSION". Seems to me that being FORCED to give to charity via taxes is UNDER COMPULSION.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on September 06, 2013:
Paul, you are welcome and thanks for following me.
open to inputs on September 06, 2013:
Thanks for your thoughtful, substantive and useful response to my admittedly complex question. I'll continue to follow your hubs w/ interest....I'm glad you were my first engagement with this site. Best, Paul
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on September 02, 2013:
@Teamrn, I appreciate you popping back in. CEO and the like have a business plan that pay out a percentage of the companies profits in bonuses, stock options, perks, dividends to themselves, stockholders, management, and employees. There is also that portion kept within the company/corporation for reinvestment.
Beyond that left for reinvestment, which, in a new company may be almost all of the profit, little of it filters back in as "reinvestment" back into that company. Any of that cash that is spent on other companies stocks and bonds, unless it is the form of start-up investment or new issues, is just trading paper between people with no real benefit to the economy except in terms of cash flow.
There is no doubt, much of the money spent by your CEO does go back into the American economy, but not 100%, not even 90%. If I had to guess, it is down around 60 - 70%. And this isn't even talking about corporate welfare.
Most corporate welfare has long outlived its original purpose and is now a gift from you to the corporation. Again, if I had to guess, you might see 40 cents of that welfare dollar come back to you in the way of new demand in the economy.
On the other hand, 100% of one of your tax dollars that gets in the hands of an honest welfare recipient goes right back into the economy creating demand.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on September 02, 2013:
Thank you for finding me and your thoughts, @Open. You ask an extremely complex question with tons of moving economic parts, especially on the corporate side.
On the flip side, from the social standpoint, the impact on the economy and the social fabric/conscience is pretty straight forward. The easiest is the choice between letting people starve to death/steal to survive/become a beggar society like in third world countries or, on the other hand, have some sort of federal and state social support program; the multitude of great depressions from 1815 through 1937 proved that good samaritan work from religious and other charitable organizations were not cutting the mustard. All of that is a societal moral and ethical choice.
Once chosen, then the cost can be considered. In the former, "let 'em starve" case, there isn't much of a gov't cost other than the additional cost of fighting the crime resulting from the third-world type poverty created by the "do nothing" approach.
If the gov't does something, then money is transferred from those who pay income taxes to those who are poor and don't pay income taxes but do pay other type of taxes. What happens to this money? It gets immediately reinvested back into the economy creating demand and supporting the job infrastructure whether directly by providing employment to the recipient or simply from the demand created by the expenditure.
The INTENT of corporate welfare is to 1) start new industry, 2) keep current industry going through temporary hard times (just like social welfare), 3) to fight foreign price supports, 4) keep prices down, 5) stimulate production, etc. Most of these measures are supposed to be temporary, but they rarely, if ever, are.
These welfare payments are also wealth transfers from taxpayers to, in this case, needy or not-so-needy companies and corporations. The problem here is that, unlike money given to the poor, only some of this welfare cash goes back into the economy creating new demand, or as sometimes is hoped for, new investment. A lot of money is goes into unproductive expenditures (at least for the American economy) such as foreign purchases and investments, loan payoffs and the like. So from this point of view, Corporate welfare is worse than social welfare.
teamrn from Chicago on September 02, 2013:
My Eso dear! I've not read this hub for a long time, but my feelings on the uber-wealthy CEOs are that, yes, many don't reinvest extra cash into their businesses, but the majority do.
Considering the CEOs who do not reinvest money in their businesses and I used to think of them as the 'bad apples' of the 'group.' Now, I realize that those CEOs may be buying bigger and better houses, boats and cars, keeping the construction workers and autoworkers employed full-time as there is now a greater demand for their services.
The same CEOs who instead of reinvesting profits in their businesses; tend to indulge and invest in themselves. What do they do when they invest/indulge in themselves? They buy Lear Jets (keeping plane makers busy, and makers of nuts and bolts employed), airports busy (the planes need to land), so the workers in the goods and sundries shops that dot the airports and the TSA workers continue to have jobs while the employees in the airport shops (books, gadgets, SkyMall services-EMPLOYED.
Most CEOs reinvest in the business. Even if the investment is as small as making one part-time worker, a full-time employee who reeves benefits, that is taking ONE person and his family (of 6?) of assistance rolls and making him/her self-sufficiency.
open to inputs on September 02, 2013:
What a great hub! Came across this terrific discussion searching for some data to formulate a response to a hunch a friend of mine had that "subsidies to corporations and farms contribute 50% more to the US economy than any social welfare did...ever." My hunch is thats dead wrong but any insights or data you might be aware of relative to this claim My Esoteric - would be welcome. I’m not finding much in the way of data to precisely determine ROI comparatives between social welfare and corporate welfare that either confirms or refutes my friend's hunch. What is clear to me is that poor welfare recipients, who are predominately women, children and the elderly (and yes, some people that are able-bodied, lazy and arguably “undeserving” ) – ALL recipients of social welfare are means-tested, limited by eligibility requirements and time limits, have work requirements and sanctions. At the same time, large corporations -- with directors and executives who are predominately wealthy white men -- receive billions each year in corporate welfare through subsidies, tax breaks and outright giveaways with little accountability, public scrutiny, time limits and without regard to their wealth. Again, so glad I found this thread in the virtual wilderness of thoughts! Keep it up!
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 20, 2013:
Annie, as to the large corporation executives, since they run the those corporations, my statement comes from simple observation and a lot of income disparity statistics; I have several hubs getting into why I feel such disgust with these people; the same kind of disgust we both hold for that small part of the population of poor, and sometimes not so poor, who use gov't assistance but can be considered social welfare panhandlers. (the biggest non-empirical example of wealth social panhandling is the financial industry and their portion of the several causes of the Great Recession of 2008.)
So, from your remark "I do feel that it is found in small proportions ..." I gather you agree the problem (currently) isn't as widespread as your previous comments imply to me. As to "... that are now leading to unhealthy proportions in the US.", I must ask what you consider "unhealthy proportions"? at the moment, the largest possible percentage of those drawing assistance of some type, it appears it can be no more than 10%
teamrn from Chicago on July 20, 2013:
No, I don't think the me, me, me, me, mostest, bestest, gimme, gimme and gimme more attitude is found everywhere in the US. I do feel that it is found in small proportions that are now leading to unhealthy proportions in the US. As far as I can tell, this can only lead to disaster.
We can learn from history. That attitude was so present in Greece that when the gimmes coulnd't get any more, there were riots.
When you say "most of the large corporation executives,", do you mean that they are amongst the gimme, me, me, me group? I believe that a FEW of them, but by and large, they'er more givers than takers.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 19, 2013:
I have no use for the "me, me. me" attitude any more than you do, Annie. The difference between you and me is you seem to think that attitude is ubiquitous in the U.S.; I don't. Beyond a small percentage of assistance recipients and most of the large corporation executives, I can't find any evidence your "common sense" view is reality.
teamrn from Chicago on July 19, 2013:
I wasn't referring to theCBPP at all. It seemed that you were directing the comments of 'since I have some, why don't I take it all?'
I find that attitude, the attitude of if a little is good, more is better and I'm ENTITLED to more, to be reflective of the downfall or morals in this country, I was making a commentary solely based on your comment and not referring to the CBPP r any other entity.
I'm not looking at numbers from the CBPP or another organization, I'm looking at numbers from the center for common sense, Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 19, 2013:
Annie, how does "That is PRECISELY what is the matter with this country; people saying, "gee, if its' ok to have some cake, why not take as much as I can get (because I want it) and the people who don't have any cake be damned."-" square with facts, which are:
- "To add a bit to my comment, according to Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, a full 75% of assistance recipients are the elderly and disabled.
Further, if you consider the 2010 benefits for entitlement programs which went to people who were elderly (65 or older), disabled (receiving Social Security disability benefits, SSI disability benefits, or Medicare on the basis of a disability; then those receiving assistance increase to 90%!" -
Where is the "whole enchilada" in those numbers? Are these moochers you are referring to the elderly and disabled which consume 90 cents out of every assistance dollar. Are these the "me, me, me" people? If not, who exactly are they?
Or, are you saying that 100% of the remaining 1o cents which goes to people on assistance are of the "me, me, me, everything for me" variety. Personally, I don't think so: I think there are a few bad apples in that group who you think represent virtually all of those on assistance. I just can't see how that is so.
teamrn from Chicago on July 19, 2013:
My, I've been meaning to respond for days, but each time got distracted. I'm expecting a phonce call any minute so I can only address:
"Annie, I am afraid you prove my point, although I have always wondered why you can't have your cake and eat to. If you can't eat it, why have it?"
Do you mean, since I've already been granted disability, why don't I want more?? Gimme, gimme, gimme? MMMMeEEEEE, Meeee, Meeeee? All for me?
That is PRECISELY what is the matter with this country; people saying, "gee, if its' ok to have some cake, why not take as much as I can get (because I want it) and the people who don't have any cake be damned."-or the people who have worked HARD for their cake should give me a substantial part of theirs.
That's the attitude too many display and I hope you sincerely don't mean what I interpret you to say, because what I interpret you to say is that since I've been given a disability, I should be entitled to the WHOLE ENCHILADA. All of yours, some of others, some of everyone else's until we all have the same.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 18, 2013:
Well put, Sanzuary, thank you.
Sanxuary on July 17, 2013:
Interesting, I wonder what is paid to imaginary bankers whom we pay interest on the deficit and Corporations who pay less then 1 percent of the 35 percent Corporate tax rate? Just as interesting is how much we pay to receive Social Security and other benefits and still get granted the title of being a free loader. Yet we put people in jail for petty crime while Big Ponzi steals your investments that are still taxed into worthlessness.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 14, 2013:
To add a bit to my comment, according to Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, a full 75% of assistance recipients are the elderly and disabled.
Further, if you consider the 2010 benefits for entitlement programs which went to people who were elderly (65 or older), disabled (receiving Social Security disability benefits, SSI disability benefits, or Medicare on the basis of a disability; then those receiving assistance increase to 90%! Do any of those people fit in your paradigm of lazy people living off of the system?
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 13, 2013:
Annie, I am afraid you prove my point, although I have always wondered why you can't have your cake and eat to. If you can't eat it, why have it?
Anyway, back on topic. It is the following quotes from what you wrote that lead me to say what I do.
- "They ought to be providing for themselves" (speaking of 26 year olds on WIC)
- "Eventually the psyche of the enabled, decides that someone else will always provide and what do they need to lift a finger for? "
- "But, I can see how some see that, "gee, this is the life. I do nothing and someone pays me."
It is those kinds of sentiments with which I disagree with so much because all of these assessments are a broad brush indictment of virtually anyone (including yourself, almost) who receives assistance. Your implication in those kinds of statements is that the vast majority are loafers and users. I have never been able to convince one person on the Right that this belief that the either 1) the vast majority who receive help are as you describe them or 2) that a few bad apples means the whole system needs to be discarded.
Obviously, I think one or the other of those mindsets are ubiquitous among those on the Right and not the Left. I live in very conservative rural North Florida and there are very few of the people I know, including most of my wife's family and those who work for me don't hold one or both of those positions, just as I stated them. Just as obviously I don't think either of those mindsets very credible.
Most of what I read about those on state help of some sort, or from conversations with those who are, tell me or lead me to believe the vast majority on assistance feel exactly as you do Annie, when you said "But, there's no work that I can do and I'm a little ashamed to be on the dole."
It is those two mindsets that I suggested which I think is the bigger problem, the blind belief that, regardless of the external environment, 99.5% of people "... ought to be providing for themselves" The fact is that is not reality. 95% is not reality either; maybe when we get to 90% does it become real. Having said that, I just read a conservative blog which asserted that, according to the Census Bureau, 49% of Americans receive some sort of assistance. This includes Medicare and Social Security (retirees), unemployment (out of work), veterans benefits (soldiers), and so on. On the other hand 35% earn less than $3000/mo for a standard family. Poverty level is around $2,000/mo for a family. There is something wrong here, it seems to me.
I hope you receive a lot of intelligent comments rather than indignant ones.
teamrn from Chicago on July 13, 2013:
I only had time to skim your post, My, but it is the last paragraph that seems to have grabbed me. Are you saying that the right holds the philosophy of 'let the indigents suffer' as long as I have cake and eat it too?
You wouldn't subscribe to that philosophy; why do you think, WHAT makes you think that some of your fellow man do? I'm aghast at the thinking that the right would dispose of humanitarian aid, aid to those in need, they'd also (to borrow a tired phrase) 'throw Granny off the cliff.'
Did it ever dawn on you that the members of the right have Grannys? That some members of the right are indigent (me and millions of other Americans). We have mothers and fathers that we would no sooner sell down the river, children that we want to see benefit from the WIC and other programs?
We just don't see the need to pay for the 26 year old to be given WICs benefits (just an example) or health care benefits? They ought to be providing for themselves and that means having a Mom and Dad teach them in the first 20 years of life that they're no always going to be able to count on someone else to keep them comfy. That is enablement at it's worst and it ALWAYS backfires.
Eventually the psyche of the enabled, decides that someone else will always provide and what do they need to lift a finger for? At some point, when the church can no longer provide and their friends WON'T (or CAN'T) they turn to the government for help and the government's business is to GOVERN.
Not to care for the people who want to see a play, but don't have the money to. I haven't seen a play in years and when I was single in Chicago, this gal lived the life of first run shows, etc. But that's not my reality now. So, that's a lesson of life that I learn, a lesson that there is a school of hard knocks.
The more we try to shield people from that school, the more we try to pretend that it doesn't exist and that everything is 'honkey dorey ' the more disservice we do to people.
I was even (at one point), doubting if I should receive entitlements. But, there's no work that I can do and I'm a little ashamed to be on the dole.
But, I can see how some see that, "gee, this is the life. I do nothing and someone pays me." The thing that many people don't realize, the pay isn't enough to get along on, so it lure and enables people into drugs, gambling, prostitution, or other ways etc to supplement the small amount that they get from entitlements.
I expect to receive a lot of indignant comments about my comment, but I dashed it off quickly and from the top of my head. I'm sure there are typos abundant, but the gist, the spirit of another way of though is there and I believe/trust is clearly written.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 07, 2013:
Very well stated, @Teamrn, I appreciate the thinking behind it. It is 11 PM so I will answer just one of your questions, mainly because I can copy a quote from President Grover Cleveland, a Bourbon Democrat, the forefathers of today's Minimal State Liberals (which most of those who think of themselves as Conservatives actually are). He said, in his veto message of a farm aid bill to help drought-stricken Texas farmers. in the middle of the 2nd worst depression in American history:
"I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."
It is that philosophy which I hear coming from the Right since 1990, and it is a philosophy, which if it actually were our governments practice once more, would make me sad to be an American for it flies in the face of everything I thought our country stood for.
teamrn from Chicago on July 07, 2013:
Dear My, no, all assistance should not be cut off because of a few bad apples, but I believe we should scrutinize more effectively those who ARE bilking the system. Though it's likely a small number, many a liberal friend has accused me of NOT caring because of my association with the republican party; which does have members calling for elimiation of handouts.
Granted, they don't call for the elimination of THAT particular handout and it is not known for WHAT REASON, someone votes yay or nay on a bill. Let it suffice to say that anyone who votes against legislation to help those who can't help themselves are called non-caring throw grandma off the cliff, conservatives. Well, that is language that this country doesn't need and conservative voices are speaking up against that kind of 'guilt by association' or guilt by "I think I know what he meant!"
"The question is, does the giver, the federal or state governments in this case, have 1) the foresight to build in the policing mechanism that is fair and 2) the resources to do the policing, especially in declining budgets"
Of course they don't. We all have to get leaner, and learn to live on less and if that means my Social Security Disability salary has to be cut, I have to understand that. I may not like it, but I'd disrespect a government more who chose to borrow another $100,000 million that it doesn't have to implement such a program, because as much as $100 million may not seem like a ton of money (to the government) once they fund a law, they have to keep spending and spending and spending and soon the $100 million becomes $1 Billion and we've got a problem on our hands. Why not take the easy way out and think long and hard about spending the $100 million in the first place, because they will become union jobs, which will command tremendous retirement packages that we have to hour because they've become contracted.
Still, republicans who look askance at this kind of expenditure are accused of not caring about the poor and the downtrodden. HOOEY.
As far as your statement, "there are many in America who don't believe it is the government's duty (state or federal) to help its citizenry at all in time of need;" Who are they? Name a few. Not only would I be curious as to WHO, I'd be more curious as to the reason WHY. So much is said to be of help at the time of need, that lines have become incredibly blurred. Government has no business funding the arts. That's a luxury that can be done effectively with private monies.
GOVERNMENT/TO RULE. Where is it actually written that bouncing around in a too-too or singing or dancing and making that available to the people, is a function of government? I want to hear chapter and verse from the Constitution. And the commerce clause ain't going to cut it, nor does it come under general welfare.
Because times have become soooo rough,
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on July 03, 2013:
@Brian, thank you for your story and comment; I am sorry you have been afflicted with this terrible disease. There are also sorts of stories of abuse both by recipients, like the lady you describe, and the gov't in making it unbelievably hard to receive needed benefits, such as with my sister-in-law.
As long as there are people, there are going to be people who take advantage of help offered by others and effectively make a joke out of it; that is simply human nature. The question is, does the giver, the federal or state governments in this case, have 1) the foresight to build in the policing mechanism that is fair and 2) the resources to do the policing, especially in declining budgets. Another question is whether the lady you mention represent one tenth of one percent of all recipients, 1%, 10%, or 51%, as some would have you believe, of all recipients of assistance? At what level does it become uneconomical to pursue? .1%, 1%, etc.?
Should all assistance be cut off because of a couple bad apples? There are many in America who prefer that answer; if fact, there are many in America who don't believe it is the government's duty (state or federal) to help its citizenry at all in time of need; one of the most famous ones was Bourbon Democrat (read conservative) President Grover Cleveland.
Those are the kinds of questions the implication of your story bring up in my mind when thinking about the problem of abuse of the system.
Brian on July 03, 2013:
Hey. I personally am on SSDI food stamp, and let me tell you looking at people who get into this program is appalling even from my perspective. I have a BS in chemistry and got a job as an engineer right out of college. Things we fine for about a year and then my mental health started to fail into what would eventually be schizophrenia. I took a break and decided to get help when I fell so far as to being fired from being a cashier I also know someone's mother who have the same benefits as me who while getting government aid is trying to flip a house and it infuriating, because this person is obviously fit for work. I'm currently learning how to leave my house without being overcome by paranoia while this other person is just working for themselves, taking government money, and will get off of it only when she makes a huge profit.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on March 02, 2013:
Annie, your first para is about right in all regards, you were politer than I would have been about that snowball.
But, as to the last para, yep, that is what I am saying (having just listening to 24 hours of lecture on the subject and doing even more research).
Individual rights, as we think of them from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and the others from the enlightenment period from whom our principal founding fathers (the 55 white men in Philly, Jefferson, Adams, and others) drew their inspiration for the Consititution is the basis of Liberalism ... by definition. Liberty - Liberal - Libetarian, etc.
Edmund Burke, and English parlamentarian and philosopher is thought of as the founder of modern conservatism. His views were modernized by such conservatives as Russell Kirk, "The Conservative Mind" and William F. Buckley Jr, "The National Review" believe in, among other things that , "3.A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize "natural" distinctions;" a view rejected by those who believe in individual rights. That belief in class distinction is fundamental to being a Conservative (or a Socialist, for that matter) and is opposed in its entirty by liberals; classes/factions have no place in the philosophy of Liberalism.
teamrn from Chicago on March 02, 2013:
Yes, If Americans want to progress to socialism, they have the RIGHT to try, CONSTITUTIONALLY. It is built into the Constitution as the amendment process. This process was made intentionally difficult, but does exist. I think 3/4 of the states need to agreee to amend the Constitution so that we become a socialist state; I give that a snowball's chance of passing, but that's the ONLY way it can legally happen.
You state, "liberalism (individual rights)" What does that say about conservatism? Are you suggesting that in any way, conservatives do NOT believe in individual rights and liberties? That somehow, liveralixm has that one 'cornered?' Pity that you believe that I want less for my mother and children-than you do.
For this post, thats all I answer now. All I can stomach. Annie
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on March 01, 2013:
If ultimately the People wanted to " ... progress to a socialist form of government ..." should have the right to try, that is why America is all about liberalism, i.e., individual rights. Now the fact that socialism would require a rather major change in structure and the fact that liberalism (individual rights) and socialism (class rights) are like oil and water may present a rather substantial obstacle to that ever happening is a good thing. But, nevertheless, if that is the new contract the People want to sign with each other, so be it; I wouldn't support it, that is for sure. (You do know that America almost went socialist ... they came in second or third once ... back in the 1800s during the time when income inequality, the lack of income mobility, and the power of corporations were at its maximum. Those three events are again present today, starting in about 1982, just not close to the same levels.)
Today, the fight isn't between socialism, that is dead in America, but liberalism and conservatism (also, like socialism, class-based. not individual based.)
BTW, that ol' flaming progressive T. Jefferson thought the Constitution needed changing once every generation, which he then sat down and calculated down to one decimal plance. Fortunately, in his old age, he decided the peaceful, periodic change in government was sufficient "revolution" to satisfy his desires.
More seriously, most Americtion: close
Cookie: buid=Cion needs any radical change, other than the occasional amendment you mention; but, as I said, its authors did intend for reinterpretation of their rather fuzzy words t0 happen from time to time.
teamrn from Chicago on February 28, 2013:
Oh, no, I don't think the Constitution is clear with everything and that is why in the first line of my post I indicated as much. The Federalist Papers were a good indicator of the disagreements. I don't know how highly accurate, but I imagine plenty, or the film, "John Adams" wouldn't have won the acclaim it did. (No, you're preaching to the choir, when you try to convince me of harmony-other than everyone was willing to drop some difference to come together. Gee, that could be done 200+ years ago, but doesn't work now.
I think healthy disagreement is good.. But people who want and who think the United States was meant to progress to a socialist form of government should have no home here. I've long felt that we ought to have diffeing political parties,, but NOT POLAR OPPOSITES. when it comes to the form of government. I've not read more than the first line of your post and I can say with a degree of certainty that the citizens of this great nation will never embrace a socialist form of government,. If that;s what I wanted, I'd go to a country that's like that
Nothing short of government based on the Constitution.
The making of recess appointments; the Constitution allows for that, but not for the extremes that it is being taken to now. "Give an inch, and too bad someone's winning to DATE A WHILE.)
I'm not so sure where you get the idea that I feel that Constitution is clear and is a dead document. It's very much alive, and it IS WHAT WE HAVE TO WORK WITH,
Too many progressives feel that this 234 or so your old document needs updating. NO, We can be governed quite well with a document that hasn't been updated, because iin what direction will they 'update; it. Will they want to take a got? You know the answer to that as well as I do.
We are governeed by that document anne what I said is that anyone who does not want to be gobernemt by that document THE WAY IT IS WRITTEN (or where it gives avenues for dispute-like an amendment process) can LEAVE.
We can disagree and their should be healthy civil discourse, but to try to change the Constitution or circumvent it is a shame.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 28, 2013:
Happy to have you back. So you liked my irony, eh? Lol. You may think the Constitution is clear, precise, and immutable, the 55 white men in Philadelphia who wrote don't agree with you, not even close; just a quick review of Madison's journal on the Convention makes that perfectly clear.
Jefferson, who wasn't there of course, but is one of our iconic Fathers thought a Shey's type rebellion was needed to refresh the Constitution every couple of generations or so; fortunately that was a typical Jeffersonian hyperbole but his intent was clear; the Constitution is not, cannot be immutable. He firmly believed what was written by yesterday's dead great men, has no meaning to today's citizenship; in other words, he thought the Constitution needs to be rewritten every so often.
Madison, sometimes thought of as the author of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (I don't quite agree with the former) makes it clear in most of his letters and speeches that he did not view the Constitution they created as the be-all and end-all in its final formulation. Instead, he fully expected the Constitution's interpretation to change with time as new knowledge became available and new societies emerged. All he wanted to do was provide a framework where this change can happen peacefully and with due consideration from the People.
As to the Constitution being exact, if fails in this regard right out of the chute; Madison had to write the Bill of Rights to convince enough anti-federalists to support a new, much more powerful central gov't. Further, there was so much argument over what the Constitution meant, it almost wasn't ratified even with the promise of the Bill.
Further, just with the 10th amendment, where Madison made sure the word "expressly" was not included; there has been a 200+ year fight over whether its ghost is there from all of the erasures each time he took it out. It wan't until about 1909 when the Supreme Court finally realized that word wasn't actually part of the amendment as in "... the powers not [expressly] delegated ...". It is not an accident that particular word was omitted.
No, my friend, instead of being a dead document, the writers fully intended it to be alive and well; adaptable to furture times and circumstances. That flexibility! is why it still survives as the oldest, longest living Constitution in the history of the world.
teamrn from Chicago on February 28, 2013:
Dear My, just when you thought you were rid of me, I'm back, just like a bad disease! Your response to Hannah and cicerone, "So, your solution is to limit individual liberty to choose the kind of gov't the society wishes to live under, be it socialist, conservative, fascist, or the current republican form?"
My solution to our debacle is NOT to progress towards anything. Nor, is it to embrace socialism or facism. Our country was founded as a Constitutional democracy and basically, my view is (and I may sound cold here), "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, LUMP IT!"
If your sole disagreement is with the interpretation of the Constitution; stay for a little while. However, the Constitution is pretty clear in what it says and doesn't leave much open for debate.
The Constitution doesn't need to move or modify. People who don't feel the need to abide by the Constitution's letter, can darn well move. I hear Denmark is a nice place and so is Sweden and Switzerland. These are the people who feel that they'll make a difference here. Gee, you don't go into marriage expecting to change your partner, is there some reason when you chose a country, that is fair game?
We have what we have and rather attempt to improve upon what is nearly a perfect document, (which has only bee modified a few times since inception), I believe that people who differ from it, should shop for different shores. What's that television show, LOVE IT OR LIST IT (Love it or leave it!)
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 28, 2013:
So, your solution is to limit individual liberty to choose the kind of gov't the society wishes to live under, be it socialist, conservative, fascist, or the current republican form? Are you saying that the People have no say? That some divine being will establish the People's form of gov't?
Are you also saying the 16th Amendment is the result of a Communist plot instigated by Marx? That the amendment ratification process is an undemocratic socialist contrivance to rob the People of their liberty?
Since abolishment of slavery is "not-found-in-the-constitution" then, slavery should be permissable at the federal level? Same question about marriage not between a man and a woman, the federal gov't should be silent on that; or having kidnapping across state borders being a federal crime, that should be a no-no to because the Constitution doesn't expressly grant the ferderal gov't the power to make that a crime? (I don't think you can find the words "kidnapping" anywhere in the Constitution can you Cicerone?
If course it goes without saying, there should be no FAA, controlling the sky or FDA protecting our food supply, or anything else but a post office, Army and Navy (no marines or Air Force for those are not expressly mentioned you know), a patent office, and a few other odds-n-ends found in Article 8, Section 1.
When you think about it, there is very little expressly contained in the Constitution, I wonder why those 55 men in Philadelphia bothered to begin with if all the People wanted was the original Articles of Confederation?
cicerone on February 28, 2013:
Christian Charity? Charity comes from the heart of one individual toward another. Christian Charity is not manifested in or by redistribution of a compulsory authoritarian welfare state. The analogy is fallacious and disingenuous. Isn't using Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto Progressive Income Taxes to carry out Christian Charity violating the (not-found-in-the-constitution) "separation of church (Christianity) and state"? Why isn't there a separation of Socialism or fascism and state? There would be a greater case to be made for that.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 22, 2013:
Thank you Hannah.
Hannah on January 22, 2013:
I like this article! Welfare is a tricky subject to me because of the stereotype of freeloaders but in college I could only work so many hours a week and I received food stamps to help make ends meet so I take offense at that notion.
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 14, 2013:
Thank you very much for your comments, Blackjack; yes, it is lonely in the South for people with our perspective.
blackjack57 on January 14, 2013:
To the author, thanks so much for writing this article! I am passing it on with great delight. As well thanks for your other thought provoking commentaries and opinions. Reasonable and logical observations such as yours are seemingly becoming rarer and rarer in this world we live in.... especially for someone like me living here in the "gun belt" south. Thanks for making my personal beliefs and outlook seem a little less "lonely" !
Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on December 31, 2012:
It is no less a glorious, sweeping assumption than saying it is a "spending" problem, now is it. Further, unlike conservatives, I offered a bit of logic that can lead to such a declaration; tha conservatives haven't, they simply say so and expect people to believe them.
There is nothing "assumed" about the minority party standing in the way of economic recovery; that is from empirical evidence. Concervatives consistantly used the filibuster to block Obama's and the Democrats initiative; even in the few instances where there was bi-partisan support in the Senate (meaning McConnel didn't or couldn't filibuster the legislation) such as for the Transportation Bill, the tax rate bill, etc, the House tabled it. Virtually every piece of legislation that came from the House that might have helped came with social cuts they knew the Dems couldn't stomach, and those that came bereft of a social loss of liberty, were terrible ideas such as the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill.
There is nothing wrong with trying to defeat the President who is from of the opposite Party, unless that is your sole objective and you will use the health of the country as one of your ploys; and that is exactly what the conservatives did.
I am not particularly fond of Liberals myself, they often use the same tactics as the conservative extreme, but, at least in my study of history, never to the brink of national calamity as this group of extreme conservatives have proven they like to do. One reason for that, of course, is the Democratic party is made of conservative, moderate, and liberal elements, unlike the Republican Party wich is 97% extreme conservative.
teamrn from Chicago on December 30, 2012:
I love the way you make these glorious, sweeping assumptions like, "In reality, it IS a revenue problem,." Who died and went to heaven making you the judge and jury of WHAT IT IS??
I'm too stupedfied at the rest of your post to comment, other than you know I don't agree with your again sweeping assumption that the minority Party didn't get out of the way and let Obama do what he wants. "Instead, what did they do? Whine for four years about out of control spending, which, of course, has its roots in history, and blindly concetrating all of their efferots to defeat Obama."
Bringing to the attention of Americans that there is a hugely unsolved problem with the debt-is hardly whining. I'll ignore the roots in history (before I have a cat with a crocheted tail) and blindly (?????) wanting to defeat Obama.
Wanting to defeat Obama is an admirable goal if you don't agree with his policies and he showed us his stripes VERY EARLY ON, so that judgement was made of Repblicans for four years. What about Harry Reid's tabling every bill the Repbulicans offered from the House or refusing to let them come up for a vote? I read and know that each side has been up to it's eyeballs in mayhem and by each side, LIBERALS are included in 'each sides.'
None of this 'lily white' crap. I'm not pointing fingers as much as I'm opining out to our resident historian that there ARE two sides to every story, to quote Willie Nelson and Dyan Cannon...
And who says that taxes are too low? I'm taxed to death and will be taxed more because of OC. But increasing tax rates on the wealthy. TO WHAT END?