Posts Tagged ‘welfare’
Is our political regime fated to whither away?
Are political regimes fated to decay and die away, as everything in nature is?
Back in the eighteenth century, men in England, France, and the United States conceived of a new type of regime that would prevent the tyranny of the absolutist monarchies that reigned at the time. They put their hopes in a balance of power between various institutions of government, and in the periodical recourse to election to purge the system of excessive corruption and entrenched power. The democratic form of government established on those principles would work wonders for over two centuries.
But now, in its third century of existence, it is producing dysfunctional and potentially self-destructive forms of governance. The United States has been deadlocked in the monumental issue of its budget deficit and entitlements, unable to cut spending or raise taxes. . . .
Read more by Camille Pecastaing at Hoover.org
The sad truth in the USA, as we explained in great detail here, incentives to ‘work’ are increasingly non-existent. Thanks to a never-ending stream of benefits from the great and powerful Oz, as CNBC’s Rick Santelli notes, Disability payments (of which there are 14 million people covered in the US - none of which count towards the unemployment rate) pay around $13,000 per year (versus $15,000 for minimum wage work). However, Santelli exclaims, the people on disability get healthcare; and this program costs the US $300 billion per year. Is it any wonder that only 1% of those who were on disability in Q1 2011 have left? Santelli comments, “I’m not saying there aren’t people that are on disability that shouldn’t be, but much of it is illnesses like back pain… it’s a judgment call,” adding that, “without incentives, large issues go …totally unfixed.”
Always ask The Magic Question: What gets rewarded?
Food stamps, welfare, Medicaid and other tax and transfer systems can sometimes penalize people for earning that extra dollar of income
Economists and many policymakers generally agree that our tax and transfer systems should promote opportunity, work, saving, and education rather than consumption. The problem is these programs often penalize people for earning that extra dollar of income. Rather than promoting work and savings, these implicit taxes punish such otherwise positive behavior.
These penalties occur in TANF (formerly welfare), SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), Medicaid, the new health exchange subsidy, Pell grants, student loans, and unemployment compensation. The tax code also is loaded with disincentives to work, save, and study.
Read more by Gene Steuerle at csmonitor.com
It’s one of the most fundamental political questions of our time: What’s driving the growth in government spending? And it has a relatively straightforward answer: first and foremost, spending on health care through Medicare and Medicaid, and other major social insurance and entitlement programs.
But I thought it was worth reviewing the evidence in a bit more detail. There are a few surprises along the way, some of which liberal readers might like and others of which will please conservative readers.
The Web site usgovernmentspending.com has an abundance of data on federal, state and local spending at different points in time. My focus will be on how government has been spending its money in the present and the past, rather than evaluating any future budgets or projections.
Read more by NATE SILVER at fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
–SNIP– One of the central weaknesses of radicalism is that radicals seem to lose track of the causes and foundations of the things even they value. They don’t understand that peace is always and everywhere the end result of superior firepower, improved health the result of greater wealth, wealth the result of hardheaded and often greedy business dealing, and liberty deeply linked to a specific concept of man’s relationship to God. They never consider that it may at least be questionable whether the cornerstone can be removed without the structure toppling over.
Conversely, one of the central weaknesses of conservatism is that conservatives see all too clearly how every good thing we have is linked to everything else. They can trace in a moment how any change in the system might lead to disaster. Expand the definition of marriage and civilization falls. Raise taxes and end up in chains. Allow women to vote and government will become an all-embracing over-protective mother state infantilizing the population. Okay, maybe that last one’s true, but you see what I’m getting at.
So in the interest of letting a little light into the room, and with a full realization that our president is doing a bad job, the congress incapable of stopping him, and the media protecting him with coverups and lies, let me list three positive trends that might transform our country for the better in the next two years.
Read more by Andrew Klavan at PJmedia.com
As a young boy I was shot by a man whose clear intent was to kill me as I had deliberately, by throwing broken bricks at him, interrupted his attempt to rape a young teen-aged girl, allowing her to escape. To this day I can still see the evil in his face and the sun glistening off the barrel of the pistol he aimed in my direction. As I turned and began to run away he fired hitting me in back. The bullet entering my chest felt as if someone had hit me with baseball bat followed immediately by an excruciating burning sensation as I fell to the ground from the impact. Perhaps it was the adrenaline, but I was able scramble to my feet and run as far as I could until finally passing out from the shock and loss of blood. Fortunately, someone came to my rescue and took me to a military hospital and the first step on my journey to the United States.
According to the current incarnation of the American left, who traffic constantly in victimhood and noble intentions, I should be in the vanguard of the mandatory gun control and confiscation movement. That somehow it was the inanimate object this soldier was holding and not him that was responsible for the attempt on my life or to ignore the fact that his mindset was such he would have used any weapon at hand to accomplish the same goal.
On the contrary, I own a handgun today because of the experience of coming face to face with the evil that permeates some men’s souls.
Read more by Steve McCann at AmericanThinker.com
We are being played; it’s time we learned the game.
Conservatives have their Constitution. Progressives have their Narrative. The current battle for America is between these two concepts, and each side uses different rules to fight it.
One set of rules is consistent with an unchanging objective: limited government and individual freedoms. The other side’s rules are as fickle as their goals, which are never fully disclosed beyond the equivocal references to fairness and hyphenated forms of justice. They will have to remain vague and deny their true allegiances until a time when American voters will no longer squirm at the word “socialism.”
And yet spotting them isn’t that hard. As a bird is known by his feathers, socialists are known by their Game.
First tried and mastered in the USSR, the Game has since been popularized around the world, assuming various forms, names, and colors — from red to brown to green. It is now taking hold in the United States under the blue web banners of Obama’s campaign infomercials.
Read more by Oleg Atbashian at American Thinker
–SNIP– In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.
America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.
People “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father,” he said.
Read more by Luke Rosiak in The Washington Times
The Magic Question: What gets rewarded?
Ask a better question: Are fathers even valued in our culture? To start: Find a smart dad on TV, either on the show or in a commercial.
Social Security (SS) has released its estimates for the December data for benefits payed and taxes received. With this info, I can estimate the 2012 results that will be formally reported in five-months. It was a ho-hummer of a year for SS, it tread water vigorously, and ended up with a cash deficit of $46.7B, just a tad more red ink that 2011’s $45.6B.
–SNIP– The $46.7B annual cash deficit is the third in a row. The 2012 shortfall confirms it; SS will never see a cash flow surplus again. Every dollar of the cash shortfall MUST be funded by selling additional debt to the public.
I hope this is clear. I’ll repeat it. Social Security is adding to the debt held by the public. It is forcing the country to borrow more to fund current operations. When Senate Democrats, like Dick Durbin and Harry Reid say, “SS does not add a penny to our debt.” – they are lying.
Read more by Bruce Krasting at brucekrasting.com
In the wake of President Obama’s re-election victory, there has been a lot of discussion about makers and takers. Mitt Romney said on a conference call with supporters, among many other things, that Obama bought a lot of votes with “gifts” to various constituencies, an evidently true observation for which he mysteriously was maligned by Bobby Jindal and others. The truth is much worse than Romney suggested or than most people imagine: the middle class is right to feel bitter and betrayed. Those who work for a living have been sold out by federal and state governments that have created a welfare system gone mad.
ZeroHedge has the grim numbers:
[I]t is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.“
Read more by John Hinderaker at Powerlineblog.com
The Republicans have only won the popular vote since Ronald Reagan’s presidency on two occasions: 1988 and 2004. In both instances, even the patrician Bushes were able to paint their liberal opponents as out-of-touch Massachusetts magnificoes. Lee Atwater turned Michael Dukakis, the helmeted tank driver, into a bumbling Harvard Square naïf. Karl Rove reminded the country that John Kerry, the wind surfer, was a spandex-wearing, wetsuit-outfitted yuppie who lived in several of his rich wife’s mansions, as he jetted around in her plane and sailed on her boat.
Otherwise, it was the Republicans who always ended up reduced to plutocratic grandees. Since 1960, and with the exception of Barack Obama, the Democrats always lost when they ran northern liberals — George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, and John Kerry — so great is the American distrust of both old money aristocrats and Northern tsk-tsk scolds. Apparently southern accents — LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore — were necessary fides to win the popular vote, a sort of implicit reminder to voters that liberal Democrats could be just folks rather social engineers and redistributionists. Wealth apparently is not the key as much as an impression of familiarity with the working classes. Liberals laughed at Reagan riding horses, chopping wood, and chainsawing on his ranch, but voters liked what they saw. Neither party apparently can nominate a Massachusetts governor or senator and expect to win. Mitt Romney is a good man who would have made a very good president, but by June he was no longer a good Mitt Romney. Instead, millions of dollars in hit ads and free media assaults reduced him to a hideous caricature of a greedy, heartless Scrooge.
2. Barack Obama Was a Special Case
Read more by Victor Davis Hanson at PJmedia.com
If you doubt there’s an American welfare state, you should read the new study by demographer Nicholas Eberstadt, whose blizzard of numbers demonstrates otherwise.
A welfare state transfers income from some people to other people to improve the recipients’ well-being. In 1935, these transfers were less than 3% of the economy; now they’re almost 20%. That’s $7,200 a year for every American, calculates Eberstadt.
He says that nearly 40% of these transfers aim to relieve poverty (through Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and the like), while most of the rest goes to the elderly (mainly through Social Security and Medicare).
Read More by Robert J. Samuelson at IBD
With digital technology being used for all manner of government distributions, it’s difficult to overtly distinguish between the severity of the Great Depression of the 1930′s and today’s economic crisis.
But just because we don’t see thousands of hungry people lined up for hours at a time at their local soup kitchen today doesn’t mean the lines don’t exist.
Read more by Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com