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What Percentage of Tax Dollars Goes to Those on Welfare? (Updated with 2016 Data)

Updated on May 21, 2017
A Scene of Poverty
A Scene of Poverty

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 $ 2016
DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2014
DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2012
DISTRIBUTION OF "YOUR" TAX $ 2010
 
2016 ACTUALS
2014 ACTUALS
2012 ACTUALS
2010 ACTUALS
Receipts ($B)
 
 
 
 
Personal Income Tax
$ 1,627.8
$ 1,394.6
$ 1,132.2
$ 898.5
Social Insurance Taxes
$ 1,100.8
$ 1,023.5
$ 845.3
$ 864.8
All Other Receipts
$ 606.9
$ 603.5
$ 472.5
$ 399.3
TOTAL RECEIPTS
$3335.5
$ 3,021.6
$ 2,450.0
$ 2,162.6
Deficit Contribution
$ 614.3
$ 484.4
$ 1,086.9
$ 1,294.8
TOTAL OUTLAYS
$ 3,949.8
$ 3,506.0
$ 3,536.9
$ 3,457.4
Less: Social Insurance
$ 1,100.8
$ 1,023.5
$ 845.3
$ 864.8
Net Outlays Paid by All Non-Trust Fund Receipts
$ 2,849.0
$ 2,482.5
$ 2,691.6
$ 2,592.6
 
 
 
 
 
Personal Income Contribution to $1 to:
 
 
 
 
Net Outlays
$ 0.57
$ 0.56
$ 0.42
$ 0.35
Net Interest on the Debt
$ 0.05 (8.8%)
$ 0.05 (8.9%)
$ 0.03 (7.1%)
$ 0.03 (8.6%)
Defense
$ 0.12 (21%)
$ 0.13 (23.2%)
$ 0.10 (23.8%)
$ 0.09 (25.7%)
Non-Defense
$ 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%)
Means-tested Assistance
$ 0.06 (10.5%)
$ 0.07 (12.5%)
$ 0.04 (9.5%)
$ 0.04 (11.4%)
Medicaid
$ 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%)
TABLE 1 SOURCE: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2016-TAB/pdf/BUDGET-2016-TAB.pdf, Tables 1.1, 2.1, 2.4, 8.1, 8.5 and 8.7 - All Dollars Are Nominal

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.

Myth-Busting

Americans have been bombarded daily with two persistent myths since April 2009:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

CHART 1 - SOURCE: GDP Grows Steadily at about 2.1%/year; - federal receipts also grows, but at a higher 6.9%/year. Fulling this is a decline in unemployment.
CHART 1 - SOURCE: GDP Grows Steadily at about 2.1%/year; - federal receipts also grows, but at a higher 6.9%/year. Fulling this is a decline in unemployment. | Source

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
-3.54 %
-2.5 % Points
DISCRETIONARY - non-Defense
- 3.02 %
0.1 % Points
MANDATORY - Social Security (Unfunded Portion)
4.79 %
- 2.8 % Points (Combined SS, Medicare, % UE))
MANDATORY - Medicare (Unfunded Portion)
3.14 %
 
MANDATORY - Unemployment (Unfunded Portion)
- 27.83 %
 
MANDATORY - Medicaid
2.53 %
3.9 % Points
MANDATORY - "Welfare"
0.89 %
1.1 % Points
Net Interest on Debt
3.9%
0.3 % Points
TABLE 2 - AS A BASELINE, INFLATION HAS AVERAGED ABOUT 2% per YEAR (which means subtract 2% from each annual growth figure to get an approximation of "Real" growth).* "Unfunded Portion" means the amount remaining the general fund must pick up after th

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

New Information

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
$30,852
$66,525
- 115.6%
Food at Home
17.3 (Cents Out of $1 Spent)
9.7 (Cents Out of $1 Spent)
43.9%
Dining Out
3.8
4.6
- 21.1%
Housing
38.7
34.3
11.4%
Apparel and Services
3.7
2.4
35.1%
Transportation
17.2
16.9
1.7%
Healthcare
2.9
5.5
-89.7%
Entertainment
4.4
5.1
- 15.9%
Personal Insurance and Pensions
6.2
13.7
-121%
Other
5.8
7.6
- 31.0%
TABLE 2 - Figures Represents How Many cents out of each disposable dollar is spent in that category.

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,

  1. Employers will simply fill those low paying jobs with new workers who will still need assistance,
  2. Employers will go out of business because no one could afford to work for them, or
  3. 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

Do you consider yourself most closely aligned with -

See results

DEMOGRAPHIC POLL Q #2

Are you -

See results

© 2011 My Esoteric

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    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 11 days ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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).

    • profile image

      My Esoteric 11 days ago

      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.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 weeks ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      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.

    • profile image

      Melissa 5 weeks ago

      Great read

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 2 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I'm sorry you have such distorted view of how the world really works but that isn't the way it really is.

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jamie,

      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)

    • profile image

      Jamie 3 months ago

      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!!!

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 4 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BJ, let me work on that.

    • profile image

      BJ 4 months ago

      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.'

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 9 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.)

    • profile image

      Anne G 9 months ago

      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.

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 10 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

    • profile image

      YouHaveMyRespect 10 months ago

      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.

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 11 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Your comment was very understandable, Mr. J Jr; thank you for making it.

    • profile image

      M J jr 15 months ago

      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

    • My Esoteric profile image
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      My Esoteric 16 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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 profile image

      Zerberus Tbh 16 months ago

      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.

      https://hubpages.com/education/forum/102599/stop-k...

      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

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      My Esoteric 19 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sean,

      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.

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      My Esoteric 19 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 19 months ago from Chicago

      "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.

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      My Esoteric 20 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      Sean 20 months ago

      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.

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      Sean 20 months ago

      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 )

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      My Esoteric 22 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      Toni 22 months ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 2 years ago from Chicago

      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

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      John R Wilsdon 2 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      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.

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      teamrn 3 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 3 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 3 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 3 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      Jerome 3 years ago

      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

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      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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?

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      Chris 3 years ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Paul, you are welcome and thanks for following me.

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      open to inputs 4 years ago

      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

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      open to inputs 4 years ago

      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!

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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%

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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"

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Well put, Sanzuary, thank you.

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      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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?

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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.

      Annie

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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,

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @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.

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      Brian 4 years ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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!)

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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?

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      cicerone 4 years ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thank you Hannah.

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      Hannah 4 years ago

      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.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thank you very much for your comments, Blackjack; yes, it is lonely in the South for people with our perspective.

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      blackjack57 4 years ago

      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" !

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      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.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      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?

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I am a historian of sorts, one who believes you need to study the past to make sense and explain the present and hopefully not repeat mistakes that have already been made in the future.

      And to me, it is quite relavent. Why? Because like you, the Boehner/McConnell mantra is that it is a "spending" problem and not a "revenue" problem. They then go on to blame Obama for excessive spending, which is simply not true, not in the sense of throwing more and more money at gov't programs.

      In reality, it IS a revenue problem, but not just because taxes are too low. It is because this penchant of theirs to hold the nation hostage over a tax increase, businesses are sitting on their butt twidling their collective thumbs waiting for 1) both Parties to pull together to get this recovery on the road, or 2) for the minority Party to 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.

      So, what are they doing today, refusing to honor America's debts and break the gov't with unsustainble, recession causing (even without the fiscal cliff) draconian spending cuts to meet an ideal of how to run an economy that died with Andrew Jackson.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      I can't get further in reading your response than your reference to George Bush; the man is GONE and whether or not he proposed the same stimulus is completely, COMPLETELY, COMPLETELY immaterial.

      I noticed that you brought up George Bush in the last response. When I'm over what I feel is tantamount to this administration's useless and lame comparison to Dubya, I'll respond to what I imagine will be an interesting comment.

      When will the left let sleeping dogs lie, roll up their sleeves and get to work, instead of playing a blame game and now a reference game? THis is only hurting the country. Not helping ANYONE.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      As to the Stimulus, something I have written a lot about, thanks for asking the question for it led to a wonderfully detailed site www.recovery.gov rather than search through my hubs. It shows the stimulus was spent thusly: $291 B for tax reductions (Bush's method of stimuls); $248 B for contracts, grants; and $240 B to entitlements, mainly unemployment insurance. In effectiveness in stimulating the economy, it is Entitlements; then Contracts (etc), but only if properly done; and tax relief. The reason Entitlements top the list is that virtually $100% of the money that is distributed immediately gets right back into the economy, thereby increasing demand. The Contracts, Grants, and Loans come next if, in fact, people get hired. Thi does three things, 1) reduces entitlement cost, 2) increases demand directly, and 3) leads to "tiered" growth by having the primary contractors hiring subcontractors. This has a much slower impact because of the lag time in getting out the money and spinning up production.

      The least effective stimulus, but the most popular, are tax cuts. The reason here is that a much lower percentage of the freed up funds will go directly into the economy. For that which does, the effect is immediate.

      To me, the talk about unions is just misdirection by the person making the argument. Unions make up what, 13% of the workforce and are slowly being squeezed out of existance by constant conservative pressure to elimate them and give all power back into corporate hands. If what you said was true, then the rust belt (where unemployment was the worst) should have gotten all of the stimulus money for that is where most of the union workers live.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Understand, but what if the state, say MS, LA, GA, AL, SC, etc refuse to do anything vis-a-vis schools, using our example? Is the federal govn't supposed to sit back and say tsk, tsk, too bad about that? Not IMHO (I like the H addition); especially when it comes to education which I believe no longer falls in solely the state realm. The reason I believe that is that in today's world, a properly educated cohort of young adults is now a matter of national security and national survival. To me, that raises the stakes considerably. But even set that aside, when the feds see the states failing to provide even a minimal amount of help to the state's populus in any socially relavent area, is it the duty of the federal gov't to do nothing except maybe jawbone about it? This was the state of affairs prior to 1933 in America; benign and sometimes not so benign neglect to the suffering of the nations citizens by the fed was the norm.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      Yep, I don't think WANTS TO FAIL, is the best word choice. I don't think that it is human nature in any way to WANT TO FAIL.

      There are degrees of wanting to succeed, but I don't think that it can be built in to the human condition to WANT TO FAIL.

      " What needs, in my mind, more explanation is what you have in mind when you say "hurdles"?" I mean education hurdles, like he went to the school in his neirborhod, but when compared to the schools the other guy with the same passion who'd attended h is far better neighborhood schools, the disadvantaged fellow was miles behind. The STATE government has a responsibility to work with the schools and the teachers to lend a helping hand and restructure programs (with teacher input which is MANDATORY) so that disadvantaged school can offer stellar programs for all.

      The government (not necessarily the Federal government) IMHO has an obligation to work tirelessly to bring all schools up to snuff.

      "My question is, what is the responsibility of federal gov'ts, if any, to provide some sort of structure designed to allow the motivated young adult to gain an equal starting position that the state denied him or her which the state didn't deny to a graduate of Beverly Hills High?"

      I don't feel it is the responsiibility of the FEDERAL government AT ALL. IMHO, education should be a function of the states and counties and municipalities, for these entities know far better what local schools need, why they need it and why they want it. The classroom teacher should be answering to her PTA, school board, municipality and state, NOT to Arne Duncan.

      Then I was reading past posts and you said this, My Eso, "All, but the neysayers, agree with the CBO and other private economists, that the stimulus was effective in creating or saving over 4 million jobs, exactly what Obama hoped it would. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, but that wasn't known at the time the plans were initially made and the Conservatives would never let Obama try again."

      The stimulus went to public sector jobs and to extending unemployment bennies, not to private sector jobs. If that wasn't a payback to the unions who were key to his election, who donated megabit to his campaign.

      Small business didn't spend gazillions to get him elected, so money from the stimulus didn't go to them. In other words, if you help him, "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours....."

      The president should be above petty things like that; he should be thinking about WHO really drives the economy and stimulate them. Though they provide necessary services, teachers construction workers and firefighters DRIVE the economy in an indirect way. What do they have in common, these groups? UNIONS.

      I do believe that is what the conservatives objected to; not to the stimulus, but where it was GOING. Teachers, ff, and construction perform necessary, quite NECESSARY services. They all contribute to the long-term driving of the economy. The stimulus was intended to get the ECONOMY back on track and what drives the economy on a permanent basis?

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Annie, perfectly written, thank you for your contribution.

      I can't tell if you objected to my phrase "... wants to fail ..." or not, but to be clear, that is a euphamism for what you then continued to define. Although, I would posit, there are a few, the ones the opposition points to as representative of the whole, who appear to want to fail at everything except bilking the system. You address them, of course, in your closing paragraphs.

      One phrase of yours needs, I think, more parsing. It is, "... and if that individual comes from the wrong side of the tracks, he deserves a chance to run the hurdles and if he wants what the other guy wants badly enough, he, too will succeed." - What needs, in my mind, more explanation is what you have in mind when you say "hurdles".

      Here is one scenario to chew on. We know that for underprivedged kids of any stripe, but most often Black, the education system is currently geared toward them no succedning as adults. Should this be fixed, of course, but right now it is what it is.

      My question is, what is the responsibility of federal gov'ts, if any, to provide some sort of structure designed to allow the motivated young adult to gain an equal starting position that the state denied him or her which the state didn't deny to a graduate of Beverly Hills High?

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      Dear My,

      I just saw this, sorry: "I am one of those who is progressive enough to wish everyone in America to well, according to their abilities and effort, but nevertheless believe it is the federal gov't's duty to remove all artifical barriers placed in the People's way to achieve that goal, should they desire it. If you want to fail, fine, fail; but if you want to succeed, you should be able to without the system impeding your way through unfair practices such as discrimination, not allowing workers to organize (which is becoming the case again), unequal distribution of school funding depending on the color of the neighborhood the school is in, etc

      The first thing to jump out at me an jump it did, was that you said, 'if you want to fail, then you can, but if you want to succeed, you should have every opportunity to succeed.' Or something like that.

      I think there is no human (except for psychosocial and emotional reasons) who wants to fail. There are those who don't want to succeed, those who don't care if they succeed and those who want to succeed so much they can taste it, they feel it, it is their passion and nothing can stop them.

      Our government owes the those who are UNABLE to succeed or otherwise make do on any level a means to exist, but it should not feel responsible for those who don't care if they succeed and those who don't want to succeed.

      They owe an OPPORTUNITY to succeed to the guy who wants to so badly he can taste it. That person will make the most of any opportunity to succeed and if that individual comes from the wrong side of the tracks, he deserves a chancee to run the hurdles and if he wants what the other guy wants badly enough, he, too will succeed.

      He doesn't deserve a handout as much as he deserves equal opportunity to succeed as the other guy. But the two fellows who don't want to or chose not to have indicated their desire.

      That 5th group, the ones who are unable to help themselves, should be able to rely on the government, but like someone said before, we need to be more vigilant about going after the scofflaws.

      Why, I'm no disability, but in 13 years, do you thing anyone has knocked on my door or asked me to fill out a form documenting that I am still disabled? In 2000 I was granted a permanent disability , based on the fact the the MD , lawyer convinced the judge that my condition was only expected to get worse.

      But, wouldn't you think Uncle Sam would take it upon himself and say, Mrs Teamrn, are you REALLY not getting any better, or touch base with my doc with a quick call and ask medically? Trust me, I'm not bilking the system, but there are conditions that do get better unexpectedly.

      Annie

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Wonderful observations and story, NYC2KCMO, thank you.

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      NYC2KCMO 4 years ago

      Thank you for this! I got so tired of hearing people say "my money supports you". True, there are plenty of lazy people in the world, but the system needs an overhaul. Think about this, a montly metro card in New York costs close to 200 dollars a month, rent (even in the worse neighborhoods) for a studio could cost a person in upwards of 800 or per month; if a person could only get a job in McD's making 7.00 per hour, how could they possibly support themselves or a kid. I worked at McD's twice during college and a majority of the crew were college grads who could not get a job..now let's tack on student loans. I propose instead of Workfare, have them work anywhere, then subsidize the rest. Some of the people in poor neighborhoods that are drug addicts, are also mentally ill and self medicating through drugs. From 2003 - 2006, I made roughly $20,000/year w/o insurance, working full-time; I went to a clinic which charged based on your income AND still ended up with multiple bills in excess of 200 - 400 dollars. As such, I can guuarantee there are those that are lazy and content living below the poverty level, whereas others remaining in the system as to not lose medical coverage, etc. This issue is not as black and white as many believe it to be; and unless you go door to door of those receiving aid regularly to verify eligibility, this will pretty much be the state of affairs. P.S. why stop at welfare? How about those who fudge their income tax filings; lie about owning a business to receive tax breaks' or big companies who hire part-time workers just so they don't have to pay health insurance.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for the question, Doug. I can't tell what a tax dollar as opposed to a borrowed dollar is spent on (except the 7+% offset from payroll taxes), so the percentages are from total outlays, without regard to the source used to pay for them.

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      Doug 4 years ago

      I'm curious about one thing. Do these figures only account for how the tax we pay each year goes to spending or do they account for spending? As we all know the feds spend far more than they take in on taxes.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I am not disagreeing with you Team, for the most part. The one part where I do, and even then you offer the reasonable alternative in the case of "when you can't come up with a solution".

      Where I very much disagree is the "but not equal accessibility to success" part; which has two parts itself. The first, which I discussed for a different reason in the last comment, is that Wealth, on its own and for no other reason, brings access to opportunity. Do I believe it is gov't's obligation to make those opportunities available to you? No, I don't, just tax the the receivers of that perk on the value of it for the good of society since it is society who is bestowing that perk, and not the taxpayer earning it.

      On the other hand, there is basic accessibility, such as job discrimination against women in terms of jobs themselves or pay if you have one. It is my belief that gov't has a duty under the Constitution to address this lack of accessibility because, except for the very rare anecdote, the woman has no control over this artificial barrier to accessibility to success. In the previous instance you can remove the barriers by earning more money, in this case to remove the barrier without federal gov't intervention you must become a man.

      I am one of those who is progressive enough to wish everyone in America to well, according to their abilities and effort, but nevertheless believe it is the federal gov't's duty to remove all artifical barriers placed in the People's way to achieve that goal, should they desire it. If you want to fail, fine, fail; but if you want to succeed, you should be able to without the system impeding your way through unfair practices such as discrimination, not allowing workers to organize (which is becoming the case again), unequal distribution of school funding depending on the color of the neighborhood the school is in, etc.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      Dear My, The fact that my income is low and yours much higher is MY problem to deal with, NOT yours to fix. Our country was founded on the idea and with the values that we both have equal OPPORTUNITY to succeed, but not equal accessibility to success.

      You needn't feel obligated to solve my problems unless I've tried and I can't come up with a solution. and I'd do the same if I were in your shoes. Pretty soon there will be not enough yous and too any mes.

      Like I said, echoing Rice, the dialog of the USA, has NEVER been one of 'I'm doing poorly because you do well" Ours has been a dialog where I CONGRATULATE you for doing well.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      All I was pointing out is most of Romney's income, which is earned running a business just like I do, is taxed at lower rate than you or I pay for doing the same function. Granted, he also earns money from investments, but until he decided politics was his career, he was a working joe or jane like you or me, just in a job with preferential tax treatment that was carved into the tax law.

      As to your $23K, I have been there, done that, and would rather not do it again, but more than that, I hope you can end up with a more comfortable income at some point in the future. I am not entirely sure where you are going with your point, but there is a significant difference in the character of our two incomes relative to taxes. Any increase in taxes directly decreases your standard of living because $23K simply isn't enough to live on these days, that is basically subsistnance level. On the other hand, at $11oK, or Romney's $1,000,000K, any increase in taxes only affects my descresionary income; there is no perceptable change in my standard of living.

      It is that difference which is behind the idea of a progressive income tax, why the well off pay more. There is another reason that I have, although I haven't heard it generally talked about. It has to do with the value of the perks and doors that are opened simply for being wealthy. It is nothing they earned, it is largess thrown on the rich because they are rich and not on you because you aren't. My question is, why should that largess be free when it accrues, based soley on status, to one part of society; ability is not in the equation, just wealth. In my humble opinion, that largess should have a cost associated and not be free and class-based. (and I just wrote myself into another hub on the subject.)

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      "and I pay a higher effective tax rate than Romney, I think I was around 21%, or something like that." I'd like to know what that last statement has to do with anything, especially the price of tea in China. I believe it was shown that Mitt Romney paid 14 % taxes on that income, but I think that his money had already been taxed as capital gains or something.

      And how is it that your $110K is NO DIFFERENT than my $23K? Eventually your $110K is GOING to be the same as my #23K. Think of it that way. Do you want to see yourself living on $23K/year?

      Don't you think it's fair for you to keep a good portion of your $110K? Just because I've been unlucky in my life, doesn't mean that you should have to sacrifice everything for it. Condi Rice was right with her, "ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have never believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well."

      I am doing poorly because I AM DOING POORLY. Not, 'I am doing poorly SO you can do well.'

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks again for your comment, TM. Yes, you will, and I do, keep paying SS taxes, but, unless you are one of the ones who work until you drop dead, (me probably) at some point you stop paying into the system.

      And while the courts have designated SS, Medicare, and the penalty part of Obamacare a tax of legal and Constitutional purposes, unlike all other taxes you pay, it is in effect either an annuity (SS) or insurance (the other two); they are that by definition. For SS, you pay now, albeit involentarily, for a guaranteed (and no, a private annuity in not guaranteed) future income stream until you die or for future health services, and that includes the Obamacare penalty, which is involuntary.

      The misconception is that people who work do continue to pay Payroll taxes, but, when you hit 65, or in my case 66, you don't pay income taxes on your SS benefits unless there is an exception for high income earners who didn't pay into the system after earning $110K (this year) in a year. And I am no different that you, except for a few paltry dividends, everything I get is subject to tax as well, which is why you and I pay a higher effective tax rate than Romney, I think I was around 21%, or something like that.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      " well, use to pay but will pay again. " I STILL pay taxes. This is a common misconception that people who receive SS, don't pay taxes on that money. I'm (likely) in a lower bracket than you are, but 85 % of what I receive is taxable.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Nope, I am saying that 91% of your $7,800 goes toward non-mandatory welfare-related programs. What RP said was that 62.4% of the budget was made up of Social Security and other entitlement programs, most of which are not what is classified as welfare; this is a is a number I will let stand as it doesn't seem totally off-the-wall; I know entitlement programs are a large part of the federal budget.

      I also know that a good chunk of those expenditures are funded by non-income tax dollars, but by payroll taxes, that 7.2% you pay each paycheck; well, use to pay but will pay again. So, the net effect, on the deficit is much smaller than the 62.4% would seem to imply.

      The two largest components of your income tax dollars are national security and non-security programs excluding entitlement programs. You can discern that from my chart that noting each is 24% while the entitlement programs, which are largely funded by the payroll tax portion, are 20% and 13%. Only 9% are true welfare programs; the other entitlements are ones you contributed money into and are getting back.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      My, are you saying that of my $7800, 62.4% goes to non-welfare related expenditures?

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Probably true, RP, thanks for the comment. How much of that is offset by income from social security and medicare taxes. Also, how of that is for non-welfare related expenditures?

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      rpfenner 4 years ago

      According to the Office of Management and Budget, the sum total of US entitlement programs — including Social Security — make up a projected 62.4 percent of the federal budget in 2012.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Got to get off to work, but I had covered the rest, plus the rebate from TARP, but as I said, all of that ended up in Internet heaven somewhere. I will recreate it soon.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      Dear My,

      I just saw this, "While I haven't done what you suggest, Lizardex, others have suggested it as well, so I suppose I need to figure out how to do it, I did offer that of TeamRN's tax $, some $3,600 to security related programs and another $3,600 to federal R&D, transportation, agricuture, interior, and other infrastructure programs"

      That's $7200; what about the remaining $7800. If you think for a minute that $7800 is chump change, then there is evidence of the disconnect between those in DC and the population at large. That's $650 a month or 1/2 of a mortgage payment Insulting to assume that the government can do what it wants with that money and not justify it's use.

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      teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago

      Dear My, my, my. It seems that we've butted heads before and we'll do so once again; well, but heads, not. Disagree, yes.

      You mention the GSA, not the GAO and that was my goofus; you know, the picture of the guy in the bathtub with a glass of wine. More important to me is the fact the the woman testifying before a Congressional committee said something like, "these people DESERVE their bonuses." But, I was corrected, CORRECTLY about the name of the organization.

      You peg me as a moderate conservative, SO DO ! Do you have insight to my should? That is a strange feeling! Ah, but on to the role of government and when I say government, I refer to the FEDERAL government unless I make another specificaiton.

      It is my belief that when the Constitutional framers and writers of our founding documents spoke of the role of government, it was to keep Americans safe, which is why the right to bear arms. People lived on the frontier in those days and safety was of utmost importance. No where was health care of the nation addressed and in my mind, the inference that it is all covered in Article 1 Section 8 isn't true.

      There are reports of individual healthcare mandates by Jefferson, Madison and Adams AFTER the Constitutional signing, but these were individual instances and not attempts to nationalize healthcare or make healthcare the responsibility of the government.

      I agree with you that the framers did not have individual welfare (as in the Great Society welfare) on their minds at the time of the writing of the Constitution. I'd add that they didn't place that in the Constitution, NOT because they forgot, but because they never intended for government to play that role. Those men were wise beyond their years, as evidenced by the fact that the Constitution has only been amended 28 (?) times. in more the 230 years.

      As far as people surviving on equal footing, I disagree. They wanted this country to be a land where everyone had an equal opportunity to be on equal footing, but they make no guarantee of equal footing. Sort of 'we'll make the laws so that you have the OPPORTUNITY to have what your neighbor has, but what you do with that equal opportunity is up to YOU.'

      The quibbling over the 23,0000,000 unemployed figure reminds me so much over the use of 50,000,000 uninsured which we all know was a incorrect figure, but it was used successfully to scare seniors. In the case of the unemployed, being the wife of one of those 23,000,000, I still stand by that figure. It may be unemployed or underemployed or seasonal wooers, but it is NOT mega-million people not looking for work.

      The reference to PBS was that enough of the PBS will make a difference, where taxing the wealthy to make that difference depletes them ONCE and they don't have the money again, won't be able to use it to provide jobs, you know Margaret Thatcher's statement, "The trouble with socialism is that one day you run out of other people's money."

      If we're so hell-bent on funding PBS, Barbra Streisand alone could fund it for probably 10 years, then Scarlett Johanson could take over and when she's tired, give George Clooney the helm.

      There is no reason that private citizens cannot and should not have more of a role in the funding of things. I mean, many people in this country subscribe to Karl Marx's doctrine of 'from each according to his ability to each according to his need'

      Should the government be involved in funding for PBS? As far as I'm concerned, it needs to be a priority thing. Sure, we'd love to have all children grow up with Big Bird, but there are times (like right now when we have NO money) that we need to practice a little fiscal tough love and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon can pitch in.. That's not a fundamental safety issue.

      There needs to be a short list and a long list; just like when buying a house or a car. Your must haves, your wants and those you can do without. There will be years when we can afford to take PBS off Barbras' shoulders, and other years we need to stop funding ANYTHING that is not a safety issue.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I think you mean the GSA, Government Services Administration, rather than the GAO, the Government Accountability Office, the office who blew the whistle on the GSA, lol, but I know what yeou mean.

      You hit a lot of nails on their heads, TeamRN, sounds like you are a moderate conservative. Let me address the "welfare" issue first. I tend to approach problems from the bottom-up, when I can. I pretend I don't know anything about them and look at the fundamentals, apply my belief system, logic and go from there.

      Regarding the role of gov't in social welfare begins with what do I think the framers of the Constitution mean by the term "general Welfare", including the capitalization of the word welfare. To begin with, to me, they clearly didn't mean welfare in the sense of individual "welfare" roles ala the Great Society, which is the knee-jerk reaction I often get from conservatives when I talk about "general Welfare"; that kind of support was not in their nature at the time. Granted, individual welfare assistance may end up being part of a temporary solution, but that isn't what I think the framers had in mind at the time.

      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, to provide for the "general Welfare" of society, to insure that each individual has the opportunity to have their basic needs met in order to survive on an equal footing with their neighbor is assured. In other words, there should be no external obstacles to food, clothing, shelter, work, or health needs. That doesn't mean gov't provides these things, but it does mean gov't makes sure that forces beyond the individual's control doesn't deny them access.

      It is also the gov't's duty to help citizens out when external forces have destroyed their lives and friends, religion, and neighbors are failing their civic duty.

      It is the last two statements where conservatives and I often cross swords. It is that first statement where liberals and I often cross swords.

      In the case of Obamacare, the argument is that all Americans have a right to basic health care and this falls under the idea of the "general Welfare" idea of Section 8, Article 1, thereby giving Congress the authority, in its own right to pass the law; that was Obama's and the Democrat's reasoning anyway; it wasn't Chief Justice Robert's, however. As a conservative, he doesn't read "general Welfare" the same way I do. He did, however, see where the "penalty" portion of the mandate was Constitutional under Congresses right to levy and collect taxes, which was the only part of Obamacare actually under attack by the conservatives (there were other parts challenged, and won, by some States). (And, since, the Democrats did include this "penaty is a tax idea" as one of the three reasons why Obamacare was Constitutional, it passed and conservatives are having a field day with it conviently ignoring the pricipal two reasons the Democrats believed Obamacare was Constitutional.)

      The use of "23 million unemployed" people is another wonderful example of the effectiveness of hyperbole to distort the question. There are not 23 million unemployed people who want to be employed, it simply isn't true no matter how often Romney and others say it. What is true, but it doesn't have the same oommphh, is that there are a lot of part-time workers who would like to be full-time workers when summed with the actual unemployed total up to somewhere around the number he uses. I have a hard time continuing to listen to that kind of hyperbole myself.

      Granted, it is important to address the unemployment issues but worrying about a drop in the bucket dollarwise, which is what PBS is, isn't one of them. Instead, PBS is an entirely different issue altogether in terms of roles.

      The question there, in my mind, is should the federal gov't be involved in insuring the kind of content that PBS provides be available to American citizens free of influence from those who pay for the programming or should the gov't insure certain kinds of programming be made available if no private funding will make it available, like long-hair concerts or high-brow art shows. The cost of this would be lost in rounding on programs I did budget estimates for in DoD, so in terms of meaningful money, it simply isn't, it just boils down to one of role.