A Moocher Society

We are well on our way to becoming a majority moocher society. That is a society where the majority of people rely in some form on the government to survive. On the other side remains the shrinking pool of producers who will continue to be looted in order to support the moochers and their addictive government habit. If you are a producer, these numbers will be particularly hard for you to stomach:

In 2011, we will pay out $385 billion in food stamps, $365 billion for the federal portion of Medicaid (with an almost equal amount due from the states), $200 billion in unemployment benefits and over $100 billion in aid to education. The total cost of these payments will exceed $1 trillion, but the cost of administering these programs will add approximately $300 billion in expenditures to the federal budget.

The trend is only getting larger – the moochers are multiplying while the producers are dwindling, thanks to our asinine government that seeks to punish wealth and success.

Is America Now A Welfare Nation?

In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, Tina Tennyson sits with her grandson, Jamari, 3, while waiting to apply for food stamps at the Sacramento County Economic Development Department in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)

U.S. Spending on Food Stamps at All-Time High, Sparking Debate Over Welfare

By Jim Angle

The U.S. is now spending more on food assistance than at any time in its history
, sparking a debate over whether the roughly 40 million people now receiving the latest version of food stamps at a cost of $73 billion a year are a symptom of a weak economy or are part of a long-term expansion in welfare and related programs.

Food stamp supporters say the record-high spending is simply a reflection of the economic downturn over the last two years.

“The program is expanding because we are realizing a significant downturn in the economy,” said Ambassador Eric Bost, who ran the food stamps program in the first years under President George W. Bush. “The food stamp or the SNAP program, as it’s referred to now, responds to the changing economic conditions of the country.”

“Unemployment is the worst it’s been in over 30 years,” added Sheila Zedlewski, an expert on poverty policy at the left-leaning Urban Institute. “The poverty rate is rising. Some people project it will be 15 percent. That would be the highest it has been since the 1960’s.”

But critics say this and other welfare programs were growing long before the recession and that food stamp usage has exploded over the last decade.

“The number of food stamp recipients has more than doubled since 2000, and the cost of the program has more than tripled,” said Chris Edwards, an expert on federal and state tax issues at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Though no one quibbles about the need for more forms of assistance during times of high unemployment, Edwards fears there is more going on here, that there is an effort to just keep expanding such programs.

Some government figures show that only 10 million people have a serious problem with hunger, Edwards said.

“The number of people on food stamps is four times higher than the number of people with a serious hunger problem,” he said.

But Bost defended the food stamp program, saying it helps the most vulnerable.

“Forty nine percent of the people that are participating in this program are children,” he said. “Ten percent are elderly and a vast majority of the other persons that are participating in the program do work. They just don’t earn enough money to meet all of their nutritional needs.”

Melissa Boteach, a poverty policy expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, said that last year, nearly 1 in 4 children were in a household struggling against hunger.

“And nearly 50 million Americans overall lived in households struggling against hunger so this is a serious problem in this recession,” she said.

Bost, the food stamp administrator during the Bush administration, said the numbers should fall as the economy gets better.

“When there’s a significant downturn you see an increase in the number of people participating and enrolled in the program when the economy is strong and doing well you see fewer people,” he said.

But some critics are not so sure.

“You certainly expect the food stamp program to go up during a recession, that’s not a bad thing,” said Robert Rector, a poverty expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “What we should be concerned about is even before the recession the food stamp program was increasing dramatically, because the government was reaching out to bring people into the program and then make them dependent.”

If the program were to return to the levels of the early 2000’s, he said, that would be ok, but he fears that is not what’s going to happen.

Looking beyond just food assistance, Rector looks at some 70 programs aimed at assisting the poor and points to President Obama’s spending projections for them in the years to come.

“If you look at Obama’s own projections, he’s projecting to spend over $10 trillion on assistance to the poor over the next decade and that’s without the cost of Obamacare, the new health care program that he’s created,” he said. “This is something that the United States simply cannot afford.”

He argues that Obama has no intention of letting assistance to the poor shrink even when the economy is healthy again and says he intends to expand such spending by more than a third over usual levels.

“He’s creating a permanent spread-the-wealth-state funded through deficits and borrowing from the Chinese,” Rector said.

Slaves to the government dole

Examiner Editorial

Throughout our history, politicians and pundits have often said “America is at a crossroads.” Sometimes it was true, as in the final convulsive years leading up to the Civil War when we decided to end slavery. New data on personal income, taxes and dependency makes clear that the country is again at a historic crossroad and another form of slavery is the central issue. There are no iron chains involved this time, but dependence on government for economic sustenance is no less an enslavement.

Based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data, USA Today reported Tuesday that the portion of personal income received from private sector paychecks declined to 41.9 percent, its lowest point ever, during the first quarter of 2010. The figure was 44.6 percent in December 2007 at the outset of the current recession and 47.6 percent in the first quarter of 2000. By contrast, the personal income received from government programs climbed to 17.9 percent. Add another 9.8 percent for government employee compensation and 27.7 percent of all personal income is derived from government sources. (The remaining 30.1 percent of personal income results from small-business proprietor profits, farm profits, privately funded pensions, investment sales and dividends, and insurance annuities.)

The problem is that government only redistributes income to dependent individuals after taking it from productive individuals, a process that is reflected in tax returns. As the Tax Foundation recently pointed out, 36 percent of all individual returns in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, showed no net tax liability. That is the highest level of non-paying tax filers in American history. As recently as 1990, only 21 percent of tax filers paid no levies. The result of this trend is that millions more Americans today pay nothing for the benefits they receive, which are paid for by productive taxpayers.

It’s no surprise then that measures like the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Dependency are curving steeply upward. Preliminary figures from Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis show a 13.9 percent increase for 2009, the biggest single-year increase since 1962. The massive one-year jump in dependency — indexed according to changes in government spending on housing, retirement, health and welfare, etc. — was mainly caused by President Obama’s unprecedented expansion of federal deficit spending and national debt through corporate bailouts and the economic stimulus program. But what happens when productive taxpayers can no longer pay enough taxes to support benefits promised by “progressive” politicians to dependent America? With European welfare states like Greece teetering on this threshold of collapse, our crossroad is whether to continue down the same road or to return to the path that once made us the freest and most prosperous country the world has ever seen.