The Myth Of Government Dependence

PolicyShop on the largely nonexistent scourge of able-bodied but lazy masses who mooch off of hardworking taxpayers:

The Great Recession has led to falling labor force participation and soaring social spending, particularly for food stamps and unemployment benefits. Never mind the economic causes of these trends; the United States, the right argues, has been drifting toward a country where a dwindling band of “makers” support a growing army of “takers,” with the most successful and hardest working people — wealthy job creators — paying much of the tab to subsidize a nation of freeloaders.

Now, the right’s Freeloader Nation critique has moved to the center of Mitt Romney’s campaign…in selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has chosen one of Congress’s most vociferous critics of the safety net.

Start with the big picture: Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance — less than 10 percent — goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. While Romney wrote in an op-ed last year that “Government dependency can only foster passivity and sloth,” there are few signs of a growing army of layabouts subsisting on the dole.

On the contrary, as reported by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities early this year:

more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. This figure has changed little in the past few years.

Are there some malingerers and shirkers in the system? Of course, and we should always be looking to reduce that. But these folks are not the source of some national crisis.

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  • charlieprimero

    Fire up the class warfare meme to stimulate voting.

    Voting is consent to Bankster Grift.

    Psychologists call it “Emotional Investment”.

    They want you in.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    What America wants to know, Mr. Ryan, is why billions of dollars in interest-free loans to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan aren’t considered government welfare.

    • Andrew

      Because corporations are people, but you and I are collectivists.

      • TennesseeCyberian

        Every “good guy” badge is hammered out of a double standard.

        • Calypso_1

          No hammering – EDM.  ; )

    • TennesseeCyberian

      Because these loans get paid back if the banks don’t go under.  The only way that public welfare gets paid back is if it actually functions as a “safety net” and recipients get jobs and begin paying back into the system.

      Not that I have any sympathy for banks and bankers, and cutting welfare would be a very bad idea.

      I’m not sure if the sky would really fall if the banks were denied their bail outs, but I’m certain that if welfare checks stopped going out, the streets would burn.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        I don’t mind that you believe I’m a militant Black Panther partisan who disagrees with you out of sheer spite instead of because, you know, I might have actually looked at the evidence, but:

        1.  The Dow Jones Index, the mostly widely quoted barometer of financial markets rose from 8,000 at the end of 2008 to over 10,000 at the end of 2009–or 25%.  On a $1 billion dollar loan at zero percent interest that’s $250,000,000 take home.  With exactly $0 cost, so to say 100% “profit” doesn’t begin to describe how this is corporate welfare.  $250 MILLION IN FREE MONEY. 

        2.  If we can do this for banks, who are so spectacularly incompetent and criminal that not only do they need bailouts to save their stupid *sses and courts to flout the constitutional rights of mortgage holders in order to save the banks from bad robosigning practices–WHY CAN’T WE GUARANTEE INTEREST FREE LOANS TO STUDENTS?  Education spending can actually be demonstrated to improve GDP, whereas it’s a proven fact that in recent decades each $1 allocated to the financial sector DESTROYS 80 (EIGHTY) CENTS.

        But what do I know?  I’m just a dishonest black militant.

        Who knows how to read.

        • TennesseeCyberian

          Black militant?

          Anyway, many students do get interest free loans, and Pell grants, and various fee waivers (I did).

          I never claimed that bankers don’t game the federal government to the limit of absurdity, but bail outs are not equivalent to welfare. The comparison is frequently made based on a superficial resemblance, but it’s a hyperbolic sound byte, like “abortion is genocide” or “capitalism is theft.”

          You say:

          “it’s a proven fact that in recent decades each $1 allocated to the financial sector DESTROYS 80 (EIGHTY) CENTS IN GDP.”

          Interesting. Sources?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Federal reserve and Bureau of Economic Statistics.  Just divide GDP by the average money supply for the corporate financial sector.  So simple that even you just might be able to understand it.

            http://www.dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2010/11/should-republicans-consider-hedging.html

            Focus on the chart summarizing results in the middle of the article.  If you feel up to it (which based on our prior interactions, I HIGHLY doubt you are), refer to the linked workbook for detailed calculations, and source data charts.

            https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0z0Wboesi8MOTE4OGE3NTQtYTJiZi00YmUxLThiOWItN2JlYzNhZTNlYWQ5/edit?hl=en

            But what do I know?  I only disagree with you out of a stubborn black obstinacy, not out of deep knowledge of things like Spell Check.  Don’t you remember?  That’s what you keep telling me.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Stubborn black obstinacy? Do black people even know that you exist?

            Anyway, when backing claims that begin with “it’s a proven fact,” it is highly inadvisable to cite some amateurish, unread blog as your source. The workbook is more interesting, but I’m not finding any part of the overly pedantic blog entry or the workbook that proves your claim that every dollar allocated to the financial sector destroys 80 cents of GDP.

            You do know the difference between correlation and causation, correct? The burden of proof is on you.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Yes.  And I’ve satisfied IT.

            However, it essentially does not matter whether anyone satisfies YOU.

            Your repeated inability to grasp fundamental aspects of these issues of which even a 10-year old should not need to be reminded (e.g., that a financial institution given free money might actually DO SOMETHING WITH IT) is a powerful demonstration of the ways in which you ‘think':

            1.  You’re only interested in ‘winning’ (Charlie Sheen-esque implications fully intended), to the complete exclusion of factual analysis,

            AND/OR

            2.  You’re too stupid to realise the superiority of transparent, fact-based analysis over argumentum ad verecundiam.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            No, I can honestly say that if you made a strong argument, I would be happy to consider it.  But I am not persuaded that simply dividing the GDP by the corporate financial sector’s average money supply proves the bold claim in question.

            Maybe you’ll luck out and an influential economic pundit (or anyone, for that matter) will actually read the revolutionary ideas expressed by that overly wordy “Distortion Diaries” blogger (whose prose leaves the impression of a masturbation-to-sex ratio that is appallingly slanted toward digital fulfillment, and whose pedantic tone indicates an ego far out of proportion to reality.)   Then the world will know about the “proven fact” that every dollar allocated to the financial market destroys 80 cents of GDP.

            Because right now, you seem to be the only one.  What a tragic genius you are.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            No, I can honestly say that if you made a strong argument, I would be happy to consider it.  But I am not persuaded that simply dividing the GDP by the corporate financial sector’s average money supply proves the bold claim in question.

            Maybe you’ll luck out and an influential economic pundit (or anyone, for that matter) will actually read the revolutionary ideas expressed by that overly wordy “Distortion Diaries” blogger (whose prose leaves the impression of a masturbation-to-sex ratio that is appallingly slanted toward digital fulfillment, and whose pedantic tone indicates an ego far out of proportion to reality.)   Then the world will know about the “proven fact” that every dollar allocated to the financial market destroys 80 cents of GDP.

            Because right now, you seem to be the only one.  What a tragic genius you are.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    in Amerika welfare is only fair for the elites and their corporations

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