We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, July 17. 2011
What is a "good" and what is a "right"? At Weekly Standard, A Fling with the Welfare State - From the best of intentions to bankruptcy and recriminations. It begins:
Read the whole thing. America has become addicted to the Welfare State same as in Euroland. But if everybody is addicted to freebies, who is going to pay for it all? My favorite examples of Welfare, guaranteed to offend almost everybody who hates to think of it this way:
Government student loans
With freebies - welfare - for all, you might almost think that America was a nation of incompetent leeches rather than a nation of proud, independent citizens who are capable of taking care of themselves and their own problems (unlike the Euroweenies with their serf-like approach to life). I am in one of these programs (VA - but I do not use it. Also, I paid off my mortgage already, foolishly, but think I will take a home equity line so I can get some tax deductions for these Obama years). Interestingly but not surprisingly, most of such progams increase the cost of the "good" itself via market distortion.
What are your favorite welfare programs? And what do you want the government to do for you with your own, and your neighbor's, money which it is not doing yet?
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I don't like any of them.
I don't like Social Security. About 40 years ago - I was about 20 - I was told to call the SS office because I might be due some benefits. How I got them, I had no idea as I hadn't even worked at a job by then. I think it had something to do with my father and maybe because he was on some disability... don't know that I ever knew. Anyway, I argued with the lady at the SS office a couple of times that I didn't deserve anything but I finally relented and got a few hundred dollars from SS. I was a poor college student who wanted to get an apartment (or maybe already had one).
I disagree that SS is a welfare program, but I agree that it is becoming one. It is completely unsustainable but I am opposed to it being needs based since that would make it even more of a welfare program. Realistically, there may be no other option other than dismantling the whole system from the ground up - which I would prefer.
WRT the debt limit fracas, the pubbies should be screaming about all the subsidies that we pay - such as Amtrak, farm subsidies, green subsidies, airline subsidies, the list goes on. They shouldn't let Zero frame the situation as the rich who aren't paying their fair share..
SS is Welfare, plain and simple.
It's paid from current revenue, and the "account" is a bookkeeping myth.
They had to make it universal or it might not have passed Congress.
It is not welfare in the sense that beneficiaries paid into the system. That it was stolen after it was paid in is another subject. It is welfare because of its perversion and maybe that perversion was expected by its designers. I don't think it would have ever passed congress or the SCOTUS if it was designed as a welfare or transfer payment system - even poor people had pride in the '30s.
It would be nice if the USA stopped providing welfare to first-world nations through the Department of Defense.
On the home front, Community Development Block Grants are my favorite. It’s a slush fund for community organizers and similar social architects.
I'm just curious TB - how do you figure the VA system is a welfare system?
The VA medical system.
I consider the Welfare State to include anything that transfers money from the taxpayer to individuals for their personal benefit.
It's not all bad.
We're cool - I was just interested. And that's as good a definition as any. :>)
I don't make any bones about it - I'm in the VA system as a backup to my private insurance which is getting more and more expensive every damn quarter. I do get treatment for some issues related to direct (and one might say immersive) exposure to Agent Orange. :>)
And as I'm turning 65 this Wednesday, it may just come in handy to have that backup if what I'm hearing via the Mrs is true and I'm about to get dropped anyway. :>)
Don't forget earned income tax credit and child tax credit. welfare through the IRS, pay zero taxes and get a refund from the IRS. The worst form of welfare. Hidden from view. when they say the 40odd percent of taxpayers pay nothing that is not correct. A large portion receive $$$ through the IRS.
Dont forget the wealfare for artists and communicators PBS, NPR and arts and humanities grants.
Forget hope and change...vote the o'Bominator OUT and you will have HOPE.
As a good neighbour I am very CONCERNED.
From "nor' o' the 49th", this is for all the Maggie's Farmers.
I agree with most of your list, Barrister, but strongly disagree with two items:
a. Social Security. When the government persists in the lie that this a retirement fund that I compelled to pay into (and I pay both parts of mine, being self-employed), then I don't regard it as 'welfare' to re-capture what I'm able to as I'm able to.
Is it similar to a welfare program, since receipts are immediately paid out? You bet. But that's due to poor financial management; Canada & Chile do it with proper financial management.
(I'm ignoring whether there should be a compulsory retirement plan at all with for the sake of brevity.)
b. Ditto for the Home mortgage interest deductions: if the government chooses to implement income tax policy with some arcane structure that includes credits and deductions, that's a pity. The gov't should use a flat tax approach, IMNSHO.
Nonetheless, I'd be a fool not to avoid as much tax as possible, eh? Have you personally never claimed the mortgage interest deduction?
Those two items on your list remind me of the lefty game of listing all manner of government programs that most people can't avoid - or can't easily avoid - and then crowing, "If you're a beneficiary of any of these, you can't complain about 'welfare'."
So much hogwash, in many cases, including the two I mentioned above.
Don't know about the other states, but in California MediCaid won't cover eyeglasses or dental work. For something like me that means scrimping and saving for both.
Well, much of the VA medical care provided would fall under workers' comp. So there is some deviation there unless all workers' comp gets lumped in.
Interesting, what is workers' comp is probably the oldest "welfare" starting for mariners in the Middle Ages with vessel owners responsible for medical care and living expenses with Maintenance and Cure.
Here is probably the first write up of the Social Security scam from Life in 1939. Even then with the idea only 2 yrs old, they'd already absconded with the "reserve".
Maybe I am on a quasi welfare. I retired as an enlisted man from the Navy in 1996. After floating around from job to job for some time, I caught on with the post office in 2004. Quite possibly I am part of the problem and not part of the solution.
I have a problem with the VA being welfare. After two combat tours in the Nam, I came back and worked until 2002 when injuries and Agent Orange nailed me.
I don't consider that nor the SSDI I collected, welfare. I'll trade you the pain and money for the abilities I had.
Did that link come from Maggie's? Dunno, but came across it and took a moment to study the photos. Look at the Pie Town, NM, dugout with the yard garden. This family has five kids under 12 or so, and clearly built their home with their own hand tools --while the babies were coming. Note the fence around that garden --the flair and care in the alternating hi-lo tops of the slats.
Once upon a time not long ago, i would have looked at these hard, serious, faces and felt sorry for the people --our own grandparent's ages mostly.
Nowadays, something has changed, maybe just me, but now i don't feel sorry for them at all --in fact i envy them. They had problems they could understand, and get their hands on.
Missing from your list:
Home heating assistance
WIC (Women Infants Children)
Daycare assistance (including Head Start)
Direct payments - you can still get them in most states for up to 5 years
In the cities, matriarchal groups consisting of great grandma, grandma, mom, daughter, daughter's child/children have been established, which, by pooling resources from welfare programs, survive quite handily without working. And without requiring support from the men who father the children.
I'll chime in on VA care for service-related injuries and illnesses -- less welfare than a form of workers' comp and surely part of the burden of war that we can't throw on the soldiers who were injured.
VA care for other health problems is more like welfare. I should be careful here, though, being a retiree myself although now employed in private sector.
See my definition of Welfare. At Maggie's, we are provocative. We love our vets, too, but no reason for them not to get their insured medical care anywhere they want.
We are seeing the death of a subsidence nation. The new order will cause great angst amongst the teat-suckers.
Until they learn how to forage for themselves in life.