This story from My Budget 360 details the numbers involved, from the census bureau. I am adding it because it is the second time I’ve seen this information now. The bottom line is that there are more Americans receiving means-tested benefits than working full time. Not sure if the numbers cited include, for instance, children in the Medicaid figure. That might be a distortion, as all children are supported by someone, but then again, I believe children are often covered by Medicaid even when parents are not. So maybe they should count, as it is financially the parent receiving the benefit. Also I think children can get SSI.
Anyway, it is quite upsetting and a real indictment of our corporatocracy. The other article was from Zero Hedge or The Burning Platform, I think, and it was espousing the view that there is no way for “us” who work to vote in a better system now, because all those receiving these benefits will vote their interests. I disagree with that assessment. There are probably too many kids in the number for that to be true anyway, but the real voting bloc that outvotes workers is retirees.
And besides all that, the “welfare state” isn’t even the issue. Benefits do not need to be reduced for poor people. They need to be reduced for rich people. How come we don’t hear about the ridiculous tax break for venture capitalists and hedgies anymore? How in God’s name can the fine being paid by JPMorgan for criminal activities be tax deductible? Why are we still subsidizing the big banks (through the interest on excess reserves held at the Fed)? Why do we allow our mountaintops to be removed and then sell the coal to China?
I also think that Aldous Snow is a little off base on this as well. It’s not profits that are bad; it’s rents that are bad. It’s laws that erect barriers to new competition that are the problem. Check into health care. Obamacare’s so-called “free marketplace” cannot possibly reduce costs, because today’s healthcare purchasing process is so far from a free market.
If we had less corporate control of our legal and economic system, there would be more competition and better opportunities for individuals to be productive and support themselves and their families, and communities. There is no reason we should not have a safety net to make sure no one in America starves, but it should not have to cover so many people. That’s sad for everyone.