Bob Hubbard’s recent article, It’s About Choice, stirred up a lot of reactions on Facebook, both positive and negative. This Friday Follow-up will briefly recap a couple basic facts that frame the debate, and then a counterpoint by a Liberal blogger that challenges the belief that out welfare system is pervasive and not generally flawed.
First, Politifact addressed (and positively confirmed) the statements that the top 5% of earners pay over half of all federal income taxes, and the lower half in fact pay no net income tax at all and/or get money back. This utterly wipes out any excuse to assert there’s not significant existing progressive taxation.
Second, blogger Pat O’Mally states that less than half of 1% of American citizens actually receive welfare at any one time, and administrative costs are as low as 7.4%. It also debunks generational welfare and lifetime eligibility, perhaps the belief in which are residual prejudices from before the major reform overhaul during the Clinton administration. However, her use of partisan epithets makes clear her bias, and she fails to mention other assistasnce programs such as [[Food Stamps]], addressing only one program in the whole spectrum of public assistance, and side-stepping any issues of fraud or it’s prevalence.
I plan to research this further, as even my own recent article on the subject did not venture past the realm of anecdotal evidence and rational assumptions.
In my article, “Welfare in America: Myths and Facts” I say specifically that I am writing only about TANF. No one can possibly cover all of the public assistance programs in an article like this. Thousands of books exist on the subject.
The “generational” issue exists because people who grew up in poverty are much more likely to live in poverty themselves as adults.
It’s not rocket science.
I didn’t make up the numbers, and I listed my sources.
The top five percent of earners pay more than half of the taxes BECAUSE THEY HAVE 90 PERCENT OF THE INCOME.
That’s not rocket science either.
I never claim to be unbiased. That’s irrelevant.
My facts are still accurate.
I appreciate your visit here. My criticism of you only addressing TANF is that when people say that we live in a welfare state, they are not specifically referring to TANF, but public assistance in general. However, my criticism is premature — and I apologize for that — as you did state you would be addressing other programs in future articles. Which, incidentally, I look forward to.
However, if you’re going to ask me to do the math to determine the social justice of it, you should recheck your numbers. If you do, you will find that even the top TWENTY percentiles of households earn under your 90% figure in a record-disparity economy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_inequality_in_the_United_States#Statistics I don’t think that negates the sentiment of your argument, but it frames it more honestly. Your numbers are mathematically impossible given the already progressive taxation system.
As for your “generational” statement, it does not follow logically. You are basically stating that it exists because it exists. We can agree that poverty is generational, but to say it is because people’s progeny tend to also be poor is simply explaining what is meant by “generational”, not explaining it. Now if you and I offered hypotheses on why this is so, we would probably find common ground, such as unequal education, but might disagree on the possibility that people learn values and habits from their parents, which have no little effect on one’s destiny, financially or otherwise.
My hope is that people across the political spectrum can admit the merits of each other’s points of view, and then maybe work toward a solution that overcomes differences in ideologically-specific assumptions about fairness. And articles like yours provides a framework for that. I hope to do the same.