Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Welfare Spending Increase

From Laurie:

Here is a post with a chart regarding welfare spending I thought you guys might appreciate, as it supports your point of view:

overall spending on social welfare programs has increased by 3x since 1980.

I expect Jerry will argue that spending is actually much higher.


John said...

That seemed to be a good pragmatic article by Mr Drum on MJ... Here is some math that has me curious though:

+$900,000,000,000 Amount Spent on Welfare, Medicaid, etc
-$ 90,000,000,000 Guess at Govt Management Costs
+$810,000,000,000 Amount of Money and Services Distributed
+$12,000/person - Per Kevin

67,500,000 people could receive this average amount
It is likely that some get more and some get less depending on their normal income.

Assume ~3 people per family: They would receive $36,000/household

Now if 21% of our citizens receive this subsidy from the other tax payers, why is anyone in poverty? (ie 67 mil/ 320 mil * 100)

I assume Disability, Medicare, and Social Security come from a different bucket... So the actual percentage of 0 - 65 yr old citizens getting the subsidy likely close to 26% of citizens... (ie 67 mil/ (320 mil * .8) * 100)

So again... Why is any American in poverty?

It is very confusing... Maybe the govt management cost is way over 10%???

Laurie said...

From the Kevin Drum file today:

Republican Tax Plans

as someone concerned about the national deficit / debt you should really be giving Hillary a closer look.

jerrye92002 said...

I'm not going to argue the number is higher. I will argue that liberals can't do math. $12,000/$3000 is =4x= in spending, not 3X. Maybe it's 3X in inflation-adjusted dollars, but the chart takes no account of that, and it should. And if you're going to do "per capita" numbers, than by all rights you need to tell us how many capitas we are talking about, so we can appreciate that the welfare rolls keep increasing, contrary to the supposed purpose of welfare and the goal of the War on Poverty. The other trick here is that, by using per capita numbers, you completely mask the benefit of welfare reform because the per capita number stays the same even if you reduce the number of beneficiaries by 50%. And why the arbitrary cutoff at 150% of poverty, rather than 100%? Don't we define "poor" by poverty level, and our intent should be to raise incomes TO poverty level? No, the whole notion of government welfare is cockeyed and ineffective, if not counterproductive. Phase it out.

Laurie said...

a follow up from Kevin Drum today:

Take 2: Another Look at Bernie Sanders, Welfare Reform, and Deep Poverty

this is not really my issue and I don't take time to dive into much of the details. If someone asked me should we increase welfare for families in deep poverty I would say yes.

jerrye92002 said...

Here is what is wrong with every single one of these studies and opinion pieces, it is the use of the passive voice. "[The] percentage of households with children in extreme poverty increased... " That is simply incorrect. Those households did not impoverish themselves. Assuming the statistics are correct and identify a "problem" not attributable to other causes, the welfare system actively FAILED these people. The system did NOT do what it claims to do of protecting the poorest of the poor, nor did it do what it OUGHT to do of putting these people on the path to self-sufficiency, to the degree it is possible for them.

If someone asks me if we should increase welfare for families in deep poverty I would say "Why, when for 40 years welfare has failed to keep these people out of poverty"? Why throw good money after bad? At what point do we step back and decide that we are not solving the problem, and try some other solution?

It's like when I tutor kids in school. They come to me because they cannot grasp certain math concepts the way they are being taught. It doesn't seem to matter how many times it is repeated. I teach them with a different approach and that usually works, often very quickly.

Laurie said...

Weekend Follow-Up #1: Welfare Reform and Deep Poverty

it looks to me from this Kevin Drum graph that welfare spending reduces the number of people in deep poverty and welfare reform had little impact.

jerrye92002 said...

Well, that is an interesting chart. It is the interpretation where we no doubt differ. From what I see, welfare reform had a noticeable-- about 20%-- effect on deep poverty. Now whether that effect was to leave these people better off-- say with a job or other "income"-- or in deeper poverty we cannot say. It was not obvious to me what percentage of welfare recipients were in "deep poverty," either, and of course a Mississippi Delta family with a big garden and deer to hunt doesn't need nearly as much to get by as a New York tenement-dweller.

But I'm not sure that is even the correct measurement. I've always said that welfare reform must start with the "easy pickin'" people at the top-- those who either do not need at all, or those who could be easily lifted out of poverty with a job or job training, etc. Those in "deep poverty" may be considerably more intractable.

The only point in this debate is to look at welfare reform-- thoroughly and properly implemented which it has not been-- and determine if it at least starts to solve the problem of poverty. Throwing trillions of dollars at a system that produces MORE of what you are trying to eliminate is really stupid.

John said...

I like this quote from Kevin.

"But 20 years later, it doesn't look like it really had quite the catastrophic impact that a lot of people were afraid of at the time."

jerrye92002 said...

Of course not. Because liberal expectations of welfare are that it is essential and that any "cut" to it is harmful. Nothing about that has a basis in reality. That "lot of people" were all liberals who think the world complies with the way they want it to be.