An answer to those saying we should get rid of welfare

This was an answer to an anti-welfare post on another site which I wrote a day or two ago. Slightly edited for context. 

I think to a certain extent the case against welfare is a bit simplistic. If the question is: “Welfare: yes or no” I think the question can be answered by what a debater would call a “negative repairs” case, in this case meaning that refining the welfare system makes more sense than trashing it, and trashing it could have a lot of expensive consequences such as more people getting their income from crime and more expense to us if we catch and imprison them. There are reforms we need, such as finding work for the able bodied even if the government makes such work and not penalizing people on welfare who get ill-paying jobs by deducting their pay from their welfare checks, thereby removing their incentive to work. You get what you incentivize. 
Also, the common idea that some of the money “disappears” makes no sense, only that one might lose track of where it went. The thing about Welfare is by the nature of the recipient population no recipient can afford to do anything with that money other than spending it. Spending it is a private sector function. The poorer one is, the faster they have to spend what they get or earn. It is tax breaks to the wealthy where money “disappears” because they save a lot of it, often in offshore accounts where it sure as Hell doesn’t do the country any good. Spent money creates jobs, reducing the need for welfare and increasing the number of taxpayers, making welfare and everything else easier to afford, and increasing the number and size of customers. 
The worst financial problem we have here is all that unproductive money in the hands of the very wealthy at the same time that the current powers that be, emphatically including the President, have been exacerbating the problem and trying to exacerbate it more. If nothing else, government has proven to be more effective at redistributing money than the private sector has. When economies are left very free market, like 1900 America or immediately post-Soviet Russia, money tends to concentrate. 
Right now, it’s way too concentrated to optimize the economic performance of this country. You can look around the world and find consistently that the healthiest countries have healthy middle classes because any economy depends on a lot of people spending steadily - that’s what keeps businesses open and prospering. Our middle class now has hardly any of our money, and forget about our poor. The wealthiest 40% of the population has over 95% of our wealth. The poorest 40% has 1/3 of 1% of our wealth. How can you look at those numbers and conclude that our problem is how much money the government is giving to a population more like the poorest 20% of our population, which incidentally collectively has 1/10 of 1% of our wealth, or 1/1000 of our wealth for 1/5 of our population? 
This concern is so upside down. From an economic standpoint, our biggest problem is not the undeserving poor or even government, because everything government spends ends up in the private sector; it’s the undeserving rich. Our inheritance taxes, which need to be increased substantially, are under attack for existing. An inheritance tax free Eric Trump would do more damage to our economy by himself than a big proportion of the welfare recipient population. 
Why are you so much more offended by the undeserving poor than by the undeserving rich? At least the undeserving poor have genuine needs while the undeserving rich are doing so much more damage to our economy. Yeah, I see the lip service - “I care about abuse both ways” - but the arguments mostly go one way, treating the government giving more money to the poor as our biggest problem. 
Please. Money going to a population worth 1/1000 of our money is not our biggest problem. And that assumes that 20% of America’s population is on public assistance. But even if it’s higher than that, if we double the population to the poorest 40%, we’re still only talking about 3/1000 of our money. Get real. Somewhere along the line, we should be paying less attention to those stealing pennies than those stealing houses. 
By the way, as a liberal Democrat, those who fault President Obama with going along with this are right. His refusal to prosecute in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis was criminal, so this behavior clearly isn’t limited to Republicans. 
Please stop reacting so viscerally to what bothers you philosophically and follow the money. This is the flip side of bleeding heart liberalism: conservativism that is emotionally blinded by anger at the undeserving poor, more willing to spend $10 to imprison someone than 1$ to help them. 

Views: 109

Comment by Ron Powell on January 7, 2019 at 11:31pm

Racism and bigotry are as much at work in the hearts and minds of those you address as any concern for the economy or economic construct...

That's why their response is visceral and the numbers don't matter.....

I would like to read some of the reactions/responses.

Please share the link to the site where this post appears in its original form....

Comment by koshersalaami on January 8, 2019 at 12:00am

Let's just say at this site I don't exactly preach to the choir. Be prepared. Most people on that site are Trump supporters and many who aren’t are conservatives. 

Comment by Boanerges on January 8, 2019 at 8:28am

Not going to bother with a site like that. I hear enough from family and friends as it is.

I'm fiscally conservative, otherwise liberal. I wouldn't stop social assistance for any of those receiving it under various programs here -- even though I know first-hand abuses exist.

Despite being essentially a-religious, I offer up the following point to ponder:

Comment by alsoknownas on January 8, 2019 at 8:41am

Good luck trying to educate the toadies. Paraphrasing Colbert I'd say they just don't want it to happen.

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 8, 2019 at 5:18pm

It is tax breaks to the wealthy where money “disappears"

Actually, a lot of that money doesn't disappear; it gets spent on things like a two million dollar birthday party, a $6,000 dollar shower curtain, a $10,000 dollar portrait of yourself (paid for with money skimmed from your charitable foundation), $35,000 dollar purses, 24K gold toilets, etc, etc, etc. Some of it does disappear, of course, and a lot of that hidden money goes for bribes, legal and otherwise, to legislators and PACs.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 8, 2019 at 11:36pm

A two million dollar birthday party employs a lot of people who in turn spend the money. That at least circulates. I’m far more concerned with the money that doesn’t. 

Comment by Ron Powell on January 9, 2019 at 7:59am

I took a peek at your post and responses on the other site...

While your thesis is good it lacks sharpness and focus...In short, you tried to do/say too much in one treatment of the topic...

You gave your critics a target that is too easy to hit...

You should have narrowed the focus and applied the KISS principle:

Keep It Simple Sir (I used 'sir' instead of the original 'stupid' so as not to offend.)

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 9, 2019 at 9:44am

Kosh, you're quite right that money spent foolishly, like on a  two-million dollar birthday bash, may provide a few temporary jobs for male strippers and the like. But what's also true is money wasted in that fashion doesn't get used to pay stockholders or provide additional good jobs at Tyco, let alone get used to educate poor children or build infrastructure or find a cure for cancer.

One expression that fits this sort of wretched excess is "pissing in the wind. and in the case of Dennis Koslowski and his godawful waste of corporate funds, that was almost literally true. One can only guess how much stockholder's money was spent on an anatomically correct ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s “David” urinating vodka at that party. We do know $250,000 was spent on a performance by Jimmy Buffett. More here is if you can stand it:

But Kozlowski is an easy target; how about the $1000 T-shirt worn by Ann Romney? Yeah, somebody got the job of making it and somebody else got the job of selling it; and same goes for those $35,000 purses. But are your really going to try to justify such wretched excesses in a world where millions go to bed hungry? I think I know you better than that.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 9, 2019 at 7:33pm

I’m not justifying it. I’m saying that while it’s offensive, there’s something they do that’s economically worse. 

Comment by moki ikom on January 9, 2019 at 10:49pm

wow brother, just read your piece after having for a few days read and writ around it until such time as now i guess...

anyway, since we know one another, from this forum, L's creation which came before the former forum's demise where we originally met yet remained to one another usually respectfully distanced due somewhat to the greater than now quantity of writers and trollers.. trollers ruined the initial forum, i recognized some as ziona_i  ,  even belligerent Anti-anti-ziona_i after da'kin tracked me from dkos forum where i was banned after a yr.... i trust you and i, at least regarding my anti-zionaUSea responses/actions toward or rebounding from your wall, are past being overly offended by one another because effectively we found ourselves trying to save each other from drowning or my more than your being banned from jumping into these lots of ideological poop hoping to come out of it smelling if not like a rose then at least not like the poop following yet another rhetorical adventure in chemistry without matter.  btw, the term ziona_i was not even in my brain at either dkos or open... spelled out w/o the _ space which can b extremely offensive to z_onists.  That's one reason i don't spell it out in this comment on your post (besides, ziona_iism is clearly not topical here, i.e. doesn't i think  to the topic of this post when being relative should be a cardinal expectation in any discussion in this forum) ... though it's how i bring up Fascism:  Your re-post above from your composition in a foreign to ours' forum is nothing less than an indictment, a soundly reasoned prosecution of what ours' RbJ calls American Fascism.  I don't see how you can codemn fascism without condemning the past five centuries before this moment of american capitalism, eurofascism in the Americas.  The predatory economy of Capitalism is the mother of the ideology of Fascism.


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