Welfare spending is fueling calls to raise taxes on the top income earners. If that happens, marginal tax rates could reach 70 percent, and who wants to work harder or smarter when 70 cents out of each additional dollar you earn will be confiscated by the government?
“Most people won’t keep working hard for the greater good if they don’t receive the fruits of that work,” writes author Patrick Lencioni. The result, he points out, is “decreasing productivity, risk-taking, and innovation, along with increasing tax rates, government programs, and expectations.”
When you think of people on welfare, you usually think of the poor. But want to hear another outrage? Two-thirds of all welfare recipients are middle class and rich. Ryan points out that as of 2007, households in the lowest income quintile received just 36 percent of all transfer payments.
That’s largely due to Social Security and Medicare. I know — you’re gonna howl, “Social Security and Medicare aren’t welfare. I worked my butt off for my benefits!” No, you worked (or are working) your butt off to pay for someone else’s benefits. When you retire, someone else is going to work their butt off to pay for your benefits.
For that, you can thank the father of the welfare state, Franklin Roosevelt. He set up Social Security so that your contributions are spent immediately rather than saved. It and similar programs could be restructured to fix this blunder, but as long as Obama is in power, that won’t happen.
The New Yorker writer John Cassidy admitted what Obama would never admit in public. He wrote of Obamacare, “In terms of the political calculus of the Democratic Party and in terms of making the United States a more equitable society, expanding health-care coverage now and worrying later about its long-term consequences is an eminently defensible strategy.”
So he concedes that making more people dependent on government — whether they be rich, middle class or poor — is a high-priority strategy to pull more people into Obama’s party.
It’s a vicious circle. More welfare means more dependency, which means more voters for welfare. And so on.
The slogan for the Great Depression and FDR was “Brother, can you spare a dime.” For the Great Recession and Barack Obama, it should be “Dude, where’s my welfare?” What FDR started, Obama completed.
Patrick D. Chisholm is founder and creative director of Accentance, Inc. and blogs at PolicyDynamics.org.