So what ARE the anti-poverty programs you keep going on about? How much money are we talking about? Because I can assure you that the majority of this spending is NOT for anti-poverty welfare programs ... Perhaps I'm wrong and you can explain all these anti-poverty programs that I haven't been hearing about in my liberal circles; but I'm fairly sure they'll turn out to be minor amounts. But perhaps you'd like to put actual numbers to your rhetoric and prove me wrong.Dr. Hussein needs to specify exactly what he means by "anti-poverty welfare programs"; because while there is a policy difference between entitlement programs and means tested-programs, both categories are referred to by policy analysts as "income security expenditures," which means by definition that such programs are designed to keep Americans from falling into poverty. Indeed, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935, he said:
We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.The rise of the social service state has elevated federal spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, TANF for the poor, anti-poverty food programs, drug rehabilitation, housing relief (Section 8), and unemployment insurance (to name a few) to the center of public budgeting. All of these are "anti-poverty" programs, and since Social Security and Medicare make up roughly one-third of all federal spending, we're talking about at least another 15 percent of the budget going to "anti-poverty welfare programs."
Actually, there's been a lot of commentary on these issues lately. Policy analyst Robert Rector has argued that President Obama will end welfare-refrom as we know it:
The stimulus bill will overturn the fiscal foundation of welfare reform and restore an AFDC-style funding system. For the first time since 1996, the federal government will begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads ... Candidate Barack Obama promised to make government "more open and transparent." But, in office, President Obama has done the opposite, promoting a massive spending bill riddled with secret provisions unrelated to economic stimulus. The stimulus bill is being used as a Trojan horse to secretly overturn welfare reform, massively expand long-term welfare spending, and permanently "spread the wealth."At the Wall Street Journal, Benjamin Sasse and Kerry Weems also discuss Obama's welfare reform rollback:
Through a little noticed provision of the stimulus package that has passed the House of Representatives, the bill creates a fund for TANF that is open-ended -- the same way Medicare and Social Security are.Hmm, open-ended? Sounds like public assistance would in fact become an "entitlement" program, which means that these appropriations would become what's known in budget parlance as "uncontrollable expenditures" in which funding would be set by fixed formulas and reauthorization is automatic. Such programs are extremely difficult to reduce or refrom.
In the section of the House bill dealing with cash assistance to low-income families, the authors inserted the bombshell phrase: "such sums as are necessary." This is a profound departure from the current statutory scheme, despite the fact that, in this particular bill, state TANF spending would be capped. The "such sums" appropriation language is deliberately obscure. It is a camel's nose provision intended to reverse Clinton-era legislation and create a new template for future TANF reauthorizations.
Peter Ferrara at the American Spectator identifies explicitly how the administration's budget will expand the tradition anti-povery sector, with open-budget appropriations and accounting gimmicks:
Finally, take a look at the budget analysis from the left-wing NPR:
Here, in fact, is exactly how the budget promises to produce these many years of economic growth, in its chapter on "Jumpstarting the Economy and Investing for the Future":
-- Make Permanent the $800 "Making Work Pay" Tax Cut for Workers and Families. This is the income tax credit discussed above that sends lots of money to people who do not pay income taxes, and involves no change in incentives for those who do pay income taxes. Borrowing $800 for each two-earner couple to send them a check for $800 adds nothing to the economy on net.
-- Continue to Cut Taxes for the Families of Millions of Children Through an Expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Ditto the above.
-- Increase Food Stamp Benefits for Over 30 Million Americans. Increasing welfare does not promote economic growth. It retards it, by promoting dependency and non-work instead.
-- Provide Nearly 60 Million Retired and Disabled Americans an Immediate $250 Through Temporarily Increasing Benefits. Increasing welfare does not promote economic growth, even if the recipient really needs the money.
-- Extend, Expand and Reform Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits. Extending and expanding unemployment insurance benefits provides no incentives or other boost for economic growth. Rather, it does just the opposite.
-- Reform Asset Tests. This means make it easier to get welfare. No economic boom here.
There is also some infrastructure spending, which will work to promote the economy like Roosevelt's old Works Progress Administration (WPA) did early in the Great Depression. Government spending is not free, and is not the foundation of economic growth.
Regarding poverty, it's difficult to tell exactly how much the administration proposes spending on the disadvantaged. Specific numbers will not be available until April, when the administration is set to release a more detailed budget. However, Sharon Parrott, a welfare expert at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says it's clear the administration is not trying to reduce the deficit at the expense of programs for the poor. Some critics warn, though, that temporary benefit increases approved as part of the stimulus package could turn into a permanent expansion of welfare programs.So, we'll see exact anti-povety numbers in April. But given, the above analysis, there's really not much that remains to be known. The Obama administration is committed to literally trillions of dollars to the expansion of anti-poverty programs. And this will be costly, coming out to $25,573.48 apiece per taxpayer. And keep in mind, we're not even talking about the socialization of American medicine.
So, let me put out the call to Dr. Birdbrain to respond to this post with a rebuttal to the argument and the preliminary numbers (although the guy's a pathological liar, so whatever response we do end up seeing with be contaminated with progressive postmodernist budgetary baloney).
We are seeing the largest expansion of government in American history. While folks right now are focused on anti-tax tea parties and those who're going "John Galt," this subterranean expansion of the state welfare-handout sector is one of the biggest signs that this administration is indeed hellbent on to shift this country over to the European socialist model.