When will liberals stop denying that social welfare programs only make a country poorer?
When my mother was sixteen years old, she was raped. Nine months later, I was born.Her parents weren’t living on the streets, but they weren’t wealthy either. They couldn’t help her out much, nor did they feel inclined to - they disowned her, kicked her out, and left her to fend for herself. Her rapist - my father - took off, leaving my mother a single parent. She never had a chance. No matter what she did, she would be poor.Tell me, what was her bad decision?Social welfare meant WIC. It meant housing assistance, and heating supplements, and Headstart, and Medicaid. It meant my mother wasn’t homeless with an infant. It meant that my mother could afford to finish high school and still feed her child and herself. It meant that a Minnesota winter wouldn’t kill us in our sleep. It meant that her financial circumstances wouldn’t keep me from learning to read, so that I could hope for more than a minimum wage job for the rest of my life, which would perpetuate the cycle of poverty and leave me reliant on government aid in my adult years. It meant that when I came down with ear infections, or when an ectopic pregnancy nearly killed my mother, she didn’t have to choose between going hungry for a month or rolling the dice that a health issue wouldn’t get even worse.We weren’t living in the lap of luxury. Social welfare meant our basic human needs were met. It meant that I could grow up to be a contributing, tax-paying member of society. Without social welfare, I could very well be dead, or mentally delayed from early childhood malnutrition, or simply stuck on the lowest rung of the social ladder with no way up - no education, no skills, and no extra funds to channel towards climbing out of a pit I hadn’t even dug. Don’t try and tell me that my mother’s sheer bad luck meant that I - a child at the time - didn’t deserve advantages like food, shelter, healthcare.Get your head out of your ass. People in poverty are human beings, and denying them help when they need it means - gasp! - more people in poverty, for longer periods at a stretch. It means generations of poverty instead of letting them have at least a chance at getting ahead. Yeah. That sounds like a real rich country to me, too.
Why is the US so behind on social programs compared to European countries?
Behind? I would call it ahead.But to answer your question, the reason is historical. America was founded on the principles of freedom/liberty, individualism, and minimal government. In fact, if the Constitutional system hadn’t been changed, there would be no federal social programs. Originally, U.S. Senators were elected by state legislatures so that Senators were really delegates to the States. Any federal social program would automatically shift power from the States and hence, could never pass the Senate. This was by design — yes, the Constitution was purposely designed so that there would not be any federal social programs. Individual states could establish social programs if their citizens wanted it (i.e. vote in representatives of the State legislature that support social programs). But in 1913, the seventeenth Amendment was ratified which established that each Senator would be directly elected by the people of that state [the reason for the change was that the U.S. Senate had become corrupt]. This made it possible for federal social programs to get pass the Senate. Through the succeeding decades, various federal social programs have been passed though not as extensively as in European countries.Europe is destined for demographic decline over the next few (or more) decades but that is another topic.
U.S births dip to a 30 year low; Is our social programs like medicare and social security in trouble? What can we do to rectify this?
Medicare and Social Security have been in trouble for a few years now. Medicare I believe exhausted its Trust fund last year. Social Security’s Trust fund is projected to be depleted in 2034, 16 years from now. From your question you understand that it is current workers paying for current retirees, Since you reference the low birth rate. The bigger problem is not fewer future workers but increased retirees.The first Baby Boomers at age 62 were eligible for benefits in 2008 and there are an estimated 10,000 Baby boomers a day retiring. Most Baby Boomers will have retired by 2031 and almost all Baby boomers will have died by 2050 The bigger problem is Medicare as accounting for the Baby boomers Social Security was already baked in the reform of 1984. Medicare on the other hand has had funding problems since its inception in 1965. The reason being that health care costs could not and cannot be contained. So what is the solution? For Social Security it’s simple. The sooner We act the easier the impact, however the political environment is so toxic right now that I don’t think Congress will address this issue until President Trump is out of office.In 1984 when Congress was forced to take action to save Social Security, the two most important measures were to increase the FICA tax from 4% to 6.2% ( on both employee and employer) and to gradually raise the FRA (Full Retirement Age) to 66 or 67 depending on your birth date. These two measures would in part “rectify” the problem along with eliminating the cap on FICA wages.
Why do so many Americans equate moderate social programs—like those in Canada, for example—with totalitarian Communism?
I think that Claire J. Vannette points out an important dynamic, but it runs a bit deeper and in some cases is a bit more sinister as well.Undoubtedly there are elements of the population that are just socially and economically illiterate and so buy into the whole idea that more government programs = socialism. But why is the socialism/communist epithet the first place Americans go?It's scary at a basic level to a people who pride themselves on the construct of their government. Admittedly I'm an American, so maybe I'm talking out of my ass because I don't know my own biases, but I've never seen another population of people who are simultaneously so ridiculously enamored and reverent toward their form of government while simultaneously remaining largely ignorant of its function and/or cursing its existence.But that dichotomy is what makes the "socialism" thing so interesting. We are conditioned to revile anything that appears on the surface to restrict individual liberty and freedom to choose: socially, economically, anything. Nevermind that there are plenty of choices available under Obamacare, the opponents of the act seized on the requirement to purchase "something" as a violation of your individual freedom, and ran.This idea is fed by the fact that the largest voting block in the country, old people, lived through the Cold War and were assaulted throughout their childhood and into middle age with the idea that America must defend and be defended at all costs against communism and socialism.The sinister part is that those who are forming the arguments I think know better, but exploit the widespread ignorance of a portion of a population, as well as the general uneasiness about certain policies, and the familiar feel of anti-socialism to coalesce these opposing forces. Ted Cruz knows that Obama is not a socialist. He just doesn't care. He's happy to let other people think that as long as they're on his side.
Does welfare alleviate or make poverty worse as a social problem?
Welfare, by which I mean a number of programs to assist poor people through cash and subsidized food, housing and medical services, serves to alleviate poverty, in both improving the quality of life of those who endure it and raising their overall income, modestly and for at least a while.There is no conceivable sense in which poverty is made worse by welfare. Demonstrably, targeted and consistent application of welfare has tangibly improved lives by satisfying basic needs of the weakest and least independent members of society, such as children, the aged, the inform and people with disabilities. In addition, some of its beneficiaries have been helped to permanently escape poverty and achieve some social mobility.People who argue about this have little understanding about poverty and what a pervasive, destructive, insidious and imprisoning condition it is. They also are unaware how poorly funded, badly organized and simply miserly welfare is in the United States. Thus, welfare as we know it is not a solution to poverty, even though it helps many millions.
Why do the middle class get screwed while the poor gets welfare?
You ask a question that most Americans are not even able to comprehend or begin to understand. The reality is that the rich will always be rich, regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative. Income is taxed, not wealth. The only people that vote for liberals are free loaders who think that they will just take money away from people that work hard and just give it to them. What the liberals are trying to do is to redistribute income from the people who work to the free loaders of society. These free loaders will not work or take any responsibility for themselves. This in turn causes the standard of living for the middle class to continue to decline. This has been going on since 1967, when the standard of living peaked in the United States. This was just 2 years after the liberals started the modern day welfare programs that are now strangling the middle class. This unpalatable fact is the reality that the mass media will not speak about. The class warfare is not between the rich and poor, it is between the middle class and the free loaders in society who will not work and want everything given to them for free.
Why does America hate welfare so much?
It's not just welfare but other programs designed to help people. I know welfare, food stamps, setion 8, and other programs all have problems because I have seen both extremes. I have a friend who is a single mom and had her food stamps reduced because she got a minimum wage job at Wendy's. Now she struggles even more to feed her son because she is actually trying to do something to help herself. Isn't this just encouraging her (and people in her position) to just stay at home and not work at all because the quality of life would be better? I also know people who have a section 8 apartment, receive welfare checks, and get like $400 in food stamps. BTW, these people are also unemployed, and their children dress better than mine (I'm a middle-class military man). Obviously, this is wrong but wouldn't it be better for America as a whole to change assistance programs and redistribute some of these funds. I don't care if they only gave these families enough money to only buy Ramen noodles to eat every night at least they would eat. I grew up in a section 8 apartment and my family has used welfare and food stamps before and I have seen how they can help people. As a result, I grew up to be a hard-working person and I can appreciate that I had finacial help when I needed it most...Now I want to return the favor. My biggest problem with people's gripes about assistance programs is that we are going to find ways to waste tax dollars anyway. I have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an aircraft electrician and I spent my first month making buildings from the ground up (eventaully these buildings will be the Iraqi military bases). We give other countries jobs. They worked at our Exchanges. They made our food and cut our hair. We have stimulated their economy. We spend money on their military training. We give them aircraft. We teach the military discipline. Then we frown our faces when we use our taxes to help our own people. What kind of sense does that make? I'm not saying welfare and assistance programs are perfect, because I know for a fact they aren't. I'm just saying if we are going to use our money on something, why not our fellow Americans?