A lot of angry tweets and emails were hurled our way by Conservatives after my previous post regarding the infamous “47% video” of Romney’s fund raiser. Most of them expressed the same sentiments: Romney’s right! There are way too many people receiving subsidies and not paying income tax.
I agree. But That’s not what Romney was saying. His incorrect conclusion was that Obama had already captured every voter who doesn’t currently have an income tax obligation AND all those folks are also government dependents AND they all harbor an entitlement mentality.
The chart above tracks only federal spending. Because most federal programs require states to kick in a portion of the cost, the grand total is roughly a third more. Every program included in the rising cost of entitlements was sold to the voters in the form an outcome. Politicians never say “We’re going to increase spending on entitlements by x%.” They always say something like “This program will ensure that no child goes without…” or “we’re making sure all Americans can look forward to a better future.”
But the actual outcomes, after a half century of steady increase are disappointing to say the least.
- In 1970, when the government took 6.4% of GDP for entitlements the official poverty rate was 12.6%.
- Forty years and $31 trillion later the 2012 poverty rate is 15%.
- In 2007, the last year before the recession it was 12.5%.
Over the years these programs have had the added negative effect of eroding the moral character of the population, resulting in even more of the behaviors that generate poverty and despair. According to the CDC 40% of American births are to teenage girls and unmarried women, up from 18% in 1980. This is a national tragedy. And it followed the expansion of entitlements.
Mitt Romney should clearly and forcefully criticize Obama’s proposals for even more programs being hyped as “help for the middle class” but will in fact infringe on liberty and add to the government’s debt without delivering the promised Utopian results.
The taxing and borrowing necessary to fund the welfare state diminishes economic opportunity in the private sector resulting in higher unemployment and lower wages for those who are employed. The very people most in need of help, the unskilled and under-educated are those most likely to be denied employment opportunity in a contracting economy.
The greatest anti-poverty program ever devised was the US Constitution that chartered a government of limited powers, leaving care for the needy to the states or to the people themselves.
Mitt Romney should be emphatic: Barack Obama’s vision of a government centered society, being pitched as “help to the middle class” is in fact shrinking the middle class. American history proves the people themselves, with their own resources, limitless ideas and innovations can, without government regulation or interference succeed and prosper.