A lot of people are decrying "welfare" during this election, but is it really destabilizing the economy?

This is one of those situations I'm curious about. I hear a lot of complaining that "welfare" is what's destroying the economy and costing everyone so much money.

However, in 2006 (the most recent fiscal year we have all the tallies in on, since it takes about two years add up all the spending), the Federal government spent 2.568 trillion dollars.

Less than ten percent of that was for social assistance programs, and that includes all the subsidies for small farmers, small business loans, etc, etc, etc.

A bit less than 11.25 billion dollars of the budget was spent on TANF, the main "welfare" program. That's 0.44% percent of the federal budget. Less than one half of one percent.

If you took that money and re-distributed it back to the Americans who filed tax-returns for 2006, each household would get back a grand total of $82.74 on average.

Don't get me wrong, I could use another eighty-three dollars, but that's not what's going to kill my budget for the year. If I really tighten my belt and cut deep into the flesh of my budget, I can find a way to save that $6.92 a month by, say, doing without a McDonald's combo meal.

By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office places the cost of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts alone at anywhere between 1.3 trillion dollars at the very least to over 2.5 trillion dollars as a realistic possibility.

That represents between 115 and 222 years of TANF spending at current levels. Even if you doubled TANF spending next year, you're looking at anywhere between 57 and 111 years of spending on this program to pay off one corpororate crisis.

So, is welfare really what's sinking the ship, or is it just an easy target?

Update:

The issue of what it costs to provide welfare to people who could be producing otherwise neutralizes itself very quickly. If you were to somehow put everyone on TANF to work, you would put nearly sixty thousand federal employees out of a job, not to mention all the various state employees. Granted there are far less workers than welfare recipients, but that's in a job market already suffering from an unemployment rate of over 5% (which in this country translates to about 7.5 million or so unemployed workers in the workforce).

To that, you want to add a minimum of 1.3 million people and make them produce... what?

There aren't enough jobs to keep those actively in the work-force producing goods and services on a continual basis. If those 1.3 million people go to work, you have to idle another 1.3 million people in their place. Either way, your net production level stays the same and brings the financial impact back to the cash expenditure.

Update 2:

Wayne--

George Carlin did a routine on abortion you would probably appreciate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xPkYFH4imw

Youtube thumbnail

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
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    I actually haven't heard a lot of people complaining about Welfare during this election. I know a lot of working poor who could certainly do well to get a little Welfare/Medicaid, etc..., but since the 1996 Welfare reforms (done under a Democrat, no less!), Welfare is hard to come by unless you're a truly hard-up case.

    If anything is destabilizing the economy (besides the hemorrhaging of tax dollars into two wars and cleaning up after natural disasters in this age of climate change), it's the rampant lack of regulations on this country's financial institutions, which led to the subprime mortgage crisis, the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the collapse of Lehman and Merrill Lynch and the teetering of AIG.

    I recently had to move all of my savings to a foreign bank, because I no longer trust U.S. banks to keep my money safe. When the Argentinian economy collapsed in 2001, the government put a freeze on everyone's bank funds, and nobody was able to get to their money. The FDIC supposedly insures amounts under $100,000, but should we have a collapse, the FDIC has only $50 billion to insure $1 trillion in assets. Should the U.S. banking system collapse, I know I'm not going to be one of the lucky few to get some of that insurance money. This crazy idea of "trickle down economics" is still so pervasive in our current executive administration, that they'd only dole that $50 billion out to the corporate elites and financial institutions themselves and hope that the effect would eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us lowly peons.

    I don't know about you, but I surely haven't had much wealth trickling on me in the last 7 years. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Is it any wonder that there's the potential that the poor are going to get the blame for the mess the rich folks got us all into? Good thing I'm giving up my U.S. citizenship soon. I've had enough.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Those that cry the loudest and the longest over the pittance that goes to welfare are also those responsible for its need. They claim to take the moral stand that if a child is conceived it must be born to term. But these self appointed and self righteous souls change their stance immediately after the birth. Although they call themselves pro-life or that they are taking a right-to-life stance once the child has been born they absolve themselves of any moral responsibility now that the child exists and to provide for the welfare of that same child: to help feed, clothe and provide medical care to prevent it from dying when it could have been prevented is now morally wrong. The moral stance now is strictly one of hands off. That the child, the child's mother or any of the child's relatives now are solely responsible for that child having been born. All of a sudden it is moral to allow the child to die if someone other than those that insisted it had a right to be born must sacrifice to keep it alive Now it does not have a right-to-life. Is it not odd that these people can justify to themselves two opposite views of their own moral responsibility and that of someone else and get two different moral judgments about the same issue. That depends entirely on whether they need to sacrifice for pushing their own claimed values onto some one else but have no reason to support the child that they insisted that they had the right to decide (and the mother and father had no similar right) that it for some reason had a right to be born but now does not not have a right to life? I believe this double standard is the reason you can not understand why help is not given when needed and it is also claimed that giving that help is morally wrong.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with the statement that it is an easy target. I'm sure there are steps to be taken to tighten the bolts, so to speak... but to say that "welfare is sinking the ship" strikes me as a huge exaggeration.

    P.S.: Thank you for a thoughtful question backed up with extensive facts.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's not that welfare is hurting ME, it's that it is hurting the recipients. Insofar as someone is physically and mentally able to hold a job, any job, and get's a free ride instead, we damage that person. We rob them of their dignity, their independence and their ambition.

    And the economics of it likewise, you say it only costs you $83 dollars, but how much potential productivity is lost to the nation as a result of subsidizing people who could be producing?

    I know you guys have to tell yourselves we conservatives hate poor people, but the fact is we know you can't pay someones way out poverty. They have to work their own way out. And they do all the time. The biggest hindrance they face is government programs that will pay them to stay poor.

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  • 1 decade ago

    for me i don't have a problem with that program the problem i have is the few that take advantage of that program and there are a few who do take advantage but the program itself i don't have a problem id actually like to see more of those who are on the program getting a higher education to go with it so that they don't just get off of it but have a higher chance of getting a better paying job so that they aren't just scraping by and i think that those that are trying to get that higher education should be allowed to stay on it longer

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    LMAO! Fantastic question! Great job researching. How much "welfare" are we giving Iraq?

    Source(s): Deep Thought
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  • 1 decade ago

    An easy target.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You called there bluff and just as I thought you have gotten no answers.

    Obama 2008

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