Can welfare payments sway the election?
While he was a senator, Phil Gramm often used the term people in the wagon versus pulling the wagon. He and Michael Solon have this in the WSJ:
. . . In 1980 and 1992, only 3% of the American labor force drew disability benefits from the government. Today it is 6%. The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.
How would Presidents Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush have fared on their Election Day if 40% of the Americans who were unemployed had instead qualified for disability benefits? How would voters have reacted in 1980 or 1992 if food-stamp benefits had grown by 65% instead of an average of less than 25% during the first four years of their administrations?
During the past four years, the Obama administration's aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million. Do these people feel the same level of discontent about economic conditions as the rest of the voting population?
Unemployment insurance that lasted no longer than 55 weeks in 1980 and 72 weeks in 1992 now can last 99 weeks. Does this ease the distress level of the 40% of unemployed workers who have been out of work for more than half a year?
The federal government's 120 means-tested programs today provide $1 trillion of benefits. The spending for these programs has grown 2½ times faster during the Obama presidency than in any other comparable period in American history. To what extent might these benefits not just foster dependency but also make the economy's performance seem less of a deciding factor in voters' choices? . . .
More on this issue is provided by Larry Kudlow here.
In a larger budget context, reporter Jeffrey H. Anderson uses a Treasury Department study to chronicle the 7-Eleven presidency. In fiscal year 2012, ending Sept. 30, the government spent nearly $11 for every $7 of revenues taken in. The exact figures are $2.5 trillion in tax revenues and $3.5 trillion in spending. In other words, it spent 44 percent more than it had coming in.
Previous fiscal years look even worse: The government spent 56 percent more than revenues in fiscal year 2011 and 60 percent more in fiscal year 2010.
All in all, according to Anderson, the government under the Obama administration received $6.8 trillion in taxes and spent $10.7 trillion -- 56 percent more than it had available. . . .
Labels: book4, welfare