One Nation on Welfare

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol building stands prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC.

As Democrats in Charlotte tell it, Barack Obama is helping out the most deserving Americans with federal spending. Last week in Tampa, Republicans accused the President of giving Big Government credit for the private sector’s hard work. Here’s the reality, as Michael Grunwald writes in this week’s magazine, now available online to subscribers: We’re all on the government dole. Republicans have tried to divide the country into bold entrepreneurs and leeching welfare queens. But while everyone who works is a “maker,” we’re all “takers” too. In describing his own heavily subsidized life, Grunwald gets at the intractable nature of tax expenditures and other government goodies that balloon the deficit while pampering those Americans who already have it pretty easy. His opening:

The sun is shining on Miami Beach, and I wake up in 
 subsidized housing. I throw 
 on a T-shirt made of subsidized 
 cotton, brush my teeth with 
 subsidized water and eat cereal made of subsidized grain.

Soon the chaos begins, two hours of pillow forts, dance parties and other craziness with two hyper kids and two hyper Boston terriers, until our subsidized nanny arrives to watch our 2-year-old. My wife Cristina then drives to her subsidized job while listening to the subsidized news on public radio. I bike our 4-year-old to school on public roads, play tennis on a public court
 and head home for a subsidized shower. Then I turn on my computer with subsidized electricity and start work in my subsidized home office.

It’s just another manic Monday, brought to us by the deep pockets of Big Government. The sunshine is a natural perk, and while our kids are tax deductible, the fun we have with them is not. The dogs are on our dime too. Otherwise, taxpayers help support just about every aspect of our lives.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.

66 comments
Mary Waterton
Mary Waterton

It won't be so funny when the economy finally collapses under the weight of the national debt. It will make the crisis of 2008 look like a sunshiny day. Americans will, for the first time in their lives, experience REAL hunger and REAL deprivation.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Michael takes a whole day and goes through everything he and his family do and how it is all subsidized one way or another. Undoubtly some of it is local, but the amounts we pay for water, electricity, etc. may seem purely local, but there are substantial federal connections there as well. Don't forget the home mortgage interest deduction - RR will have to get rid of that for the tax cuts. Here is another example I'll bet most don't think of.

The silliest handouts that brighten my morning are the boondoggles that funnel billions to America's cotton and grain farmers and maybe knock a few cents off the price of my T-shirts and my kids' breakfast waffles. Uncle Sam sends at least $15 billion every year to farmers and agribusinesses in the form of grants, loans, crop insurance and other goodies. The farm lobby is so omnipotent in Washington that when the World Trade Organization ruled that U.S. handouts give our cotton farmers an unfair advantage over Brazil, the U.S. cut a deal to shovel $147 million a year to Brazilian cotton farmers rather than kick our own farmers off the dole. Our food and clothing may seem cheap, but, oh, we pay for them.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magaz...

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Hurricane Issac washed up a 1930's schooner on a Georgia private beach.  The beach

owners don't want the public on their land looking at the wreck but don't want to

pay to have it removed.  They'd love to have the govt. do it.  Otherwise, get off my

beach! 

sacredh
sacredh

Haha. I'm a federal employee. I win.

Andy Wisniewski
Andy Wisniewski

But you pay taxes right? If your personal income is a government subsidy then you pay no income taxes, that is what the whole nation on welfare thing Republican sound byte is referring to, actual people who are generationally jobless and leaching off a system. Not people who pay into a system and expect to receive some benefit from it. Yes water is subsidized but I pay city taxes don't I? And public roads are public but I pay gas taxes. And when I am unemployed I will collect unemployment insurance which I payed for and when I retire I may collect social security which I paid into. Sure some pay more and some pay less and a all receive about equal but that is the whole point of insurance, but welfare isn't like that, some pay all and by virtue of paying receive none, others receive and by virtue of receiving pay none. I am not saying that you should not help the poor, I  come from a struggling lower middle class family and no what its like to have to go without things others have as a child. What I am saying is you should not create a system which enables the poor single mothers to be poor single mothers of poor single mothers who will though having nothing better to do fail at raising there children and have yet another generation of poor single mothers.

Tommy3134
Tommy3134

Pinellas County Florida school board decided to make free breakfast available to over 100,000 plus students in K thru 12 regardless of income this year.  No parent asked for it. No voters voted for it. The Pinellas County school board just did it.

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

I'll bet this makes the Republican brain trust pine for the days when a man could fall into the meat processing equipment and they could still pass it off as pure leaf lard if they could dose it with enough kerosene.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Ask Ayn Rand about accepting govt. benefits instead of just reading anti-collectivist rants about them.

MrObvious
MrObvious

The truth is that GOPers have always been for the government throwing out the big bucks but not to actual citizens and 'litte people'. They want the dole for the people who already have trunk loads because ultimately and historically they're for giving power to the already powerful because 'they know and are better' while dems are for giving power to regular folks.

It's not about making people welfare takers - it's about empowering far more people then the ones who have everything but biatch about getting no respect.

Sorry - this is not the 1500's where peasants have to kiss some halfwit nobles arse. This is a representative democracy where everyone get one vote to decide the outcome of this country. Not just the ones who horded most of the resources.

And the best way to make sure people have the same opportunity to strive towards whatever end goal they have in mind is to give each and one of us the same stake and claim to the commons.

gysgt213
gysgt213

This is going to make some right wing heads explode. But the truth is we, using the government as the tool, subsidize each other as individuals as well as small and big business. Everyone in this country no matter how little or how much money you personally have gain some benefit from this system.  It is true that some of us benefit more than others and some of us benefit less than others. But we all get some benefit and the issue is way beyond Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

When you can get a reputation as a fiscally responsible budget cutter without doing the politically difficult budget cutting, why bother?

Note to journalists. Paul Ryan didn't suddenly become bad at arithmetic. He's ALWAYS been bad at arithmetic.

irish379
irish379

This goes right to the heart of the matter. Voters always say they want less govt, until you ask them what programs and subsidies they want to eliminate.  Sort of like one man's earmark is another man's pork.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Adam, you quoted more of MG's article than is shown at link thanks to the paywall. Why not just post the whole thing? I'll guess (thanks to paywall since I can't read the damn post intact) that MG and his family (and everyone else) are also eating foods without having to inspect everything firsthand (try to judge if a cantaloupe is salmonella-free). MG and other swamp reporters can also fly around the country on assignments in safety.

.

Then again, even Mitt Romney gets government handouts too....

http://www.rollingstone.com/po...

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

This is a truth that has been long overdue in the public conversation.

(Unfortunately you only subsidize my access to this free bit in the Swampland so I'll have to forgo the whole article until I run across it in some office somewhere. )