A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

welfare

I have to start this post by saying that my mom is one of my favorite people. And I don't really want to pick on her. But recent events have me thinking a lot about something she said recently. See, my mom and I get along pretty well. But we totally disagree on a lot of political and economic issues. My mom is a staunch republican, and I am independent, but lean towards the democrat view when it comes to economics. So my mom and I were talking the other day, and she was saying that she votes Republican because "they seem to take better care of my money. They don't try to give it away in welfare to people that are too lazy to work."



Well, no, I agree the Republicans don't give money to the average Joe. Or the poor Joe, who may be poor because he is lazy, or does drugs, or may be poor because he has limited abilities, or poor health, or something else completely outside of his control. Or poor Joe's kids, who are also poor through no fault of their own. But they sure as hell give it away. Who do they give it away to? Um, let's see.


  • Oil companies that make the biggest profits ever seen get huge welfare subsidy payments.

  • Banks that make stupid lending and investment decisions, lose BILLIONS of dollars, and still pay their worthless CEO's hundreds of millions of dollars per year, get huge welfare bailout funds (um, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, maybe Lehman Brothers soon).

  • The Big Three automakers, who couldn't see high gas prices coming (I could see it coming, and I am not getting paid a gazillion dollars a year to pay attention to what direction the market is going) and now can't get loans at a "reasonable" interest rate, looks like they will be getting more billions of dollars in welfare low-interest, guarenteed loans from the government to retool their factories so they can stay in business. Never mind that an individual that made stupid decisions and blew their money can't get a loan at a "reasonable" interest rate either... it's common sense not to lend in that situation, but let's hand out money to the Big 3.

  • Airlines, who also didn't see the high gas prices coming, are getting huge welfare subsidy payments. They are going bankrupt anyway, one by one.

I could keep going. But individual people, who didn't see high gas prices coming, can't get any increase in the heating assistance program, even though heating costs, especially for those dependent on heating oil or propane have gone up astronomically. Individual people, who didn't see high food prices coming, and whose salaries don't keep up with inflation or the rising cost of medical care, can't get increases in medicaid coverage for their children. Soldiers who risk their lives everyday on the battle field, and too often these days sacrifice everything for their country get paid so poorly that their family back home scrapes by on food stamps.


My mom's beef is that helping these people comes out of her pocket, and that of every American lucky enough, smart enough, ambitious enough, whatever, to make enough money to pay taxes. But how much is bailing out Freddie Mac going to cost her, me, every other taxpayer? A hell of a lot more than funding a program to help people keep their homes warm. How much do we spend every year in subsidies to oil companies that make $40 billion in profits? More than what it would cost to pay a soldier enough to be able to provide for his family, or give him adequate healthcare if he is injured.

I just think that individual people and their families, matter a whole lot more than corporations. And I know that all these industries are important to our economy, but I think that if people have no safety net in hard times, then businesses should not either. It is much more tragic for a child to starve or freeze to death, than for a corporation to fail, no matter how large.

For me, the bottom line is that Republican care about big business, and making money. Democrats care about people. That's why I tend to agree with them on economic issues.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

4 comments:

andrea said...

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Anonymous said...

Lori:

You are one of my favorite people too, but ....

I also consider myself an independent but I somehow always wind up voting Republican. Some of the things the Republicans pushed through in the tax act of 2003:

1 - Expansion of the tax brackets so that a married couple who was making 56K was in the 15% bracket, not the 25% bracket. This was a big help for the regular working family. Around DC it is a barely surviving family.

2 - Taxing qualified dividends as capital gains. Since the corporations who where paying the dividends had already paid income tax on the money it reduced the double taxation. This is a big gain for a retired person with some investment income.

3 - Reduction of the marriage penalty for a couple when both parties work pay more income tax than if they both where single. This killed Don and I. When we got married I found that our income taxes where 2K higher than if we where just shacked up. I wanted to lie since in VA you don't need to give your SSN for a marriage certificate, but he wouldn't go along with it.

My big grip is not about welfare. It is about the people who work just enough to get the maximum earned income credit and the additional child tax credit. Last year a single parent of 2 who earned 14,000 could get a payment of about 7,500.

Tonight I was reading some statistics recently released by the IRS. Over the last few years, when they have randomly asked people to provide documentation on the children used to claim these credits, 22-28% where found to be fraudulant, people claiming other peoples kids that the parent(s) could get no tax benifit for. Now who is paying for this? For 2006 the total paid out for the EIC was 64 billion.

And as I said today. I am only 8 years away from social security. I have paid a whole lot in over the years. The people who paid in the most are the hard working abitious types. We are also the ones who have some private savings. And Obama wants to make it a "need based" system !!! This is fraud and I want my money back, plus compounded interest.

It this happens, I will wright my social security payments off as a capital loss. You might have to visit me in jail.

Love, Mom

MeadowLark said...

You two made me giggle.
I have the same arguement with Husband. Lately though, I've started thinking I'm leaning toward producerism:
Producerism, sometimes referred to as "producer radicalism," refers to an ideology which holds that the productive forces of society - the ordinary worker, the small businessman, and the entrepreneur, are being held back by parasitical elements at both the top and bottom of the social structure.

Yup. That's me. Good luck you two! I always tell MY daughter she can pay to support me in my old age if SS is no longer there :)

Rick and Aonika said...

Tee hee hee - always rockin' the boat aren't you. Well, I am back from my cruise, reading away at your blob. I love it! You don't have to get off your soapbox - you are totally entitled to your opinion. And it's great that SOME OF US are still "thinkers" in this nation...

I love you

I miss you

I need to see you sooner than December!

KISSES