You’re Getting Government Subsidies & Entitlements Too

Hey, you there.  The one who said that about 47% of the country,  “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.  That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.” I’m talking to you and others like you who look down your noses at poor people thinking that they they are just lazy moochers sucking at the government teat like a new born baby.

I’m the first to point anyone who is ready to defraud America’s social welfare systems when they should not be on a particular program.  And I’ve put my money where my mouth is, turning away potential renters who were defrauding the system into having their rent paid.  But I’ve seen people literally resort to stealing food because they were hungry and did not qualify for the safety nets that exist for some.  For everyone who has ever irresponsibly had children knowing that they couldn’t afford them, I’ve also seen people who never thought that they would need governmental assistance have to depend on those programs because they have lost their jobs.  I know poverty very well, because I’ve lived it and I never, ever expected the government to support me. In fact, I pay a higher tax rate than you do.

While you’re busy looking down on the poor, have you realized that you might be benefiting from government subsidies and not even know it? Yes, you too with the golden spoon, you’ve been on the government dole.  Don’t think so?  Well let me help you by listing some things that the government has subsidized that you too benefit from, even if you’ve never gotten a check from the government.  I’ll start with the most obvious ones first and get down to things that you probably have never thought of.

  • You’ve received food stamps, WIC, welfare, Section-8
    These are the most obvious and the lowest hanging fruit.  The government either wrote you or someone else a check on your behalf to pay for critical items of daily living.
  • You benefit from Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Disability or Social Security
    You already knew this one, right?  You’re thinking that you’ve paid into this, so you earned it.  Well, you did!  But the odds are that you will collect far more than you have ever paid into the system. So yep, grandma is rolling in her government entitlements.
  • You take any deductions on your taxes
    Everything from the mortgage tax deduction to the deduction for your student loan interest payments to being able to deduct the money that you’ve put away for retirement from your earned income didn’t just magically pop out of thin air.  Those costs are deducted from your taxes not for goodwill but because you are able to take advantage of loopholes that exist to lower your taxes which are all subsidized by the government.  The more you make and the savvier your accountant is, the greater the chance of increasing your deductions to lower your tax liability to say, 14%? Extra points for you if you get that reference.
  • You’ve ever gotten a student loan
    Unless your student loans were all private loans, guess what?  You’ve been subsidized as well.  In fact the loans are called the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan.  The government waived the interest on your loans while you attended school and for six months from the date that you either left school or stopped attending school full-time.
  • Your kids attend or have attended public school
    Do you know why private school is so expensive?  Because you’re paying for everything that your kid benefits from plus helping the school hopefully turn a profit.  Do you know why public school is generally almost free? Because the government is paying those costs for you, and your property tax doesn’t cover the entire cost of your child attending school for the entire year.
  • You’ve used gasoline, natural gas or oil
    If you’ve used any of these types of fuels you’ve benefited from government subsidies.  No, the government didn’t give this money to you directly, but they give massive subsidies to the companies that drill and excavate these fuels.  These companies make billions of dollars in profits and many pay almost no taxes due to these subsidies.  If you have ever traveled outside of the United States and been shocked by the price of fuel, this is what makes our fuel so affordable.
  • You’ve driven across a bridge between states
    You’re going to think, but I paid a toll and the states get taxes to pay for those bridges.  Yes, they do!  But they also get these things called Federal grants, especially since so many states are broke and so many bridges are pretty old. We wouldn’t want one of those things collapsing on you, now would we?
  • If you’ve ever eaten
    If you’ve ever eaten anything having to do with corn, wheat or soy or if you’ve even eaten a meat product, you’ve been the beneficiary of a government subsidy.  The numerous variations of different farm bills have provided all sorts of aids insurance and government backed loans to not just small farmers, but to huge farming conglomerates growing and harvesting the building blocks of the products that you consume every single day.  Food is relatively cheap in the United States compared to food prices elsewhere.  How else can a package of ramen noodles cost only $0.30?

Listen, Mr. High Horse, no one wants to see anyone taking advantage of the government.  When they do, they are stealing from every single one of us who have ever worked, paid taxes and contributed to society in ways that amount to more than our paychecks.  What I’m unwilling to ever do, is assume that anyone who has ever received any sort of aid did not deserve it, or that everyone who needs assistance at some point in their lives believe that they are victims.

This blog isn’t about politics, it’s about money.  But if you want to be the leader of my country, statements like, “And so my job is not to worry about those people—I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” just doesn’t sit well with me.  This blog, and others like it are here to help people who find themselves in just this circumstance so that they can improve their lives.

Don’t tell me that you’ve given up hope on 47% of the country before you’ve even spent one night in a house that will be paid for by the people that you don’t care about.

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16 thoughts on “You’re Getting Government Subsidies & Entitlements Too

  • I was hoping you would get to anyone who eats! Seriously! In addition to some of that normal stuff above, I indirectly work for the federal government because the funding for my stipend and tuition comes from grants from the National Institutes of Health, funneled through my university. So I’m dependent on the federal government but that’s not the same as entitlement, IMO.

  • You go Sandy! You tell them! Everyone has depended on the government for one reason or another. Some people have had to due to unfortunate circumstances, like myself, and hate it and don’t want to remain dependent on it. We work our asses off to try to provide for ourselves and get on our feet. The people who look down on people who actually NEED the assistance need to take a hard look in the mirror, like, today.

  • Hey Sandy, for this post I’m not sure the direction you were trying to take it. Is the point Romney’s comment stupid? I completely agree. Though as off as his comment was, it brings to light the bigger issue of unsustainable entitlements and ones who abuse the system. I know of some abuses personally and it’s sicking, but it’s to be expected.

    An even larger point that you somewhat alluded to in your post, is government is a poor allocator of resources. Why does one person who gets an entitlement, doesn’t deserve it, yet one who legitimately does doesn’t? Governments have no incentives to be efficient.. Why should they since there’s no competition.

    Otherwise why is it we have people who get free (multiple) phones (as one example not mentioned), with very little checks in place to prevent this from occurring. Or the bigger question do they even really qualify for a free phone to begin with? It is estimated in Medicare $80B in fraud annually. But what do we do create a new entitlement, rather than fix the existing ones.

    Worst yet, many of these entitlements are a wealth transfer from poor, middle class to wealthy individuals. Doing the exactly reverse of the good intensions.

    The beef I have with Obama is he’s making these entitlements easier to get on, which will cause more abuse. Which once the cat is let out of the bag it is nearly impossible to pair down an entitlement.

    • The point that I was making is that we all benefit from lots of government programs even if we don’t know it. I take affront to those who act like it’s “those people” taking advantage of the system while pretending that we don’t all get some benefits.

      I do believe that there are people everywhere who take advantage of every government program. There’s abuse in every system and bureaucracy doesn’t help, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Frankly, I think that private enterprise can do a much better job of program administration that the government does because the government is slow to embrace technology.

      In regards to making things easier for people to get assistance, I don’t disagree with you there. But we’re also in the throws of a financial withdrawal the likes that we have not seen since the Great Depression. Social program were instituted then too to keep people from starving. But, I agree with you on one point. Once it’s out there, it’s hard to take it back.

      • Yes we all benefit from the government. Though the bigger issue is the government shouldn’t play favorites. It does so for poor AND rich people. Taxes should not be a form of punishment/reward, but only as a means of revenue generation. It has become so much not what was it’s original intension.

        Though the issue is still comes down what is “fair share” in taxes. Romney’s 2011 taxes came down to $1.95M in taxes just for 2011. In many cases that is more than some pay their entire life. Does Romney benefit more from “roads and bridges” than anyone one else? Romney certainly is paying his share of taxes and in fact supporting many individuals via taxes, and the business he created. I really don’t get how others see him as a “taker”.

        Yet Romney is also getting blamed for paying what is legally entitled to pay. Don’t hate the player hate the game. Romney had no involvement within the tax structure and does what every citizen has a right to do. Pay the legal minimum in taxes.

        The issue I have is we representation without taxation. If we had flat or simplified taxes (remove all deductions) everyone has a stake in the game. However small the tax rate for poorer individuals, gets everyone to pay into the system. Getting everyone to pay into the system makes people realize where their taxes are going towards and realizes how inefficient, corrupt, how much we overspend, and caters to specific groups.

        Yes, without question we need stopgaps in our society. Those government programs should be just that, stopgaps. Not forever going entitlements, without an initial pay into the entitlement. That then becomes a pure wealth transfer, and that is more of the direction we are heading towards.

        • Governments (minus the complex argument of the Fed) do not create money out of thin air…when my kid goes to public school it is not an entitlement or subsidy it is a return on capital I have thrown into the system. It is not a redistribution of wealth like other entitlements. Same with, fire, police, etc.

  • Many states extend “homestead exemptions” to homeowners, which allow them to take advantage of preferential property tax rates and tax breaks.

    Put another way, in these states, your primary residence is taxed at a lower rate than your second home, rental property and non-farm, non-residential property.

    In Michigan, for example, the school property tax rate on rental property is four times the rate on owner-occupied primary residences. So if you own your home, be grateful, as this tax break exceeds $1,000 annually on most owner-occupied homes.

    Some states have property tax breaks for specific groups such as seniors or veterans. I think Texas exempts senior homeowners from property taxes.

    • This exists in Pennsylvania too where I own 2 rental homes. I pay out the wazoo for school and property tax and yes, there is an abatement that I can’t claim too.

  • I loved your post. You can also add medical and science advances, since they are often funded by the goverment. So, if you have to take medicine or have a surgery, chances are, you are benefiting from that research.

    I do have to disagree with one of the comments. Obama isn’t making it easier to get assistance. He is letting the states set their own rules (which is what republicans want- to let the states decide). Michigan did this with their 4 year lifetime limit on getting assistance.

  • This is alot to do over nothing. We all know there are 45% or more peopel who will vote for Mr Obama. MR Romney was commenting on how he could not change or reach those 45+. If you are getting food stamps, income and that type of assistnace including free phones and time, would you vote for someone going to cut those benifits? Not many people would. We all know there are families or individuals that are on what used to be called welfare. for life or just longer than is really needed. We should give a hand up not out. IF you can afford maincures, fancy phones, big screen TV, 100$ Sneakers, you are wasting money, if it is your money, not my business, if it is tax payers $$, it is our business. There are too many people making comments on this one thing, when our president finds out US citizens were murdered, bodies dragged in the steets in a foreign county that we send billions to, and he goes to Vegas on a fund raiser? How is that not worth any type of the same level of comments or outrage? Our priorities are certainly messed up.
    I for one am very upset to see that you started this comment thread, is is not a high point of your posts, that I did love reading before.

  • My mother was on welfare when I was growing up, so I am well-aware of how food stamps and other government programs can be used properly. She made her way through a rough part of life with the help of government assistance, but she went to college, got a good job, and began to contribute to society. She was not a leech on the system but an example of how government subsidies should assist those in need.

    That being said, I know that government programs can be and are misused. This is unfortunate, but it is certainly not a reflection of the values of 47% of our country!

    Great post about how subsidies affect every single American, not just 47% of the population.

  • I have mixed feelings about this issue. Is someone on Social Security ‘dependent’ on government? This makes it sound like a handout. Yet, they paid 13% (including the employer deposit) of their income for most of their working life. Had it been a private pension, there would be no question.

    As far as my mortgage interest goes – this is built into the tax code, it’s my money that I don’t have to pay to Uncle Sam. But others would view it as a benefit of money the government allowed me to keep. It may be a matter of semantics, I suppose.
    My daughter goes to public school. It’s not tough to look at my real estate tax bill and see the portion I pay toward the school is nearly $10K per year. Not only isn’t her education free, but I’m actually subsidizing the neighbors who have 3 kids. The tax structure is a tough thing to ponder. All I know is that my wife and I make a decent income and I have no issue with the family of 4 who makes under $50K not paying federal tax. They are not how Mr Romney views them.

    On this note, I’m curious what the true cost of Government is per person. How much do I need to pay before I can say “I paid my share, and X% or $X more”? Good to see you at FinCon again, even if you think my blog sucks. LOL.

  • Hi Sandy,

    I read two relevant news articles today regarding your post:

    1. It is estimated the cost of milk will double in NY state if subsidies to farmers end there. Since milk is a big component of the CPI, it’s no surprise that it’s so heavily subsidized.

    2. The number of illegal aliens receiving food stamps has doubled during President Obama’s presidency to 1.6 million. His administration has met with Mexican officlials regarding Food Stamp awareness over 30 times.

    I am a proud member of the 53% and I feel like I pay a fair amount of taxes. I just wish the government spent our tax money wisely. It’s not monopoly money. First, we have to work hard to earn it. Then, it is taken away from our families and given to others indescriminately.

  • First we need to be clear about who makes up the 47% that we are debating about. I get the impression that many think of these groups as non-workers sitting at home collecting money paying no taxes. This is not true. The 47% include:

    Your grand/parents collecting Social Security. They are more likely than not unable to pay Federal Income taxes because of their income level.

    They are working people who don’t make enough to pay Federal income taxes. They work at the retail stores that you shop in. They work at McDonald’s and Walmart. Does everyone remember when states started attacking Walmart when they realized that most workers made so little that they qualified for public assistance?

    They are returning veterans who depend on the VA to provide medical care and to help them transition back into the work force.

    These individuals may be working. They pay Federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc. They must just get the Federal taxes returned to them once they file their annual taxes. This happens only because they make so little.

    They may own and be losing their homes. For those homes they pay property taxes. They pay taxes on their utilities. They pay sales taxes every time they purchase something.

    The 47% pay. But if you’re making the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or $15,080 per year, just how much in taxes do you think they can pay?

  • It really makes me mad when people call social security and medicare an entitlement. I have been forced to pay into the system all my working life. I have paid well over $200,000 into social security alone. If I had been allowed to invest that same money I could have accumulated 4 or 5 times that amount. If the government hadn’t stolen money from the Social Security trust fund it wouldn’t be having problems today. Damn right I am going to collect when the time comes.

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