William Thien

Posts Tagged ‘Entitlements

Today I made it through the screener during a local radio talk show and found myself talking with the host on the air about food stamps, who should get them, who should not.

The host was commenting on a change to the law where I reside which requires people with no children that are receiving supplemental nutrition benefits (food stamps, SNAP, whatever) to look for work and to take job related training in order to keep receiving the benefits. He labeled the change to the program as a “model” because since its inception 15,000 people have gone off the program. Which is great!

On the air I said I agreed with his take on the program with the exception that the requirement that only people with no children comply or lose benefits was the wrong way to go about things.

The problem with only requiring people with no children to comply is that structuring the program that way only increases the number of what are traditionally called “welfare mommas,” a somewhat derogatory term I do not like to use but that describes the circumstances in the vernacular for those who might wonder what I am talking about.

Once single women who don’t want to work, or can’t find a job for that matter because during this economy that has been a problem for a lot of people, once they realize they are going to lose benefits if they don’t have any children and don’t comply, the first thing many are going to do is get pregnant. It’s human nature.

We know this is true because this isn’t the first social safety net program to have such requirements and the net effect has been to see an increase in single women having children out-of-wedlock, not just here but nationally. One does not need to initiate a scientific study of the circumstances as the devout socialists and communists would say in order to slow the benefits reduction process down in some bureaucratic diversion, the answer is right there in the sheer number of single women having children out-of-wedlock. Fifty percent! No study needed. The numbers are themselves self-evident.

The ultimate statistic that should be used to measure the effectiveness of such programs is that very fact, in this case that in the last several years close to 50 percent and some times higher than that, close to fifty percent of the babies born in The United States are born to single mothers. HALF OF ALL BABIES ARE NOW BORN TO SINGLE MOTHERS? WHY?!

Because of how these programs are structured, protecting single women with children, in fact stimulating such sex out-of-wedlock by directing benefits at them specifically and the sum total of benefits they can receive. Often the sum total of those benefits is more than what a woman who graduates from college can earn in a year. No wonder so many babies are born to single mothers.

Get rid of the distinction I have described and make all comply and the numbers of people receiving the benefits will likely go down and stay down, which is ultimately what the goal of such corrective programs is, to get the numbers on such social programs down and keep the numbers on the programs down.

I’m not just saying what others are afraid to say publicly though they agree, I’m doing the math, too and explaining what it really all means when the constabulary wants to tell us it means something else entirely. This was a conservative talk show I called in to and the corrective measures to social programs I speak of are often authored by conservative legislators. They look good to conservatives on the level, but when you take a look at the numbers, due primarily to human nature, the numbers don’t always add up.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

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It is my opinion and that of many conservatives and liberals I know that labor would improve its position in The United States if labor unions would stop allying themselves with the overt socialist candidate that believes in large government entitlement programs.

The true conservative wants to get the socialist giant off of its back but has no qualms with workers desiring a qualified wage or safe working conditions. Indeed, many conservatives could be considered members of labor as they are themselves “working class,” a statistic which cannot be disputed when you consider the large number of conservatives elected to public office during the last five years. Obviously working class people are voting conservative, not just the wealthy as the socialists would have us all believe.

One only needs to read the news to see the massive abuses of such programs as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), or any other of a whole host of social programs. One only needs to watch the news to see that the socialist system is out of order and subject to all manner of abuse and misuse at massive tax payer expense.

There is nothing more demoralizing to a working person than to find out when examining their pay statement a quarter or more of their pay is gone when it isn’t necessary.

So if labor unions and other such labor organizations truly want to help the working classes, maybe they should concentrate on getting the socialist giant off of the backs of the voter first before they go and support a candidate that carries the socialist cause.

Labor and socialism are not one in the same and it is time for labor to recognize that or it will continue to lose ground in the war to save its membership.

Labor will serve the working person best when labor ceases to be a socialist front.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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In my opinion, when one examines the various costs of government, the one which stands out as the most expensive is that portion of the government involved in the re-distribution of wealth.

In other words when you see your tax dollars being spent to pay for the maintenance of roads or to cover the cost of policing, to improve the nation’s defense, to pay for public education, whatever, you see something tangible, something that you know is improving the condition of the country. Your tax dollars go directly to the purpose for which they were levied and the results are obvious and beneficial.

But when your tax dollars are merely given to someone else to pay for say the cost of having a child out-of-wedlock, for example, and raising that child or to pay for some other “social” expense which is the result of illicit behavior perhaps, you see very little return on your investment in tax dollars, if any. Frequently, when recipients of tax dollars from social programs see how much they can earn when applying for the dollars, they do it again, and again, and again, because the system is an enabler of such behavior.

Because you see little if any return on the investment of your tax dollars to cover social programs, therein lies the greater cost of government.

Furthermore, the actual process of levying taxes for what have been traditionally called “social” purposes and the cost of re-distributing the tax dollars is more substantial, more substantial because you see nothing from the dollars spent, and you have to pay a government employee who does nothing for those tax dollars except give the tax dollars to someone else, as opposed to a government employee who might be laying concrete in the streets, teaching your child, or policing the neighborhood. Just as importantly, the tax dollars that go to pay for the social programs draw from the funds needed for the real responsibilities of government.

Where am I going with this? Well, over the last decade much of the drive to decrease the size of government has been focused on the size of the government working classes when the greater cost of government, greater because it is much less productive and much more expensive, the greater cost of government has been the establishment of social programs which pay for such behaviors as I’ve described, pay for having children out of wedlock, paying for children that the parents could not afford in the first place, paying to raise, educate, and finally imprison many of the children because they frequently didn’t have both parents at home and didn’t have role models.

It is my opinion that we must not be so quick to decrease what I would then call “the functional” part of government, those that provide the tangible, obvious and necessary services we require in our day-to-day lives and instead shift our focus to curtail the costs of the social portion of our government because it is that portion of the government which provides little if any actual services required by the tax payer but taxes the taxpayer the most and is therefore the greater cost of government.

The sooner we as a country accomplish this change in political orientation, the better. Lest we be left with a non-functional government which does little else than take our tax dollars and give them to someone else. And it will be our fault for letting it happen when we could have addressed the matter all along.

Without elaborating, because I believe it is rather obvious, I believe this can only be accomplished if public sector employees and their unions, if they have them, stop aligning their politics with the socialist politician who wishes to give the tax dollar away in order to get elected, and instead look to the conservative side of the aisle, and I believe that the conservative side of the aisle should make overture and welcome them when and if that happens.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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In listening to a recent on-air discussion about benefits obtained by an out-of-wedlock mother where I reside, it was revealed that she receives $46,000 in benefits if she has one child, benefits including Rent Assistance, Food Stamps (The Quest Card where I reside), Medicaid, Child Care benefits, Women Infants & Children (AKA (WIC), financial payments for food for children), and a number of other benefits, all made available at one time during a visit with a social worker. All she has to do is get pregnant. No wonder forty-one percent (yeah, that’s right, 41%) of the children born in 2011 were born to single mothers. It’s almost lucrative. She doesn’t have to do anything except have sex!

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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Here is a Government Waste List compiled by the NRCC.

To me the list seems rather limited, but it is a start. Not listed are social programs and entitlements which clearly are a waste and/or subject to massive abuse as well. This list merely is a list of the obvious and really least expensive. Programs that are unfair, such as those which I call “Selectively Communist” (in that many pay for the programs but are ineligible for benefits), such as many health programs, clearly are waste, unfair, and should be dealt with directly. But they are not on the list.

Several of the entries on the list are particularly disturbing as they total in the billions of dollars.

Have a look at The Government Waste List.

You will be glad you did.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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Recently I heard a statistic suggesting more people are now receiving government entitlements (a regular check from the government) of some type or another in The United States than are paying into the system of entitlements. Of course such a circumstance is economically untenable, owing to our substantial national debt, amongst other things.

The problem with the current system of entitlements, though, is that entire generations of families have been raised on such funds originating at the local, state, and federal levels and such disbursements of money are a constant insult to those families who have struggled to raise their children with no such aid yet have paid into such systems seemingly in perpetuity.

The systems of entitlements are growing, too, entangling the economy through the activity of lobbyists and regulation, entrenching themselves in bureaucracy.

Furthermore, the influx of government money into social and medical programs and other support systems creates an artificial demand and drives to costs of medical services up for regular consumers.

It is one thing to be in need. It is entirely another to use such systems as a means of employment and population generation after generation after generation while your neighbor becomes enslaved by the system of taxation needed to perpetuate the entitlements.

It is time to end the current system of entitlements in The United States. Any politician that does not address the issue directly and promptly from this point on shall not receive the vote.

Copyright 2012 William Thien

Is it time to re-evaluate Social Security? Is it time to privatize Social Security?

Since these questions seem to re-introduce themselves every couple of years, perhaps it is indeed time to have another look, another serious, painful look. Like the nagging, recurring pain of an injury reminding us to treat that area of our bodies with care, perhaps the recurring questions about Social Security are trying to tell us something about our economy. The mere fact that questions, serious, valid questions can be raised over and over again about Social Security may be an indication to us something is wrong with Social Security.

One of the most egregious aspects of Social Security if you are single, for example, is that you pay into it for the duration of your life and if you die at the age of 56, nobody sees a thing. No individual receives the benefit of any savings in any private retirement account. You cannot will your savings to another family member. Your savings simply vanish into a common pool of funds.

Of the various entitlements that many receive in The United States, Social Security seems to be the one that most believe needs re-evaluation. During the last ten years there have been numerous discussions about privatizing Social Security and even ending the “entitlement” altogether.

Originally designed to provide a means of retirement income for those who worked and paid taxes all of their lives but had no retirement savings, Social Security has had its scope broadened at times to cover circumstances such as payments to chronic alcoholics and drug users who are unable to work due to their addiction, a payment which many would say is an abuse of the system.

Not only is the cost of the payments to recipients burdensome given those circumstances, the cost to administer the program is enormous. Addicts must be screened and recommended for Social Security benefits, deemed unfit to work by a health care professional. And who pays for that? Whew, now things are really becoming expensive.

But even more egregious is the fact that unlike a private retirement account, Social Security evaporates upon death. You may pay hundreds of dollars a month into Social Security and if you have a heart attack at the age of sixty and you are single, for example, there is essentially nothing there. Furthermore, if you die at the age of sixty and have a spouse, he or she only receives a monthly stipend of a few hundred dollars. And the time that he or she receives that benefit may vary. So they may be left without any payments for some time.

There is no individual account anywhere holding all of your savings. It’s a common account. Your wife or husband cannot withdraw all of the money you put into it. The monthly check she receives may not be enough to survive on. But had that same amount of money been put into a private retirement account throughout the duration of your life, chances are that he or she would be well cared for the rest of their lives. But now they simply receive what inflation has made a few dollars a month, barely living expenses for many.

Another problem with Social Security is that it is the foundational time line the government uses to determine when Americans should retire. What if you work until you are fifty years old and decide you want to retire, then? Are you eligible for your Social Security? No. And because of this the government also says in many cases you cannot use your private retirement account to retire at this time, either, unless you want to pay a substantial penalty in taxes. In this case more than anything Social Security is a means of controlling your private wealth and savings. Originally intended to provide a means of retirement income, now Social Security is a life program designed to tell you when you can retire and it is also a form of tax, a particularly toxic form of tax.

Social Security has many positive benefits. But many people believe that it has outgrown its original design and become a sort of monster. With the baby boomers now beginning to retire and the population of employees contributing into the entitlement account rapidly decreasing, perhaps it is indeed time to re-evaluate Social Security.

Finally, the main problem from my perspective with Social Security is that it is a poorly performing investment because the return on the investment (ROI) is by comparison to private retirement accounts generally very low, extremely low actually. And so many new definitions of eligibility have been created since its inception that Social Security also pays out less and less per capita annually. Everyone wants a piece of the Social Security pie. And when you have a government that basically has been getting themselves re-elected by promising the various pieces of the “social pie,” you start to see a smaller and smaller slice every year.

So yes, maybe it is indeed time to re-evaluate Social Security. Some might say it is time to end it altogether.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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