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Givens: America is plagued by tax moochers

POSTED: August 22, 2011 1:00 a.m.

When we were hunter gatherers, meat was communal property. A man, whether hunting with a group or alone, was expected to share his meat with the other tribesmen. The man shared, not out of generosity, but because in the past he had feasted on someone else's kill and later would want a share of another's kill.

This system was threatened by two types of people. One type of person would eat generously from the kills of others, but then be stingy with his own kills. A second type rarely hunted or helped, yet demanded a share of all kills.

Both types are moochers and both are a threat to the economy of the tribe. Even today, we instinctively hate the greedy, the lazy and those who don't return favors.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Have you ever noticed how our political parties are divided over whom they think is the greatest threat to our national economy? The Republicans are convinced it's the lazy moochers and the Democrats are convinced it's the selfish moochers.

Pundits love to wail about the cost of welfare. How much does welfare really cost? From the 2010 general fund, the federal government spent 0.2 percent on daycare grants, 0.4 percent on school lunches, 0.7 percent on welfare payments and daycare, 1.4 percent on housing projects, 1.7 percent on nonmilitary aid and disaster relief for nations we are not at war with, and 3 percent on food stamps.

All together this is 7.4 percent of the national budget.

Medicaid is 12 percent of the general fund. Medicaid must not be welfare, though, because the Republican administration of Georgia thinks that instead of private health insurance, the children of state employees should be covered by Medicaid.

The Georgia Department of Community Health recently submitted a request to the federal government to move dependents covered under the state employee health care plan into PeachCare instead. This should make one question that if Medicaid is such a cost-effective bargain for the taxpayer and good for our children, then what was so wrong with a public option?

Go figure. A Republican administration moving us one step closer to national insurance by trying to mooch off of Medicaid to cover state employee benefits.

This shouldn't surprise us. Every conservative Southern state except for Florida and Texas takes more money from the fed than its citizens pay in. So-called liberal states like Illinois, California and New York only get about 75 cents for every dollar their citizens give the feds. Perhaps these states have budget problems because they're the ones supporting the rest of the nation. If it weren't for redistributed wealth from the Blue States, these conservative governors would never be able to balance their budgets.

Concerning redistributing wealth, we shouldn't forget corporate welfare. Social welfare is easy to see but corporate welfare is easily hidden. The U.S. spent 5.7 percent of the budget on direct corporate welfare. That doesn't count indirect corporate welfare such as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. The U.S. government is the largest single customer for pharmaceuticals.

In that bill, there is a stipulation that the federal government will not negotiate drug prices. That's like a real estate developer signing an agreement with a homebuilder to buy houses from him at whatever price he simply says they are worth. How much do you think the U.S. taxpayer is being overcharged for medications?

Our businessmen-politicians are bad businessmen. The interest alone on the national debt already accounts for 6.8 percent of the general fund. Our 9th District Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, voted against raising the debt ceiling. He apparently isn't aware that defaulting on loans raises the cost of receiving credit, thereby raises the cost of repaying debt. He should know this, since he defaulted on a $2 million loan, leading to a lawsuit that was recently settled.

Let us not forget that powerful businessmen with money problems scared President George W. Bush into passing the TARP bailout plan, thereby making private debts government debts.

So who really is mooching off the system? Is it an organized conspiracy of the poor (who never vote) or is it corporations and wealthy individuals who support politicians in exchange for tax loopholes and corporate welfare?

Brandon Givens is a Hall County resident and frequent columnist.



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