Who is the true beneficiary of welfare? or Please define: Entitlement

I wrote in February of 2012 about welfare: Welfare, I’m not hurting from it and neither are you.

I noted the following: but it looks to me like what we spend on welfare is not much more than what the government is spending on just doing the government thingy, unless of course people can’t get a job. Interestingly enough, the share of GDP spent on welfare in 1992 and 2010 is the same. In fact, at the peak of unemployment of the 2001 recession which was 2003, we spent just 0.0098 on welfare.

Understand that 0.0098 is the fraction of our GDP spent on welfare.  That is 0.98% of our GDP.  I did not include the medicaid/healthcare expenditures.

Of course there was the often heard comment to this article about welfare recipients not contributing. No skin in the game, not contributing, blah, blah, blah….stuff for free.  My first response and really the only needed response is “So what?”  I mean really Sooooooooo What!  Is the welfare person really stopping you from getting your Mercedes?

Well here’s the so what. The Public cost of low-wages in the Fast -food Industry

“Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollments in America’s major public benefits programs are from working families. But many of them work in jobs that pay wages so low that their paychecks do not generate enough income to provide for life’s basic necessities.”

Well, isn’t that special!  But it gets even more special:

 More than half (52 percent) of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole.

One in five families with a member holding a fast-food job has an income below the poverty line, and 43 percent have an income two times the federal poverty level or less. Even full-time hours are not enough to compensate for low wages. The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours per week are enrolled in public assistance programs.

This report documents that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of public benefits spending goes to working families—i.e., families with a working member.


But, I know, the “so what” is about the money.  It’s America after all.  Land of the hard working, carry your load, don’t tread on me, my brother’s keeper (oops, went too far there).

 “From 2007 through 2011, total support for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families averaged $385.72 billion annually.”

That’s a lot of ‘so what” there.  I mean it’s the similar amount per year to our GDP of….1954.   $1,928.6 billion in total for 5 years in fact.  And, we only earned $60,650.8 billion in those 5 years.  That means the total spending on total welfare was a whole 2.9% of our GDP!  Imagine what we would have earned if we had not put that 2.9% right back into the economy via the hands of those non-contributing citizens who spend every dime of it. That approach is working so well for Greece after all.   Besides we only spent $3,911.47 on defense (not the full security budget).  6.4% of our total earnings.  It’s a matter of priorities I guess and of course, you getting your Mercedes.


Of that $385.72 billion annual, about $7 billion is to the fast-food worker.

“We find the total cost of public programs for families of workers in the fast-food industry averaged nearly $7 billion per year between 2007 and 2011 (Table 3, page 7).”

Ah, yet that’s not my “so what”. Maybe it’s yours, but it’s not mine.  Nope.  Mine is here: Supersizing Public Costs

While low wages and lack of benefits cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, the seven publicly-traded corporations on this list remain in strong financial condition today. Last year, these companies collectively:

Earned $7.44 billion in profits;

• Paid $52.7 million to their highest-paid executives;

Distributed $7.7 billion in dividends and buybacks.

While payroll data for individual fast-food companies is not publicly available, we estimate that the low-wage business model at the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States costs taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year.

It never fails to fascinate me how often the numbers related to what a US mega company is earning matches what the US citizen is paying out via the government.

So what?  What is making you feel more used?  The worker working that you are helping to live or the place they are working for that you are helping to register profits and payout dividends by helping the worker live?  I mean, it’s your money and government should give it back because you can spend it better than government.

And you did not hear or read about this in the MSM.  You would think we would have considering the yet still continuing push by rich people, I mean our government to get the budget under control by cutting “entitlements”.   I guess it’s a matter of debate as to the definition of entitlement.  Chris Hayes…I’m still available for your show and so are the other Bears.