Facts show government spending favors wealthy, need for entitlement reform

The day after Super Tuesday you may expect me to talk about it. Realistically though, we didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know.

Romney is the front-runner, Santorum is providing just enough opposition to be a threat, Gingrich has no chance yet will continue to campaign, and Ron Paul is bringing up the rear and stirring up trouble like the annoying youngest brother.

What I want to talk about is a much bigger issue, one that people may find more surprising than the results of a rather mundane outcome in the primary yesterday.

Earlier in the week, Paul Ryan posted an article (or speech or whatever you want to call it) to his Facebook account about the misconceptions regarding where government dollars are going.

The third paragraph of the post is the heart of Ryan’s message to his followers:

This is mainly because the distribution of government transfers has moved away from lower-income households. For instance, in 1979, households in the lowest income quintile received 54 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, those households received just 36 percent of transfers.

Ryan is referring, though not explicitly, to the liberal idea that higher taxes and government spending can be justified by the help it brings to low income families.

The problem, of course, is that this post, with figures from the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan entity, shows that isn’t the case.

In fact, not just a majority, but a vast majority of government transfers do not go to low income households.

The main driver of this inequality is Medicare and Social Security. As Ryan points out, these are not means-tested programs, which is to say that the government does not determine whether or not you have the means to pay for your own health care or retirement.

According to the CBO, the average household over 65 has a net wealth 47 times that of households under 35, an all-time disparity.

Part of the reason is the baby-boom generation, but also the lack of reforms to outdated entitlement systems.

More to the point, neither Ryan nor most of the Republican party think Medicare, Social Security and other government programs to help low-income households should be ended.

What we want is a system that makes sense, that is efficient and that doesn’t place an undue burden on the taxpayers.

As Ryan notes in his post, his budget plan outlined a system where wealthier seniors would receive less government support, saving money for the elderly families who need it most.

When the government talks about common-sense solutions, this is the type of effort they mean. Unfortunately, liberals used that part of Ryan’s budget to vilify him as anti-senior and anti-Medicare.

The reality is: conservatives believe that those who need help ought to get it, even from the government. On the other hand, it has to be a system that makes sense.

Most of government money doesn’t go to help those who need it most, it goes to corporate welfare, subsidies and the wealthy.

No one, especially not conservatives, believes that is the role of government, so liberals must relent on their insistence that conservatives want companies to survive at the expense of the individual.

Just the opposite.

But until Democrats and liberals stop demagoguing  entitlement reform, obfuscating the facts of government spending (which, I would guess, will shock liberals who see that government spending has shifted so radically to support wealthier Americans) real reforms are not possible.

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One thought on “Facts show government spending favors wealthy, need for entitlement reform

  1. Mo Johnson says:

    I’m a liberal. But, we may find some common ground regarding government spending that favors the wealthy. This is also true of our tax system. You might be interested in this article I’ll be wrapping up tonight hopefully — tax inequality in the United States.

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