In the wake of the 51-49 vote to move ahead with the biggest tax overhaul since the days of Ronald Reagan, a new target is now in sight, and it’s one that is likely to cause even more consternation.
Welfare and “Entitlement” programs are going to be on the table in the 2018 session, suggests House Speaker Paul Ryan. The President himself has stated that work needs to be done in this area. One of the most interesting moves comes from the Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Utah Senator, Orrin Hatch. He has lashed out at programs that are “merely” welfare for life and suggested that it is a liberal mindset that is stopping people from getting ahead:
“Unfortunately the liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depends on the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them,” said Hatch.
“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything,” he continued. In fact, this is a defining view that delineates the left-leaning from the socially conservative.
While one side prefers that welfare programs are used only as a safety net, the other is happy for it to become a lifestyle choice. Conservatives try to make programs that will provide the tools and opportunities that allow the individual to succeed and have a stable future. The left tends to view people as victims who cannot look after their own interests. This is the source of the division in opinion on how welfare or entitlement programs should operate.
California Dem. Rep. Barbara Lee encapsulated this when she Tweeted:
“Make no mistake, the #GOPTaxScam is a Trojan Horse for Republicans to take an axe to public assistance, Medicare and Social Security. We can’t let them get away with this blatant theft from working families.”
Should people doubt Senator Hatch’s commitment to helping those who truly can’t help themselves, we only need to look at the original creators of CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Senator Hatch and the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) teamed up to get it passed. Senator Hatch has since worked hard to ensure that it has always received the funding it needs.
Criticism of the Tax Reform says that it will cost $1 trillion to the economy, yet this figure operates only on current returns. It fails to take into account that a reduced tax liability ALWAYS leads to higher tax revenue collections. It also fails to acknowledge that the economy is on an unprecedented upswing right now that pundits failed to predict. In fact, many in the left-leaning media predicted just the opposite in response to the election of Donald Trump.
While those on the left espoused gloom and doom, economic indicators are up across the board. Stock market record highs. Job creation, employment, labor participation and wages are up. In terms of government spending, welfare programs account for more of the budget than any other item.
A new report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service finds that the largest federal budget item is spending on welfare programs. To support the 83 programs that CRS identified as welfare programs, the federal government spends $745.84 billion.
That exceeds the $725 billion spent by the federal government on Social Security, $480 billion on Medicare, and $540 billion on non-war defense.
In all, the U.S. government, including federal and state governments, spends in excess of $1 trillion on welfare.
“Based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance, Budget Committee staff calculated at least an additional $283 billion in state contributions to those same federal programs, for a total annual expenditure of $1.03 trillion,” according to the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.