Most recently, our USA House and Senate spent $30 billion on extending unemployment benefits for a year, and $205 billion on corporate tax breaks, subsidies and excessive tax loopholes, mostly to corporations that have not paid any US income taxes in years.
So I would simply suggest that as we hear the critics argue that government assistance saps initiative and is unaffordable, we spend some time looking into the kinds of programs that may be doing just that. For example, did you know that we give welfare subsidies to owners of private planes and yachts, to private equity funds as well as to hedge funds, and continue to still give welfare to banks (currently $83 billion a year).
You can see that sometimes the full story is not being told. We talk about the unsustainability of government benefit programs and the harmful effects these can have on human behavior, and these are real issues. Well-meaning programs for supporting single moms can create negative incentives not to marry, or aid meant for a needy child may be misused to buy drugs. Helping people is a complex, uncertain, and imperfect struggle. But also think of this: we now have the wealthiest Congress in the history of our country in which a majority of members are millionaires. Perhaps that is why we are now having one-sided discussions demanding cuts only in public assistance to the poor, while ignoring public assistance to the rich. And one-sided discussions lead to one-sided and nearsighted policies. Please consider what is “Good for the People.”