Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The Democrat agenda – reducing self-sufficiency and increasing dependency

Two articles, both from Investors Business Daily.

The first explains how Obamacare encourages people to stop working or reduce their work hours in order to get more benefits from the government.

Charles Krauthammer explains:

First, the Congressional Budget Office triples its estimate of the drop in the workforce resulting from the disincentive introduced by ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies: 2 million by 2017, 2.3 million by 2021.

Democratic talking points gamely defend this as a good thing because these jobs are being given up voluntarily. Nancy Pelosi spoke lyrically about how ObamaCare subsidies will allow people to leave unfulfilling jobs to pursue their passions:

“Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

[...]Pelosi’s vision is equally idyllic except for one thing: The taxes of the American factory worker — grinding away dutifully at his repetitive mind-numbing job — will be subsidizing the voluntary unemployment of the artiste in search of his muse. A rather paradoxical position for the party that poses as tribune of the working man.

[...]In the reductio ad absurdum of entitlement liberalism, Jay Carney was similarly enthusiastic about this ObamaCare-induced job loss. Why, ObamaCare creates the “opportunity” that “allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, and if they will work.”

If they will work? Pre-Obama, people always had the right to quit work to tend full time to the study of butterflies. It’s a free country. The twist in the new liberal dispensation is that the butterfly guy is to be subsidized by the taxes of people who actually work.

In the traditional opportunity society, government provides the tools — education, training and various incentives — to achieve the dignity of work and its promise of self-improvement and social mobility.

In the new opportunity society, you are given the opportunity for idleness while living parasitically off everyone else. Why those everyone elses should remain at their jobs — hey! I wanna dance, too! — is a puzzle Carney has yet to explain.

So, if you are working, you are going to be taxed more to pay for the leisure (or laziness) of your fellow citizens. And why must the Democrats do this? In order to continue to win elections by getting the votes of people who want you to work harder and longer so that they don’t have to work.

So how much are we paying people to not work or to work less? 

Major welfare programs as of 2012

Major welfare programs as of 2012

Again, Investors Business Daily explains.

Excerpt:

In 2011, the latest year for which we have complete spending data, federal outlays on all means-tested welfare programs targeted for the poor hit $746 billion, according to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service.

But this doesn’t include two of the fastest-growing taxpayer-funded cash subsidies: unemployment insurance and disability, which are not based on one’s income level, so are not considered anti-poverty programs. That’s another $250 billion a year. All told, federal income transfer programs (not including Social Security and Medicare) have hit $1 trillion.

Adding state spending, the Senate Budget Committee found another $257 billion spent each year. The welfare state is now larger than the GDP of 175 of the 190 wealthiest countries.

Astoundingly, if all this spending were simply sent in the form of a check to every household in America living below the poverty level, we could raise each of these family’s incomes not just above the poverty line, but double that level, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. Every poor family of four could have a cash income of $44,000 a year — which in most countries would be princely.

Most Americans probably have no idea how expansive the welfare state is. That’s because the cost is disguised by more than 80 separate means-tested programs counted by the CRS, including cash benefits, health care, social services, food, child care, training, and housing and utility subsidies. They often have overlapping and uncoordinated missions. This explains the vast duplication of effort, with at least 12 programs offering food and nutrition, 18 offering housing assistance, nine offering vocational training, and so on.

In all, just over 100 million Americans now get some form of welfare-based government benefit. This does not include Medicare or Social Security. Obama’s economics team thinks the more the better, because these are programs that “stimulate” the economy.

Oh, and by the way: These numbers do not include the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid, which could add 20 million to the rolls over time. Obama boasts of 5 million more Americans now being eligible for Medicaid under ObamaCare, as if that’s an applause line.

That only leaves the question of who is paying for all this vote-buying today. Well, the money is being borrowed and added to the national debt. And who is going to pay for that? Your children. Especially if you bothered to get married before having children, because those are the children most likely to get the high-paying jobs that our slavemasters in government love to redistribute.

 

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UK survey: nearly 60% of working moms would cut their work hours if they could afford to

Dina tweeted this UK Daily Mail article that made me think about how women vote.

Excerpt:

More than a third of working mothers would like to give up their jobs completely and stay at home with their children, a major Government survey has found.

It showed that millions of mothers of young children who go out to work do so only because they need to work to pay the bills.

The research for the Department for Education found that, far from being anxious to get out of their homes and into employment, the great majority of mothers are only reluctant workers.

Nearly six out of ten of all working mothers would cut down their hours to spend more time with their families if they could afford to, it said.

The yearning among mothers to leave their jobs and look after their children instead is even more pronounced among the highest achieving women, the  survey indicated.

More than two-thirds of those in senior and middle management roles would spend fewer hours in the office and devote more time to their children if they had enough money, it said.

[...]Yesterday’s survey also undermines the claims that prejudice and discrimination against women in male-dominated companies is the reason why women are heavily outnumbered in the boardroom.

Rather, it suggests that many women who could get to the top in business choose instead to put their children before their careers.

The problem is that when government gives people free stuff, people who work have to work more to pay for it. And the strangest thing is that even though women seem to want to stay home with their kids (which is good), when it comes time to vote, they actually vote NOT to stay home with their kids. How? By growing the size of government, which results in higher taxes. To find out what women really think about staying home with their kids, we can look at how they vote. 

Women voted 55 to 44 for Obama

Women voted 56-44 for more government spending in 2012

CNN reports on how women voted in the 2012 election:

According to CNN’s exit polls, 55% of women and 45% of men voted for Obama and 44% of women and 52% of men voted for Romney. That level of female support for the president made an especially big impact in swing states like Ohio where the gender breakdown mirrored the national figures.

[...]There are some indications that social issues directly impacting women might have helped sway votes in some states.

Tuesday’s early exit polls showed 51% of Missouri voters said they believed abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Of those voters, exit polls showed 76% supported Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, who won Tuesday night, while 19% voted for Akin.

Forty-seven percent of Missouri’s voters said abortion should be illegal. Exit polls showed Akin netted 67% of this group’s votes while 27% of people who think abortion should be illegal supported McCaskill.

But much more than social issues, pocketbook economic issues most concerned women voters, exit polling showed.

“Women like all voters felt the economics were most important,” Swers said. “Women tend to be more supportive of government spending… than men are … so they were less responsive to Romney in that way and more responsive to Obama’s message on empathy and helping the middle class.”

Gallup reported that the gender gap in the 2012 election was actually 20 points. That was the largest ever measured in a Presidential election. The actual vote for Obama among women, according to Gallup, was 56-44.

More government means higher taxes

Women are also more pro-abortion more than men

Here is a peer-reviewed research paper that shows the problem that we need to warn women about, so that they vote smarter.

The abstract reads:

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.

When people vote for government to do more for everyone else, then men who work have to pay more in taxes.

Women for bigger government, higher taxes

Women vote for higher taxes, so they have to work more

If women want to stay home with their children more, then they need to vote for their husbands (present or future) to pay less in taxes when they work. That means voting for smaller government, more liberty and more personal responsibility. Until women get to the point of connecting their future plans (marriage and parenting) for their lives with their current voting, this situation is not going to change. Marriages run on money. It’s no good to urge men to “man-up” and then take away their ability to provide by taxing more of their earnings to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control pills and abortions. Keep the money in the family, and then you can stay home with the kids more.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

House Republicans pass “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”: Obama vows veto

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this bill

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this bill

From The Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

The House voted Tuesday night to pass Congressman Chris Smith’s (R-N.J.) No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which expands bans on federal funding of abortions and requires that the Obamacare insurance exchanges clearly describe which plans cover abortion.

The act forbids Obamacare insurance subsidies from being used toward plans that cover abortion. It would make the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law that prohibited Medicaid from funding abortions, a permanent fixture of national law. It also disqualifies abortion payments from tax benefits. The bill provides for exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and endangerment of the life of the mother.

In the past, multiple polls have shown that Americans disapprove of public funding for abortion.

The bill also mandates “prominent display” of abortion coverage in all plans offered on the new insurance exchanges, and disclosure of any surcharges that apply to abortion procedures.

[...]White House aides have already suggested that they would recommend vetoing the bill, should it pass both chambers of Congress.

CNS News reports that the Obama administration handed $540 million taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood in FY 2013.

Excerpt:

Planned Parenthood’s net revenue increased 5% to total of $1.21 billion in its organizational fiscal year ending on June 30, 2013, according to its newAnnual Report 2012-2013, and about 45% of that revenue–$540.6 million–was provided by taxpayer-funded government health services grants.

In the same report, Planned Parenthood said that in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2012 it did 327,166 abortions.

Clinics in Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana and New Hampshire also received $655,192 in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to serve as Obamacare “navigators,” as CNSNews.com reported earlier.

The 2012-2013 Planned Parenthood report states on its second page, “We are the most effective advocate in the country for policies that protect access to safe and legal abortion and advance women’s health, actively lobbying in every state legislature ….”

Planned Parenthood’s affiliates spent $26 million on public policy this past year, while the national office spent $31.3 million on building “advocacy capacity.”

Planned Parenthood lobbied heavily for the Affordable Care Act’s mandatory contraception coverage, and the ACA, or Obamacare,  is celebrated throughout the annual report as “a historic advance for women’s health.”

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the USA.

Now even if you were a pro-choice person, it seems to me that you should be in favor of this bill to ban taxpayer-funding of abortion. After all, if you’re “pro-choice” then you should have to pay for your own choices. If you look at it from a pro-life view, it’s like I am being forced to pay you to murder babies. Or from a slavery analogy, I am being forced to buy you slaves. If I have an objection to something you are choosing to do, then I shouldn’t have to pay for it. That sounds like common sense, but as you can see, the Democrats are opposed to it. They have no problems at all stealing from my earnings in order to subsidize acts that violate my conscience.

However, in states where the Democrats are not in control, these laws to ban taxpayer-funding of abortion do get passed.

Consider this story from Fox News.

Excerpt:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s access to taxpayer money funneled through the state for non-abortion services.

Arizona already bars use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother, but anti-abortion legislators and other supporters of the bill have said the broader prohibition is needed to make sure that no public money indirectly supports abortion services.

“This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly,” said Brewer, a Republican. “By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion.”

Arizona has said a funding ban would interrupt its preventive health care and family planning services for nearly 20,000 women served by the organization’s clinics. The organization has said it will consider a legal challenge.

The measure targeting funding for Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services was one of several approved by Arizona’s Republican-led Legislature related to contentious reproductive health care issues during a 116-day session that ended Thursday. Brewer is a Republican.

Other approved Arizona bills include one generally banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which Brewer has already signed, and one loosening a state law that generally requires health care plans to cover contraception.

So the bottom line is, if you don’t want to pay for someone else’s “choices”, then vote Republican. And remember, whatever you tax, you get less of. Whatever you subsidize, you get more of.

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Should welfare be paid to able-bodied Americans indefinitely? Is dependency good for people?

Nancy P. posted this article from the Heritage Foundation, and I thought it would make a good blog post.

Excerpt:

Food stamp rolls have been growing rapidly. But what many may not realize is that participation among able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) has been skyrocketing compared to the total number of participants. That’s just one reason Congress should reform the food stamp program in the farm bill now under consideration. In just four years, the number of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) on the food stamp rolls skyrocketed by over 2 million. While overall food stamp use grew by 53 percent between Fiscal Year 2007 and Fiscal Year 2010 (from about 26 million to nearly 40 million), it more than doubled among able-bodied adults without dependents during this time–from 1.7 million to 3.9 million–an increase of  roughly 127 percent.  Food stamp spending today is roughly $80 billion, double what it was in Fiscal Year 2008.

[...]While the recession no doubt plays into the increases in food stamp participation, policy loopholes have opened the doors to boost growth as well In his 2009 stimulus bill, Obama allowed states to waive the modest ABAWD work provision (which says that after 3 months ABAWDs must work or perform some type of work activity for 20 hours per week to remain on food stamps).

With the work waivers in place, ABAWDs can stay on food stamps for an unlimited amount of time without working or preparing for work. Without a work requirement  it is difficult to ensure food stamps are not going to those who could otherwise work.  A work requirement acts as a gatekeeper: those who really need assistance can still get it, while those who may not really need it will be deterred, thus targeting resources to the truly needy. It also encourages individuals to move towards work, and it can provide job training and other employment help.

Self-sufficiency for able-bodied adults should be the goal of any sound welfare policy. Unfortunately, most of the government’s 80-plus welfare programs–including food stamps–aren’t focused in this direction.

Helping those in need means helping them rise above government dependence. Unfortunately, self-sufficiency seems to be kicked to the bottom of the list all too often when it comes to reforming the nation’s broken welfare system. It’s time for Congress to realize that helping individuals means a hand-up, not merely a handout.

A long time ago, there was a reasonable, temporary safety net that was available to people who were in real need of relief. But now it seems as if the government is spending alot of money on these programs, and often to people who are not trying to get out of their dependency situation on their own.

Here is what I do not want to have happen:

  1. Government confiscates the earnings of job creators and employees through taxation
  2. Government keeps some fraction of the money for their salaries, benefits and pensions
  3. Government gives some of the money to Planned Parenthood and Solyndra
  4. Government gives some money to people who are likely to vote for them
  5. The people who get the money vote for bigger government, and are discouraged from working
  6. The children of the people who are dependent on government see a bad example of dependency

It seems to me that if you look in the Bible, there is no support for government-controlled redistribution of wealth as a cure for “poverty”. There is support there for industry and business, and voluntary charity. Most of the poverty in the USA is, in my opinion, either caused by government policies or caused by individual decisions, like dropping out of school or having children before marriage. This is a wealthy country, and people are very generous with charity. They would be even more generous if government were more limited so that they could keep more of their own money for charity. I think the problem with the left is that they think that people don’t give to charity, since they don’t, and must be forced to pay taxes. But we on the right are not like you. I would rather give away twice as much as I pay in taxes rather than pay what I pay in taxes. I love charity, and the only thing stopping me from giving away more is taxes.

This previous post about earned success references a Wall Street Journal article written by Arthur Brooks (president of the American Enterprise Institute) is also relevant, I think.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , ,

Federal court approves taxpayer-funded sex change for man convicted of murdering his wife

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered state prison officials to provide taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison for murder.

[...]Kosilek was born male but has received hormone treatments and now lives as a woman in an all-male prison. Robert Kosilek was convicted of murder in the killing of his wife in 1990.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery for a transgender inmate.

Kosilek first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 12 years ago. Two years later, Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder but stopped short of ordering surgery. Kosilek sued again in 2005, arguing that the surgery is a medical necessity.

In his ruling Tuesday, Wolf found that surgery is the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”

“The court finds that there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care,” Wolf wrote in his 126-page ruling.

[...]In a telephone interview last year with The Associated Press, Kosilek said the surgery is a medical necessity, not a frivolous desire to change his appearance.

“Everybody has the right to have their health care needs met, whether they are in prison or out on the streets,” Kosilek said. “People in the prisons who have bad hearts, hips or knees have surgery to repair those things. My medical needs are no less important or more important than the person in the cell next to me.”

[...]Kosilek’s lawsuit has become fodder for radio talk shows and lawmakers who say the state should not be forced to pay for a convicted murderer’s sex-change operation — which can cost up to $20,000 — especially since many insurance companies reject the surgery as elective.

The Boston Globe had this to say:

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders issued a statement hailing the ruling.

“Like the district court before it, the First Circuit has affirmed that constitutional rights belong to everyone,” said Jenifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “The Appeals Court affirmed that the District Court properly found that Michelle Kosilek needed this lifesaving medical care. If she needed treatment for cancer or heart disease, this case would never have wound up in court. If we are to call ourselves a civilized society, there is a baseline of care that has to be provided to all prisoners, including prisoners who are transgender.”

The man is now 64 years old. He strangled his wife to death  in 1990.

My personal opinion on this man is that he should have been executed by the state a few minutes after he was convicted.

Sarcastic WK

We have a lot of people in this country who are very compassionate handing out other people’s money. They don’t like discipline, judging or obedience to the law. They keep on voting for bigger government and more government spending to enable people avoid the consequences of their own actions. They believe that nothing we do is our fault, because we are all victims. They believe that nothing you earn is really yours, because everyone just gets up and does what they like every day.

If a musician gets up and does what he likes and a surgeon wakes up and does what he likes, why should they be paid differently? Work is meant to be fun and fulfilling, so we should resdistribute wealth from the surgeon to the musician, so they can both have sex changes, if they want them. People need money for free condoms, or a free abortion, or free breast implants, or free IVF, or free sex changes, or free health care for STDs. We should just take money from people who have it and give the other people whatever they want.

That’s why I go to work, you know, so that I can pay the government elected by the compassionate, non-judgmental people to give convicted murderers sex changes. It’s not like I need the money I earned for anything, like funding opportunities for Christians scholars to defend God’s reputation. At one point, I planned to get married and have children, too. What a waste of money my plans are – the government is right to take my money and use it on “compassion”. And when we have single payer health care, sex changes will be free for everyone, just like in Ontario, Canada and the UK. In the UK, you can even get breast implants for “free”. Isn’t that more compassionate and non-judgmental?

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