It’s OUR Money, Not THEIRS

One of the most absurd ways in which this country has been Republicanized comes with the concept that  the government benefits that some citizens receive are always “someone else’s money.” Republicans, especially Trump and the ironically named “Freedom Caucus,” believe that businesses that get millions or more in tax money are entitled to it, whereas individuals who need a little help to get though a tough time are essentually “sucking from the government teat.” And the idea is a complete load of crap.

As a nation, what is wrong with us? Why would we make anyone feel guilty because they take unemployment money when they can’t find a job, or take a little money each month to keep their family off the streets, or to pay for food, so their kids don’t go hungry during a difficult time?  As a nation, we used to take the attitude, “There but for the grace of God go I…” Yet, the Republican Party, which now poses itself as “The Party of God,” (ironically?) now makes everyone think there is something wrong with people who receive help from the government we all own. Too many Americans seem to think we’re somehow better than other people if we suffer, rather than ask for help that we have paid for over the course of many years with our taxes. In other words, while Republicans whine if they tens of thousands for health insurance every year and don’t use it, think we should all pay thousands in taxes throughout our careers and not accept anything back from that money, even if we are having a hard time.

This Republicanization shit is not making us a better country at all. It’s damning our souls.

The stigma that attaches to anyone who needs help in this country is nothing short of abhorrent on so many levels. However, what should transform our attitudes is the realization that the vast majority of people who get government help are actually receiving their own money.

Yeah, that’s what I said. Most of them are getting their own money back. Except for the scant few people who take advantage of the system (and some do exist), most people will pay a hell of a lot more into the system than they’ll take out of it.

This is the greatest single reason we have to focus mostly on getting rid of the GOP at every level of government over the next decade or two. The money sitting in the Treasury belongs to all of us, not just the rich, and it most certainly does not belong to Republican politicians. I have a feeling that even a number of liberals rolled their eyes as they considered what I just said. Many unicorn progressives tend to mirror the GOP attitude, especially when they dictate to the rest of us their anti-capitalist rants.  Do you know why “banksters” haven’t been arrested en masse? Because what they did wasn’t actually illegal. That was the problem.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand, which is the attitudes of many with regard to those who need financial help from the government. We have been  brainwashed, as a society, to believe that some individuals in need get “free money.” They don’t. The only entities that get “free money” are the very rich and large corporations, not the poor. The poor who apply for and receive welfare are ctually asking for some of their own money. With that, we get back to the root problem. We don’t think of government money as ours, even though it really is.

The overwhelming majority of people (more than 98 percent) who receive government assistance money, receive it for less than a year or two. And these days, only about 23 percent of those living in poverty receive any cash assstance, and only a few more than that receive housing assistance. Most who receive SNAP assistance are families and they get right around $300 per month, which goes right into the pockets of the businesses that sell them food. Likewise, even if they get Medicaid, that money goes to those who deliver healthcare and  that money serves to keep everyone else’s premiums lower.

However, the math is simpler than that. Assuming that someone gets, say, $1000 per month in benefits, that’s $12,000 per year, or $24,000 for two, and only about one percent of those who receive assistance get it for that long. Over the average person’s working life, they will work almost  50 years. If they average $40,000 per year, they will pay upwards of $500,000 in taxes over their lifetime. Even without accounting for interest and return on investment, that’s a hell of a lot more than the $24,000 they might receive from the government to help them through a difficult spot. As for unemployment, well, it’s called insurance for a reason. Everyone who works for a company pays into the unemployment insurance pool every payday. Yet, whenever Republicans talk about cutting taxes, they never even consider payroll taxes. How come?

There are few government services that we as individual citizens get that we don’t pay for with taxes. K-12 education for us and our kids is the biggest one. We don’t really pay enough in taxes to cover that; most of that money comes from taxes businesses pay. That’s one reason the schemes to allow people to pay for private school with “their” tax money are so absurd. It’s also why it’s disgusting that the government has put us in the position of paying so much for post-secondary education. Yes, we benefit from getting a college education, but the companies we work for benefit more. The more college educated people there are, the more downward pressure there is on wages. (By the way, the more taxpayers there are and the more money they make, the less our individual tax bills have to be.)

Even with Social Security and Medicare, you’re mostly getting back money you paid into the system. And why not? It’s essentially the country paying it forward. Our parents paid for their parents’ retirement, and we paid for theirs, now our kids will pay for ours and their kids will pay for them. And everyone who is covered by Medicare is saving every other insurance premium payer a lot of money by making sure their bills are paid.

And none of these programs is bad for the economy. In fact, they’re all good. Everyone who is covered by Medicare is saving every other insurance premium payer a lot of money by making sure their bills are paid. Those who buy food stamps support farmers and grocers. Those who get Section 8 rent assistance help make sure landlords get their money. But beyond that, they are keeping you healthy and alive so that you can continue paying taxes. Every dime the government invests in getting us through hard times is basically them giving us back some of our money. There’s a cognitive dissonance in complaining about how much we all pay in taxes and then complaining when someone collects come back to help out. Almost every other industrialized nation in the world

There’s a cognitive dissonance in complaining about how much we all pay in taxes and then complaining when someone collects come back to help out. Almost every other industrialized nation in the world has a much stronger welfare system than we have, and you hear almost none of the complaining.

We need to grow up as a nation, folks.

If you want to complain about those who get “free money,” look at Exxon or Mitt Romney, not the single mother trying to raise her kids to be good citizens on $1,000 per month…

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.

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