Tuesday, February 10, 2015

More Republican Hypocrisy on Social Programs

Fox News reported that Dr. Ben Carson (the neurosurgeon and Fox News regular) "is building a campaign team for a potential 2016 presidential run". That's the same guy that once told of how he had stabbed someone in a fight, but that the blade had hit his victim’s belt buckle and broke, sparing him serious injury — and a possible murder rap for Carson.

Ben Carson (one of the many GOP anti-government crusaders) also tells in his autobiography, Gifted Hands, that a government program provided him with free eyeglasses because he could barely see — and said: “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.”

He writes elsewhere, “As I’ve said, we received food stamps and couldn’t have made it without them.” But yet, now he bemoans the “welfare state” and talks about how the rich have always taken care of the poor — and that “no one is starving in America”.

Ben Carson now says, "We take the downtrodden in our society and we pat them on the head. We say ‘There, there, you poor little thing. I’m gonna give you health care. I’m gonna give you housing subsidies, I’m gonna give you food stamps. You don’t have to worry about anything. What that has done is create generation upon generation of people who just live that way, waiting for government handouts.”

Ben Carson grew up in meager surroundings in Detroit and Boston, in a family that made use of public assistance programs like food stamps. The culture was different then, Carson insists. “I think there was a time when people were not proud of taking handouts.”

Crooks and Liars writes, "Their personal cases are always so much different than yours and mine when the time comes that we might need government assistance to help survive."

Dr Ben Carson

In an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace, Ben Carson opines: "For those who are not poor, there is a four letter work that works extremely well, it's called w-o-r-k, work."

Washington University professor Mark Rank points out that poverty in America is mainstream: “Nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line, and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty ... Even more astounding, if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events. In addition, half of all American children will at some point during their childhood reside in a household that uses food stamps for a period of time. Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans. For most of us, the question is not whether we will experience poverty, but when.”

Mark Thoma at the Fiscal Times also notes, "This is what social insurance is designed for, and an understanding of how the insurance works undercuts the idea that hard-working Americans have income taken from them and given to others – and that they get nothing in return ... A worker who does everything right to provide for his or her family – shows up every day, works hard, etc. – can suddenly find themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet ... During, for example, downturns in the economy instead of some people losing everything, we protect those who are unlucky and become unemployed through unemployment compensation, food stamps, and so on."

And Thoma goes on to say that the rich also have their own form of social insurance: "During the Great Recession, who benefited the most from bank bailouts and quantitative easing that propped up asset values? It was the people who hold most of the financial assets, the wealthy ... There is no doubt that the wealthy were insured against large losses."

Last year Ben Carson went on The View discussing the topic of those on welfare: "When you rob someone of their incentive to go out there and improve themselves, you are not doing them any favors." And he had said that in front of The View co-host, Whoopi Goldberg, herself a former welfare mother.

While Ben Carson himself may have grown up on welfare, he's now espousing policies that make sure other people can't get on welfare. Even the former vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan supported himself with Social Security benefits from his deceased father. But just like other GOP hypocrites (like those who get farm subsidies, etc.), now Paul Ryan wants to cut Social Security for everyone else.

More Debate on Cuts to Social Security: Econospeak, in response to a post by Dean Baker, in response to an article at the Washington Post -- where it says, "Spending on other vital activities (from defense to financial regulation) is being sacrificed to cover the growing costs of a graying nation."

Dean Baker, in his post, had sarcastically mentioned defaulting on the national debt as one option. And Econospeak asks, "Effectively based on the law, cutting benefits to SS recipients amounts to a default on a promise; so is this better than defaulting on debt held by high income holders of that debt?" [I would have added, "Or to China? I'd suggest reading through all three articles.]


  1. We can only hope that this nitwit gets nominated to run in 2016.

  2. Just 37 out of more than 16,000 welfare applicants failed drug tests during six months of testing in Tennessee.

    Though Republican lawmakers in nearly every state have proposed drug tests for recipients of government benefits in recent years, Tennessee is one of only 12 states that have followed through with a testing program. Its results are typical: Very few poor people seeking benefits actually turned out to have dirty urine. Yet despite the dubious results, an additional dozen states have already started considering similar legislation this year.


    Not only do few people fail drug tests for the workplace, the number that do fail have dramatically declined. Key findings from the analysis:

    * The positivity rate for the combined U.S. work force declined 74%, from 13.6% in 1988 to 3.5% in 2012.
    * The positivity rate for the federally-mandated safety sensitive workforce declined by 38%, from 2.6% in 1992 to 1.6% in 2012.
    * The positivity rate for the U.S. general workforce declined by 60%, from 10.3% in 1992 to 4.1% in 2012