We’re all in this together: The Truth About Federal entitlement spending

Across North Carolina and the nation at large, we’re seeing a fundamental policy debate playing itself out, which boiled down to its essence asks a single, critical question: Do government benefits promote dependency among those who receive those benefits, or do they promote personal responsibility and a common baseline opportunity for all Americans?

The big picture answer is that everyone benefits from our government’s spending on things like schools, roads, public health.  But the narrower part of this debate focuses on entitlement spending who receives it and what is required in exchange for these supports.  As a recent study makes clear, over 90% of entitlement spending benefits like Medicare, Social Security, and SNAP go to Americans who are either working, paying into the system, have paid into the system in the past, or have disabilities.  This spending provides a critical support that promotes the ideal that we’re all in this together.

This includes the 53% of recipients aged 65 and over, seniors who paid into the Medicare and Social Security programs their entire lives, and are now receiving the benefits they earned.  This includes the 18% of recipients who can be best described as working poor families, those who work and pay the payroll taxes that support current seniors, but earn so little income, they qualify for federal anti-poverty programs like SNAP, TANF, the school lunch program,, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And this includes the 20% of Americans with mental and physical disabilities that make it impossible for them to work.

On top of this 90% of workers, another 10% of entitlement benefit spending goes to several other purposes which can hardly be called dependency-inducing:  medical care and time-limited unemployment insurance for the jobless who must have a significant work history to be eligible, Social Security benefits for retirees between the ages of 62 and 64, who, again, have paid into the system their entire working lives, and Social Security Survivor’s benefits for widows and children of the deceased who otherwise would be destitute, as well as poor families with children who must demonstrated progress towards employment in a time-limited program.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of entitlement benefit spending goes to support people who either:  a) have worked their entire lives;  b) are working currently;  c) must find work before time limits expire (and demonstrate progress in doing so);  d) cannot work because of a disability; or  e) are widows and orphans.  How does any of this promote dependency?

The point of all of this is that we have entitlement spending not to promote dependency, but to provide a basic chance and opportunity to all Americans— to give them a chance to get through hard times and back on their feet; to give them the basic guaranteed retirement income they’ve earned; and to help provide for the most vulnerable among us.  This point, ultimately, is that we’re in this together.

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Julie Katz came to Raleigh Wednesday to speak directly to the lawmakers who want to exclude her from [...]

Fifty-eight defendants named in legal complaint filed in Caswell County Opponents of two asphalt pla [...]

Two new bills, if they become law, would change the face of the UNC Board of Governors. One would ba [...]

WASHINGTON — Two wind turbines, each as tall as the Washington Monument, stand sentinel 27 miles off [...]

While the attention of most North Carolina parents and educators remains focused on getting children [...]

It’s been almost four years now since North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders capitulated to [...]

The post Anti-trans bills don’t fall far from the HB2 tree appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Cooper’s modest spending proposal illustrates how far we’ve fallen Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a new tw [...]