President Clinton promised to end “welfare as we have known it.” He did succeed in transferring a lot of federal welfare programs to state governments. This earned him the undying hostility of the Old Left. Chris Hedges, a representative of the Old Left, calls Clinton the worst modern Democrat President. The welfare issue is why.
Obama’s Administration is trying to restore the pre-Clinton system. It has increased federal welfare payments by over 30% since 2008. In 2008, it was about $560 billion. Today, it’s almost $750 billion. That’s an increase of one-third.
The money goes to over 80 income assistance (dole) programs for poor people. But the biggie is Medicaid: almost $300 billion. It accounts for 40% of low-income aid. It was $80 billion in 2008.
Medicaid is Medicare for poor people. It is politically untouchable, because the voters on Medicare do not want to oppose subsidized medical care on principle. That is too large a can or worms.
Let us not fool ourselves. Medicaid is fiscal cancer. It will eventually kill the host if Medicare does not kill it first.
Then there are food stamps, re-named SNAP. “Food stamps” sounded degrading. SNAP is snappy. It now absorbs $75 billion a year, and is rising. It has doubled since 2008. About 46 million people are being fed by SNAP.
Large-scale agribusiness loves this program. It’s forever . . . until the host dies.
The Heritage Foundation estimates that 100 million Americans get monthly benefits from at least one low-income assistance program. That is a lot of voters. Best of all from the position of federal politicians, these people become addicted to the subsidies. Their numbers grow. This means more votes.
Until the host dies.
What the addicts will do after the subsidies end is never discussed publicly by politicians. The politicians assume that the lenders who bankroll these programs will continue to lend at 2% per annum forever. The welfare addicts just line up for free medical care and free food. They don’t think about who is paying, or why, or for how much longer.
Since the voters don’t care, the politicians don’t care, and the administrators prosper, what will stop this?
The death of the host.