Tag Archives: Welfare

Citizens Should Keep Their Eye On the Ball

In sales circles, they call it the bait and switch. Maybe a better analogy is the common shell game hustlers will often run on a city street corner. Whatever one calls it, in political circles it is frequently used and extremely damaging. Yet, much like the shell game, no one ever notices what is actually happening, not liberals, not conservatives, certainly not the ‘main stream media’. The politicians in Washington and around the country have the citizenry looking at the shells moving blindingly around the table; meanwhile the coin is, quite literally in some cases, already in their pocket.

Even the most voracious news hound struggles to follow everything going on these days; there’s simply too much information. But most Americans are not voraciously following the news, and many more pay no attention at all. The politicians know this and are perfectly willing, even happy, to use it to their advantage. Because if Americans ever stopped and really paid attention… very, very few of our elected officials, regardless of party, would keep their jobs.

There are only a handful of things the federal government is legitimately empowered to govern over. Things such as providing security to its citizens from foreign threats and/or domestic criminals; managing legal immigration (there should be no illegal immigration hence the word illegal); providing a centralized, stable banking system including currency; controlling the public debt. Other, more debatable but generally accepted roles of the federal government are providing some level of welfare for those who genuinely need public assistance (and this number is a tiny fraction of those on the public dole today); guiding an effective education system; over-sight of interstate commerce; etc.

But what do the politicians do? They play the shell game. They have divided the voters, not on these important issues where there might be constructive debate. No, they have us screaming at each other about gay marriage, abortion, or whether the local High School should be allowed to call themselves “Indians” or not. Meanwhile, they are failing at virtually every task on their to-do list. The borders are as porous as a slice of Swiss cheese. Crime is far too high and our prisons are full of evidence of the governments failure to educate and employ. Illegal immigration is rampant. They all dropped the ball on managing the banking sector and then ran around blaming each other in an attempt to cover up their own ineptitude. Public debt is quickly reaching (if hasn’t reached it already) unsustainable levels that will likely bankrupt us. The American education system is an absolute joke! And the list goes on and on.

Our leaders from both parties have utterly failed. They have failed to accomplish ANY of the tasks assigned to them by the Constitution and the voters who elected them. We the People should be outraged. There should be riots in the streets or at the very least a complete housecleaning of all incumbents, regardless of party, at the next election. Instead, the citizenry is far too busy arguing about whether Adam should marry Eve or Steve. The shells keep flying around on the table and we keep watching, but as anyone who’s ever seen a street hustler in action knows, the game is rigged and the outcome is pre-determined – the “house” always wins.

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Filed under Government, Other Random Thoughts

How Much Does the Government Get?

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the wealthy needing to pay more taxes. This always raises the question for me, why don’t the people doing all this talking make a donation to the welfare program of their choice if they feel so passionately about it? But, nope, they want to force others to do something they aren’t willing to do themselves. Then there’s the recent rash of the President’s nominees who were discovered to have not even met their minimum tax obligation, let alone paid any extra – they want to raise taxes on others, but they won’t even pay their own? Something seems wrong here.

But, I digress. The topic for today is how much does the government actually take from every dollar you or I earn, so let’s take a look. I will start with a nice round $100,000 in salary to make things easy. Now assuming you’re not self-employed, your employer will be paying 6.2% of your salary to Social Security and 1.45% to Medicare. That’s $7,650 above and beyond the $100,000 that your employer has to cough up in your name (keep that in mind the next time they turn you down for a raise – they could have paid you another $600 a month, but it went to the government). Of course, you have to match those contributions via Soc. Sec. and Medicare withholding, so that leaves you with $92,350.

Don’t get excited, we’re just getting started. Let’s move on to the big leagues – income tax. If you’re single and have no children to claim, the government will take a bite to the tune of $20,124 in income tax withholding (maybe they should call it hold-up instead of withholding) leaving you with $72,226. Next, your state will take a bite. In my state of Massachusetts that bite will cost you 5.3% or another $5,300 leaving you with $66,926. If you live in one of the major U.S. cities you’ll likely get hit with a city income tax as well, but we’ll leave that alone for now. So, to this point the government has received $40,724 and your clutching $66,926 of your hard earned money.

But, we’re not finished, not even close.  Here are a few more taxes most Americans pay and to generalize I’ve used the amounts I paid in 2008 as examples:

  • Property tax – $3,100
  • Communications (phone, cable, cell phone) -$138
  • Gasoline (average 35¢/gallon -18.4¢ goes to the feds, the rest to your state) – $263
  • Sales tax (assume 5% and $10,000 a year in purchases) – $500

There goes another $4,001 leaving you with $62,925.  But, there are still more taxes. Capital gains is a fun one; it’s where if you manage to save some of these after-tax dollars, and are brave enough to invest it, and are lucky enough to make a little profit, they have the audacity to take a percentage of that too! There are cigarette and alcohol taxes, travel taxes (many times 10% or more on hotels, airfare, rental cars, etc.), and the list goes on and on.

So, in the end your $100,000 salary nets you roughly $60,000 and your government rakes in $47,650. Seems like a pretty good deal for them since you did all the work. But, here’s the best part… You or I must find a way to pay our bills and save for retirement out of the $60,000. But, the government doesn’t bother with any of that; instead, they spend Trillions more than they take in resulting in a national debt that you will someday end up paying for. Better put some of that $60,000 aside just in case!

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Filed under Financial, Taxation

You Can Not Make This Stuff Up!

In the latest sign that the apocalypse is upon us the United States government is now providing free cell phones to people on welfare. I AM NOT KIDDING! Apparently a monthly check, free medical insurance, free or subsidized housing and food stamps is not enough.  No, now the American taxpayer is being forced to pay for free cell phones and free monthly minutes for qualifying welfare recipients. Since no rational person would believe this, here is some information from the site:

Lifeline Assistance is part of a program that was created by the government to provide discounted or free telephone service to income-eligible consumers. To help bring you this important benefit, SafeLink Wireless is proud to offer Lifeline Service. Through our Lifeline Service you will receive FREE cellular service, a FREE cell phone, and FREE Minutes every month! SafeLink Wireless Service does not cost anything – there are no contracts, no recurring fees and no monthly charges.

Any Minutes you do not use will roll-over. Features such as caller ID, call waiting and voicemail are all also included with your service. If you need additional Minutes, you can buy TracFone Airtime Cards at any TracFone retailer Walmart, Walgreens, Family Dollar, etc). SafeLink Airtime Cards will be available soon.

Your exact benefits, including the number of free Minutes you will receive, depend on the state you live in. Please enter your ZIP code to get the details for your state.

My favorite part is the free roll-over minutes.  My carrier doesn’t offer that benefit and my wife and I pay more than $200 per month!

No one is going to argue that those on welfare are living in the lap of luxury, and certainly some people genuinely need assistance for a period of time to stabilize their lives, but this takes all Common Sense and tosses it out the window. The U.S. is more than 11 Trillion Dollars in debt and has decided that giving out free cell phones is a good use of the money it doesn’t have. Well, at least everyone will be able to communicate as the Country spins down the drain.

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Filed under Government Spending, Random Senselessness, Welfare