From the Weekly Standard. (With a rant from me below)
New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.
“According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795,” the Senate Budget Committee notes. “If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011.”
This dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household on poverty lives on per year. “If the spending on these programs were converted into cash, and distributed exclusively to the nation’s households below the poverty line, this cash amount would be over 2.5 times the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, which in 2011 was $22,350 (see table in this link),” the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note.
To be clear, not all households living below the poverty line receive $61,194 worth of assistance per year. After all, many above the poverty line also receive benefits from social welfare programs (e.g. pell grants).
How do people become poor anyway, in a rich country like America? Is it someone else’s fault, or is it a result of their own poor decision-making? Let famous black economist Walter Williams – chair of the Department of Economics at the prestigious George Mason University –explain it for us:
Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.
If you graduate from high school today with a B or C average, in most places in our country there’s a low-cost or financially assisted post-high-school education program available to increase your skills.
Most jobs start with wages higher than the minimum wage, which is currently $5.15. A man and his wife, even earning the minimum wage, would earn $21,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2003, the poverty threshold for one person was $9,393, for a two-person household it was $12,015, and for a family of four it was $18,810. Taking a minimum-wage job is no great shakes, but it produces an income higher than the Bureau of Census’ poverty threshold. Plus, having a job in the first place increases one’s prospects for a better job.
To augment what Dr. Williams said with a study:
Nearly three out of four poor families with children in America are headed by single parents. When a child’s father is married to his mother, however, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82 percent.
The collapse of marriage, along with a dramatic rise in births to single women, is the most important cause of childhood poverty but government policy doesn’t reflect that reality, according to a special report released today by The Heritage Foundation.
I had to spend all day Saturday and all day Sunday this weekend working to fix a defect so that I could get back on track on my next project. I am still 4 days behind schedule on that new project. If I can’t catch up, I’ll probably have to cancel my November vacation, and maybe even my December vacation. The massive expenditures on welfare for “the poor” is the reason why I have to come in on Saturday and Sunday to work. I have to to work to pay for these people, and their enablers in the Democrat party.
Don’t I have a right to pursue my dreams and my marriage plans and my plans to be a public, effective Christian, with the money that I earn through my work? For example, on Saturday, I sent $125 to a young Christian scholar so that he could attend a conference and present a paper on a moral issue that we both care about. The government would never give him money, but they will tax me to pay for contraceptives for everyone else. I am a virgin – I don’t even buy contraceptives for myself! I really have better things to do with my earned income than buying “Obamaphones” for people who spend their entire lives collecting welfare. Don’t I have a right to spend what I earn on my own goals and priorities?
UPDATE: The Manhattan Institute explains how welfare waivers water down the work incentives for welfare.
- Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith proposes reforms to the UK welfare state
- New report: welfare spending hits record $1 trillion, up 32% in Obama’s first term
- Who pays the bill for handing out $2.2 trillion of entitlements per year?
- Graduate students with non-STEM degrees increasingly dependent on welfare programs
- Arizona governor Jan Brewer blocks welfare payments for illegal immigrants
- Redistribution of wealth: 2362 millionaires collecting unemployment
- Christians and social justice: is redistribution of wealth good for the poor?
- Democrat Steny Hoyer: unemployment checks and food stamps stimulate the economy
- Obama ends welfare reform and calls for $12.7 trillion of new welfare spending
- Why do women have abortions? Are women responsible or are men to blame?
- Half of all Americans live in households that get government handouts
- Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?
- What causes women to become single mothers by choice? Are men to blame?
- Why are people on food assistance programs allowed to buy luxuries?
- “Problem families” cost British taxpayers £9 billion per year
- Melanie Phillips: the UK should reform the Child Benefit to favor marriage
- For women under 30, most births occur outside of marriage
- Dependency on government surges 23% under Barack Obama
- Assessing Obama’s claims about income inequality in America
- How the Labor Party killed marriage in the UK
- UK Liberal Democrats oppose tax breaks for getting married and staying married