Welfare: The Real Beneficiaries.

The United States boast the largest welfare state in the entire world, monetarily speaking. Medicare alone is probably the largest welfare program in the history of mankind. The unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are over $200 trillion, by most estimates. We Americans are numb to hearing these large numbers in reference to government budgets, but make no mistake: this is an almost unimaginably large number.

I despise the Welfare State for many reasons; for one, it is an immoral institution. It is based on the use of violent coercion to seize wealth from producers and apportion it to consumers who have no moral or justified claim to it. When I say “producers”, I mean anyone who works in the private sector. When I say “consumers”, I mean anyone who receives most or all of their income from taxpayers.

Most opponents of welfare, especially in the vein of mainstream conservatives, have a tendency to focus their criticism of welfare on poor people in ghettos and rural areas. Think “Obamaphone”. It is true that many individuals in ghettos and poor rural areas receive welfare benefits. It is, however, a mistake for an opponent of the Welfare State to focus on poor recipients of Welfare. People that do so are not taking into account the Pareto Distribution: 80-20. The key thing to understand is this: 80% of the welfare money is going to 20% of the consumers.

Who is this 20%, and why are they receiving most of the money? Think about the nature of welfare. Many people will briefly classify welfare as money received for no work. This definition is not sufficient to encompass the entirety of what the welfare state entails. We are talking about people who are dependent on the government. It is not only poor people that may be dependent of the government. ANYONE on the government payroll is theoretically dependent on the government. Mailmen, clerks at the DMV, defense contractors, politicians, bureaucrats of all stripes… all of the aforementioned and more rely on taxpayer money to make a paycheck.

When considering the Welfare State, most people are focused on criticizing the bottom of the Welfare Pyramid. This is a trap. The Welfare Pyramid is top-heavy. The most voracious of consumers, the dependents living fattest off taxpayer money, are at the top. Consider the “Obamaphone” debacle. Most are quick to criticize the recipients of a free Obamaphone (which was started under Bush, btw) as parasites; but what about the contractors providing the phones and operating the distribution? Nobody is asking about them. Consider this: Who agitated for Obamaphones? Was it poor folks like the ones seen in the video? No. The main phone company providing phones for the Obamaphone program is Tracfone. The holder of Tracfone is América Móvil, a Mexican telecomm company; they spent millions on lobbying for expansion of the phone program in 2008. Who owns América Móvil? Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest men. Now maybe we can start to understand how Carlos became one of the world’s richest men: by working with the US government to bilk taxpayers as partners-in-crime.

Whenever you consider a welfare initiative, be it food stamps, section 8 housing, healthcare, whatever… do not be distracted by what goes on at the bottom. An Obamaphone is nothing, its comparative peanuts. Ask yourself this question: Where is the big money going? When the government is spending money on food stamps, who’s really making the big money: the poor people who use them, or large agri-business firms? When the government is subsidizing student loans, who’s making the big money: students, or banks and Colleges? When the government subsidizes housing projects, who’s making the big money: the poor folks moving in, or the contractors building the units? Follow the money.

The welfare pyramid is top heavy. Do not be distracted by the people at the bottom; it’s the top 20% receiving 80% of the money.

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