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70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the that's-rather-a-pointed-description dept.

Government 676

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Investor's Business Daily:"Buried deep in a section of President Obama's budget, released this week, is an eye-opening fact: This year, 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high. In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP. What's more, the cost of these direct payments is exploding. Even after adjusting for inflation, they've shot up 29% under Obama." It's very hard to lay blame on only one part of the U.S. government, though; as the two largest parties are often fond of pointing out when it suits them, all spending bills originate in the House.

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Makers and takers (1, Insightful)

sharky611aol.com (682311) | about 5 months ago | (#46457627)

Yet if you point this fact out, you lose a presidential election...

Re:Makers and takers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457705)

Riiight,
because after 40 years in the military, getting a pension check means you're a "Taker".
F.U. and Romney too.

Re:Makers and takers (4, Interesting)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46457747)

What if the checks are only taking money from the Fed, which creates it out of thin air anyway, and is required to return all interest on T-bills to the Treasury? No harm.

Lincoln realized that government's greatest potential lay in its ability to create money, and created over $400 million greenbacks to raise revenue without increasing taxes or borrowing it.. The Greenback Party of the 1870s, made up mostly of poor farmers who were being hurt by the deflation of trying to take those greenbacks out of circulation and go back on the gold standard, were ahead of their time in recognizing that government can and should create money to help individuals.

Re:Makers and takers (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#46457841)

Ummm No. In the Bitcoin debates I have always been liberal on money creation – that some low level inflation is better than low level deflation. But never give control of the printing press to politicians. They will turn on the tap and inflation will spiral out of control. See Germany in the interwar era, or Zimbabwe a few years ago. Deflation may enrich the wealthy (as you point out), but high inflation destroys and savings of the poor and long term investments for the growth of tomorrow.

Re:Makers and takers (2)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#46457881)

This actually does cause problems since you are essentially getting something for nothing. We can't go on forever living like this since something will give eventually.

Re:Makers and takers (1, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 5 months ago | (#46458065)

Actually we can. The problem with your reasoning is that it presumes that money is given in exchange for work of equal value, but of course the very basis of business is that you pay less than what the work is worth, and the difference is your profit. So this notion of a 1:1 connection between money and value is simply mistaken, and not only that, it's impossible in a capitalist society. In a society where the disparity between pay and profit is as large as it is in ours, it's nonsensical to talk about money this way. Granted, I'm only pulling one thread out of the tangle here, but hopefully it's illustrative.

Re:Makers and takers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457931)

Anyone who thinks the fed "creates [money] out of thin air" and as a consequence is able to "raise revenue without increasing taxes or borrowing it" has undoubtedly received their economic education from a single source, namely youtube.com

When the federal reserve increases the supply of money, inflation is the net result. The net result of the fed increasing the money supply and inflation, is a tax on everyone who currently owns US dollars, as each of their dollars now purchases fewer real goods.

It doesn't come from thin air at no cost, no matter how many youtube videos you watch that claim it does, or what liberal college professor you overpaid to tell you it does. If you learned this in college, demand a refund on your tuition.

And it is not 1870 anymore either.

Re:Makers and takers (3, Insightful)

Rafael Jaimes III (3430609) | about 5 months ago | (#46457819)

Have you even looked at the budget breakdown? Pensions are the #1 expense. Instead of 40 years in the military we're probably closer to the point where people's retirements are longer than their actual years of service. You only need 20 years of service in order to retire younger than 62. The average retirement age of a federal employee is 60 but what if someone retires in their 50's or even 40's and then ends up living into their 90s? The results can be fairly extreme. http://www.usgovernmentspendin... [usgovernmentspending.com]

Re:Makers and takers (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#46458057)

Hmm... sounds like we should gut the VA, to encourage the sickies to snuff it early, and rake in the savings from both reduced medical expenses and reduced pension obligations.... Tax cuts for my friends and campaign donors!

Re:Makers and takers (1, Insightful)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#46457853)

If you count all military who currently serve as well as retirees who get a check we make up well under 1% of the population. The issue here is that we have too many freeloaders. I understand that people need help from time to time, but it cannot be a way of like. However some do need constant assistance since they are disabled and what not. Those people are not a concern since they are such a small portion of the population. To put it simply though we have too many who just cheat the system.

Re:Makers and takers (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457905)

How many? Do you have stats on this? Furthermore, how much would it cost to fix this? Would we actually end up saving money?

Re:Makers and takers (4, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | about 5 months ago | (#46458005)

"Direct payments to individuals" would seem to include your pay during those 40 years too. It's obvious to me that the wording is chosen to be deceptive.

Yes, but who makes and who takes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457797)

Maybe if a quarter of the economy weren't devoted to paying the bloated salaries of the top 5% of households, then the government wouldn't have to step in to fill the cracks.

Re:Makers and takers (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#46458043)

Yet if you point this fact out, you lose a presidential election...

Actually, there may be a confounding factor (this is a hypothesis, anybody who has real numbers is welcome to step forward to argue for or against):

Assuming you aren't inimically opposed to the concept of the welfare state (whether because you think that it's actually a good idea, or whether you think that it's relatively cheap insurance to keep a fundamentally capitalist economy with slightly higher tax rates to buy off the proles, irrelevant), the state basically has two options for 'redistribution':

1. Actually comparatively high taxes on individuals and corporations, used to fund a variety of not-directly-cash public services(eg. national health system, cheap or free education, etc.).

2. Avoid the flack associated (in the US) with robust public-sector offerings, and sneak in your social welfare spending primarily in 'emergency' programs (WIC, etc. which pay in scrip; but have nontrivial USD value once you discount them for being able to purchase only certain classes of goods) and in 'hand up for the virtuous poor' type things ("earned income tax credit", assorted subsidies for small business loans, edging up to programs that are basically a sop for the middle class, like mortage related deductions).

Now, lest anybody misinterpret me on this point: I Think It Is A Bad, Bad, thing that nontrivial swaths of the US population are basically so damn poor that the only cash worth squeezing out of them is sales taxes and check-cashing joint fees. However, barring a solution to that problem, it would be my contention that (like our absurd 'We should really have universal health care; because our current system is an utter clusterfuck delivering bad results for crazy high prices, and tying workers to their jobs; but universal health care is commie socialism, so let's have a crazy arrangement where the government 'launders' universal health care(at a tidy markup) through the incumbent private insurance companies!') our 'let's see if we can get some of the benefits of a welfare state without courting the unpopularity of calling it that, and without the clout to do anything about the ever-widening wealth gap' approach has left us with a singularly dysfunctional creature, neither fish nor fowl.

Thanks Obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457641)

nt

And... (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about 5 months ago | (#46457645)

Why is this a problem? You've outlined some interesting results here, but what makes you think there's an issue here?

Re:And... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457685)

Because any article that includes the words "Obama" and "spending" is a clear sign of the socialist menace.

Re:And... (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 months ago | (#46457703)

Also, one of the listed examples was "farm subsidies". That is not something that can be assumed to be a "check to a person". A lot of large farms are corporate. So farm subsidies in some cases are just corporate welfare.

Perhaps this "checks to people" idea assumes that corporations are people too.

Also not sure what this is doing on Slashdot...

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457765)

I'm not, either. It's not a tech story, and is clearly targeted toward people who are not economically/financially/politically literate.

Why do I suddenly have a craving for tacos?

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457787)

Which is why we need a 28th Amendement. http://wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]

Re:And... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 5 months ago | (#46457903)

It is merely ammo for a flame war. They seem to think "engagement" means for two sides to spit vitriol at each other under the banner of AC. Sometimes I feel like reading /. is akin to attending a session of Congress.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457949)

What I find funny is that I can use the same satirical tone in all of my posts, yet the AC ones always seem to get modded down and the ones under my name seem to get modded up.

Perhaps "individuals"? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457725)

Goddammit, if the government is going to give money, it should be to corporations. Pah!

Ans... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457731)

What makes you think that he thinks that there's an issue?

Re:And... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457783)

What I have a problem with is that I know several illegal residents here with their entire family living off of state and federal programs. One of them hasn't worked in years and hasn't needed to.

Now they don't live like the middle class, but sure live better than some of the homeless people that I have come across. They qualify for these programs because they have never had a job before.

What would you rather do? Work hard in your home country and live in poverty or come to the US illegally and live slightly above the poverty line and never have to worry about working at all?

I have a friend who has run out of unemployment insurance and has no possibility of a job in the near term because he is over qualified for almost everything. He is in the process of losing all that he has ever worked for.

Tell me you don't see a problem.

Re:And... (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46457915)

Illegals like that don't just sit around and not work; they frequently work under-the-table, so they keep their healthy benefits while getting extra tax-free spending money. All those landscapers you see driving around are not W-4 employees and do not pay any taxes into the system.

Re:And... (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#46457957)

Quite a lot of landscapers have illegal ID's that they need to get work.

They DO pay into the system and do not get any benefits.

In fact, more illegals pay into the system and get no benefits then the other way around.

Re:And... (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46457993)

No, the landscapers where I used to live in Phoenix all worked under the table. They were paid in cash. You don't need an illegal ID to get paid cash for a job. Go pick up some day laborers from Home Depot on Thomas Rd. and ask them if they ever needed an ID to get a job that way.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46458059)

Sounds like the "Welfare Queen" that Ronald Reagan knew existed out there.

Re:And... (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about 5 months ago | (#46457963)

Why is this a problem? You've outlined some interesting results here, but what makes you think there's an issue here?

Because the United States is not supposed to have a redistributionist government, but the figures seem to suggest that's exactly what it is.

Re:And... (4, Funny)

painandgreed (692585) | about 5 months ago | (#46458015)

Why is this a problem? You've outlined some interesting results here, but what makes you think there's an issue here?

Because they are paying people, when they should be paying corporations!

Not news, not for nerds (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#46457647)

I hate to be the guy saying "why is this on Slashdot", especially since I've been posting these very budget numbers here for years, when it has been relevant to the thread, but WTF? This is a blatant political click-troll story. It's not news (been this way for many years), and it's not "for nerds".

Sure, I guess we could rehash the same old "NASA's budget is trivial in the scheme of thing" posts, but really.

Re:Not news, not for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457791)

We likes to argues our politics here ya all betters damn well likes it.

We have to have an every other day a good argument over which party is the best.

Like this little gem all spending bills originate in the House. even though it originates from the president and when the house tries to wrangle it in we get our parks closed. See how I left that as a leading troll click bait?

This is what our news is reduced to. We are sold outrage and we better damn well argue over it. http://www.whattofix.com/blog/archives/2014/03/smart-people-dont-read-the-news.php

Re:Not news, not for nerds (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46458019)

Smart people don't use Twitter, either.

Re:Not news, not for nerds (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 5 months ago | (#46458053)

If you try to stop it or change it, you are labeled a hostage taker that is holding a gun to the head of the American people. This country is doomed.

Re:Not news, not for nerds (1)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46457937)

Seconded.

Can this "story" be pulled from the main page? Tag it "troll" or whatever.

Re:Not news, not for nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457967)

I found the political trollery confirm with the final statement. This entire story came across to me as Republicans suck because they have the house.

Military Contractors must like checks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457649)

They are usually large so the quantity must be low.

I'm confused (1)

kaptink (699820) | about 5 months ago | (#46457665)

Why is this story posted on a tech news website exactly?

Re:I'm confused (4, Insightful)

seepho (1959226) | about 5 months ago | (#46457695)

In 2009 Slashdot turned into an internet libertarian website targeted to IT personnel. Didn't you get that memo?

Re:I'm confused (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 months ago | (#46457839)

Wait, isn't that when it turned into a poorly-concealed marketing vehicle for its corporate owners?

Re:I'm confused (1)

seepho (1959226) | about 5 months ago | (#46457861)

Six of one...

Re:I'm confused (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46457919)

Mehhh. It's always been kind of like that. There were just a lot more people and we had much more interesting things to talk about.

Re:I'm confused (1)

seepho (1959226) | about 5 months ago | (#46457965)

Just leave me to my nostalgia, damnit!

OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (-1, Flamebait)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#46457669)

>read article
>2/3rds goes to retirees

The baby boomers are retiring?

YOU DON'T SAY!

And you are surprised at this? If you are, you're a moron.

"Social security is going broke!!!#$#!@$@#%11ON#"

No it isn't you stupid fuck, not if the legislature tweaks it A LITTLE BIT. But no, we have teabaggers and corporatists crying about the "47 percent that don't pay taxes" lie.

Hurr.

Fuck all of you.

--
BMO

Re:OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | about 5 months ago | (#46457771)

What drives me insane is that it's a large part of their demographic whining about the other 1/3rd of social programs going to poor people and social programs.

Pitiful.

Makes me want to join up with them and pull the plug on all of the programs because they will be hit the worst. There would be hoovertowns of broken sick seniors begging for a handout.

Re: OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457773)

You know, I recently met a man with an asshole more rancid than you'd ever be able to imagine. Furthermore, his smelly, diseased ass was filled with parasite-infested feces. Upon finding all this out, my fetid-as-fuck cock knew what it had to do; it knew that it had to impregnate his feces! "Oh, yeah! Let's get this feces fiesta started!" I said. Before he could even move a single piece of feces, my disgusting cock slammed deep into his ass, right into the warm embrace of his fecal matter! I impregnated his feces just after shouting "I'm cumming! Get pregnant!" Man, what a day that was. What say you?

What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you?

Re:OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (2)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#46457837)

I would think an increase in the percentage of checks going to individuals would be a good thing. That's a lower percentage of checks going to military contractors. This is the government focusing more on helping people instead of killing them.

Re:OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (2)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#46458023)

Why should the government's sticky fingers be involved in the money flow for these programs? For retirement, the government has a needed roll in setting standards for "safety net" investment choices, and in insuring people actually do save, but they don't need to handle the money. Charity is great, and we should all be compassionate, and again the government has a needed role in setting standards, but they don't need to handle the money.

Plus lets never forget that if you depend on the government each month for a check you can't live without, you've given the government total power over you. Governments attract people who want nothing more than total power over others, and it's never smart to give it to them! We haven't seen the first "dictatorship through the monthly check", but we've seen early hints of it. London protestors were threatened with being cut off from benefits just recently.

Helping people is great. Having power over people is what megalomaniacs seek over all else. We can do the first without feeding the latter.

Re:OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457989)

Fuck you, you miserable taker.

Re:OH LOOK A TROLL HEADLINE (1)

stdarg (456557) | about 5 months ago | (#46458039)

If Social Security is "tweaked" it won't go broke...

So in other words, right now it's going broke.

Citation Needed (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 5 months ago | (#46457671)

Timothy. You claimed that the House originated President Obama's budget proposal. Citation needed please.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457737)

Citation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#46457955)

Timothy. You claimed that the House originated President Obama's budget proposal. Citation needed please.

It does. The executive proposes the budget as required by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. The House turns the proposal into a bill, as required by the Constitution, editing it as it sees fit along the way. The executive can not create a bill. The bill then follows the normal constitutional procedure for introduction into the Senate, passage in both houses, reconciliation of the versions, and submittal to the executive for signature or veto.

The Constitutional requirements are actually very simple. Here they are, verbatim (including the habit of arbitrary capitalization of nouns common at the time):

"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." —US Constitution Article I, section 7, clause 1.

"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time." —U.S. Constitution Article I, section 9, clause 7.

Re:Citation Needed (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46458061)

The House turns the proposal into a bill, as required by the Constitution, editing it as it sees fit along the way. The executive can not create a bill. The bill then follows the normal constitutional procedure for introduction into the Senate, passage in both houses, reconciliation of the versions, and submittal to the executive for signature or veto.

This is the theory.

In actual practice, both House and Senate do separate budget bills at the same time, which are then reconciled.

Apparently you've never heard of this agency (2, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | about 5 months ago | (#46457673)

http://www.ssa.gov/ [ssa.gov]

Feel free to run on eliminating it. After all, it's what you're complaining about in your post.

Got Salami (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457687)

Perhaps it's my tinfoil hat, but is this a case of salami slicing [wikipedia.org] to hide how officials are stealing tax payer money?

Biggest detail left out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457691)

From the linked story ... "In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others." ... "An IBD analysis found that the richest 1% of Americans, in fact, receive roughly $10 billion each year in federal checks."

Re:Biggest detail left out (3, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 5 months ago | (#46457713)

So the richest 1% receive approximately 0.4% of the money. Not really surprising or interesting.

Bigotry against corporations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457709)

This outrageous slander ignores the fact that so-called "individuals" are not the only kind of people. Corporations are people, my friend! Stop this racist hate-speech where corporations are considered second-class citizens merely because they are not "individuals". In fact, stop using the I-word entirely, you bigot!

Lessee, where's my dictionary? (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#46457721)

mandatory (adj): Obligatory; required or commanded by authority.

As the article points out, most of this is going to mandatory programs, which would be the same even if it were Romney or McCain or Sarah Fucking Palin in office.

What this means, for those dumb enough to believe what they read in IBD, is that what Obama has achieved is to reduce the amount of spending on the discretionary side. Agriculture, down 8%. HHS, down 7.6%. Even Homeland Security, down 2.8%. The Pentagon is down over $100 billion.

But hey, by all means, let's make sure that this looks like Obama's doing a bad job, because that was clearly the author's goal before he wrote it. The rest is just a matter of selecting the data until it proves what you wanted it to prove.

When we hear a serious discussion of how to cut benefits (something other than "the poor should die" and "let's give it all to Wall Street, because they're so freaking responsible"), we can have an actual conversation. But articles like this show why anything from Obama, no matter how reasonable, is doomed even before it gets printed.

Re:Lessee, where's my dictionary? (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#46458037)

To be fair Republicans as well as Democrats have been running the country into the ground for years. We can't blame this all on a single person like you said. I don’t like any of them since they know what needs to be done but won’t do it. Our friends in Washington need to work together and actually care if anything is to get done. Which unfortunately I don’t think ever will happen.

It's because of Medicare & Social Security, du (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457739)

Aging baby-boomers are going on Medicare and Social security. Since the population is aging, the % of GDP of these two programs (which are transfers from present workers taxes -- yes there are the trust funds, but a lot of the funding is based on current revenues collected year) will increase so long as the population, as a whole, ages.

Obviously.

Cut Them, Not Me (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 5 months ago | (#46457743)

And if you talk to anyone it will be "Cut their benefits. Don't touch mine".

Deductible mortgages, supplement this, old age that, infrastructure projects, pork projects, transport, farm, pretty much everyone gets multiple handouts of one form or another.

If you want to open the can of worms go ahead, but it generally is worse than the hydra that grows back heads for everyone cut off.

Where is the data (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457745)

The problem with story's like this is the total like of proof. I am more inclined to believe in unicorns then this type crap.

Is /. the Wall Street Journal now? (2, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 5 months ago | (#46457751)

Seriously. The entire story should be modded "troll".

VERY misleading terminology (5, Informative)

grahamwest (30174) | about 5 months ago | (#46457753)

"Individual" in this case does NOT mean "person".

If you download the spreadsheet you can see that they classify total spending as either "direct" or "grants", of which the vast bulk is "direct". Everything that is not a grant must be being paid to an entity of some kind, whether an actual person, a company, a non-profit or something. You can verify this is the total Federal spending using the Monthly Treasury Statements at https://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/... [treas.gov] - I recommend the PDF versions.

As for the percentage going to veterans, I expect the number of veterans isn't growing very much, whereas the Federal budget is. So a constant amount in a larger total is going to be a smaller fraction.

Bottom line, this article is FUD and should not be taken serious by anyone.

Come and get it, stupid future generations! (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46457757)

Much of the remaining 30% was things like defense and infrastructure -- this may be bloated, but in theory it benefitted fuure generations, so it was considered ethical to borrow from them to pay for it. But wealth transfer payments?

That is flat-out current generations refusing to carry their own weight.

By the way, taxing the rich won't cut it -- taxing 100% of the rich's income would gain you an additional $500 billion a year (assuming they continue to work for free, good luck with that and keeping their salaries pointlessly high). This is still hundreds of billions a year short.

No, every elected politician knows you have to tax the middle class to pay for the middle classess' wealth transfers (social security, whether retirement or disability).

And these politicians are cowards because they are a huge and motivated voting block.

No, we, the middle class, have to decide on an amendment to prevent ourselves from borrowing from our children. We won't, because we, and our politicians who we elect, are weak.

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#46457887)

By the way, taxing the rich won't cut it -- taxing 100% of the rich's income would gain you an additional $500 billion a year (assuming they continue to work for free, good luck with that and keeping their salaries pointlessly high). This is still hundreds of billions a year short.

The richest have been undertaxed for decades.
So you're right, taxing them at 100% won't fix the problem, because it was a problem decades in the making.

These types of budget problems cannot be fixed overnight, they require long term planning and gradual change.
Oh, and they require higher taxes.

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 5 months ago | (#46457921)

Hey -- before sticking it to the Middle Class, how about getting Corporations to pay some fucking taxes?
How about closing Tax Holes that allow multi-billion dollar companies Apple and Microsoft to pay NOTHING in Federal Income Tax?
How about we revoke the NFLs Tax Exempt status? How about we impose an added tax on CEOs who makes more than 10x their average employee in direct salary and "bonuses"? How about we start taking money back from Companies that lay off US workers and raise prices on their goods and services here in the US to subsidize rock bottom prices in India and China as Big Pharma is so want to do?

How about we start going after those that are bleeding this country dry for their own short term monetary gain?

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46458079)

You mean the companies which emoy everyone, and which produce the things we want them to produce so we can have things to buy?

Tax those more, passing the costs right back onto ourselves?

Well, it would be more honest -- at least we'd be paying our own way. But don't think for a microsecond it would be getting back at them nasty, worthless, scammin' rich.

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (1)

Altus (1034) | about 5 months ago | (#46457951)

Yeah because paying out the benefits that these generations worked for... the benefits that they paid for with their taxes during their earning years... yeah, they just aren't carrying their own weight. Lazy fuckers

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46457997)

I recall in the 1990s the Senate declining to send out a balanced budget amendment to the states. Robert Byrd stood there on the floor, literally with tears streaming down his face, decrying how the Will of the Majority would be thwarted by said amendment as he stood in its way.

Well, yes. Yes it would. You, sir, are neglecting the Will of Future Generations, and Their Right to Not Be Taxed Without Representation.

Note he's dead now, by political design, and future people have to deal with it, by design. He got to sling his power, we ate his words, and now pay for it. And our kids pay even more. Plus housing debt, and student loan debt, all of which is, or will be, heaved onto even further generations, as politicians assuage our egos and tell us we don't have to carry our own weight. Every fifth Slashdot article is student loan crisis, predicted yet nothing done, with implied destiny of government paying for it, i.e. future generations, in exchange for current votes for current power holders.

Did we get our money's worth from Byrd's 1990s borrowing, from their borrowing, which those politicians screamed was absolutely, god dammit necessary!!!!?!?!

Well, was it?

"Your failure to plan does not constitute an emergency on my part", can every nerd here quote. Well, this is that, writ large.

Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#46458027)

You are not actually correct. There are multiple ways to tax the rich to pay for it without taxing the middle class.

Most methods of doing so involves killing the various loopholes the rich use to hide their wealth and pretend that it is not 'income' because they have not 'realized capital gains'.

The simplest way I know is to simply put in an annual federal 1% tax on all current equity worth more than 2 million. Equity to include real estate, private trusts, stocks, gold, etc anything of real value.

This rule would increase federal tax revenue by about 10%, all of which coming directly from the wealthy.

Direct Payment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457759)

Paying health care costs is a direct payment to the health care industry, not the individual, but don't let that fact get in the way of an sensationalist story.

This is Investor's Business Daily.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457769)

the same group that claimed Hawkings would be dead if he got healthcare in England.

Re:This is Investor's Business Daily.... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 months ago | (#46457879)

the same group that claimed Hawkings would be dead if he got healthcare in England.

Who is Hawkings?

Keyword-- INDIVIDUALS... (1)

Worchaa (774320) | about 5 months ago | (#46457785)

...and in this case-- per the article and/or a tiny bit of simple awareness-- old people are receiving the overwhelming share of those checks in the form of Medicare and Social Security.


I say our Baby Boomer friends (i.e. parents and grandparents) have earned those benefits. In the case of Soc Sec, they've certainly paid for them. We should give them what they have paid for. It'll hurt now-- particularly for all of us earning a living in the workforce/tax base-- but as those folks inevitably stop receiving benefits it'll all work out.

Fair's fair, and today's retirees didn't ask to be born at the same time at an incredible rate.

Re:Keyword-- INDIVIDUALS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457925)

I'd be fine with them being paid back what they put in with interest, but the payouts are well exceeding what they ever put into the system.

Re:Keyword-- INDIVIDUALS... (3, Informative)

stdarg (456557) | about 5 months ago | (#46458081)

I hope you're joking about Baby Boomers earning Social Security. SS taxes were half the current level when the Boomers started their careers. See http://www.ssa.gov/oact/progda... [ssa.gov]

I'm all for paying them back based on what they paid in, but they have not earned the current benefit level.

Direct paymenst != wealth transfer (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#46457795)

When the government writes a direct check to soldiers, FBI agents, Federal Judges, that is called a 'paycheck', not wealth transfer.

Idiots need to double check their assumptions.

Re:Direct paymenst != wealth transfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457851)

All payments are wealth transfers, unless you are paying with your body.

Better summary (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#46457807)

Of the 70% spent on "individuals", 39% is Medicare, Medicaid + "Obamacare" (I wonder what the split is - I'd guess 40-40-20), 33% is Social Security, 21% is poverty programs, and 5% is veteran's pensions, with the remaining 2% not accounted for in TFA (they mention farm subsidies and disaster payments later, perhaps that's what this is).

Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457889)

1/3 of that is Social Security which is a return of money PAID into it. Only someone who exceeds the expected lifespan will draw more than they (or their spouse) put in.

Ignorant (1)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 5 months ago | (#46457959)

It's not a savings account--you don't get your own money back. Young people subsidize old people.

That summary has so much spin on it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457893)

It's very hard to lay blame on only one part of the U.S. government, though; [...] all spending bills originate in the House.

That didn't stop you from mentioning Obama by name twice, even though, last I heard, he isn't the house of representatives, and even his most wacked out critics aren't claiming that he is.

Hmm. Thinking about it, it doesn't seem hard to lay the blame on one branch...clearly, the judiciary branch doesn't originate spending bills, and the executive branch doesn't originate spending bills, so really, it's just the legislative branch. That wasn't so hard. We can go even further: the senate, currently controlled by Obama's party, doesn't originate spending bills either. If we're wanting to "lay blame" we should probably find out who currently controls the house and hold them accountable.

--MarkusQ

Welcome to DrudgeDot 2.0 (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#46457901)

Don't try to pretend to be nonpartisan with that candy coated BS at the end. This story was posted here by the usual crowd of slashdot conservatives aiming to make President Obama look bad. Nevermind that the article actually points out that less money is paid out in social welfare programs than at any time since before the Reagan administration, the new conservative mantra here is that no money should ever be given by the federal government to individual citizens, regardless of whether it is for retirement, health care, or even wages for work done. If you're not independently wealthy to the degree that you can afford to be part of the federal government for no wage whatsoever, then the conservative voice here wants you thrown out of Washington immediately and asking for assistance at your local church.

Yes, I know this will be moderated down. But none of "troll", "flamebait", and "overrated" are the same as "factually inaccurate" - indeed most are just used as ways of saying "I disagree".

And...? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 5 months ago | (#46457917)

taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others.

Ummm, what else is the government supposed to do with the money? If it gave the money back to the same people who paid the taxes in the first place, it wouldn't make much sense, would it?

This year, 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high.

Including medicare, medicaid, and Obamacare? So the payments for drugs and health care are counted as going directly to individuals. OK, and other than the military, what's left? Highways, schools, NASA, and the post office -- and we've been cutting all of those.

So in short, article is saying that taxes are money transfers (which they had better be, or they'd be really stupid), and that health care and social security are going up, and everything else but the military is getting cut. That's news?

an eye-opening fact

Maybe if you're retarded.

Exactly, that is what government does (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 5 months ago | (#46458011)

It collects money from individuals and redistributes it to create a civilization in which everyone benefits (e.g. by not having to trip over dead people in the street.) The fact that 30% isn't going back to individual people or organizations is what's eyebrow raising to me. That's money paid out to private contractors, who are happily redistributing from the tax cookie jar while simultaneously acting as a middle man and skimming their share off the top.

boy is the AC stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457923)

The AC is incredibly stupid.

Yes, the budget is spent writing checks to individuals: we have government employees, we have military, military retirees, we have social security; just to name 3 huge money sinks.

And guess what these people do?

They spend that money on goods and services. Money that is your income either directly or indirectly.

And lastly, even the Libertarian Cato institute says the economic theory of "Starve the Beast" is a failure. Not just in one study, but two. Look 'em up.

Re:boy is the AC stupid (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 5 months ago | (#46458017)

A fascinating study I read revealed hand-outs to the poorest people put that money into motion in the economy fastest - the poor don't save, they are usually living hand to mouth and can think of things they need to spend the money on.

Giving it to the rich doesn't result in quick infusions into the economy because they tend to sit on it, squirrel it away, not so much save or invest.

Yet we often hear how cutting taxes on the rich will boost the economy - nothing could be worse, to be frank.

wow, Slashdot is redirecting to Foxnews now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46457929)

oh well, Slashdot was dying anyways.

Newsflash retards: The baby boomers are retiring and they want the social security they paid into their whole life. No matter who is president people turn 65.

Seriously, I am through with Slashdot.

It's the economy, stupid (1)

sdinfoserv (1793266) | about 5 months ago | (#46457935)

That infamous quote is still valid here. People on social security – no surprise – rise and fall with the unemployment numbers. This un-paralleled recession has created unpatrolled numbers of people ‘on the dole’. With the GOP slashing welfare, the alternative is skyrocketing disability recipients. No miracle that the highest rates of states on disability are those with the lowest education. Great article on tall this over at NPR http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-... [npr.org] and you better read while available because most GOP’rs absolutely scream about public dollars to NPR.

And that doesn't include tax refunds (2)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 5 months ago | (#46457947)

Slashdot title is misleading, so had to RTFA to find out

The difference between the main parties (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 5 months ago | (#46457985)

They both love to spend money, just on different priorities.

Wow, that's not biased anti-government drivel... ( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46458007)

From TFA:
"The biggest chunk, 38.6%, goes to pay health bills, either through Medicare, Medicaid or ObamaCare."

Really, mentioning "ObamaCare"? When it hasn't paid out A SINGLE CENT to anyone yet? It will this year, with the tax credits for acquiring health insurance - which really means the money goes to the insurance company, not the individual. Same with Medicare and Medicaid - those don't pay checks to individual covered Americans, they pay to doctors. These aren't "handouts to slackers."

Social Security, sure - that goes directly to the individual. Military paychecks go straight to the individuals. I suppose you (the OP) want to get rid of the military to make those go away, right?

Although I do appreciate the article's mention that a large portion of these payments go to the wealthy.

Because.... (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 5 months ago | (#46458009)

BHENGAZI!!!!!!

(Thanks, obamacase!)

Missing the big point: Exclusions are Giveaways (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#46458063)

The problem is you're focussed only on outgoing receipts.

In cold hard accounting reality the main problem is Tax Exclusions and Exemptions, which are even larger.

And which include Apple and other corporations paying 1/1000th the tax rate that individuals do.

There's your missing money.

Now step away from my Social Security and Medicare - I've been paying for it for decades and it's not YOURS, Taker!

why "blame" someone for this? (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46458073)

I love Timothy's [slashdot.org] little editorial at the end:

hard to lay blame on only one part of the U.S. government, though

Why do we assume the fact from TFA (70% of checks...) necessitates laying "blame" on someone.

The government ***manages resources*** in every single decision it makes. It ***allocates*** and decides where money should go.

70% to individuals as opposed to...? Checks to **corporations** that then, themselves, pay **individuals**?

Sounds like Uncle Same is just "cutting out the middle man" to get the best bang for the buck.

Maybe this is what's supposed to happen? (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 5 months ago | (#46458077)

In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others.

I can't identify the provenance of this quote, but I remember it going something like this:


chromium / chromiumos/platform/punybench / factory-1020.B / . / cpu.m / memcpy.c

blob: e9db9de710e1ee68f5db9ac3f0dfaf8d6f21a02b [file history] [blame]

/* Copyright (c) 2011 The Chromium OS Authors. All rights reserved.
  * Use of this source code is governed by a BSD-style license that can be found in the LICENSE file.
  */

/* Measure time to copy memory. Once upon a time, I read some where that
  * memcpy is a good first approximation of kernel performance.
  */

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