This is not the problem

A friend of mine shared this on his Facebook page, and it makes me very sad. I would have thought he knew better.

The problem, of course, is that this assumes that most government spending is about sending your tax dollars to some unworthy welfare cheat. That’s far from the truth.

Most transactional payments – sending money from taxpayers directly to other Americans – are in the form of Medicare and Social Security, programs that people have paid into their entire lives in order to have some semblance of security in their so-called Golden Age.

Welfare, as popularly defined, is a very small portion of the federal budget. Defense spending dwarfs it. We spend more on defense now, inflation-adjusted, than we did during the height of the Cold War, even though there is not a major adversary (or ally, for that matter) spending a fraction of what we do on our military. Foreign aid, another popular target for reduction, is a minuscule portion of the federal budget.

Most of government spending – and, therefore, what most of your tax dollars go to – is either on the military, Social Security and Medicare REPAYMENTS, infrastructure that benefits us all (education, highways, food safety, etc.) and subsidies to special interests. How about instead of attacking the elderly and children (the primary beneficiaries of the kind of spending most people unthinkingly bemoan, we look at the billions going to oil subsidies or counterproductive ethanol subsidies, or the loopholes that allow hedge fund managers to pay a fraction of the income tax rate you and I pay.

The five sentences in this photo bear no resemblance to current American reality, which is this: Tax rates are, and have been, at historically low levels, both actual and as a rate of GDP, since 2001. Does anyone – ANYONE – out there think that the period between 2001 and now represents a golden age of American prosperity? The problem here isn’t that 50 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax, the problem is that 50 PERCENT OF AMERICANS DON’T EARN ENOUGH TO QUALIFY TO PAY INCOME TAX. Fix that problem, and most of the other problems in this nation will take care of themselves.

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