Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cut my throat, please . . .

It's not exactly a brilliant original insight that the people who are all up in arms (often a bit too literally) to cut government spending think it's all going to those lazy, shiftless . . . well, you know. They're being taxed to death to hand their hard-earned dollars to losers of dark pigmentation.

By way of winding channels of the blogosphere, I find this chart, stolen by Bruce Bartlett from Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler. (Click through to page 2.) Abstract here.

These are various federal social welfare programs, and the percentage of people who actually receive these benefits who say that they have "not used a government social program." As Mettler points out, many of these programs actually tend to have an upwardly redistributive effect, (e.g., the home mortgage interest deduction) and/or they provide a lot of corporate welfare, such as student loan and savings account programs that banks make big bucks from. Sixty percent of people who take the mortgage interest deduction say they have not used a government social program. Okay, that one may be slightly hidden or taken for granted.

But what's really interesting is that 44% of people on social security, and similar percentages of recipients of veterans benefits, Pell grants, unemployment insurance, and Medicare, say the same thing. Hell, a quarter of people on food stamps say so.

This is what the Tea Party freshmen in Congress are banking on -- that their rabid constituents don't know that they themselves are the very people they resent. Will people figure this out before the government shut down? Stay tuned.

1 comment:

C. Corax said...

"Will people figure this out before the government shut down?"

If not, it'll be a rather unpleasant introduction to reality for them.