Friday, April 1, 2011

An Interesting Stat

The progressives have gotten a lot of mileage out of the fact that both the Democrats and Republicans have included some anti-poverty programs among their budget cuts. And, while, yes, it is an effective talking point ("they're balancing the budget on the backs of the poor", etc.), a little bit of scrutiny does in fact reveal hyperbole. Like, for instance, DID YOU KNOW that anti-poverty spending (this according to OMB) has actually outstripped inflation by a total of 89% over the past ten years (i.e., the Bush-Obama years). Rather than the poor being screwed (or at least completely screwed - yes, I know, wages have decreased also), the government has actually been quite generous in its outlays. Now, does this necessarily justify the cuts that those in Washington are currently advocating? Perhaps not. But at least it gives us some perspective..................................................................................................P.S. Here are some additional numbers. In 1979 (the Carter administration), Federal anti-poverty programs took up a scant 1.8% of the GDP. In 2010, that number had more than doubled to to 4.4% (add another 2% in state and local spending). Add to that the fact that Federal spending on K-12 education has increased by a whopping 219% (beyond inflation) and, yeah, it may not be the most unreasonable thing in the world to take a breather on some of this stuff - a billion or two here and there, I'm saying.

16 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

Perhaps it is because there are a lot more poor people as a result of the economic policies of the last 10 years, not because the government is more generous.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

George Bush cut taxes for the wealthy (actually, he cut them for everybody but the wealthy benefited disproportionately). I was against that, too, Jerry. I was especially against it during a time of 2 armed conflicts. But how did that necessarily create more poor people? The free trade policies that you guys so rail against happened under Clinton (and had bipartisan support). The breakdown of the black family occurred in the 60s. Yes, we've had some outsourcing here but, what, you want to make that illegal? We're just living in a brave new world, bra.

Jerry Critter said...

The point I am making is that I suspect that there are a lot more people collecting government assistance and that is why spending on government assistance is up rather than the government just giving poor people more money. In other words, the biggest reason anti-poverty spending is up is because of the increase in the number of poverty people, not the increase is spending per person.

Are you disputing that the number of people living in poverty has not go up?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Are there 2.5 times as many people living in poverty? That's how much (as a % of GDP) that the spending has gone up over the past 32 years.

Dave Dubya said...

Maybe this should be contrasted with other stats on how much corporate welfare has increased, including those tax breaks for the rich, plus incentives, subsidies and more tax breaks for corporations.

I still think more wealth trickles up than down.

Jerry Critter said...

The number of people living in poverty in 1980 was about 25 million. The number of people living in poverty in 2009 was about 44 million, not quite twice as many.

As I said before, the majority of the growth is probably from the increase in the number of people living in poverty, although obviously some of the growth is probably from increased government subsidies.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I looked at the same graph, Jerry. It was about 25 million in 1980, 33 million in 2000, and 43.6 million in 2010. According OMB, anti-poverty programs outstripped inflation by 89%. The increase from 33 million to 44 million represents only a 33% increase. This sounds to me like the government has been reasonably generous. And I'm not necessarily arguing in favor of these cuts. It's a weak recovery and maybe we should hold off. I'm just saying that maybe the hand-wringing is getting a little much.......And the 219% increase in federal spending for K-12 - how very well has that worked?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The 89% and 219% increase figures are for 2000-2010.......Let me say it again, Dave, I am in favor of the top rates going back to 39.6% (that money I'd use to pay down the debt and build/fix infrastructure).......And I'm in favor of looking at ALL of these programs that disproportionately favor the rich. Like, with national flood insurance - did you know that most of the money there goes to rich people who continue to build in high risk areas?

Jerry Critter said...

There is no question the K-12 money has not been spent as wisely as it could have been. That doesn't mean it should not be spent. Education is too important to ignore, but it needs to be better spent. Unfortunately I see little evidence that republicans want an educated electorate.

Beach Bum said...

Money for education is a funny thing, while things are going bad people freak out and fret over all that money. Yeah, there is waste in anything from corporations to government to private citizens but education funding is the stuff that allows societies to plan and build for tomorrow.

Now building for the future is damn near the most unpopular thing in this country right now, I mean we have all sorts of pissed off Morons that want to make the ubiquitous public school teacher a combination of the wasteful and incompetent leech sucking funds from the poor taxpayers or some sort of radical left wing commissar out to introduce good God-fearing children to homosexuality and communism.

Of course how societies promote education is just as important as the money that goes into it but the Morons I mention earlier have all sorts of problems with how science works and well, I have yet to met one that knows much of anything else. Bachmann's recent grammar school mistakes in history is my prime example.

If we really want to bitch about something try this:

1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.
5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.
7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.


In short I am far less concerned over welfare and education funding but sick to my stomach over corporate welfare and how we less affluent folks are suppose to be happy we are getting screwed.

Rusty Shackleford said...

BB,would'nt it be interesting to know the total number of employee's the companys you mentioned have here in the U.S.and what their total payrolls were? I'm just guessing but I'd bet they pumped a hell of a lot of money into the economy.

w-dervish said...

I'm with Jerry and Dave on this. I don't think it's "generous" at all to spend money on programs which provide a small amount of help to people suffering from conditions created by Conservative economic policies. (it is these polices from which we need to take a "breather").

This is the type of post, I believe, that fits with the "agenda" JR says you have. I think the stat is "interesting" all right, but not for the same reasons you do.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm not so much outraged by this anti-poverty/education spending, double b. I'm just getting a little weary of these over the top progressive bloggers saying that the Republicans are trying to starve poor people, etc........Again, wd, the number of people in poverty went up 33% (the actual rate of poverty only ticked up slightly) from 2000 to 2010. This, while the amount of anti-poverty spending went up 89% (adjusted for inflation). Perhaps we just have a different definition of generosity (not to mention, "agenda").

Beach Bum said...

Will, I'd like some proof that the rich are not trying to squeeze blood from turnips trying to get every last cent of profit from their ventures. Its not about being anti-capitalist, although I'm headed that way, its about wanting to actually be apart of the society and carrying their share of the burden.

Rusty, believe it or not my wife is a well placed tax attorney and here in South Carolina the share these companies pump into the local economy is no where near what it would be if they paid taxes like every other person. And I write "person" since the Citizens United case overturned over a hundred years of judicial rulings. And my wife is conservative by the way.

Dave Dubya said...

Will,
You point out another clear case of "socialism for the rich" with flood insurance. We notice that only socialism for the public is condemned to the chopping block.

This all fits the emerging picture of taxation without representation for middle class people and representation without taxation for coporate "persons".

Democracy and the public interest are being subverted and will only get worse since Citizens United v. FEC.

The 2010 election saw an exponential increase of corporate Big Money spent on elections. 2012 will show even more.

The Koch brothers alone will spend as much as all the unions they despise combined. So goes our democracy.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

This would be my economic plan, gentlemen. 1) I would eliminate or sharply reduce corporate income taxes (the rest of the world is doing it and, yes, like you've both said, the bastards aren't paying it anyway). 2) I would raise the top individual rates to 40-45%. 3) I would eliminate all deductions (save for maybe medical expenses past a certain point). It's just not fair for homeowners to deduct mortgage interest while the renters of America get screwed. 4) I would publicly finance all elections.