Is Welfare Efficient?

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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#21  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 08, 2013 12:56 am

Imagination Theory wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:
epete wrote:I've seen reports and articles documenting that welfare spending is one of the best ways to stimulate an economy. As you say, virtually all of it is pumped straight back into the economy.

From the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer.

That was uncalled for. Those are stereotypes. I guess people on welfare only do crack and wear gold, they don't eat or rent or shop for clothes and electronics, nope, just crack and gold.

I think he meant that crack dealers wear gold, but this kind of racially biased comment is uncalled for pond scum language. It's hard to imagine people in this day and age still spout this kind of nonsense, even harder to imagine they actually believe it. It's dumber than a box of razor wire.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#22  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 08, 2013 2:08 am

Loren Michael wrote:
Ihavenofingerprints wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:How do we determine efficiency here? Like, what's the intent with welfare and what is the value we're putting on that?


There's a couple of things I'm thinking of here.

First of all I was just wondering if businesses get most of the tax they pay in this area back through people spending their welfare money? But now I'm also wondering if giving the poorest welfare increase the number of consumers within an economy, and increases demand enough to benefit the economy more than removing this area of tax altogether.

I know we can just point at societies with a welfare system and show it works. But I'm wondering what it is that makes this system work, so we can know how to maximize it's benefits or reduce it's losses.

I think I see what you're talking about. I'm pretty sympathetic. I don't have particularly well-formed (specific) views on welfare, but I like the outcomes that I see in a lot of places with what I would generally regard as a lot of welfare.

It's almost impossible to make taxes paid balance out with specific benefits received by individual ratepayers, that's a fool's errand if there ever was one. It occurs because lots of tax revenues pay for thing we call "the common good," such as parks and recreation facilities, highways, air traffic control, R&D, law enforcement, national security, and the like.

I'd like to hear what IHaveNoFingerprints thinks "losses" are.

Loren Michael wrote:
America actually spends a ton on welfare. It mostly is directed at the elderly though. I think there is a lot of room for specific critiques of welfare policies, and I think I'm reading that that's what you're asking about.

Bollocks.

Nearly all Americans who would be considered "elderly" get a benefit from Social Security and much of their medical care is covered by Medicare and those who are veterans get veterans benefits. I'm hard pressed to think of but an exceedingly small percentage of the elderly in America getting a welfare benefit. Until recently, many elderly in the NE received a subsidy for their heating oil, but Congress shit canned that program some time ago.

Total "welfare" expenditures in 2013 look like this, from: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_ ... ng_40.html


$$ in billions
  • Welfare $430.4
  • Family and children 112.2
  • Unemployment 82.6
  • Unemployment trust 0.0
  • Workers compensation 8.0
  • Housing 57.6
  • Social exclusion n.e.c. 170.0
  • R and D Social protection 0.0
  • Social protection n.e.c. 0.0

The table shows overall government expenditures for the specified fiscal year. Spending totals are aggregated for each major government function.

For the United States the table shows spending for all levels of government—federal spending, state spending, and local spending. However, I've only included federal spending in the above.

For individual states the table shows expenditures for state and local governments only.

All federal outlays prior to 2009 (state and local since 2006) are actual. More recent spending, including future years out to 2014, are budgeted, estimated, or guesstimated.

Federal expenditure for 1962 through 2017 is based on federal subfunction data published in the president’s Budget of the United States Government. State and local expenditure—both for the United States as a whole and for individual states—for 1992 through 2011 is derived from spending, revenue, and debt numbers in the US Census Bureau’s annual survey of State and Local Government Finances.

State and local expenditure between 1971 and 1991 is obtained from Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Federal expenditure between 1792 and 1961 and state and local expenditure between 1902 and 1971 is obtained from the US Census Bureau’s Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970.

You can use controls on the table to change from display of nationwide spending data to individual states. You can change the year or to drill down to view more detailed spending information. You can also view the spending data as percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Click the button at the right of each line of the table to display a bar chart of government spending. Click a button at the base of each column for a bar chart or pie chart. You can right click on the chart image to copy and paste it into your own content. Click the image to close the chart display.

I'd say anyone who was really interested in ferreting out waste, fraud, and abuse ("losses") should probably look first at the Pentagon's budget, which s more than twice as big as the Welfare spending elaboraed here, or look into subsidies provided to the fossil fuel industry or big ag. Welfare spending can be expected to deline when and if the econony ever stops sputtering and gets going again, if indeed it ever does.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#23  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Jun 08, 2013 2:49 am

All good points FM. I definitely agree the human benefits are massive, relative to a large population without government welfare.

In terms of economic benefits. I just think about things like; at what point does welfare spending start having negative effects? So if we taxed everyone highly, and spent most of it on programs helping those towards the bottom of the income bracket, would the system still work?
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#24  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 08, 2013 4:57 am

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
America actually spends a ton on welfare. It mostly is directed at the elderly though. I think there is a lot of room for specific critiques of welfare policies, and I think I'm reading that that's what you're asking about.

Bollocks.

Nearly all Americans who would be considered "elderly" get a benefit from Social Security and much of their medical care is covered by Medicare and those who are veterans get veterans benefits.


Those are all examples of welfare.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#25  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Jun 08, 2013 5:11 pm

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Imagination Theory wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:
epete wrote:I've seen reports and articles documenting that welfare spending is one of the best ways to stimulate an economy. As you say, virtually all of it is pumped straight back into the economy.

From the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer.

That was uncalled for. Those are stereotypes. I guess people on welfare only do crack and wear gold, they don't eat or rent or shop for clothes and electronics, nope, just crack and gold.

I think he meant that crack dealers wear gold, but this kind of racially biased comment is uncalled for pond scum language. It's hard to imagine people in this day and age still spout this kind of nonsense, even harder to imagine they actually believe it. It's dumber than a box of razor wire.


What "race" is a welfare recipient FACT-MAN? It seems to me you are the one generalizing all recipients as crack smoking welfare recipients of a particular race. That's pretty bigoted if you ask me.

So it seems your premature ad hominem attack has backfired on you.

Secondly my statement was not generalizing, it was pointing to a problem among recipients. It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#26  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 08, 2013 11:00 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.


Evidence?
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#27  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 09, 2013 6:13 am

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Imagination Theory wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:
From the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer.

That was uncalled for. Those are stereotypes. I guess people on welfare only do crack and wear gold, they don't eat or rent or shop for clothes and electronics, nope, just crack and gold.

I think he meant that crack dealers wear gold, but this kind of racially biased comment is uncalled for pond scum language. It's hard to imagine people in this day and age still spout this kind of nonsense, even harder to imagine they actually believe it. It's dumber than a box of razor wire.

What "race" is a welfare recipient FACT-MAN? It seems to me you are the one generalizing all recipients as crack smoking welfare recipients of a particular race. That's pretty bigoted if you ask me.

Nobody asked you.

If you're unable to decode your own language I can't help you. Most ordinary Americans can. It can only have one meaning.

"From the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer."

If that's not a generalization, and a stereotypical one at that, I don't know what is.

Crack cocaine became ubiquitous in poor black communities and neighborhoods by the 1980's and crack dealers became notorious for their gold necklaces and ear pieces and watch bands. You didn't invent that language out of thin air, did you?

Crack cocaine was essentially unhreard of in the white community.

This is common knowledge among law enforcement, academics, social workers, and health practitioner's who work in such neighborhoods. You appear to be too far remved from the scene to be aware of this, I dunno, but unware of it you appear to be.

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
So it seems your premature ad hominem attack has backfired on you.

So you say, but I think you need to look up the meaning of the term "ad hominem." I didn't attack you or your character, I criicized your use of an obsolete characterization.

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
Secondly my statement was not generalizing, it was pointing to a problem among recipients. It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.

Checks haven't been used since around the year 2000 or 2002. It's all done by bank cards and they are limited in what they can be used to pay for, i.e., you can't buy liqour with them or pet food or even toiletries.

All the things you mentioned have been tried and tried again, with varying degrees of success. Job training programs are essentially a waste of time when there's no economy and no jobs.

The key to welfare today is the five year limit that's been on it since 1996.

You're in bad need of an update on your knowledge of how all this works and what its rules are and the fact that crack cocaine has largely been eradicated from poor black communities.

Do you think it's possibe to envision time when poverty will be at zero in America? Before you answer, be sure to take a look at the income inequality scales.

The Head Start program was acknowledged by nearly everyone except Republicans to be a positive force for increasing educational achievement in poor communities and thus providing for better economic opportunities, but sequester cuts ended that program in one fell swoop, thanks to Republican intransigence.
Last edited by FACT-MAN-2 on Jun 09, 2013 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#28  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 09, 2013 6:20 am

Loren Michael wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.


Evidence?

CdesignProponentsist thinks poor people can't be trusted, whch is just more of his stereotypical bullshit that comes from absorbing too much right wing extremist propaganda. And to hear them tell it, we can't even trust our President.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#29  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 09, 2013 6:38 am

1) Your tags in post 27 are mis-attributing stuff to me.

2) I'm very sympathetic to the idea that people can't be trusted with money generally, and I suspect that poor people tend to be more irresponsible than others on average with money. People aren't rational actors in many ways, and the pressures that come with poverty (and, occasionally, the traits that lead one to poverty) only compound that problem.

3) That said, I'm not sure that directly investing in poor people is less efficient than distributing that money through broad programs.

4) Like, it may be that optimal policy is to (to put it very broadly and vaguely) mostly cut checks, but to also have a reduced program for the problem cases who really need a hand to hold. I don't know.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#30  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 09, 2013 11:09 pm

Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
America actually spends a ton on welfare. It mostly is directed at the elderly though. I think there is a lot of room for specific critiques of welfare policies, and I think I'm reading that that's what you're asking about.

Bollocks.

Nearly all Americans who would be considered "elderly" get a benefit from Social Security and much of their medical care is covered by Medicare and those who are veterans get veterans benefits.

Those are all examples of welfare.

Well, no, actually they're not.

Social Security benefits are earned by their recipients; Medicare has premiums that beneficiaries must pay to receive the benefit; veterans benefits are earned by becoming disabled while serving in the armed forces.

Welfare is a benefit that's received soley on the economic standing of the beneficiary; it doesn't have to be earned, it is awarded based on a set of very strict and narrowly defined financial criteria that potential recipients must show to be factual.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#31  Postby Calilasseia » Jun 09, 2013 11:36 pm

Surely the whole premise of the thread title misses the point?

Welfare programmes were instituted not because of concerns of "economic efficiency", but because they were humane. Moreover, they contribute to the stability of democracies. Look at what happened in Germany in 1929. Hyperinflation left millions destitute, and worse - ordinary Germans were dying of starvation in what should have been an advanced industrial nation capable of feeding its populace. We all know what those destitute millions did in desperation - they turned to whoever offered them quick and easy pseudo-solutions to dig them out of the hole. Unfortunately for 55 million Europeans, those desperate millions turned to Adolf Hitler. The rest, as they say, is history.

I'm wondering if some of the hate-the-poor rhetoric being peddled by the advocates of discredited "austerity economics" isn't a warm-up for a re-run. Erect fake "enemies" in order to provide an equally fake "justification" for the dismantling of properly constituted, humane democracies, and their conversion by stealth into corporate fascist states, run for the benefit of the hyper-rich, with the poor condemned to neo-serfdom or even worse. After all, the last time that Striecher-esque language was used to demonise a subset of the population, the end result was mass murder.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#32  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 10, 2013 5:37 am

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
America actually spends a ton on welfare. It mostly is directed at the elderly though. I think there is a lot of room for specific critiques of welfare policies, and I think I'm reading that that's what you're asking about.

Bollocks.

Nearly all Americans who would be considered "elderly" get a benefit from Social Security and much of their medical care is covered by Medicare and those who are veterans get veterans benefits.

Those are all examples of welfare.

Well, no, actually they're not.

Social Security benefits are earned by their recipients; Medicare has premiums that beneficiaries must pay to receive the benefit; veterans benefits are earned by becoming disabled while serving in the armed forces.

Welfare is a benefit that's received soley on the economic standing of the beneficiary; it doesn't have to be earned, it is awarded based on a set of very strict and narrowly defined financial criteria that potential recipients must show to be factual.


1) Where are you getting that narrow definition from? Means-testing or any other conditions (or lack thereof) are twists that a given welfare dispensary may or may not apply.
2) Wrong about Social Security in any case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_Act

The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees are financed by a payroll tax on current workers' wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer. The act also gave money to states to provide assistance to aged individuals (Title I), for unemployment insurance (Title III), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Title IV), Maternal and Child Welfare (Title V), public health services (Title VI), and the blind (Title X).
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#33  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 10, 2013 5:39 am

But you bring up a valuable point: Maybe if we're discussing welfare we should define our terms.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#34  Postby Rumraket » Jun 10, 2013 6:44 am

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
epete wrote:I've seen reports and articles documenting that welfare spending is one of the best ways to stimulate an economy. As you say, virtually all of it is pumped straight back into the economy.


From the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer.

Everyone in my family and most of the people I know have at some point in their life been on welfare, if only for a short period when they were young and finished their education and were looking for jobs. Nobody ever went to any "crack dealers". :roll:
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#35  Postby Rumraket » Jun 10, 2013 6:45 am

Calilasseia wrote:Surely the whole premise of the thread title misses the point?

Welfare programmes were instituted not because of concerns of "economic efficiency", but because they were humane. Moreover, they contribute to the stability of democracies. Look at what happened in Germany in 1929. Hyperinflation left millions destitute, and worse - ordinary Germans were dying of starvation in what should have been an advanced industrial nation capable of feeding its populace. We all know what those destitute millions did in desperation - they turned to whoever offered them quick and easy pseudo-solutions to dig them out of the hole. Unfortunately for 55 million Europeans, those desperate millions turned to Adolf Hitler. The rest, as they say, is history.

I'm wondering if some of the hate-the-poor rhetoric being peddled by the advocates of discredited "austerity economics" isn't a warm-up for a re-run. Erect fake "enemies" in order to provide an equally fake "justification" for the dismantling of properly constituted, humane democracies, and their conversion by stealth into corporate fascist states, run for the benefit of the hyper-rich, with the poor condemned to neo-serfdom or even worse. After all, the last time that Striecher-esque language was used to demonise a subset of the population, the end result was mass murder.

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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#36  Postby Rumraket » Jun 10, 2013 6:58 am

The welfare check usually goes to paying the rent, buying food and other common consumer goods people need, like toothpaste, toiletpaper, shampoo, new socks etc. etc. Thus, it is demonstrably true that welfare finds it way directly back into the economy. At least in somewhat well-functioning welfare states. Of course, everyone knows america is kinda fucked in this respect.

It's exactly the purpose of welfare to keep people alive under sufficiently good living conditions, that they don't die in the streets or turn to crime to provide for themselves if they are without a job. In Denmark, when you're on welfare you're put into "activation", which simply means you work for your welfare check. You get a "job" the local authorities provide you and you have to attend and if you stay away, you don't get your check.

It would work pretty well if it weren't for the fact that a lot of private companies have figured out that they can offer this kind of "employment" to welfare recipients, dangling the prospect of a real job in front of their faces for months on end, only then to suddenly turn around and "decide they don't fit the job", forcing the welfare recipient to find another such fake "job"(where this process then repeats) and try to get a foot in the door, meanwhile the local autorities just sends more welfare recipients to that private company to work for them while the government pays them. And on it goes...

Way to go, private employers.. nothing better than taking advantage of a perfectly reasonable welfare system. Pieces of shit.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#37  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Jun 10, 2013 5:33 pm

Loren Michael wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.


Evidence?


I don't have evidence. It is my opinion. I don't know how welfare is handled in specific regions, but my opinion is if it is just a check then it isn't efficient. People become complacent and indulgent. I've been on extended unemployment a few times and I have friends who have as well, I know how people can get on purely financial support.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#38  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Jun 10, 2013 5:39 pm

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.


Evidence?

CdesignProponentsist thinks poor people can't be trusted, whch is just more of his stereotypical bullshit that comes from absorbing too much right wing extremist propaganda. And to hear them tell it, we can't even trust our President.


There you go again.

I think people in general can't be trusted, I never said poor people. Thanks for speaking for me once again and trying to make me out to be a bigot.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#39  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Jun 10, 2013 9:40 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.

Evidence?

CdesignProponentsist thinks poor people can't be trusted, whch is just more of his stereotypical bullshit that comes from absorbing too much right wing extremist propaganda. And to hear them tell it, we can't even trust our President.

There you go again.

I think people in general can't be trusted, I never said poor people. Thanks for speaking for me once again and trying to make me out to be a bigot.

Do you trust the pilot who flies the airliner you fly on?

Do you trust the engineers who deigned the bridge you drive over every day or the dam below which you live?

Do you trust your doctor to mind your health or to perform a surgical procedure you may need?

Do you trust the architect you hire to design your new home?

We all trust others every day of our lives; we trust the driver of the car coming the other way and assume he's not going to swerve over the line and hit us head-on.

Millions of people routinely trust millions of others as a common practice in ur daily lives, so common we rarely even think about it.

But you, you don't trust people in general. Must be an awfully paranoid life you lead.

Are you trustworthy? Can I trust you? You can certainy trust me.

Trust in others first arises from trust in oneself.
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Re: Is Welfare Efficient?

#40  Postby Imagination Theory » Jun 10, 2013 9:59 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:It is inefficient to merely cut checks and dole them out. It is far more efficient to put the money into resources that cannot be abused by recipients and into programs that work to remove the recipients from the situation that they are in, like work training programs, addiction treatment, counseling, food and necessities. Not a fucking check.


Evidence?

CdesignProponentsist thinks poor people can't be trusted, whch is just more of his stereotypical bullshit that comes from absorbing too much right wing extremist propaganda. And to hear them tell it, we can't even trust our President.


There you go again.

I think people in general can't be trusted, I never said poor people. Thanks for speaking for me once again and trying to make me out to be a bigot.


That was your own self when you said "from the government to welfare recipient to the crack dealer to the gold watch manufacturer."

I'm not sure of all the info the OP wants, maybe we could define welfare first. Honestly though, I don't care if it isn't good for the economy (but it seems like it is, at least locally), I don't want people starving in the streets.
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