Meet the New Class of Welfare State Getover Artists, Same as the New Class, And Otherwise Known as Bureaucrats

Glenn Reynolds has a great column up at USA Today. It's about what he calls "the New Class," or the bureaucrats, crony capitalists, and other flunkies who make their living by administering the modern welfare state. Reynolds—you love him as the interweb's Instapundit—notes the main reason we don't give poor people cash to spend as they see fit is that such an arrangement wouldn't benefit well-connected folks.

A lot of programs officially aimed at the poor look suspiciously like subsidies to the New Class, too. Among "means-tested" programs, Food Stamps, now officially called SNAP, cover about 46 million people up to 125% of the poverty line (set at about $16,000 for a single mother and child). Other programs, such as the Earned Income Tax credit, cover people at slightly higher incomes, up to 200% of the poverty line. When federal spending on the dozens of programs are added up and state and local contributions included, the budget for assistance is about $1 trillion.

WikimediaWikimediaIf we simply handed those people, perhaps 60 million of them, their share of the cash, that would be more than $16,500 each. A single mom and her baby would get over $33,000, twice as much as a poverty wage. A family of four would land more than $66,000, $15,000 more than the average family income.

So where's the money going? To people who aren't poor, such as doctors paid through Medicaid or landlords paid through Section 8. And to tens of thousands of members of the New Class, people like social workers, administrators and lawyers who run more than 120 different means tested federal programs.

Read the whole thing.

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  • Monkey's Uncle||

    In the title, should the second "New Class" be "Old Class"?

  • Brandon||

    Gillespie isn't as responsive as Tuccille.

  • Robert||

    I guess you didn't get it as a joke, then. Meet the new class, same as the New Class, get it? It presupposes some familiarity with the term.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    All of those bureaucrats are essential, there's nothing left to cut. Just like all of those administrators in public education and in the VA are essential. They are heroic, self-sacrificing public servants whose only interest is serving the people they are supposed to serve.

    Seriously.

    Stop laughing.

  • Hyperion||

    We all know that it's theft and cronyism. How do we end it is the question? Short of an economic collapse, because that's coming.

  • Paul.||

    Could it be said that progressives want to give the poor wealth, but not money?

    Which is awfully tricky since Progressives have proven time and again that they don't know or understand the difference.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The progressives who don't stand to personally gain from the policies they support? I honestly don't know what their goal is vis-à-vis the poor (however defined).

  • Atanarjuat||

    Sterilizing them so they quit raping Gaia?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Progressives want to give the poor hope, they don't want to give them anything tangible.

    At best, they want to give the poor someone else's money.

  • ||

    "Higher education spending goes more and more to administrators, not to faculties," oh for the love of Koch. Let's not pretend like university faculties are so grossly underpaid and their administrators so lavishly endowed. They're both the recipients of hyper-inflated incomes. Meanwhile, in addition to tuition, I'm paying $198 a quarter for a fucking parking pass.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yep. I swim around in my money bin every day like Scrooge McDuck.

    Still, I wish I learnt Dari, as opposed to focusing on the Tai-Kadai language family.

  • ||

    Anyone who goes into teaching rather than learning Pashto deserves neither money nor a bin.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I specifically chose the languages I studied based on how easily I could pick up chicks with it. I weighed the vagueries of the burka with Pashto/Dari against Bangkok.

    Thai won.

  • ||

    I'm learning Arabic. Because Lebanese women, and to a lesser extent Israeli Arabs. Smokin.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed. I have always said Lebanon is home to some of the most attractive people on the planet.

  • ||

    I always look forward to the annual Lebanese festival in Orange, CA. So many beautiful women in one Maronite Church parking lot.

  • ||

    There was a blog (which I can no longer find, thanks Google Reader) that tracked the Cedar Revolution by photos of hot Lebanese women protesting.

    Best publicity for a revolution. EVER.

  • ||

    Dammit Jesse, the file is there, you just have to find it!!

  • ||

    Feedly pulled some of my gReader data forward, but not my reading history. Since there was no longer new articles being posted to it I'd taken it off the list of things I had on my RSS feed, so I don't have it anymore. Believe me, I'd post it if I could find it (and I looked a few weeks ago to show someone else).

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    I became a Latin scholar for similar reasons.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    You're an administrator?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Not yet, but I'm looking to make the switch from teaching track to either higher ed administration or policy in a think tank, someplace like CATO or the Heartland Institute would be peachy.

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    Ugh. Are you not aware that Big Ed is in a major bubble? Get out while there's still time, like I did.

  • creech||

    Most people don't want to give cash. They want to cuddle in the fiction that all these programs are modifying irresponsible behavior and that the country's lowlifes will become civilized when under the guidance of Top. Men.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    ^This. If you give the poor cash instead of Food Stamps they'll buy cigarettes and booze instead of food which is true. Now they have to sell them at a reduced face value to get those cigs and booze. CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Funny story. I know of a crack dealer that went semi-legit by opening a convenience store. He stocked every food item in the place by trading crack for food stamps at a ludicrous mark up.

  • Sevo||

    Glide Memorial church in SF hands out turkeys, cranberry sauce, 'taters; you know, T-day dinner stuff each T-day.
    You can find a spot a block or two away and watch those goods turn into dope.

  • Robert||

    Someone needs to tell Mr. Reynolds the EITC is cash. Meanwhile SNAP is so close to cash, it really doesn't employ a lot of bureaucrats, just a few to ascertain eligibility; same with Medicaid. Of all the target programs he could've picked, his total volley is at least halfway off the mark. It'd be different if demand for food & medical care were highly elastic, resulting in a major diversion of consumption from other things to those things, but they're not. So supplying poor people by those means is pretty darn close to cash, which they'd use to buy about the same amount of food, housing, and health insurance as they get with these programs.

  • Sevo||

    ..."just a few to ascertain eligibility; same with Medicaid"...
    This "few", Robert, how many would that be? And how does that compare to the number of bureaucrats doing exactly the same thing who are not working for the government?
    -------------
    "It'd be different if demand for food & medical care were highly elastic, resulting in a major diversion of consumption from other things to those things, but they're not."
    Bullshit, Robert. The demand for food is HIGHLY elastic, as you can see comparing the number of Whole Foods customers compared to the Walmart customers.
    -------------
    "So supplying poor people by those means is pretty darn close to cash, which they'd use to buy about the same amount of food, housing, and health insurance as they get with these programs."
    Which, of course, ignores the entire point of the article.
    Robert, are you a bot and can your posts pass the Turing test?

  • Brian||

    But, JERBS!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This comes from the well-proven fact that common people cannot possible govern their own lives. That's what enables unconnected people to think it's necessary to have this bureaucracy ministering to the least of us in the first place.

  • Rich||

    the well-proven fact that common people cannot possible govern their own lives

    And yet the State permits people to procreate without permission!

  • Invisible Finger||

    There's a taxpayer or tax-dependent born every minute.

  • GILMORE||

    One of the most popular masters degrees for young women these days?

    Social Work

    its not something that traditionally involved a 'masters degree' at all. In the old days, you got your hands dirty and slogged your way to the top of a bureaucracy through sheer perseverance. Most people get depressed by the endless cycle of poverty, drug-use, criminality, public dependence, etc. and end up quitting and going into some other career. But now you can skip straight to Middle Management!

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Ah, the teach a pig to sing industry. It's one of the top jobs program for all levels of government.

    I was homeless as a kid, and I've met a lot of poor people. Probably 90% of the ones I've met over the age of 26 have either:

    1) A drug or alcohol problem
    2) A significant criminal history
    3) A child that was born outside of a marriage before they hit 23
    4) A rotten to non-existent work history

    The majority of them fell into more than one category. Many of them hit all 4. Most of the people who remain poor do so for self-inflicted reasons but if we subsidize this behavior through wealth transfer payments then surely that will solve the problems. Bah.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    ^This. I grew-up welfare, food stamp, free school lunch, drunk mother, never met my father poor.

    We get more of this behavior because we subsidize it. Stop subsidizing it. Incentives, how do they work?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No, you don't understand Lady B., "somebody's got to pay for all my children".

  • Rhywun||

    I grew-up welfare, food stamp, free school lunch, drunk mother, never met my father poor.

    Me too - except the drunk mother part. Rather, she got off welfare once enough of the kids moved out, worked hard, and encouraged my education. It is certainly doable.

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    Correlation is not correlation.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The largest federal agency in terms of employees is, Iirc, the Department of Defense. Are they considered part of this New Class?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, Defense (by far), then USPS, then Veterans Affairs.

    http://www.justice.gov/crt/508.....encies.php

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are you kidding? DoD is crony capitalist central.

  • widget||

    RCA (they made the Aegis Combat Weapons system), Lockheed, General Dynamics, and others are gone or nearly lost through acquisitions. The most prominent DoD contractor, these days, is Raytheon. They were a sub during the cold war. Raytheon, the first company with consumer micro-wave ovens, is the tits now for DoD work.

    As in "your mob of Islamists nutjobs just blew up a building in the US, here are some fine Raytheon products in return".

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I don't think so.

    He does qualify it with 'welfare state'. I think these guys are warfare state. So you'll have to go to another window if you want to file a complaint.

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    Today's ill-conceived attempt by Bo to score a Gotcha, brought to you by the letter F.

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    I know there's a lot of "leakage" of money into the hands of bureaurats in these programs, but...

    So where's the money going? To people who aren't poor, such as doctors paid through Medicaid or landlords paid through Section 8.

    You mean the same people it would have gone to if the poor had just been given cash directly?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Some of the people would be the same. Some would be different. I don't really get your point.

  • No Tulpa 4U||

    Doctors and landlords? No. They're getting paid regardless, unless having cash would cause the poor to live on the streets and eschew medical care.

  • Robert||

    Very few of the people would be different, which is what mystifies me about Reynolds's piece. 1st there's EITC, which is cash, so only the bureaucrats at IRS (and equivalent in the state) are involved.

    Food stamps? A very slight shift from stores that don't take them and items that aren't eligible to ones that are. I'd venture at least 95% of those $ are spent exactly the same way.

    Doctors? OK, some don't take Medicaid, but the program is open to them all, so it's not as if there's some specially selected group of cronies to whom all that health spending is being diverted.

    The only category where the criticism is mostly applicable is section 8 housing. Most landlords aren't going to convert their units to section 8 status. But among those who do, it's not exactly a great political plum.

  • Robert||

    And even most of the EITC is accounted for as income & social security taxes, so for the most part it's just a tax reduction.

  • Sevo||

    Robert, do you have more irrelevant crap to post here?
    It is quite amusing.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Shhhhhhh......

    Don't tell anybody about this.

    But the same argument can be made of all administrators outside of government as well.

  • Sevo||

    Yes, you stupid shit and I can stop doing business with the ones I don't like.
    Are you really this stupid, or just trolling?

  • Robert||

    It's neither stupid nor trolling. Glenn Reynolds was making an aggregate economic point, saying income was shifted from the classes of investors & laborers to that of mgrs. For purposes of that analysis, it doesn't matter whether the mgrs. are employed by the Mafia or Mickey Mouse, because he wasn't making a point about individual justice. I see no reason to think that forcible redistribution has enhanced the employment of the managerial class to a significant degree more than it would've been enhanced otherwise.

  • Sevo||

    ..."I see no reason to think that forcible redistribution has enhanced the employment of the managerial class to a significant degree more than it would've been enhanced otherwise."

    No kidding?! You think that forced payment with no measure of result has had no effect?
    Is Robert's post sarc or stupidity?

  • Robert||

    Do you think it has increased the overall employment opp'ties for mgrs. relative to other workers? That's what Reynolds claimed.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|7.8.14 @ 9:15AM|#
    "Do you think it has increased the overall employment opp'ties for mgrs. relative to other workers? That's what Reynolds claimed."

    Of COURSE it has!
    Coerced money has no control such as money in a profit-making organization.
    Why do you think Sammy's nephew is forever being caught and outed in the local paper only to be replaced by Micky's kid?
    Are you serious?

  • Invisible Finger||

    For purposes of that analysis, it doesn't matter whether the mgrs. are employed by the Mafia or Mickey Mouse,

    Then it's shitty analysis.

    For government, profit is not a concern so money wasted on mgrs isn't a concern.

    In a private business too many mgrs cuts into the profits.

  • PapayaSF||

    The difference, Alice, is that companies compete with one another. If one gets too top-heavy, they get out-competed. Unfortunately the state, being a monopoly, escapes this sort of check and balance (for a while).

  • Sevo||

    So you're opting for stupid? I'm not sure.

  • PapayaSF||

    I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • Robert||

    That would go to Glenn Reynolds' point if gov't were top-heavier than the private sector in the fields written of. If it were education I'd say that's right, but when it comes to housing, health, and food, it's not.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|7.7.14 @ 10:02PM|#
    ..."If it were education I'd say that's right, but when it comes to housing, health, and food, it's not."

    Which is still totally irrelevant.

  • kbolino||

    If it were education I'd say that's right, but when it comes to housing, health, and food, it's not.

    Indeed, and it is no coincidence that those are the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy.

    Private ownership in those sectors is an illusion; the government sets the rules and confiscates the capital if those rules are not followed.

  • DWroblickiSr||

    The best proof of the article are all the "non-essential " workers that are furloughed when the gov't is shut down.

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