Inequality

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Old People Displacing Poor People at the Federal Trough

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The left has been treating last week's CBO study showing that income inequality has been rising in America as the smoking gun it's always been looking for. But the study itself shows, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia in her column in The Daily, that every income cohort made significant gains between 1979 and 2007, not just the rich. What's more, if Uncle Sam is doing less to help poor people now than previously, it is not because of heartless ideologues of the right. Rather, Great Society programs—Medicare and Social Security—that liberals themselves enacted have displaced federal programs for the poor.

[The study] found that in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers. "The shift reflects the growth in spending for programs focused on the elderly population (such as Social Security and Medicare), in which benefits are not limited to low-income households," the study explains. "As a result, government transfers reduced the dispersion of household income by less in 2007 than in 1979."

In other words, poor people are getting relatively fewer handouts thanks to the Great Society programs that liberals themselves put in place for the elderly. This demonstrates the core problem with unfettered redistributionism: Eventually, you run out of other people's money.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. Death Panels for all!

  2. Since 1979, we have had a Republican president for 20 of the past 32 years. Earlier, Social Security benefits were massively boosted by President Richard Nixon (R). President Ronald Reagan (R) bragged about his contempt for the “War on Poverty” (“Poverty Won! Haw, haw, haw!”) and also boosted Social Security in 1983. President Bush (R) gave us an entirely unfunded prescription drug plan for the old folks, which was conceived and justified by Republicans entirely on political grounds. How many articles will Shikha write trying to convince people that that hateful CBO report wasn’t, you know, ENTIRELY ACCURATE?

    Get over it, Shikha. The top 1% have been making out like bandits, or maybe pirates, since, for whatever reason, libertarians seem more enamoured of seaborne theft. Write about something else, like whether or not Herman Cain talks dirty to broads. You might be able to win that one.

    1. nice straw man attempt. Since 1979, we have also had periods of Dem control of Congress, to include the entirety of both the Nixon and Reagan years. And, who gives a shit what the 1% have done?

      Income inequality is a cheap talking point trotted out by economic illiterates who have nothing else. It also underscores the central tenet of hte liberalism – its power rests with an uninformed populace, like people who believe they are owed some of the rich’s money or that the rich only got that way at someone else’s expense.

      1. The libs so love the idea of a Dictator they forget we have a Congress.

        1. Having hundreds of leaders in charge of the federal government is too complicated for them to understand. They wouldn’t know which direction to bow in.

    2. Alan Vanneman|11.3.11 @ 10:28AM|#|show direct|ignore
      The man was disciplining his daughter for stealing the private property of others. Is Reason turning into the Social Workers’ Daily all of a sudden?

      Context

      1. Maybe Alan can review Mommie Dearest for us and defend Joan Crawford’s actions. That would be rich.

        1. NO WIRE HANGARS………..!!!!

        2. Or he could just write a crappy sequel about Joan rising from the grave to wreak havoc on her enemies.

          1. Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Zombie Dearest by A. N. L. Vanneman.

    3. President Bush (R) gave us an entirely unfunded prescription drug plan for the old folks, which was conceived and justified by Republicans entirely on political grounds.

      and here I thought it was because of all the sob stories about grandma taking cat medicine.

      1. He also proposed reforming and partially privatizing Social Security.

    4. You’re making the same assumption that so many lefties who come to Reason make.
      Now follow me closely here: We are NOT Republicans. We agree that Nixon, Reagan and Bush II were huge spenders and each expanded government enormously, and that they each should be (have been) publicly flogged for doing so. That doesn’t make it okay for Obama or anyone else to be an even bigger spender (by a large amount, I might add). We oppose government expansion, period. It doesn’t matter which side is doing it.

      The point of the article is that the reason “Uncle Sam is doing less to help the poor”, is because the entitlement program spending has crowded everything else out.

      Article summary: Lefties love entitlement programs but, ironically, entitlement programs are geared more toward the middle-class (including upper middle-class) more than they are toward the poor.

      1. Lefties love entitlement programs but, ironically, entitlement programs are geared more toward the middle-class (including upper middle-class) more than they are toward the poor.
        ——————–
        let’s mine this sentence: lefties love entitlement programs. Recipients love them, too. Middle-class or upper recipients are more likely to vote than are the poor. Ergo, lefties love giving entitlements to people who are likely to vote for those who promise to continue the entitlements.

        Liberalism depends on a massively uninformed populace, which can include folks in the middle-class who should know that nothing is free but either don’t know or don’t care.

        1. Lefties [Libertarians] love entitlement

          [fixed]

          Land enTitlement is the primary big-government program to restrict the free movement of people.

          Officer, am I free to gambol about forest and plain?

          No? Why? Libertarians love their government entitlements.

          1. Is this performance art?

          2. HOWDY MISS RECTAL SURE IS A FINE DAY TODAY AIN’T IT? WOULD YOU CARE TO TAKE A GAMBOL AROUND THE SWAP WITH ME?

          3. Indian Warchief, am I free to gambol about forest and plain?

            NO!

            Same shit, different day.

            1. Rectal, do you drink the contents of the Summers Eve containers that your mom leaves outside you bedroom door?

              You’re doing it wrong.

          4. I was exploring this cave the other day and found a copy of the Encyclopedia Prehistorica painted on the wall. According to that, well, let’s just say that gamboling wasn’t just frolicing around the forest. It also seemd to involve Bison and “bad touch”.

          5. Yes, yes. We all know that the populist farmers who started the entire anti-bank movement in the 19th Century made their livings from land that the USA government stole from the Indians. So, when will Liberals denounce the government and the anti-bank movement?

        2. That would explain a lot.

          1. The ‘explain a lot’ remark was meant in reply to MAESTRO’s question about performance art. I don’t know why it ended up under wareagle’s comment (though it seems equally appropriate either place).

            That is all.

      2. Lefties love entitlement programs but, ironically, entitlement programs are geared more toward the middle-class (including upper middle-class)

        i.e. “Charity to themselves”

    5. After the electorate laughed at Goldwater for suggesting s.s. reform, the GOP -they can test the wind as well as anyone – decided it was a lost cause. But, speaking of Nixon et al,
      why do you think we bailed on the GOP and started the Libertarian Party in 1972? Point fingers all you want but don’t do it in our direction.

    6. The people you mention — Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bush II — were not libertarians. When they passed these increases they were not even conservatives. Bush II also expanded the food stamp program gigantically even before the 2007 recession started, and increased federal education spending over 50%. They might have done these things to buy votes or compromise (just as Bill Clinton signed DOMA, Jerry Brown nixed his opposition to three strikes to get the prison union endorsement), or maybe because times were so good that filled with irrational exuberance they felt they could spend infinitely (such as SB400 in California which gives state workers generous pensions).

  3. Consider that SS recipients (without other income sources) are a major chunk of the bottom quintile. They shouldn’t have [real] income growth over any period of time, which in turn drags down whatever other gains do show up in that quintile. SS recipients are the anchor of the bottom quintile.

  4. Get over it, Shikha. The top 1% have been making out like bandits, or maybe pirates, since, for whatever reason, libertarians seem more enamoured of seaborne theft.

    Anal, what do libertarians have to do with any of this?

    You could have corrected the percentages significantly by letting many of the TBTFs….ta da…fail. The “One” chose not to do that.

    Why does the current administration hate the poor and love Wall Street so much?

    1. what do libertarians have to do with any of this?

      Nothing! Ever! We are, as you know, irrelevant.

      1. Sorry. “Irrelevant” is rather harsh.
        I meant to say ineffectual.
        Carry on.

        1. Why aren’t you responding as one of your more entertaining personalities?

      2. HI RECTAL IT’S COOTER! I WAS KINDA WONDERIN’ IF YOU’D LIKE TO TAKE A WALK IN THE SWAMP LATER? I THOUGHT WE MIGHT EVEN SEE SOME GATORS AND THAT I WOULD SURELY SEE A SWAMP DONKEY!

          1. WELL MISS RECTAL IF YOU’RE TALKIN’ ABOUT MY FEELINGS FOR YOU THEN YOU’RE RIGHT, BUT I DON’T SEE WHY YOU HAVE TO BE SO MEAN ABOUT IT! WHAT DID COOTER DO TO MAKE YOU SO SORE?

      3. HI RECTAL I GOT ANOTHER FLOWER FOR U ITS NOT AS PRETTY AS THE LAST ONE BUT AT LEAST THIS AINT GOT LICE AND I CAN’T SEE FLOWERS WITHOUT THINKING OF U CUZ UR MY PRETTY LITTLE FLOWER OK HAVE A NICE DAY NOW MISS RECTAL

        1. It’s funny when all the puppets dance! But where’s SugarFree?

          1. We|11.3.11 @ 1:49PM|#

            It’s funny when all the puppets dance! But where’s SugarFree?

            At least you are now admitting to the multiple personalities. That’s the first step on the road to recovery.

    2. “The top 1% have been making out like bandits, or maybe pirates, since, for whatever reason, libertarians seem more enamoured of seaborne theft.”

      Not unless you can cough up some evidnce that the top 1% have all been convicted of actual theft in a court of law.

  5. Those poor old people.

  6. Obama must really detest those old people, considering that he wants to further cut the payroll tax in spite of the fact that 1) S.S. is now officially running cash negative, and 2) the Baby Boomers, the largest generation in American history, are becoming elegible for S.S. benefits.

    1. Obama, like all liberals, is preying on the ignorance of much of the American public. He believes many will only hear “tax cut” rather than “payroll tax cut” and he further believes that most have no idea what the payroll tax really is or what its intended purpose is.

      The left cannot abide touching actual income tax rates so it fritters on the edges with things like payroll. It’s why you also hear things like “tax credit” so often.

      1. “The left cannot abide touching actual income tax rates…”
        _

        then u missed the entire tax-the-rich argument starting late last year to current.

        1. I meant touching them in a downward direction.

        2. shit4brains|11.3.11 @ 12:22PM|#
          “The left cannot abide touching actual income tax rates…”
          _

          then u missed the entire tax-the-rich argument starting late last year to current.

          Because the rich don’t pay any taxes, right?

          1. they nede to pay moar taxs teh wignuts on here doesnt think they shuodnot pay none

            1. Got anymore straw men in there?

            2. Hmmm…seven misspelled words out of 16, no grammer, no punctuation, no capitalization, and no point. Parents really shouldn’t let their preschoolers play with the computer.

  7. You know why this happened? Old people vote, poor people don’t. Ta da!

    Politicians pander to the most reliable voting group. That’s a big shock.

  8. I still don’t really see why income inequality per se really matters. I mean, given that people do all sorts of different things, wouldn’t you expect different outcomes?

    1. But, but, but it’s not FAYER! That’s why!

      We’re all equal, right? I mean, all men are created equal, right? Well, they’re not created because there’s no creator, it’s it not just men it’s women too, and equal opportunity does not mean equal outcomes, but, but, but we’re supposed to be equal, man! That’s what they told me in the public schools! We’re all winners!
      And it’s just not FAYER that some have more stuff than others. Especially because there’s a fixed amount of wealth out there, like the Monopoly board game, and every rich person represents a bunch of poor people who got robbed!
      It’s, like, about FAYERNESS and stuff, you know? Man? Dude?

      1. I mean, all men are created equal, right?

        That was a marvelous bit of rhetoric, but it is provably, demonstrably, factually wrong.

        1. OMG you are like so racist and intolerant and stuff!
          You know?
          I mean, Mommy said nobody is better than me.
          All my teachers said the same thing. They didn’t even do grades and stuff because that might make someone feel bad and stuff, and that’s just mean and stuff.
          You know?
          So, like I’m going to go join the OWS people and stuff.
          You know?

      2. Penis enlargement for ALL!!!!! It is not fayer that the Lexington Steele’s get all the meat.

      3. “Especially because there’s a fixed amount of wealth out there, like the Monopoly board game”

        Not so. The rules specifically state that if the Bank runs out of money, the banker may write IOUs on paper slips in lieu of cash.

        1. Who the hell plays monopoly so long the bank runs out of cash? I get bored way before that problem kicks in.

          1. Who has time to get bored with all the fist fights and smoldering wreckage of relationships?

    2. I still don’t really see why income inequality per se really matters.
      ———————————- Toss out shit like this – “income inequality”, which has the sound of one person benefiting at another’s expense – and you appeal to a combination of people’s stupidity and some sense of fairness.

      Realizing that income inequality is a talking point that is unworthy of even bumper sticker status takes thinking and too many Americans refuse to engage in that. The left relies on people being uninformed. Recall that the mantra of health care as a political issue began long before Obamacare. You saw lots of sob stories to gin up support, and you already see that with income – Dems know some people will hyperventilate over another person’s astronomical salary.

    3. I still don’t really see why income inequality per se really matters.

      A combination of the lefty prog inability to mind their own fucking business (which is apparently genetic) and simple envy.

  9. Rectal makes me miss Lonewhacko.

    1. DONT U SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT MISS RECTAL OR ILL DRIVE MY TRUCK OVER THERE AND WHOOP U

      1. which Crowder are you?

        1. HI MISS RECTAL THIS HERE TROY DONT SEEM TO LIKE U BUT I TOLD HIM OFF. HERE I GOT YOU THIS FLOWER IN THE SWAMP WHEN I WAS OUT HUNTIN COONS WITH MY DOGS I WANT U TO HAVE IT. OK MISS RECTAL HAVE A NICE DAY NOW

  10. News Flash = “Poor Still Poor Despite Hundred Trillion in Middle-Class-Conceived Entitlements”

    I think the answer is clearly to spend more.

    1. I think the answer is clearly to spend more.

      When is that not the answer to the government’s problems?

  11. CLASS WARFARE, NOW!!!

    Headline from Yahoo Finance=

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/…..t;=&ccode;
    Bachmann says all Americans should pay taxes

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is telling college students in politically important Iowa that all Americans should pay taxes since they all benefit from services such as roads and bridges, national defense and the courts.

    ROADZ!!!!

    Is it me or is the current GOP basically just a “I know you are but what am I” version of the Democratic party? They both use the same rationale for either soaking the Rich or bleeding everyone else.

    I think somewhere along the line this whole ‘social-contract’ thing turned into an excuse for stupid of epic proportions. Don’t debate the social contract though!! Just who pays for it. BEAST NEED MOAR YOUR MONEYS!!

    1. If she’s talking about taxing the people who use all kinds of government benefits but pay nothing in income taxes, then I’m fine with that.

      1. Standard libertarian disclaimer: I’d prefer nobody pay income taxes.

        1. The key point here is not “Everyone Should Pay Their Fair Share!!” – its that neither GOP or Dems even pretend to ever address the actual issue of *their* role… The fact that it is *government* profiligacy and irresponsibility that is the source of the bleeding wound… instead, they each choose to point fingers at different segments of the electorate and tell their constituents, “They’re not kicking in their fair share!! CLASS WARFARE!! GET EM!!”

          Its an endless headfake that apparently 99% (derp) of the country responds to… like a dog to a tennis ball, or cat to flashlight on the floor.

    2. It is so ingrained now that if you make a dollar, the government gets a piece of it. It’s just a given that you aren’t entitled to All the money you’ve earned.

  12. So, apparently purging senescent cells has been found to keep mice healthier for longer. Seems that the older cells negatively impact tissues in a negative way, disproportionate to their overall numbers.

    Oh, that was totally off-topic, of course.

  13. In fairness to the Liberals, when the Great Society started, they never expected old people to live so long, and nationalized healthcare could bring life expectancy back down anyway.

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