Recession: Half Of US Households Receiving Some Type Of Government Benefits In First Quarter Of 2011

May 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – 49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.

Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.

The Census data show that 16% of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives Social Security and 15% receive or live with someone who gets Medicare. There is likely a lot of overlap, since Social Security and Medicare tend to go hand in hand, but those percentages also are likely to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages.

With increased government spending comes the need to pay for it, and if taxes aren’t going to increase that means deficits. Nearly three-quarters of Americans blame the U.S. budget deficit on spending too much money on federal programs, according to a Gallup poll last year, but when the conversation turns to which programs to cut, the majorities are harder to find. For example, 56% of respondents oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.

The more people who receive benefits, the harder it’s going to be to make cuts, and it’s never popular to raise taxes. In some respects that argues for letting a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that is set to automatically hit in 2013 take effect. There’s just one problem: the Congressional Budget Office says it would sink the economy into recession.

Letting the 2013 provisions come into force would be like dealing with a weight problem by cutting off your right arm. It may not be popular, but a long-term, well-planned diet is the only solution.

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Case After Case Of Child Support Against Tennessee Man With Minimum Wage Job – Fathered 30 Children With 11 Women, 9 Of Which Were Born In Past Three Years – Some Mothers Receiving $1.49 A Month In Child Support

May 19, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – You have to say this much for Desmond Hatchett: He has a way with the ladies.

The 33-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident has reportedly set a Knox County record for his ability to reproduce. He has 30 children with 11 women. And nine of those children were born in the last three years, after Hatchett — who is something of a local celebrity — vowed “I’m done!” in a 2009 TV interview, saying he wouldn’t father more children.

But Hatchett is back in the news this week because he’s struggling to make ends meet on his minimum-wage job. His inability to make child-support payments on such a meager salary also means he’s back in court again and again, most recently to ask for a break on those payments.

“Yes, we’ve got several cases with Mr. Hatchett,” Melissa Gibson, an assistant supervisor with the Knox County child support clerk’s office, said with a sigh.

Hatchett’s attorney, Keith Pope, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Under the law, there’s nothing officials can do to force Hatchett to keep his pants on.

“If there’s something out there like that, I’m unaware of it,” Gibson told The Times, before adding, “It definitely needs to be.”

Gibson said Hatchett is believed to hold the Knox County record for most children. (He’d hold a similar record in most counties in the U.S., which might explain why news of his predicament was pinging around the Internet on Friday.)

Gibson said she couldn’t say whether any of his children receive public assistance. The youngest is a toddler; the oldest is 14. Asked in a TV interview whether he can “keep up with it all,” Hatchett said he knows all their names, ages and birthdates.

Also in a TV interview, Hatchett tried to explain — in a PG-rated way — how he managed to end up with so many kids: “I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”

When Hatchett is working, he is required to turn over 50% of his wages for child support — the maximum allowed under law. Child support payments are based in part on the ages and needs of the children.

Some of the mothers of Hatchett’s children get only $1.49 a month, reportedWREG in Memphis.

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One Out Of Every Seven People In United States Receiving Food Stamp Benefits – Up 70% Since Obama Took Office

April 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.

Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.

In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled. It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.

CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.

“Nevertheless, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits will remain high by historical standards,” the agency said.

It estimated that 34 million people, or 1 in 10 U.S. residents, would receive SNAP benefits in 2022 “and SNAP expenditures, at about $73 billion, will be among the highest of all non-health-related federal support programs for low-income households.”

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Drug Dealer Used Cash From EBT (Food Stamp/Welfare) Card To Post Bail

April 12, 2012

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – A convicted drug dealer — who cops said wanted to use cash from his taxpayer-funded EBT card to post bail — is the new face of welfare abuse, according to tough-minded lawmakers who are pushing the reform-resistant Patrick administration for a crackdown.

Kimball Clark, 45, was locked up Friday on drug-dealing charges — again — when he was overheard using his one phone call to ask the person on the other end of the line to “get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, get me outa here tonight,” according to a Boston police report.

“It’s another outrage,” said state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton), a member of the EBT Task Force who criticized the group for failing to push tough restrictions on the use of the controversial cards. “When we were on the EBT Card Commission, I fought to get bail bondsmen on that list of places where people could not use their EBT cards. They fought me on it and told me people can’t use their EBT cards in that way.”

Beacon Hill was forced to mull reforms after the Herald reported people were spending welfare cash on booze, cigarettes and scratch cards.

“Obviously the Department of Transitional Assistance has no idea how people use these cards and how the cards work,” O’Connell said.

State Rep. Russell E. Holmes (D-Boston), another advocate for tough reforms, said he was hardly surprised that a drug suspect would try to bail himself out with money from a taxpayer-funded EBT card.

“It’s exactly the type of activity that can occur when folks are allowed to get money off their EBT card,” Holmes said.

Clark, who gave police a South End address, is charged with distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school. He posted bail and was released, but it is unclear where he got the money. Police said he had $758 in cash on him when he was busted Friday in what cops say was a deal in progress in Dorchester, but that cash was seized. Efforts to reach Clark for comment yesterday were unsuccessful. It is unclear whether he has an EBT card assigned to him. His prior convictions include assault and battery in 2007 and cocaine possession with intent to distribute in 2006, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.

Because cash is hard to trace, EBT-funded bail payments could be widespread, Holmes said. “One of the arguments I’ve heard is we don’t know how much fraud and abuse there is. But that’s the problem — we don’t know because there’s no way to track it. When it comes to how much of this has happened in jail, there’s no way for us to know that.”

O’Connell and other lawmakers filed a bill last week pushing for tougher regulations than those recommended by the EBT commission, which advised banning the cards at nail salons, tattoo parlors, strip clubs and casinos — but not at ATMs, jewelry stores, health clubs, rent-a-centers and cruise liners.

O’Connell’s bill specifically prohibits bail bondsmen from accepting EBT cards and bars cash access through ATMs. O’Connell said her bill also would have allowed the Boston police officer overhearing the suspect’s call to inform him he couldn’t use the card toward his bail.

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New York Governor: US Turning Into Nation Of People Sitting On Couch Waiting For Next Government Check

April 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Gov. Chris Christie said the country is becoming a “paternalistic entitlement society” this morning in a speech at a conservative conference headed by former President George W. Bush.

Addressing Bush and other national Republicans, Christie said he hasn’t seen a less optimistic period in the country in his lifetime.

“Government’s telling them stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you,” he said at a theater at the New York Historical Society. “We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society. That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally.”

“We’ll have a bunch of people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check,” Christie said.

Christie and Bush kicked off a day-long conference on pro-growth tax policy run by the President George W. Bush Institute, a group that Bush said allows him to engage in public policy issues behind the scenes.

Speakers throughout the day include Steve Forbes, Congressman Paul Ryan, Karl Rove and several governors. In addition to Bush, Henry Kissinger was in the audience for Christie’s 30-minute speech.

Bush said the topic of the conference is how to grow the private sector. He introduced Christie by complimenting his “enormous personality” and “belief in the individual,” saying even Texans had taken note of the governor.

“We admire the courageous stance you take,” said Bush, who nominated Christie to be U.S. Attorney.

“I was a proud member of the Bush administration for seven years,” Christie said, later adding that Bush “inspired a whole new generation of conservative Republican leaders.”

Christie spent much of his speech recapping his first two budgets, pension and health benefit overhaul for public workers, and the 2 percent cap on property taxes, stressing bipartisanship but also touting his ability to stick to his principles.

“We developed relationships with the other side of the aisle that allowed them to trust us. And that doesn’t happen overnight,” Christie said. “Day after day after day you have to sit with our colleagues and convince them of the goodness of your spirit and of the understanding that compromise is not a dirty word.”

He used his veto of the millionaire’s tax and his current pursuit of a 10 percent income tax cut as examples of the type of pro-growth tax policy that Bush referenced. He said the public sector in New Jersey is smaller, while he has created jobs in the private sector.

“If you can do this in New Jersey, you can do it anywhere,” Christie said. “Most importantly you can do it in Washington D.C. What we need again is some leadership that is not going to take no for an answer.”

Though Christie alluded to national politics, he spent most of the speech on New Jersey issues. Neither he nor Bush mentioned President Barack Obama, or the likely Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Christie has endorsed and campaigned for Romney, while Bush has not publicly endorsed any of the GOP candidates.

“I have decided to stay out of the limelight,” Bush said. “I don’t think it’s good, frankly, for our country to undermine the president and I don’t intend to do so. But I do intend to remain involved in areas that I’m interested in.”

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American Public’s Dependence On Government Handouts Jumps 23 Percent In 2 Years Under Obama Administration!!!!

February 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The American public’s dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under President Obama, with 67 million now relying on some federal program, according to a newly released study by the Heritage Foundation.

The conservative think tank’s annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks money spent on housing, health, welfare, education subsidies and other federal programs that were “traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families.”

The increase under Obama is the biggest two-year jump since Jimmy Carter was president, the data show.

The rise was driven mainly by increases in housing subsidies, an expansion in Medicaid and changes to the welfare system, along with a sharp rise in food stamps, the study found.

“You can’t get around the fact that policy decisions made over the past two years, on top of those made over the past several decades, are having a large effect on the pace of growth of the index,” said William Beach, who authored the Heritage study.

Dependence on the government has climbed steadily since 1962, when the index stood at 19. By 1980, the index had risen to 100. It stood at 294 in 2010, the last year for which the data are available. The D.C.-based Heritage Foundation has produced the index for nine years.

The report also found that spending on “dependence programs” accounts for more than 70% of the federal budget. That, too, is up dramatically. In 1990, for example, the figure stood at 48.5%, and in 1962 just over a quarter of federal spending went to dependence programs.

At the same time, fewer Americans pay income taxes, the report notes. Almost half (49.5%) didn’t pay income taxes in 2009, the latest year for which the researchers have data. Back in the late 1960s, only 12% of Americans escaped the income tax burden.

Other findings:

The number of people dependent on the federal government shot up 7.5% over the past two years.

In 2010, for the first time ever, average spending on dependence programs per recipient exceeded the country’s per-capita disposable income.

The dependency index has dipped only seven times in the past 49 years, three of which were under President Reagan and two under President Clinton.

Some observers say the rise in dependence under Obama is merely a reflection of the deep and long recession.

But Beach says his team’s research shows that economic effects account for only one-fifth of the change in the index.

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