We are all welfare queens now:
Did you know that the federal government spends more money on welfare than it does on Social Security, or Medicare, or the military? Me neither, perhaps because it isn’t true. It’s the kind of hooey that the crankier, less-informed sort of conservative is all too ready to believe. Yet the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate budget committee has lately been spreading this meme, and a variation is included in Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed budget. It’s part of a larger bait-and-switch that Republicans have been playing against Democrats, making it harder for both parties to agree on necessary spending cuts that don’t harm those in need.
Is Sessions a math dunce? No, he just subscribes to an unrecognizably maximalist definition of “welfare,” one that includes every single federal program that’s means-tested. He includes Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, usually described as health care programs, which account for nearly half his total. He also includes Pell grants, job training programs, and various other functions that are “welfare” in roughly the same sense that all government spending is “socialism.” By stretching welfare’s meaning until it has almost none, Sessions is able to calculate the total welfare tab not at an underwhelming $96 billion, but at $746 billion, which is indeed more than the tab for Social Security, or Medicare, or defense. Then he adds in the state-funded part of these programs so he can say the total exceeds $1 trillion.
You know the drill: definitions of welfare, views differ. Obama needs to show leadership by meeting the Republicans halfway on this, the way Reagan did with Tip O’Neil. Anyway, down with the debt! Reagan never used debt. Only tax-and-spend liberals do