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Republicans Spend More Than Democrats On Social Programs

Republicans Spend More Than Democrats On Social Programs

Congressional Republicans are claiming that Democratic spending is out of control, and that cuts need to be made to a large variety of “social engineering” programs, especially entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare. 

But upon closer examination, it turns out that Republicans are actually spending just as much on social programs when they are in power — they just put their money in a different collection basket.

Via Mother Jones:

The federal government can spend money on social programs two ways: directly, via ordinary tax-funded programs (Medicare, food stamps, etc.) or indirectly, via tax expenditures (tax deductions for charitable contributions, employer health insurance, etc.). Christopher Faricy, a political science professor at Washington State, recently examined both types of spending over the past 40 years and concluded that the big spenders aren’t who you think they are:

The traditional narrative of Democratic party control of the federal government resulting in higher levels of social spending needs to be reconsidered….Social spending over the last 40 years grows on average around 5% a year regardless of which political party is sitting in the majority.

….An increase in indirect social spending has the same budgetary effect as direct social spending. For example, an increase in tax expenditures for private health care insurance that costs the Treasury $100 million dollars has the exact same effect on the budget deficit as a newly proposed public health insurance option that is projected at $100 million dollars….One major implication of these findings is that the jurisdiction of social provision, not the financial effort, shifts with changes to political party control of government.

So, if Republicans are spending just as much, if not more in some cases, on social programs, then why are they constantly cutting social programs in the guise of “balancing the budget?”

Because the programs being eliminated do not provide a form of wealth kickback to their pool of voters.  It’s better, according to the GOP, to provide a tax break to a rich person for donating to charities to help the poor or hungry than it is to ensure social security can provide for people in their old age.  It’s better, says the conservatives, to pad the pockets of faith-based agencies that can choose to discriminate in who they hire or who they serve than to have adequate health care available to all people regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation. 

Democrats may be instituting a “nanny state” by trying to mandate a safety net for all Americans, but the Republicans are the ones truly doing the social engineering as they continue their crusade to defund programs and replace them with their own charities and non-profits that can pick and choose agendas to push.

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3:38AM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Geesh, now they want the credit while we get the blame.

2:41PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Just goes to show you how wealthy the super rich happen to be. If they can write it off, the system was made just for that purpose. But they get to choose who to contribute the money. If they want to give it to any charitable foundation, they can do it. I am not surprised how it works. That's one way from keeping away from government hands. This is just part of the process we at the lower end of the earning spectrum see as nothing more than the inequities in life. Earnings other than simply just plain talent has taken a step into the darker side of how people become rich. Very few people see that happen, because opportunities really don't exist. Sadly, the con is that deficits exist because and the true nature of write-off were written and mandated by the very same people who created these write-offs!

1:32AM PST on Feb 26, 2011

It seems the deficit is used to create any social agenda for parties 'in charge.'

2:00AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

I don't know what to comment on this hyprocrisy

11:08PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

From the article "Because the programs being eliminated do not provide a form of wealth kickback to their pool of voters. "

That says it in a nutshell.

10:46PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Good article, Robin! And good comments by a bunch of you here! I would just like to add a bit of myth-busting here about you teabaggers' hero Ronald "Who am I?" Reagan, your "government is the problem" guy. He GREW government bureaucracy bigger than anytime since the start of WWll, and W grew it even more! Facts are facts, and those facts are that since WWll Republiscum presidents have grown government bureaucracy more than ANY Democrat prez, AND, Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his presidency! Reagan is who gave us our first TRILLION dollar debt that Bush senior added to and Clinton wiped out and left office with a huge surplus which W quickly reversed into another TRILLION dollar debt. But oh the right will always keep yelling "tax and spend liberals!" while never acknowledging their tax and spend neocons who outspend them every damn time!

10:24PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Duhaaa,. it's all about them being able to look down on the poor when the give those tax deductible donations and say see how we help you. You should be more grateful to us.... Like they really care....They Love That POWER and the smug feeling that they are so much better then the lowly poor people.

10:14PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

NOW I get it! That's why the leaders of the Repub. party say to the poor in America, "Go to your Charity Organization for help". Give the wealthy GOVERNMENT tax exemptions, so they will donate to Charities. Methinks that they DO NOT GIVE ENOUGH to take care of the millions of folks who need help. BTW, where do you go, which charity, if you need help with groceries or health care on a regular basis? If all the poor folks "went to their charity org." then those charities would need to hire many more people to handle the work and provide the basic necessities to the poor. The donations do not cover that much! Duh! I would like to see any one of those condescending, arrogant, a**holes be in a poor person's shoes. Let them go begging for help. The hypocrisy is unbearable. After all, WHO buys the products and services that make wealthy people more wealthy than they have ever been? Naturally, middle America! What makes middle America become poor???? More and more expensive products, and less and less income! Vivious circle of HYPOCRISY and GREED! Thank you Republicans. Your naivety
is only exceeded by your airheaded ignorance.
The poor? Let someone else take care of them.
"You will know they are Christians by their deeds."

10:06PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

What people need to realize is Clinton left a budget surplus that was quickly turned into the biggest deficit the history of the US government. Now is everyone's memory so short that they can't remember that republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives when that happened?

The only thing that needs to reset is WAR spending, more nicely referred to as 'Defense' spending. We are spending more on 'defense' now than we did during the entire Cold War and that is taking inflation into account.

Trying to reduce the deficit is a waste of time unless they are willing to CUT the defense budget BIG time.

10:01PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Vote Progressive. Support more Progressive candidates at every level of government. Work for the election of Progressive candidates. And with few exceptions (carefully considered) never vote TP / Republican. Get involved. Encourage others to vote for candidates who care about We the People, not We the Corporate Rulers.

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