Monday, February 20, 2012
Is it time yet?
Last week The New York Times reported that the federal social safety net is now used to keep the middle class in the middle class much more so than it is used to lift the poor out of poverty. This is causing a lot of resentment among the middle class that still believes its members can work hard and elevate themselves into the upper levels of society. But they really cannot any more.
Were a person to start taking the risks necessary to elevate them and their family out of the middle class, they would have to cut the strings to the safety net under them, which in turn puts them at a competitive disadvantage in the short term to their neighbors. Too few are willing to take that risk.
Compound that with the most horrifying fact you will read today. A single parent family with income of $14,500.00 actually has more disposable income in the United States than a family earning $60,000.00 a year. Yes, you read that correctly.
Now are you ready for your head to explode? "If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year." When the government is taxing the middle class to subsidize the middle class and the poor have more disposable income than the middle class, we're doing something wrong. We are failing.
On top of that, now the Nanny State does not just want to subsidize us, they also want to inspect our children’s lunches and convey a sense to our kids that Uncle Sam, not mom and dad, will take care of them. And if you want the really dirty little secret, the fact is this is a bipartisan problem. No one on the left has the fortitude to take on the problem without further subsidies. Too few on the right are willing to tackle the subject. The votes are not there in Congress to do what must be done.
But we must cut the social safety net out from the middle class and, in doing so, make it far simpler for the middle class to grow. We must return to an America where the small businessman can become a big businessman. Today, it is far too difficult for that to happen.
Telephone taxes have long been cited by conservatives as proof of
eternal life here on earth, and in early February, evidence of another
one surfaced. The “Universal Service Fund fee,” present on all monthly
bills since 1997, is paying for a $1.6 billion federal program called
Lifeline, in which all Americans eligible to receive federal aid can
apply to enroll. Lifeline pays for either a $30 cell phone or a landline
installation, and then subsidizes the recipient’s monthly bill to the
tune of $10 per month. The program has become increasingly popular in
the last few years; so popular, in fact, that many people have
registered multiple times. An FCC audit conducted in 2011 showed that up
to 269,000 wireless subscribers had free phones and cell service from at
least two carriers. And people who don’t qualify appear to like it, too.
These abuses have caught the attention of Democratic senator Claire
McCaskill, who has called for an investigation. The FCC will be hard
pressed to do much about the abuse, however; until it was investigated,
it had not considered it necessary to build a database to keep track of
its handouts. Congratulations, you are paying your neighbor’s telephone