Posts tagged government spending
Posts tagged government spending
Uh-oh. Looks like Florida’s mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients is costing the taxpayers more than they’re actually saving.
Governor Rick Scott had praised the program when he signed it June 1st of this year, proclaiming, “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars.”
However, the numbers are not adding up. From WFTV:
Just six weeks after Florida began drug testing welfare applicants, WFTV uncovered numbers which show that the program is already costing Central Florida taxpayers more than it saves. 9 Investigates’ reporter George Spencer found very few applicants are testing positive for drugs. The Department of Central Florida’s (DCF) region tested 40 applicants and only two tested positive for drugs, officials said. One of the tests is being appealed.
Governor Rick Scott said the program would save money. Critics said it already looks like a boondoggle. “We have a diminishing amount of returns for our tax dollars. Do we want out governor throwing our precious tax dollars into a program that has already been proven not to work?” Derek Brett of the ACLU said.
DCF said it has been referring applicants to clinics where drug screenings cost between $30 and $35. The applicant pays for the test and the state reimburses [the applicant] if they test negative. Therefore, the 38 applicants in the Central Florida area, who tested negative, were reimbursed at least $30 each and cost taxpayers $1,140. Meanwhile, the state is saving less than $240 a month by refusing benefits to those two applicants who tested positive.
I’m not at all shocked by this, and the ACLU is planning to file suit. Oh, and they’re also saying to Rick Scott: “We told you so.” Literally.
The sad part? These measures scare people off from applying for benefits. If people test positive for drugs, it means two things: Either they ingested that substance at least once, and maybe only once, within the testing window - or it’s a false positive. Here’s a short list of things that can cause a false positive:
Huh. So drug tests aren’t infallible and they’re not saving Florida any money? As the ACLU points out, Florida should have learned this 10 years ago, when they tried this program and had to dump it for cost reasons.
I’ll indulge the governor for a moment, though. Let’s say there’s parents who have used some kind of drugs in the period before the test. Why deprive children of quite possibly the only support they’ll receive because their parent(s) may or may not have used drugs voluntarily or involuntarily in the testing period? I’m not comfortable with that thought, and any other person with an iota of compassion should not be thrilled with that proposition either.
Tea Party Philosophy: It’s not government spending when I use it!
The study’s author, Suzanne Mettler, a Cornell professor of American Institutions, attempted to explain the difficulties the Obama Administration faced in trying to reframe the debate about the effect of government social spending on the economy and on the quality of life of all Americans. [Read the study: The Submerged State]
Mettler argues that most of the effects of social spending are hidden, which she calls the “submerged state.”
To illustrate the difficulty President Obama would have - and is having - in surfacing the submerged state so that we can have a rational discussion about it, she included the results of a 2008 government study asking recipients of government social spending if they had ever used a government social program.
The results are an indictment of American civic literacy.
To wit, 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 41 percent of military veterans, 43 percent of unemployment recipients, 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 43 percent of college Pell Grant recipients and 27 percent of welfare recipients all said they had never used a government social program.
But those programs are not the submerged state, as Mettler describes, instead they were included to illustrate that even obvious government programs are not so obvious to their millions of beneficiaries.
Her main point had to do with other, hidden forms of government spending, such as the home mortgage interest tax deduction. Six out of every 10 respondents to the survey didn’t recognize the deduction as government social spending.
I’d like to see how many people acknowledge corporations benefit from government spending that’s affecting the social programs Americans benefit from every single day. Let’s see how those numbers stack up.
What would you do with $2.4 trillion?
A wee bit of perspective…
Let me begin by making something perfectly clear: From 2002-2009, Republicans in the House and Senate voted to raise the United States debt ceiling 7 times under George W. Bush, a Republican president. They raised the debt ceiling with no worries, no concern, no filibusters, no problems, no mentions of “children and grandchildren,” or any of this right-wing rhetoric we seem to hear spewed every day from the Republicans here in the year 2011.
Republicans raised the debt ceiling in the middle of 2 wars which were costing the government about $400 billion a week. Republicans raised the debt ceiling after Medicare Part D was passed by Bush, which he had no means of paying for. Republicans raised the debt ceiling after the Bush tax cuts had been signed into law, which ended up costing our government around $2.5 trillion over the course of ten years.
When it came time to pay the bills, they did it. Fast forward to 2011. The president of the United States is a Democrat named Barack Obama. The debt ceiling once again needs to be raised, and congress has the obligation to do so. As a matter of fact, if they refuse to do so, the world’s top economists warn that it would send the American economy back into recession possibly worse than what middle-class working families are feeling right now.
So do Republicans do what they’ve always done for years? … Of course not. They decide that since our president is black and belongs to the other party, that debt is suddenly a problem. And not only is debt a problem, it’s a huge problem. Huge enough that unless some drastic spending cuts are made, and we get our financial books in order, they aren’t going to raise the debt limit.
Okay fine… maybe we are spending too much. We spend $4 billion a year subsidizing big oil companies that are turning record profits, we spend roughly $1.415 trillion on defense every year, and tax rates on the top 2% of income earners are at their lowest levels since the 1950’s. Oh what’s that? None of that is on the table? Those are non-negotiable? Well then what do the Republicans want?
They want middle-class and poor Americans to give up more of their Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in order to pay for massive tax breaks and corporate welfare. And if the Republicans don’t get their way, they’re willing to force an economic crisis that would hurt everyone. They hope to gain politically by this harming President Obama. They can’t lose. All they have to do is refuse to back down on these massive cuts, and Democrats will have to cave in. Americans are largely uninformed, and when things go wrong, they aren’t going to look to congress, they’ll look to the president.
The Democratic party and the mainstream media have let the Republicans get away with this madness. They fail to point out everything in this article, and Republicans come off as serious about our debt. These discussions over raising the debt ceiling shouldn’t even take place. It’s not something that should be discussed. It’s compulsory. Republicans know this. They’re simply playing political games with your economic future, and that my friend, is disgusting.
All of this ^^
House Speaker John Boehner said Saturday that he has told President Barack Obama that he wants to pursue a smaller $2 trillion deficit reduction deal, not the larger effort sought by the White House.
Obama, Boehner and other congressional leaders are due to meet at the White House on Sunday at 6 p.m. EDT, with staffers working through the weekend to lay out options.
There could be some hard bargaining in the session but it is not likely to produce a final deal, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Boehner also tamped down expectations that Democrats and Republicans could reach agreement over the weekend. He said on Friday that the two sides must overcome serious disagreements on taxes and spending cuts.
“It’s not like there’s some imminent deal about to happen,” Boehner told a news conference. “This is a Rubik’s Cube that we haven’t quite worked out yet.”
Looks like Boehner may have blinked in this asinine game of debt-ceiling chicken with the US economy. I really hope this doesn’t mean they’re going for cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Even though it’s been ruled unconstitutional and now repealed by the courts… Remember when the GOP went all pearl-clutching hysterics on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Defense Appropriations Bill last year?