You have heard all the arguments. Far too many of this nation’s citizens are on the dole and expect the middle class to subsidize the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Sponging also damages character and creates an addiction to entitlements.
This is an outrage. Here are just a few examples of public welfare programs, according to Nicholas Kristof (New York Times, March 26, 2014) which ought to tee off a lot of taxpayers. No, they are not what you might think.
Welfare subsidies for private planes
Tycoons who don’t want to ride even first class with the “great unwashed” have plenty of tax write-offs to fly on private jets. These welfare benefits include accelerated tax write-offs, and the avoiding of personal income taxes on this benefit (which you pay if you use a company auto) by claiming that they have to fly on private aircraft for security reasons. You chumps also pay for the air traffic control systems for their flights.
Welfare subsidies on yachts
Initially, the mortgage interest deduction was meant to encourage the middle class to purchase homes. This deduction is under attack by some Republican congressional leaders, but they lapsed into silence when it came to the expansion of this deduction for beach homes and yachts. Congressman Paul Ryan and his cohorts slashed money from the public housing program for the nation’s neediest while letting the Good Ship Lollipop sail unimpeded.
Welfare subsidies for hedge funds and private equity
Congress has passed tax legislation that authorizes a tax loophole by saying that money is “carried interest,” allowing those with the highest incomes to pay a pittance in taxes. This allows them to treat earned income as capital gains with a 23.8 percent tax rate vs. 39.6 percent if it were called exactly what it is: earned income.
Welfare subsidies for banks
Did you ever have to beg for a loan from a bank for your needs? Quoting “Bloomberg View,” Mr. Kristof notes that taxpayers provided an $83 billion subsidy to the top 10 banks in the United States last year alone.
Welfare subsidies for American Corporations
You know this drill, particularly in Rhode Island where companies get tax incentives to operate locally. A New York Times analysis written by journalist Louise Story pegged last year’s subsidies at at least $80 billion.
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of the many subsidies afforded the super-rich. It is appalling to hear the millionaires in Congress berate programs like food stamps when a recent Gallup Poll found that one-fifth of American families struggled to put food on the table. Meanwhile, according to Kristof, some $12 billion annually is written off for corporate meals and entertainment.
For sure, the middle class has a gripe about on food stamps and in subsidized homes and other programs who are bilking the program. But the protest doesn’t seem to touch those wining and dining at 5-star restaurants. Is there any comparison between those avaricious infants in nutrition programs and the big shots in their Gulfstreams? Mr. Kristof thinks that the latter type of subsidies need more scaling back than the former. I agree with him.