Entitlements Are Drowning Our Economy
Remember when President Barack Obama promised to “focus like a laser” on job creation back in early 2009? In late 2012, after one full term, it was reported by Daniel Harper in The Weekly Standard that, “Food Stamp Growth Is 75 Times Greater Than Job Creation.” This was according to statistics compiled by the Senate Budget Committee. “For Every Person Added to Jobs Rolls Since January 2009, 75 People Were Added To Food Stamp Rolls.”
Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said at the time, “Simply put, the President’s policies have not produced jobs. During his time in office, 14.7 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Over that same time, only 194,000 jobs were created. Post-recession economic growth in 2010 was 2.4%, and dropped in 2011 to 1.8%. This year  it has dropped again to 1.77%. Few, if any, net jobs will be created with growth of less than 2%.”
In January 2009, there were 133.56 million Americans with jobs and 31.98 million on food stamps. By late 2012, there were 133.76 million Americans with jobs and 46.68 million on food stamps. The employment rolls thus grew by 0.15 percent and the food stamp rolls by 46 percent. Again, for every one American who found a job, 75 Americans signed up for food stamps.
Total spending on food stamps is now more than $80 billion annually, a fourfold increase from 2001, and it is going to remain high. In fact, the Administration actively sought to boost food stamp spending and enrollment through a partnership with the Mexican government by advertising benefits to foreign nationals, as well as providing materials that teach outreach workers how to “overcome the word ‘No.’” Meanwhile, during this time, our nation’s debt has risen $5.63 trillion for a grand total quickly approaching $17 trillion.
You may recall back in 2011 when Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in the House at the time, stunningly exclaimed, “Let me say about unemployment insurance, we talk about it as a safety net and the rest. This is one of the biggest stimuluses [sic] to our economy. Economists will tell you, this money is spent quickly. It injects demand into the economy and is job creating. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name because, again, it is money that is needed for families to survive, and it is spent. So it has a double benefit. It helps those who’ve lost their jobs, but it also is a job creator.” Was anyone ever able to explain that deranged logic by the way?
If you think that is dumb and insane, consider what Sheila Jackson Lee (D) said on the subject of entitlements, “There is no way, Mr. Speaker, that we should raise the eligibility age for Medicare, that we should not think carefully about how we approach the reform of Medicaid. And let’s think about moving into 2013, how we make this economy better by looking carefully at how we reform entitlements that are not handouts but they are earned.”
Overall, in the last four years, the United States’ gross federal debt increased 53 percent, food stamp enrollment increased 46 percent, and the number of employed persons increased a whopping 0.15 percent. This picture, however, is even more ominous than it looks. While only 194,000 net jobs have been created since 2009, the working age population has increased by approximately 5 million—almost 25 times that amount. In other words, fewer and fewer working age adults have or are even looking for a job. The real unemployment number (U-6) is around 15 percent.
In February 2011, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a $61 billion federal spending cut, which was a pittance; however, Senate Democratic leaders and the White House made it clear that it would not pass. Madeline Schnapp, director of Macroeconomic Research at TrimTabs stated, “Consumption supported by wages and salaries is a much stronger foundation for economic growth than consumption based on social welfare benefits.” I’m no economist, but that just seems intuitive to me. She adds that, “In order to get welfare back to its pre-recession ratio of 26 percent of pay…social welfare benefits would have to decline $500 billion, or 23 percent, to $1.7 trillion.”
Finally, someone said it, and I could not agree more. We must scorn those who would scam the various entitlement programs since they are depleting funds for those whom these systems were specifically designed: the poor, the disabled, the elderly, etc. Our country must collectively decide to cut back welfare and entitlements, and to viciously attack fraud and stamp it out in order to avoid a significant economic crisis such as has occurred in Greece, France, and the United Kingdom. By doing what needs to be done so as to avoid future riots in the streets, as has occurred in some pockets of Europe, this may be yet another excellent opportunity for Americans to display their exceptionalism to the rest of the world.