All of us certainly recall the famous video clip taken by a service worker (I hope God has blessed this individual with enormous wealth and happiness) at one of Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign gatherings of the rich-beyond-anything you or I could ever imagine where Romney stated that he would not receive votes from the 47% of Americans who got taxpayer funded welfare benefits.  Actually he would have been fine if he’d stopped right there – that was a reasonable assumption on his part – but he had to go on and demean those 47 percenters by calling them “moochers.”  Although deriding folks who receive public benefits is not exactly a new theme in the conservative world, Romney’s remarks caused an explosion of right wing commentary about the disastrous impacts that result from “living off the government” dole.  And in this round of presidential run-ups it’s the same old public outrage about the “Entitlement Society” that is blamed for destroying America.

But the actual facts of the matter, you know, the rational data about who receives “entitlement benefits” as opposed to the irrational propagandizing of Republican Presidential candidates, is starkly at odds with this desperate picture of public teat sucking.  A study undertaken by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities sheds an entirely different light on this culture destroying issue.  In sum, this is their overall their finding:

“[M]ore than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled or members of working households.”

Really?  If you listen to Fox News one comes away with the impression that Surfer Dude and Lobster Guy are typical of entitlement benefit recipients ripping off us taxpayers.  I guess Fox needs to do a better job of researching the facts that might underpin their stories.  (Pleeeeze!  Let’s not kid ourselves.  Fox treats facts like the Ebola virus – they stay as far away as possible).  Frankly, I would say that if 90% of government entitlement benefits go to deserving folks and only 10% are cheating, that’s a pretty good track record.  Would that our Defense contractors (Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, et al) were as efficient. I wonder how this 10% figure compares to the percentage of U.S. citizens who cheat on their annual Income Tax returns?

Here are a few more facts included in the study findings:

-  The top fifth of the population receives 66% of tax-expenditure benefits* (compared to 10% of entitlement benefits).

-  The middle 60% of the population receives a little over 31% of tax-expenditure benefits (compared to 58% of entitlement benefits).

-  The bottom fifth receives just 2.8% of tax-expenditure benefits (compared to 32% of entitlement benefits).

-  The top 1% of the population receives 23.9% of tax-expenditure benefits – more than eight times as much as the bottom fifth of the population and nearly as much as the middle 60% of the population. 

And just to burst another popular right wing propaganda bubble:

“Contrary to what a substantial share of Americans may assume, non-Hispanic whites receive slightly more than their proportionate share of entitlement benefits.  Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 64% of the population and received 69% of the entitlement benefits.  In contrast, Hispanics made up 16% of the population but received 12% of the entitlement benefits.”

I don’t know how Mittles came up with the 47% figure but the milking and bilking of America by the “moocher class” is still a pervasive theme among Republicans and you can bet your last Social Security payroll deduction that this theme will continue to play a large part in the right wing campaigns leading up to the 2016 elections even though it is demonstrably false. 

But, then again, we are in the midst of an “age” where facts and fiction receive equal treatment as if this was the primary purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Have a good day. 

* Things like the home mortgage interest and child care deductions, for example.


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