This State Forced Its Welfare Recipients To Work- The Stunning Results May Surprise You…

Adding new meaning to the phrase, “will work for food,” Maine’s food stamp program comes with strings attached. The taxpayer funded food stamp program supplies funds, usually in the form of a debit card, so qualified individuals can have sufficient funds for food. Since 2000, the costs to the taxpayer for food stamp programs have quadrupled, from 20.7 billion in 2000 to 83.1 billion in 2014. The rising costs and the rising numbers of Americans on food stamps have forced some states to find ways to cut those costs. Maine took a bold new approach to funding food stamps and is saving money in the process.

Adding to the costs for food stamps are Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents, that is those between ages the of 18 to 49 without children. Between 2008 to 2016, there was a 2.5 million increase in ABAWD’s who applied for welfare, from 2 million recipients to 4.7 million. With the rising costs and rising numbers of recipients of food stamp assistance, Maine now requires all ABAWD to take a job, participate in a free job training program or perform 6 hours per week of community service in order to receive the food stamp assistance.

Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, spearheaded the program. All ABAWD’s who took a job were not required to attend job training or perform community service. Those who could not find a job were required to attend the training or make themselves available for designated community service opportunities.

The new program requirements went into effect in January of 2015. Over the following three months, the number of able-bodied food stamp recipients dropped 80 percent, from 13,300 to 2,600. These results, of course, provides a decreased burden on the taxpayer.

In a report detailing Maine’s new work for food requirement,  Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D suggest the federal government should implement a similar requirement at the federal level, much like President Clinton did in 1996 when welfare was reformed. The authors suggest, “The federal government should establish work requirements similar to Maine’s for the 4.7 million ABAWDs currently receiving food stamps nationwide. If the caseload drops at the same rate it did in Maine (which is very likely), taxpayer savings would be over $8.4 billion per year. Further reforms could bring the savings to $9.7 billion per year: around $100 per year for every individual currently paying federal income tax.”

Sorry, Bernie: Tuition Free ≠ Debt Free

With the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary just around the corner and scores of college-aged voters up for grabs, affordable public college education has become a key selling point for Bernie Sanders. The Sanders plan to “Make College Tuition-Free and Debt-Free proposes offering free tuition at public colleges and universities, lowering interest rates on current and future student loans, meeting 100 percent of low-income students’ financial needs, and tripling the federal work-study program. As with most government handouts, the Sanders plan will likely cost more and deliver less than it promises.

Let’s start with the cost estimates for free public higher education. Virtually every advocate of free tuition references an article in The Atlantic from January 2014, which estimates the cost at roughly $62.6 billion. Sanders, factoring in his additional proposals, predicts closer to $75 billion. Two-thirds of his plan would be federally funded via new taxes on Wall Street speculators, with states contributing the remainder.

The problem with these calculations is that they are based on static projections for tuition costs. If this assumption proves faulty, the actual cost of implementing the Sanders plan will balloon. And there are three good reasons to expect an increase in tuition costs.

First, history suggests that tuition will continue to rise. Tuition rates have been gradually increasing over past decades, with students now paying 3.22 times more than in 1985 [See Figure 6, p. 18]. The Sanders plan will likely exasperate this trend because it will remove any incentive for public institutions to slow these increases.

Second, any reduction in current sources of revenue would likely require increases in tuition rates to cover the shortfall. For example, a large portion of public college budgets are governmentally funded through grants, tax benefits, and work-study programs. In 2014, state aid and local taxes cumulatively contributed $81.6 billion in these areas. Cuts to state or local budgets could result in less revenue for public colleges and universities, which would have to be offset by higher tuition rates.

Most public institutions also depend on revenue from hospitals, auxiliary enterprises, private gifts, investment income, and other educational activities. These sources contributed $80 billion—or one-third of total revenue—to public institutions (four-year, two-year, and less than two-year) in 2012. Although these programs are generally self-sustaining, the amount of revenue they generate is not guaranteed. Unexpected revenue deficits in these areas could also result in tuition hikes, costs ultimately saddled onto the taxpayer under the Sanders plan.

Third, the advent of free tuition will provide a powerful incentive for students to enroll in public colleges and universities. Whether motivating those who never before considered college to finally enroll, or incentivizing private college students to switch to the public sector, or a combination of both, the result will be the same—a significant increase in the cost of offering free tuition, well above estimates based on static enrollments in public institutions.

As faulty as Sander’ cost estimates appear, perhaps the more troubling aspect of his plan is its false promise of eliminating student loan debt. The cost of college attendance includes far more than just tuition. In fact, fully half of public college students’ expenditures remains room and board. The College Board reports the average published tuition rate for public four-year in-state students as $9,410, while the corresponding price of room and board is $10,138. Textbooks are another significant cost of attendance, with the average public undergraduate student paying $1,200 annually.

Admittedly, many public institution students attend a community college or commute, which minimizes room and board costs but does not eliminate them entirely. If only tuition is covered by government, students will still require loans to pay for their textbooks, room, and board, and many will remain weighed down with debt. While promising to provide a post-secondary panacea, Sanders merely increases government spending without lifting students’ financial burdens.

Before enacting a new federal entitlement, the American people deserve a more careful accounting of its costs. As currently written, the price tag of the Sanders plan is simply not as affordable as its proponents claim. College-aged voters would do well to look past the tirades against Wall Street speculators and demand more details—details such as exactly what services will be “free,” meticulous analysis of the plan’s financial assumptions, and specifics regarding how unexpected costs will be funded. They might be surprised to learn that the so-called free lunch they are being offered costs far more than suggested—and it doesn’t really taste that good, either.

– See more at: http://www.visionandvalues.org

Rob Lowe Has Seen Enough Of Bernie Sanders And Just Destroyed Him With One Simple Message

Actor and libertarian Rob Lowe shot out some pointed tweets in response to Democrat Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan to raise taxes, which the candidate discussed during Monday night’s Democrat town hall.

Sanders released his tax plan earlier this month, which calls for raising the top tax rate to 52 percent and increasing taxes on all Americans earning over approximately $230,000. Promising to target the “wealthiest Americans” to pay their “fair share” in taxes was a tactic Barack Obama employed in his successful 2008 campaign for president.

During the town hall, Sanders argued that since all Americans would receive universal healthcare if his governing agenda were fully implemented, their out of pocket expenses may actually go down, due to not having to pay health insurance premiums.

Lowe first tweeted out that he did not appreciate Sanders’ antagonistic rhetoric as he promised to raise taxes.

The actor then offered some advice via his West Wing character Sam Seaborn, who was the deputy White House communications director in the popular television series, which ran from 1999-2006.

In the clip, a staff member for a congressman (presumably) questions Seaborn: “Sam, are you in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy?”

“I am not. I am in favor of tax cuts for whom it will do the most good,” Seaborn replied. “I’m not talking about policy, I’m talking about rhetoric…Last fall every time your boss got out on the stump and said, it’s time for the rich to pay their fair share, I hid under a couch and changed my name.”

Lowe’s character then noted that when he worked as an attorney in the private sector, he made $400,000 a year, “which means I paid 27 times the national average in taxes, which means I paid my fair share and the fair share of 26 other people, and I’m happy to.”

“The top one percent of wage earners of this country, pay for 22 percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying,” said Seaborn. 

The West Wing character’s numbers no longer hold true: the top one percent pay significantly more under President Obama. According to the Tax Foundation, the top one percent (those earning over approximately $430,000) paid 38 percent of all federal income taxes in 2012 (the most recent figures available). CNBC reported, according to estimates, that figure went up in 2014, with the top one percent paying nearly half of all federal income taxes (45.7 percent).

The top 50 percent of wage earners (those earning over approximately $36,000) paid an astounding 97.2 percent of all federal income taxes, according to the Tax Foundation.

Presidents Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy believed the tax cuts that did the “most good” were those made across the board, at all income levels. Both championed tax cut plans that, when implemented in the 1980s and 60s respectively, resulted in dramatic economic growth and doubled revenues to the federal treasury.

Image Credit: Tax Foundation

Image Credit: Tax Foundation

h/t: YoungCons

Watch: Hidden Camera Catches Gov’t Officials Brag About How They Just Scammed WWII Vets

Distrust of the government runs deep, especially when it comes to federal land grabs and schemes to take away land from private citizens the government is established to protect.

Taxation of private land is another noteworthy topic, causing citizens to ask the question, “Is my land really mine?”

If a private citizen stops paying taxes on their land, the government will foreclose on the land and sell it to the highest bidder at auction and the land owner will see no monies from its sale. This small fact alone fuels tea party movements all over the country.

Taxation, which Democrats want more of, is a touchy subject for land owners. A video depicting federal employees bragging about their exploits, may leave some incensed.

Using a hidden camera, someone recorded a U.S. Park Service employee bragging about how she swindled a couple of WWII veterans out of their land for pennies on the dollar, even bragging about how she ‘stole’ Washington D.C.’s money to do it.

The deal, the acquisition of a mine from private owners which the owners said was worth an estimated $40 million. The employee said, “We went out to the mine and the owners were two little guys that had been in the Second World War…We did get it appraised and we did acquire it for $2.5 million which I stole the money from Washington to acquire it.”  She added the Bureau of Land Management “isn’t always supported because we’re the bad guys. We come in, and we take this land. And we always take it for less than it’s worth.”

Remedy Needed For Social Security’s Structural Insecurity

Social Security is a topic ignored by many, but one that should be of concern to most. Politicians avoid talking about it, as it’s known as the “third rail of politics.” Yet, the system as it is currently structured is not sustainable.

Starting in 2010, Social Security payments began exceeding payroll-tax revenues. The unfunded liability of Social Security is least $13 trillion in present value. To put this in perspective, the entire output of the U.S. economy, the gross domestic product, is $18 trillion, so this is not a trivial number.

The basic design of the system is flawed. Many people think that the way the system works is that your Social Security taxes and that of your employer is set aside, earns interest, and then is returned to you when you claim your benefits. This is not the way it works at all.

Your taxes are used to make payments to those who are currently claiming benefits. Nothing is set aside. This can work in a sense as long as there are lots of people paying taxes and not many claiming benefits. When Social Security was enacted in 1935, the life expectancy was 63 and you collected benefits at 65. There were 50 people working for every person getting benefits. Today, you can claim benefits at 62 and life expectancy is 76. There are about 2.5 people working for every beneficiary.

How should our Congress deal with this? While the problem is difficult, it is not intractable. The best way would be to do as other countries have done, most notably Chile, and privatize the system. In other words, make it as many people think it is: Your taxes go into your account that is invested, and you withdraw at a given age. Unfortunately, this is hard to do since all of your taxes are being used to make payments to existing beneficiaries.

A less difficult step is fairly obvious; namely, extend the age at which you can claim benefits to reflect increased life expectancy. This can be effective in making benefits line up with taxes, but someone who is 60 may not want to hear they will have to wait until 70 to collect. Such a move would have to be phased in and apply to younger age cohorts.

A second approach is to acknowledge that Social Security is really an income-transfer program. Does it make sense to tax the single mom working at the grocery store in Sarasota to pay for Warren Buffet’s benefits? That is effectively what’s happening.

We can make payments to those who are low-income elderly, reduce taxes on all workers, and let people save for their retirement or even require them to do so. Of course, many people who were expecting to get benefits will say they paid taxes and are just getting them back, but as noted above, this is not true. Their taxes were given away to someone else, and now there are not enough people to tax to keep the scheme going.