Copyright 2012 by John T. Reed
Here is a link to the 2/21/12 NY Times entitlements map story and maps.
Excellent, very interesting stuff.
It is a bit complex too, so I need to give you a little instruction on how to read it.
Only the first sentence of the article is on the this page. I recommend that you read the whole article which requires that you click on the words “related article” at the end of the first sentence.
Also, note the 2009 number on the upper right. If you click on the arrow to the left of that number, it will show you the same map for 1999, 1989, 1979, and 1969. As you click forward in time starting from 1969 you can see America turning into a bunch of welfare queens, America bankrupting itself by way of entitlements. There is also a box labeled Guide to Key Trends. Click on the “next” box. You will then be able to click on next a number of times and read each of the key points about the entitlements problem pointed out.
If you move the cursor around on the map, it will give you a graph of the county’s figures. You can zoom in or out with the slide on the upper right of the map.
If you click on the categories on the left, you get entirely new maps that only show the various subcategories of the federal benefits, for example, clicking on Social Security shows you maps with only the Social Security dependence around the U.S. That map is big on retirement areas like Florida and Arizona. Also, sadly, areas in the U.S. where old people cannot escape and young people won’t go like northern MI. Even more sadly, Indian reservations get little benefit from Social Security because they do not live long enough to get it.
The Medicare maps look like the all-benefits maps.
Medicaid maps show the poorest areas of the country: Indian reservations, Mexican border towns, inner cities, Appalachia. Ditto “income support” which is welfare and disability.
I would like someone to explain why there is any geographic pattern at all to disability. Why would poor areas have more disability? I’m guessing because they have commited disability claim fraud. Scum bags.
Veterans benefits seem to have become far less important than in past decades, in contrast to the other categories in this article. They contributed .9% in 1969 then that percentage declined every ten years to where it is only .4% in 2009.
Geographically, you can see the Southern bias I have complained about in some of my military articles. I think the U.S. military should represent the entire nation proportionately as it did during World War II. Instead, the former Confederate states and evangelical Christians dominate disproportionately with percentages of about 40% of military personnel. One of the reasons I give for reinstating the draft is that it would make the U. S. military representative of the nation as a whole—all geographic regions, religions, wealth, education, and so on—as it should be and was before 1973.
In the 2009 vets benefits map, the benefits have largely disappeared except for a few military bases where apparently large numbers of lifers live.
The following may seem like a strange comment, but think about it. Why would veterans benefits be more important in lifer retirement areas near military bases? A vet is not necessarily a lifer. The vast majority of vets are not lifers. Lifers may hang around military bases like Fort Hood in Kileen, TX, a.k.a. Middle of Nowhere, but veterans who are not lifers do not hang around some isolated in-the-Middle-of-Nowhere base after they get out. Plus, lifers already have benefits like generous pensions, PX and commissary privileges, and almost free medical care. These are reasons why lifers would use LESS veterans benefits like VA medical care!
I am guessing the concentration of vet benefit usage around military bases is because lifers have a far better knowledge of vet benefits than non-vets and so are more likely to take advantage of them. There should be no geographic concentrations at all of vet benefits. It should be uniform around the U.S. The fact that it is not is some sort of an unexplained scandal. It stems partly from the end of the draft in 1973 and the resulting Red Neckization of the U.S. military, but that does not explain it all.
Unemployment is distinctive in that it is now about triple what it used to be as a source of income. It is concentrated in the pro-union states, Mexican border counties, non-oil natural resource areas, as well as in some Hatfield-McCoy-Beverly Hillbillies rural areas.
Note that this map is incomplete. It discusses Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Income Support, Veterans Benefits, unemployment insurance.
It leaves out other entitlements or unfunded liabilities namely federal salaries, federal retiree pensions, federal employee and retiree health care, Obamacare.
One result is the DC area looks like it is populated by paragons of self-reliance—no need for federal checks there. You gotta be kidding me!
Another point is this map focuses on this equation:
total federal check received per person per year in the above categories divided by total income per person per year
The story is mainly about growth in the quotient of this equation, in other words, the number you get when you divide federal checks by all the checks a citizen receives.
But it must be stated that growth in that quotient can be caused either by increase in the numerator—federal check size— or by decrease in the denominator—total income. In some areas of the country, the growth in percentage of income from the federal government has been more decided by decline in overall income than by wider eligibility for federal freebies. This appears to be important in the pro-union states where people’s increased dependence on federal government is caused to a large extent by their driving employers out of their state.
The national average of people’s income comes from the above-named federal benefits has grown steadily since 1969.
1969 7.8% President that year: Nixon (R)
1979 11.2% Carter (D)
1989 11.5% George H.W. Bush (R)
1999 12.6% Clinton (D)
2009 17.6% Obama (D)
Biggest increase came during the Bush II-Obama years. I would have liked to see a map on inauguation day 2009 so we could separate Bush dependence from Obama dependence.
This is not shown in the NY Times map but was in my local paper’s version of it. In 2008, Obama won the four Western states, the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, Hawaii, and the DC area states. McCain won the states in the middle and Southeast of the country except for New Mexico and Colorado. Here is a map of the 2008 election results.
If you compare the map of federal dependency and the 2008 election results, you should note that many of the McCain states are hot beds of federal dependency like WV and the states south and west of it, AZ, AK, ID, MT. Not always though. Obama also won some high dependency states like OR, WA, NM, CO, ME, PE, and MI.
I think it’s obvious that the strategy of the Democrat Party is to get as many Americans dependent on the federal government as possible so they will vote for Democrats, the party of the federal freebie. Well, it ain’t working in the red areas. Voters there take the freebies then denounce the party that gave them to them and the whole idea of federal freebies. Go figure. Democrats need to get more bang for their vote-buying buck. How? I’m guessing channel more freebies to blacks (96% vote for the black candidate) and unions and environmentalists. They apparently cannot just assume that freebie recipients will like freebies and the party that hands them out.
As the Times article shows, the people who get the federal benefits often are vocal against their existence, while they still collect them. Liberals will probably be quick to claim that is hypocrisy. It probably is in some cases, but I would point to my own situation.
I got GI bill when I was in grad school in 1975-7. It was about $300 as I recall for each of the 18 months when the two-year program was in session.
I expect to start collecting Social Security this summer when I turn 66.
It is said that seniors now collect about three times as much from Social Security and Medicare as they pay into it.
I started paying into Social Security when I was 17 and paid into it every year since—48 years. I declined to start paying into Medicare when I became eligible last year. My wife retired from the federal government—FDIC—so we are already covered in ways that make Medicare unattractive.
I will start collecting my Social Security this summer. I figure it will go bankrupt or switch to means testing before I get out what I put in. I doubt I will get two or three times what I paid into it.
I do not expect to ever get a penny out of Medicare.
I benefit from the FDIC retiree health care and expect that to continue, maybe even after the federal government goes bankrupt, because FDIC gets it money from insurance premiums paid by banks, not from taxpayer funds.
I oppose the existence of Social Security, Medicare, employer-run pensions, and employer-paid health care. But my wife and I have been forced to pay into them. In the case of my wife’s career with FDIC, the pension and health benefits were part of the employment agreement.
I am trying not to depend financially on this stuff because regardless of paying into it or employment agreements because the U.S. government is a horseshit counterparty and will renege on these promises at some point. Right now it looks to me like around three to five years from now. That is when I figure the world bond market will call it quits on lending the U.S. government endless amounts of money. It has been clear for years that the U.S. government cannot and will not pay back all of the money it is borrowing—ever—nor can it pay the hundreds of trillions of promises it has made to seniors, retired federal employees, etc. out of its $2-trillion-a-year tax revenues.
So I think many, maybe most, of the people who oppose federal largesse and who are receiving it are not hypocrites. They are just not idiots. The money is being offered to them. They paid for it in part or maybe for all of what they get. In my case, I pay far more to the federal government than I get out. I am the host to a bunch of parasites who pay no taxes at all. When the amount I get from the federal government starts to equal what I have paid in over the years, I will start worrying about whether I have taken too much. I do not believe that will ever happen or even come close to happening.
One woman in the Times article was pressed about the apparent hypocrisy in her taking federal benefits but condemning them. She was reduced to tears trying to reconcile the cognitive dissonance.
I did an article a while ago saying the U.S. should divide into Maker Land and Taker Land. I defined Maker Land as election districts that voted for Bush in 2000 and Taker Land as districts that voted for Gore in 2000—because that was maybe the closest election ever.
Based on this NY Times map, it would appear that Maker Land includes a whole lot of what I call TAGG.
I am thinking of renaming the Democrat and Republican parties—both have rather vacuous, uninformative names at present. The obvious name for the Democrats is the Parasite Party. That suggests the Republicans are the Host Party. In biology, the host is the animal the parasites consume from within—although animal world parasites hae the common sense not to kill the host—Democrats, as evidenced by their unions driving employers out of their states, have no such common sense.
Another name that has occurred to me for the Republicans is the TAGG Party because they Talk A Good Game but vote the way the Parasite Party needs them to vote to keep the national debt and welfare state growing.
So the problem with my Maker Land definition is while pro-Bush electoral districts include many who Talk a Good Game on parasitism, many of those districts also contain a high percentage of actual parasites.
So I guess I will just keep my Maker Land definition as election districts, not states, that voted for Bush in 2000, but I will expect the actual parasites currently living there to pack up and leave for Taker Land where they will continue to get benefits for the year or two before the Taker Land government goes bankrupt. That will happen quicker when the makers in Maker Land no longer pay txes to the government that runs Taker Land. The parasites initially in Maker Land will leave because in Maker Land there is separation of charity and state, health care and state, education and state, pensions and state. In other words, no entitlements or government safety net.
Would the non-parasites in Taker Land come the other direction to Maker Land? No. They are not parasites, but their idealogy is driven by the God of “providing a safety net for the needy.” My response to them would be they should start or support a private charity to do that. Then they can decide for themselves who is a parasite and who is legitimately needy and deserving of charity. See my article that explains how those in favor of a “progressive” income tax and a safety net are Marxists.
Politicians cannot be put in charge of charity because they are incapable of saying no to anyone seeking taxpayer’s money or money brrowed on the taxpayers’ credit card. But in Maker Land, we will have separation of charity and state. We will not use armed government agents to force citizens at gunpoint to give the the favorite charities of the liberals (potentially—try not paying your taxes and see how long it takes for the armed federal marshal to arrive at your front door to confiscate your property and take you to jail).
But all this political discussion means nothing. Fundamentally, the NY Times map shows the incidence of an extremely bad habit: depending upon the federal government to pay you lots of money for doing nothing. Whe do you think you are? A Greek?
There was a time when we could have weaned ourselves off this gradually. That time will soon pass if it has not already. Then, inevitably, in the not-too-distant future, a large percentage of Americans will have to end their addiction to government checks cold turkey. Greece is currently going through that withdrawal. It is not pretty.
What do I recommend for you non-parasites?
Own hard assets of the home, furniture, clothing, food variety in the U.S. Put your cash in Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian dollars, and travel among those three countries while America is going through its imitation of Greece period.
When America’s parasites kick the habit, decide if it is still a country you want to go back to. Then settle down permanently in the country of your choice. Spending more that we take in will end without a doubt, so that habit will have to be kicked. The only question is will that withdrawal from federal check addiction cause Americans to turn toward socialism as we did in 1932—starting us down the path we are now nearing the end of? Or will we turn toward free markets and self-reliance, whence we came in the period 1776 to 1929?
John T. Reed
Reader Vince Boston says there is a geographic patern to disability because the people who receive it are generally poor and have to live in areas where housing and the other cost-of-living items are cheap.
He also says part of the geographic pattern of lots of unemployment insurance in the upper midwest is cold weather prevents much construction and it is standard for the construction workers to spend every single winter of their adult lives on unemployment. That is wrong and yet another reason why government entitlements all need to be eliminated. Private charity will do a far better job of helping the truly needy. You cannot trust politicians and government employees to help only the needy. They will help all potential voters to freebies.
I spent my elementary school years in Wildwood, NJ, a summer resort. It was common there for those who worked on the boardwalk in the summer to go on NJ unemployment in the fall until the following Memorial Day. Other than visting the unemployment office, they would be in Florida between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
I still have not heard why vet benefits are concentrated geographically where lifers retire abound southern military bases.