How Bullshit Persists

The intent of this is good, but its details are way off.

The big problem with this meme is it perpetuates in several ways the false RW belief that the working class is paying for helping ‘others’ and the burden falls mostly on them, when they aren’t, not really.

First off it doesn’t fall on them, since they generally pay little in taxes, the top 10% actually pay most of the taxes and the bottom 50% pay almost nothing in. So the “rich” aren’t putting burden on them at all really as the meme claims. But they are screwing them in other ways…

Second, only a tiny percentage of federal spending goes to helping others, an even more minuscule amount goes to the poorest directly.  What the Right likes to call ‘welfare’ or direct payments to the poor, are only made through one remaining program since 1996 when the Newt Gingrich Republicans with Bill Clinton’s full support reformed ‘welfare’ as we knew it basically out of existence.

So if the Republicans wrote the law, why are the Democrats still getting the blame for the (now nearly non-existent) handouts to the lazy?

The program is now called Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF.) There are stiff requirements, work requirements, only parents of children are eligible, and it is block granted to the states who administer it. The Red states are so strict that less than 10% of those eligible receive anything in almost all of them, so most who need it don’t even bother to apply. California and New York are the exceptions, they actively enroll eligible families as they see the benefit to helping people actually adds to the economy.

The total percentage of the Federal Budget for TANF amounts to a whopping .3%, that’s point 3 percent. Food stamps is about 1% and gives no one enough to actually eat well enough on that alone. Most of those getting them also work low wage jobs, or seniors and military who make up most of the recipients.

Medicaid is a big one for expense outlay, at about 9.5% now, but again most are working and are paid so low they still qualify for this publicly funded health insurance. The percentage went up with the ACA as it raised the amount you can earn and still qualify, but all the Republican states refused to enact the expansion. FYI most of the Medicaid expansion, and the subsidies for low income earners (like me) above the cutoff for Medicaid to purchase their own insurance on the exchanges, was funded not by an increase in income tax, but by a .9% increase in the FICA payroll deduction for Medicare, only applied on incomes above $250,000, and an array of other minor taxes, like on medical equipment, hence the outrage by the rich over “Obamacare.” No one ever mentions this but raising the minimum wage to a living wage, would drop millions off of Medicaid. Seems so simple to me, eliminate spending to help the working poor by paying them enough so they aren’t poor.

Finally, listed in the ‘welfare’ category on the budget charts (link below) are the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit. These are the biggest payouts with about 2% and amount to the biggest ‘handouts’ and most working class people qualify. They can actually qualify as ‘wealth redistribution’ but in reality it’s just spreading out who pays the low wage workers what they should get up front. The money just goes up first before it comes back down. These were implemented by and are strongly supported by Republicans, Reagan was a big fan, I think they were created during his administration. It basically rewards those who work for low pay, so it’s in effect a subsidy to the big minimum wage employers, by spreading out the income the poor workers receive across the entire tax payer base instead of cutting the profits at the source corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s which reap huge profits by paying so low to begin with.

Foodstamps, TANF, Medicaid, and the EIC and CTC are all basically subsidies to the big minimum wage employers allowing them to make and keep much bigger profits while the rest of us help support their workers. Again the tax burden mostly falls on the rich though but it is spread out among them this way. And as we also know their share has been cut significantly, leading to massive deficits, while their loopholes remain, so that many corporations pay 0 in taxes while paying out obscene bonuses and salaries to their top executives and dividends to the stockholders. Hence the money still moves up, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

So the issue is low wages not ‘free stuff for lazy people’ that is the real problem. The latter is a complete myth, a lie, designed to create resentment to get these white working class folks to vote for the Republicans who are keeping them struggling while making them think it’s ‘welfare’ spending and high taxes that is keeping them struggling. It’s the Republicans who refuse to raise wages, while also cutting taxes on themselves, and spending trillions on ‘defense’, allowing them to get richer and making the poor poorer.

So the mystery is why the working class keeps voting for the Republicans. Part of the answer is that they believe the myth that this meme reinforces. And a big reason for that is racism.

So, yes the top is screwing the bottom. That’s why I said the intent is good. But not by putting the tax burden ‘entirely’ on them as the meme falsely claims.

It also falsely infers that the ‘tax burden’ all goes to helping those with even less. That the working poor are totally supporting the non-working poor which is the first lie. And that it’s “the elite’s” fault for putting the burden on them, which is the second lie. Its just simply not true. The first is the standard RW meme. It is pure RW propaganda. Adding the second falsehood it then plays both sides of the issue demonizing both ‘the elites’ and the ‘moochers.’ In the Trumper world, ‘the elites’ are always the Democrats and Liberals making them pay for the lazy. The Republican elites are benevolent job creators who they believe, again falsely, are prevented by high taxes and environmental regulations from paying them more. When the opposite is true.


I had some links to data and charts that the wealthiest indeed do pay the majority of the tax dollars collected. I need to dig them up again.

That factoid is thrown out by RWers all the time to counter the ‘rich need to pay their fair share’ liberal talking point.  They think it’s a winner and ends the discussion, but what it really shows is half the country didn’t make enough to owe or pay taxes. That is the real problem. Bernie and all the rest should say ‘pay the workers their fair share!’ instead. Raising taxes on the CEOs high salaries and bonuses is a deterrent to their greed and creates an incentive to put the profits their workers generate for the company back in their pockets, which they will quickly spend on more goods and services, and thus keep the economic engine running smoothly.  Back when America was great, the envy of the world, this is why we had such prosperity and such a strong middle class and the system worked. They used to know this…how their philosophy of selfishness came to dominate the top tier is another story…