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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Julia: Obama's Entitlement Darling

I would like to thank the Obama administration for validating the premise of my last column (“Our Entitlement Addiction”). In case you forgot, in the column I declared that today’s poster children for our Entitlement Society are the two recent winners of million dollar lotteries in the state of Michigan—Amanda Clayton and Leroy Fick—who enthusiastically continued receiving their state welfare after winning their fortunes.

However, it seems that President Obama has awarded the Entitlement Society poster-child job to “Julia.” With their moronic "The Life of Julia" slideshow, the Obama administration paints a perfect picture (a "clear manifestation" if you will) of the entitlement culture they wish not only to maintain, but amazingly, grow.

In the sideshow—I mean slideshow, we first see Julia at age three enrolled in the pre-k Head Start program. Head Start, which began as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Entitlement Society—I mean Great Society, is a “Great” example of a federal program that we pour billions of taxpayer dollars into, that accomplishes almost nothing it set out to, and will be virtually impossible to get rid of.

Time Magazine’s Joe Klein said last year that after 45 years, “We spend more than $7 billion providing Head Start to nearly 1 million children each year. And finally there is indisputable evidence about the program's effectiveness, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not work.” In other words, children who attend Head Start perform no better than students of similar income and social status who did not attend.

Like so many other government “programs,” Head Start has devolved into a jobs, healthcare, and childcare “program,” and thus its continued popularity. Many liberals even acknowledge this. “The argument that Head Start opponents make is that it is a jobs program,” a senior Obama Administration official told Klein, “and sadly, there is something to that.”

Julia then embarks on her K-12 academic career, where the federal government has had about as much success as it has with pre-k. According to the Cato Institute, since 1970, while inflation-adjusted federal spending for 17-year-olds (as Cato notes, “The final years of high school are the decisive ones…”) increased nearly 200%, math, reading, and science scores were virtually flat-lined.

We are then told of how Julia benefits from the fruits of Obamacare, which includes remaining on her parents’ insurance until age 26. Just what our youth need—further motivation to put off adulthood and responsibility! Finally able to stand on her own at age 27, Julia is thankful that Obamacare requires her health insurance to cover her birth control. Of course, there is no mention of marriage or a husband.

But there is mention of a child. We are told that at age 31, Julia decides to have a child and that “Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.” In this one sentence we get the clearest picture of the absurd liberal mindset. Because of her government (especially President Obama), Julia is the beneficiary of “free” health screenings. There is no mention of any costs; no mention of taxes or who exactly is paying for Julia’s “free” screenings.

As she nears retirement age, Julia also is able to take advantage of Medicare and Social Security. This is encouraging news for all of us, because by this time Julia has reached her mid-sixties (This puts us around the year 2075.). Given that both programs currently have well over a hundred trillion dollars in unfunded mandates, and neither party seems serious about significant reforms for either, I will be very exited to see President Obama’s plan to ensure that both are still around as we approach the 22nd century.

There is plenty more in the life of Julia that reveals her dependence on her government. In fact, throughout her sad life she never really grows up. She is revealed to be little more than a child nursing on the big bosom of the state. Is this really how the Obama administration sees women? Where is the feminist outrage? Then again, she does fit the bill when it comes to modern feminism; all that is missing from Julia’s sorry existence is a couple of taypayer–funded abortions!

Now that Mitt Romney has a virtual lock on the GOP nomination, the 2012 presidential campaign is officially underway. “The Life of Julia” is one of the first salvos in what is sure to be a brutal campaign. Romney has got to be encouraged. With more efforts like this, he will have very little to do to show undecided America Obama’s vision for the future. I just hope that there aren’t too many Julias out there who vote.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

NC Poised to Protect Marriage


The state of North Carolina votes tomorrow on whether to amend its constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. North Carolina would be the 30th U.S. state to so amend its constitution. The most recent poll shows support for the amendment with a 16 point lead (55% to 39%). I’m hoping for at least a 60-40 victory. As it is looking more and more likely that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is going to be necessary to protect the definition of marriage, this would be another encouraging turn of events.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Entitlement Addiction

Never has there been a clearer manifestation of the absurdity that our entitlement culture has wrought than what occurred recently in the state of Michigan—not once, but twice.

For several months after winning a $1 million state lottery jackpot, 25-year-old Michigan resident, Amanda Clayton, collected thousands of dollars in state assistance. Clayton reportedly received approximately $5,500 in food stamps and public medical benefits. She was exposed by a Detroit news station, WDIV-TV4, in March and has since been arrested for welfare fraud. 

When confronted by the Detroit station and asked if she felt that she had a right to the money, Clayton replied, “I mean I kinda do.” She further added, “I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.” Clayton then declared that she intended to continue to use her benefits until she was cut off.

Perhaps Ms. Clayton learned her trade from 60-year-old Leroy Fick. In June of 2010 Fick won $2 million in a Michigan state lottery TV show. In May of 2011, the Detroit News noted that, according to Fick’s attorney, Michigan’s state “Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps.”

The News also noted that, “Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don't count as income. As long as Fick's gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.”

Fick declared, “If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it.” His attorney added, “I am not going to sit and debate the ethics of this…from his standpoint, he did what he was supposed to do -- he informed the state, and the state said he could keep using the card. The problem is with the state.”

No doubt that “the state” has its problems. Among them is the fact that it has created generations of entitlement leeches who are so embedded that, even when they come into a fortune, they are loath to be removed from their bloated (yet bankrupt) host.

Not only are Mr. Fick and Ms. Clayton guilty of defrauding the taxpayer, they are an example of the worst kind of greed. Other than get “lucky,” neither of them did a thing to accumulate their wealth. Yet they continued unapologetically to seek more through other means that would again require them to do almost nothing. They are the poster children for an entitlement society.

Certainly not everyone who receives government assistance turns out like these two. How could they? I mean, the number of million dollar lottery winners is, by definition, quite small. Thus, very few would ever even have the opportunity to be as lecherous as Fick and Clayton. Sadly, however, I’m afraid that there are far too many who would choose the same path.

Also, note the logic of an entitlement driven government. Michigan has since changed its law, but how asinine is it that, after winning his millions, Mr. Fick was still eligible for government assistance?! I suppose that if he won $10 million he would have immediately been eligible for his Social Security benefits and private lessons from the Secret Service on how to obtain the best available local prostitutes!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just published some interesting data and graphics. It reveals that in fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government spent $3.6 trillion while taking in $2.3 trillion. Of the $3.6 trillion spent, $2 trillion was “mandatory” spending that includes entitlements. In fact, the vast majority of the “mandatory” spending was for Social Security ($725 billion), and healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid $856 billion).

Also, the CBO estimated that one in seven Americans received food stamps last year (and one in ten said they would give them up if they won the lottery!). The CBO concluded that the number of Americans receiving food stamps would continue to grow until 2014.

The reason that automobile giants GM and Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009 is that they had, for the most part, ceased to become car companies and had instead become pension and healthcare providers for millions of Americans. (See my column here.) The U.S. federal government is not only a pension and healthcare provider, but it also has massive housing, food, and child-care programs as well.

What’s more, most of these programs are quite popular. Too many Americans love their entitlements and have a difficult time giving them up (see Fink and Clayton), or even accepting the slightest reforms. This is one reason many liberals want to see Obamacare implemented. Once an entitlement begins, ending it is harder than keeping Keith Olbermann happy.

Thus, not only do conservatives have the task of reining in current entitlement programs and preventing new ones, but also of changing our very culture. The U.S. literally can afford nothing less.

(See this column on American Thinker.)


Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com