So, we see that a great number of Americans are working full-time, and often in an additional job, and receiving an income that bears no relation to their families’ actual costs of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and education. Rather than creating an economy in which they can be self-sustaining, we have relegated them to dependency, and have created a plethora of state and federal programs designed to assist them in meeting those needs. A 2006 study by the Congressional Research Service[i] inventoried 84 federal means-tested programs. The Department of Human Services has provided a short list of 39 of those programs[ii], as follows:
The HHS poverty guidelines, or percentage multiples of them (such as 125 percent, 150 percent, or 185 percent), are used as an eligibility criterion by a number of federal programs, including those listed below. . . .
Most of these programs are non-open-ended programs — that is, programs for which a fixed amount of money is appropriated each year. A few open-ended or “entitlement” programs that use the poverty guidelines for eligibility are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), the National School Lunch Program, certain parts of Medicaid, and the subsidized portion of Medicare – Prescription Drug Coverage.
Major means-tested programs that do not use the poverty guidelines in determining eligibility include the following:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
State/local-funded General Assistance (in most cases)
Some parts of Medicaid
Section 8 low-income housing assistance
Low-rent public housing
Even with these programs in place, we have millions of working Americans who are having their electricity and water cut off and cannot fill their fuel oil tanks, feed their children regularly, or fill their doctors’ prescriptions, in short, who cannot make ends meet, and for whom life does not add up.
There will always be some individuals in need of assistance. But how much better would it be if working Americans could make their own way and lead a life of independence, rather than having to rely on these inefficient subsidies and income transfers?
[i] “Cash and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY2002-FY2004” (CRS Report for Congress — Order Code RL33340), Domestic Social Policy Division and Knowledge Services Group, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, March 27, 2006, cited at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/contacts.cfm.
GO TO What We Get 2 - Social Ills.
May 15, 2014, Ontario, CA - MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, delivered the keynote address at the 20th annual World Trade Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the California Inland Empire District Export Council in Ontario, California. To view the conference agenda, click here:
May 7, 2015, Radnor, PA. MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, appeared as the guest of host Richard J. Anthony, Sr. on The Entrepreneur's Network TV at Radnor Studio 21. The program featured a discussion of the problems caused by offshoring manufacturing and white collar jobs and how consmers can solve the problem with their spending decisions.
Studio 21 has made the program available for viewing here: