As caseloads for all the programs have soared, so have costs. The federal price tag for Medicaid has jumped 36% in two years, to $273 billion. Jobless benefits have soared from $43 billion to $160 billion. The food stamps program has risen 80%, to $70 billion. Welfare is up 24%, to $22 billion. Taken together, they cost more than MedicareDid you get that?: 273B for Medicaid; 160B for unemployment benefits; 70B for food stamps; and 22B for welfare.
Those sound like astronomical amounts, and they are; but how much of our pay actually goes in to those programs? I looked at my current pay stub and calculated that the federal withholding amounts to 5% of my earnings. For every $100 I make, $5 goes to Washington. That 5% has to be distributed to other expenditures at the federal level, like defense, which makes up approximately 23% of government spending.
Now keep in mind that I'm not including my FICA and Medicare deduction (my employer separates FICA and Medicare into separate columns). I'm focusing on the 5% that goes to fund the above mentioned programs because of the rise in participants and the derision usually pointed in their direction.
When I break it down and take into account that part of my 5% goes into defense, education, transportation, and not just social programs, it doesn't seem like so much. I don't want to seem dismissive, but when I put things into perspective, I find out that the sting isn't that potent. Naturally those who make more than I do will contribute a bit more. The only reason I chose to talk about this is because we seem to waste a lot of time and energy worrying about the supposed distribution of wealth. We worry about those who might not be pulling their own weight, and all that negative energy just shortens our lives.
When Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment, and welfare fight for a portion of my five percent, suddenly I don't have a need to bust a vein.