Poverty and the Virginia Welfare State

Greetings from the Virginia welfare state

Greetings from the Virginia welfare state

Let’s say you’re a woman living in the City of Richmond. Let’s say you have two children, ages three and seven, but no husband. Let’s say you work 40 hours a week earning the minimum wage, or $15,080 per year. How much can you potentially receive in public benefits?

Sean Gorman, the Richmond Times-Dispatch PolitiFact reporter, added up the numbers based on a report by the Virginia Department of Social Services:

  • Welfare — $3,840
  • Food stamps — $2,268
  • Women, Infants and Children food basket — $600
  • Child care assistance — $12,468
  • School lunch — $1,296
  • Housing voucher –$10,692
  • Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan — estimated $9,807 (based on comparison to Medicaid)
  • Total — $40,971

Add that $40,971 to the wages the woman earns, and we’re talking $56,000 a year. Then consider that the $40,971 in benefits are not taxable income. To earn the same amount in take-home pay– accounting for social security, Medicare, federal income taxes and state income taxes — the same woman would have to earn $5,000 to $10,000 more, depending on what assumptions you make. (That is a back-of-the-envelope calculation derived from running numbers through a federal tax calculator.)

Thus, under the Virginia welfare state, a woman with two young children working for minimum wage enjoys roughly the same standard of living as a woman with two young children earning $60,000 to $65,000 a year. Then consider that the 2015 median household income in Richmond was $60,700, and consider the fact that the median household income includes many two-income families.

Discussion questions:

  • Income inequality. What do these numbers imply for the debate over income inequality in the United States? Does it make any sense to decry the disparity in income without taking into account benefits that low-income households receive from the welfare state?
  • Upward mobility. What do these numbers imply for social mobility? If a woman cannot better her material condition by working diligently and acquiring the skills needed to earn more pay, do welfare benefits act as a deterrent to self-improvement?
  • Poverty and marriage. Given the incentives of the welfare state, what reason do poor women have to get married and to raise their children in a stable partnership with their father? To what extent do welfare benefits render low- and working-class men economically peripheral and irrelevant for any role other than as sexual partners?
  • The nature of poverty. To what extent is the scourge of poverty in Virginia — substance abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, ill disciplined behavior, crime, dropping out of high school, out-of-wedlock births, and associated dysfunctional behaviors — the result of material deprivation or the consequence of welfare-induced family breakdown?

I would guess that the $40,000 tally of welfare benefits is a high number — not all similarly situated women apply for and receive the full gamut of benefits. Even so, the number is extraordinary. It is a testimony to the upward-striving nature of American society that anyone makes an effort to improve themselves at all.

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39 responses to “Poverty and the Virginia Welfare State

  1. “Welfare” – It’s no longer called welfare (an “entitlement”), but Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, because it is temporary. In Virginia, “… your family can receive TANF cash assistance for 24 months (two years). After receiving TANF for 24 months, you and your entire household have to wait another 24 months to apply again.”
    Housing Voucher – Jim, can you follow up and report back on waiting lists/average time? It’s not like you just fill out a form and get a $10,00 voucher: ‘The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) manages 31 agencies that cover 60 of the 95 counties in the State of Virginia.’
    Child care: While child care is indeed terribly costly, in the real world where your woman lives, she would have ‘free’ care for her two kids while she worked. That is not income, and working full time while using child care (as those of us who have used it well know) is an almost-daily juggle of schedules and commutes, incl. sickness of any of the family members, doctors, etc. etc. So it’s not the walk in the park you seem to think.
    Health Insurance: That health insurance costs almost $10,000/year for a family of three is a whole ‘nother discussion, but again, it’s not income.

    So your lucky “who needs a man?!” lady only gets the welfare for two years, and otherwise gets free school lunches for the older kid 5 days/wk 9 mo/year. Free reliable health insurance and child care would indeed be a great help; I have a feeling it’s not that simple.

    …and I guess her reasons for marriage would be just like the rest of us who don’t want to be economically dependent on a husband – companionship, joy and affection….and someone to open jars.

    • Marriage has always been an economic institution in addition to a child-bearing and raising-institution. It very much remains one today. It is a luxury of our age that our choice of marriage partners is significantly driven by sentiment. But the phenomenon of “assortative mating” — men and women marrying within their income/education class is actually increasing.

  2. Dear Ebeneezer Bacon – go watch “A Christmas Carol” at least twice in the next 48 hours. Several versions are easily available right now. I will even count the Mr. Magoo version. There will be a test. Based on what I see above, you may fail it….

  3. Safe to say we have gotten rid of the compassionate conservative concept!

  4. Think there might be some taxpayer-provided benefits available to the middle or upper classes, as well? Anybody ever calculate them? Which would you rather have: public housing? Or a 35 percent rebate (via a tax deduction) on the interest being used to buy a nice house that provides actual wealth for you and your heirs? Watch the howling in the coming debate over federal income taxes when it is proposed to cap all deductions!

    It is perfectly valid to point out that there are many forms of assistance that are conveniently forgotten by advocates for those who struggle. I’m sure I share with Bacon deep resentment at people who try to say we do little or nothing, because between private and public assistance we do quite a bit. The most important and valuable are the educational services, not counted in that article (expect for the school lunches).

    But it is just as convenient for others to assume that all those benefits take all the pain or risk out of being poor, and to try to assure everybody that There Is No Problem. Even for Miss Rosie Scenario, one health crisis will mean bankruptcy.

  5. An important factor that should be included in the debate is the effort made by people who are employed, either as employees or contractors, and companies providing services to low-income people and their efforts to maintain or expand levels of dependency. I believe it is a big, but un-discussed, factor.

    I sometimes wonder what might have happened had the Nation adopted Richard Nixon’s negative income tax and done away with all social safety net programs except for short-term emergency assistance.

  6. P.S. – For housing vouchers – in my cut-and-paste edits, the long long waiting lists were unintentionally omitted.

  7. Sorry all but he has made the point here quite well. I can understand why people would rather do “welfare”. Makes more financial sense.

    The nature of poverty paragraph is dead on. If you don’t value education, if you don’t value building & sharing with another, delaying children until after marriage, the family breakdown stats and comments I’ve seen elsewhere agree with Mr. Bacons’ assertions.

    • Yeh it almost sounds like KV & Steve are making excuses for dysfunctional behavior, and not just directed at the poor schmoes that we are directly talking about. A good case can be made that it’s not totally their fault at all, just as the influx of illegal immigrants is not totally the fault of the immigrants. Both are responding to incentives for their behavior placed there by the government. I suspect, though cannot be sure, that this may be about to change.

  8. >>Child care: While child care is indeed terribly costly, in the real world where your woman lives, she would have ‘free’ care for her two kids while she worked. That is not income, and working full time while using child care (as those of us who have used it well know) is an almost-daily juggle of schedules and commutes, incl. sickness of any of the family members, doctors, etc. etc. So it’s not the walk in the park you seem to think.>>

    Well, it’s only –“not income”– because you say so. There is the concept of opportunity cost. And surely you don’t think that the gainfully employed female making 50-60 K has any less of a daily juggle than the welfare mom. The difference is that one is busting her backside while the other is not. In fairness, I’m sure my pastor would side with you because he disagrees with the charity concept of – the “deserving poor”,

    Everyone so far has left out the ever present and ever expanding “disability” payments, the new welfare. I have very few clients who are poor who don’t have someone in their “family” on disability, generally the kids. Another $10-12K a year. The government bureaucracy that doles out that benefit is, how shall we say, sympathetic to the claims for disability, understanding that it indeed replaced “welfare as we know it” that went out in ’96 or ’97. (Did you key in on the “as we know it” part? Just sayin’)

    You and Steve are advocating for how hard it is to be poor. No question. It’s much more expensive to be poor. You get slammed when you go buy a used car that’s been damaged by hail and has an engine that’s barely alive. You pay through the nose at the local bodega because of the risk and “shrinkage”, and oh yes–death, incurred by the owner.
    But Jim seems to be talking about the similarities between the working poor and the welfare poor in terms of the economic outcome. Neither one has it any easier economically, but I wonder about the spiritual outcomes. Do they explain the outcomes in Jim’s last heading: the Nature of Poverty?

  9. well.. there is no such thing as “free” child care.. the folks that take care of the kids have to be paid – and that money has to come from somewhere.

    and not sure anyone mentioned the earned income and child tax credits which can amount to 5K or more refund on taxes.

    I thought I read that Trump was planning on proposing ending the Head of Household tax status as well as exemptions so you just get the tax deduction.

    But what is the real point with respect to talking about folks who get entitlements – and stopping there – without talking about what you would do – instead?

    Is it just another generic grump about “takers” or what?

  10. Mr. Reeves is a uber partisan GOPper blathering the usual right-wing rhetoric in the usual one-sided way and Bacon follows along

    Question – Why does Mr. Reeves and Jim talk about a Richmond mother rather than a Coalfields mother?

    The whole “discussion” here is pointed to one specific group of people and just plain ignoring the fact that poverty in Virginia is very much an “equal opportunity scourge.

    So take these things that are provided for “discussion”:

    ” Income inequality. What do these numbers imply for the debate over income inequality in the United States? Does it make any sense to decry the disparity in income without taking into account benefits that low-income households receive from the welfare state?

    Upward mobility. What do these numbers imply for social mobility? If a woman cannot better her material condition by working diligently and acquiring the skills needed to earn more pay, do welfare benefits act as a deterrent to self-improvement?

    Poverty and marriage. Given the incentives of the welfare state, what reason do poor women have to get married and to raise their children in a stable partnership with their father? To what extent do welfare benefits render low- and working-class men economically peripheral and irrelevant for any role other than as sexual partners?

    The nature of poverty. To what extent is the scourge of poverty in Virginia — substance abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, ill disciplined behavior, crime, dropping out of high school, out-of-wedlock births, and associated dysfunctional behaviors — the result of material deprivation or the consequence of welfare-induced family breakdown?”

    and then let me ask – would you ask these same questions in the same way – talking about poverty in Southwest Virginia or other parts of rural Virginia?

    somewhere – we need to have an attitude adjustment on what walks and talks like a race-tinged inner-city centric view of poverty.

    This guy Reeves – he’s running to represent – Virginia so I’d truly like to know his view of poverty outside of the inner city in Virginia – as well as what he would do about it.

    • A classic LarrytheG distraction: Duck a discussion about the relationship between poverty and entitlements by making not-so-thinly veiled accusations of racism. “Why,” he asked, “does Mr. Reeves and Jim talk about a Richmond mother rather than a Coalfields mother?”

      I can’t speak for Reeves, but I can tell you that I made it about a Richmond mother because I was quoting directly from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. And the Richmond Times-Dispatch was drawing much of its data from a state report.

      “Would you ask these same questions in the same way – talking about poverty in Southwest Virginia or other parts of rural Virginia?”

      Of course I would — and I have. You might recall my book reviews about “Hillybilly Elegy” and “The Extremes of Virginia.” You should remember. You made your fair share of comments.

      No, Larry, I’m not making the conversation about race, you are. Right out of the center-left playbook. It’s really shameless.

      • From the Times-Dispatch: “Reeves’ claim is based on a report by the Virginia Department of Social Services that examines the “road to self-sufficiency” taken by a fictitious Richmond mom with two boys, ages 3 and 7, as she gradually works toward a higher income level where she can pay completely for her family’s basic needs without relying on public assistance.”

      • Jim – Did you bother to go to the State Report entitled – “The Road to Self-Sufficiency” that had data for every locality in Virginia?

        the “distraction” here is ignoring the point the State report was making about self sufficiency AND done – fairly and objectively for all localities.

        the folks who made it about ONE locality and about welfare are the ones who distorted the issue and deserve to be called out on it.

        I do remember your blog about “Hillybilly Elegy” and was immediately struck about how different it sounded compared to tomes about Richmond folks.. and I actually pointed that out in my comments then – and do again now.

        when you focus on one jurisdiction that is primarily inner-city folks know what you’re talking about.

        why don’t you take pains to point out that a LOT of the poverty in Va in NOT in inner cities nor Richmond – just so folks understand that you are NOT making it about one place ?

        A FAIR and OBJECTIVE approach would be to address BOTH rural AND inner city – noting the similarities and the contrasts…

        AND what we might do about it in both cases rather than talk about how “bad” the entitlement “culture” is – in the inner city?

        You don’t have to reflexively support what right-wing folks are saying – especially when they are purposely re-casting the point the state folks were making about poverty – in ALL of Virginia and what it would take in EACH locality for those in poverty to reach self sufficiency.

        why did Reeves cherry-pick and co-opt the state report for his own political purposes and others then point to him as on to something?

  11. this is poverty in Va – and one would presume the geography that Reeves is really alluding to even if he chooses to accentuate one place over the wider distribution.

    would the same comments and “ideas” apply the same way to a “welfare” mom in Bland or Lee Virginia?

  12. “I never said being poor was a walk in the park.”

    What the hell would you know about being poor?

    • What are you implying here, Peter? If someone has only observed poverty and has not actually lived it, he is not qualified to talk about it?

      If that’s the case, you have discredited not just me but yourself and a vast academic, political and administrative class that also opines about poverty without actually experiencing it. In that case, one could conclude only that the anti-poverty efforts of the past half century have been run by people who are ignorant of the subject matter… which might explain why the war on poverty has been such a spectacular failure despite the investment of trillions of dollars.

  13. Unfortunately, this blog sometimes exemplifies what is going wrong in political “discussions” in this country. Rather than discuss with facts, logic, observations, suggestions, etc., we immediately devolve to pat ad hominen attacks, distortions, and what is currently being called tribalism. This is what Crossfire devolved to, and fortunately Jon Stewart skewered it.

    I actually read this blog because, while it comes from a conservative vein, I think it aspires to be better than that. I don’t really want to sit in front the TV with MSNBC and Fox News on much any more. Worthless, worthless, worthless . . .

    Although we may not agree on solutions, I think Jim raises issues that are worth discussing.

    • Izzo – if you don’t agree on what solutions might be – then why keep going back to discuss the “problem” primarily among folks of the same philosophically bent?

      When you start out framing the issue in an illegitimate and biased way – you divide folks further – and snuff out opportunity to find middle ground things that can be agreed on to move forward.

      but that’s not the right is about these days – it’s primarily pitchfork and torch dialogue to urge like-minded to a “burn it all down” mentality.

      whether its health care, immigration, poverty, education, – it’s the same basic “answer” from the right – “its broke – tear it all down and start over”.

      Just notice on this one thread what the proposed solutions that is being offered by the folks who say things are broke…

      • Is it really “torch and pitchfork dialogue” to note factually that a women with two young children in Virginia can earn $15,000 a year and receive $40,000 in welfare benefits, boosting the value of work+benefits to the rough after-tax equivalent of earning $60,000 a year?

        • Yes – if you have no constructive reforms.. and just want to demonize SOME folks receiving the entitlements and the state.

          would you make the same argument about folks in SW VA?

          what is your “solution” ? just cut the entitlements because they’re “not working”? Do you have ANY thoughts at all about how to change things for the better? If you do , what not add that to your complaints?

          the numbers being cited by the way are not consistent – I’m seeing 40K , not 60k in my reading.

          and you can’t really say 10K worth of health insurance .. they don’t get 10K in money – what they get is access to health care when needed. Does each Medicaid recipient get 10K worth of care each year? I seriously doubt it.

          it’s just a bogus way of looking at it – on purpose – to suit an agenda…

          and this is really bad 3/4 of Medicaid goes to nursing homes in Va.. the amount that goes to families is about 1/4.

  14. Sheesh – I was the first one to post but the follow-ups cherry-picked my comment while ignoring the two most important fact-based points:

    1) This entire thread needs to reflect that TANF is for two years at a time, five-year lifetime limit.

    2) And someone – ideally the journalist – needs to report back on the waiting time for a housing voucher.

    Those of us taking issue with this blog post are not saying only the poor can analyze poverty, but the tone-deafness would be helped by actually talking and working with actual poor people.

    • kvdavis2 – your biggest SIN here is that you’re actually trying to bring real facts and information to a discussion which is really just another right wing rant about entitlements for takers.

      stay here please – and keep doing your thing – Bacon needs help – he’s falling down that ideological ladder big time of late.

  15. Are you really saying the entitlement system can’t be improved? Is it not a valid concern? It was for Daniel Patrick Moynihan 50 years ago.

    I guess when I read Jim I don’t see him with a pitchfork wanting to burn it all down. I took him at his word that he was putting it out for discussion, and he usually tries to factually support. Perhaps I was wrong in that.

    There are certainly those who want to “burn it all down”, but I think you have to admit that we have a lot of problems. We are going on 40 plus years of middle class income stagnation and declining class mobility. We spend nearly 18% of GDP on healthcare (over 8% more than OECD average) and have among the worst outcomes. We spend more of GDP on higher education (save South Korea), with student loan debt now exceeding credit card debt and only 68% of loan recipients in active repayment.

    News flash. We’re not going to become Scandanavia (at least any time soon) and laissez faire certainly doesn’t work in all situations (Randian Objectivism just worked wonderfully for Chairman Greenspan and that crowd leading up to the Great Recession). We’ve got to come to some better solutions for the above. Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly certainly aren’t going to get us there.

    Larry, I have to say I’m not quite sure what you mean sometimes. Perhaps it is my own limitations, but when I see you write “if you don’t agree on what solutions might be – then why keep going back to discuss the ‘problem’ primarily among folks of the same philosophically bent?”, I don’t really know what that means. Who is “you” for instance? And logically I would think it is obvious we would go back and look at the problem and frame it correctly to see if we can get more people to agree on a better solution.

    Yes, some will never budge. But if we can’t reconstitute a pragmatic center and better modes of discourse, we’re ultimately screwed.

    • “And logically I would think it is obvious we would go back and look at the problem and frame it correctly to see if we can get more people to agree on a better solution.”

      Thank you, Izzo. That is precisely the point. If we don’t properly frame the problem, we cannot possibly devise an effective solution.

      • If Jim thinks he is “framing” the issue “properly” – and the way he has done it will lead to effective solutions .. I’ve got a swamp to sell you.

        Go back and read the original and tell me how that framing is going to help when it completely ignores the rest of Virginia and especially the rural poor…

        If you REALLY want to fairly frame the issue -you don’t use Richmond as a model for the entire state .. and you don’t misuse the stuff the DSS provided in a very different way than how they presented – which was statewide and even included Henrico ! The idea was to calculate what was needed to ” “road to self-sufficiency” for each jurisdiction in Va …

        And Reeves completely distorts things that KVDAVIS points out that TANF is temporary .. not year after year – and is paid no matter if you are a Mom in Richmond or a Mom in Henrico or a Mom in Norton or Tazewell.

        So what exactly is Jim suggesting as an “effective solution” – across the state for single moms with kids -getting entitlements?

        Come on Jim – let’s hear it.. we know we’re not going to hear it from Mr. Reeves because all he was doing was trying to demonize and score political points with tea party zealots who DO want to “tear it all down”.

        How about you Izzo? what say you about the single mom with 2 kids in Tazwell county?

  16. And by the way, kvdavis2 did get it right. Since the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, we have been on TANF, “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families”.

    I agree with Larry that kvdavis2’s insights are needed on this blog.

  17. Jim,
    I have been hearing these arguments from conservatives about the poor all of my life. They don’t change. You get so much welfare that you really are middle class. They drive Cadillacs. Shoot up with guns or drugs.
    This posting of yours is just more of the same wrapped around a new factoid..

  18. Larry,

    I guess I wasn’t offended or incensed by what Jim wrote because he did capture a couple of things that are relevant. First, the system is very complex and bureaucratic. Second, there are income or tax “cliffs” in which benefits phase out rapidly at certain income levels, creating possible disincentives to work.

    I think the TANF framework has a couple of major issues. First, it might have worked reasonably well when the economy is expanding (as it was when it was implemented back in 1996), but it falls apart when things stagnate and there are limited job opportunities. Second, it can can fail as a basic safety net for the extreme poor.

    I’m not anywhere close to an expert in this area, but I think an approach that doesn’t have these drawbacks and provides better incentives is needed. The Negative Income Tax is worth consideration. It would be much less complex, provide an incentive to work without the “cliffs”, and it would also relieve pressure to increase the minimum wage, which in my view can price low skilled workers out of the market.

  19. Izzo – I’m all ears for reforms… but seldom see them in these toxic rants about the “folks” getting govt goodies.. that don’t deserve them but then they stop there – without calling for reforms nor outright repeal of entitlements.

    it’s just a continuing symbolic statement about the concept of entitlements and their belief that they don’t work.

    They’ll cite, for instance, that we’ve tried to help the poor for years and they are still poor.

    Sorta like saying we’ve spent billions on highways and still have congestion or billions for education but still have ignorant people.

    it goes to what their real motives are. Are that just blathering for effect – or do they actually have suggestions to reform – or are man enough to call for repeal of entitlements?

    I do NOT believe that we should GIVE stuff to people. I think there has to be a quid pro quo.

    For instance, if a mom gets child care – then she needs to put in a few hours herself at the child care place.

    If they get Medical care – they need to volunteer at the clinics where others get charity care.

    If they get food stamps, they need to help out at the pantries.

    And yes – this is in addition to a full time job. You need to EARN the help you are getting.

    • Larry, when I see something where we have spent a lot of money on something for a while but it isn’t working, I usually think something is wrong that should be looked at. Are the incentives misaligned? Is information not flowing properly? Is a subsidy causing an undesired or perverse outcome? Healthcare is a good example. We spend nearly 18% of GDP – far higher than any other developed country – and have among the lowest life expectancy.

      I support your sentiments on having a quid pro quo, but I think there could be an awful lot of bureaucratic complexity to that, which could have a lot of attendant issues.

      Any sort of program to alleviate poverty is going to have the potential to reduce incentives to have people to help themselves. The Negative Income Tax could minimize those disincentives, because there would always be some incentive to earn more and there would not be the “cliffs” issue. It could also could also help fix the problems I see with the minimum wage. If you could attach a workable quid pro quo to it, that would be fine with me and worth piloting.

  20. @Izzo – “when something is not working”.

    so I ask you – if we spend billions of dollars on crime and we still have crime – does that mean that it’s not working?

    how about car accidents? we spend billions on safer roads and cars yet we still have thousands dying. Does that mean it’s “not working”?

    But we use this same logic with regard to other things like entitlements.

    I would suggest that if something is BETTER – WITH THE Program than it would have been without it – and the situation much, much worse – then what we should be seeking is REFORM rather than REPEAL.

    And worse – when someone CITES the flaws and the existence of stuff the laws and regs were designed to stop and casts it as a failure and a reason to “start over” – I seriously wonder about their judgement.

    We have poverty despite anti-poverty programs. Does the existence of poverty even though we have these programs mean that these programs have “failed” or does it mean we actually have LESS poverty because of the programs but it does not fix all?

    I note that there are folks in this years General Assembly – who have plans to change welfare (perhaps Jim can write about it): Go Read

    House GOP looks to tighten rules for Virginia welfare recipients

    http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/va_md_dc/house-gop-looks-to-tighten-rules-for-virginia-welfare-recipients/article_070fe19a-001a-5175-ab49-0ff22648cbe5.html

    • Larry,

      I am not sure where you are going sometimes. I initially gave examples of issues, supported by facts that suggest the policy is not working. In the examples you gave, the facts suggest otherwise. For instance, the number of deaths per mile driven have gone down dramatically in the U.S., so some part of the investment there is likely succeeding. (That is not to say the spending is optimized.). Therefore it is not something I cited or would cite so I’m not sure why you would give it as an example.

      Note that the Negative Income Tax I suggested exploring is similar (but much broader) than the Earned Income Tax Credit, which exists. So it could be viewed as a reform.

      As for the General Assembly, I shouldn’t have to answer for them every time I make an argument.

      Do you think the structure of the 1996 Welfare reform act is working?

  21. And on MedicAid – 2/3 to 3/4 goes to seniors who need nursing homes. Many own their own homes or have other assets and income.

    But they want taxpayers to pay for the nursing home so the kids can inherit the assets.

    This is going on at the same time people decry Mom with kids getting Medicaid.

    If Virginia REALLY wants to reduce MedicAid costs – they need to change the way they do entitlements , welfare – for seniors who are NOT poor.

    One way to do this similar to Social Security and Obamacare is to mandate that people buy long-term care insurance OR face the loss of their assets for their care later on rather than taxpayers paying – which again is a significant part of the MedicAid budget and ironically almost NONE of the MedicAid Expansion – which is for the working poor.

    As you say – we have our “incentives” …. “misaligned” but it’s not the current focus of many, including legislators. We’re totally ignoring the bigger problem which is the cost of nursing homes for folks who are NOT poor.

    Like the emphasis on higher ed tuition and loans for govt “help” – at the same time many are opposed to spending money for at risk kids in K-12 – we have a skewed perspective.

    it’s not only “misaligned” it’s misunderstood… as to the actual facts.

  22. I completely agree most of our legislators don’t think this way. Entitlements often eat up the budget (to the extent of crowding out support for the truly needy and spending on things like infrastructure), provide the wrong incentives, including rent-seeking at universities.

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