No Demagoguery Needed

William R. Hawkins, American Thinker, October 30, 2013

At the end of last week, conservative news media reported on Census Bureau data showing that there were more people on welfare in the United States than there were people with full time jobs at the end of 2011. This is alarming news, but there is also a temptation to make it even more alarming by twisting the numbers to exaggerate the extent that Americans (which in the Census includes non-citizens who simply live in the U.S.) are dependent on government largesse. Terence P. Jeffrey, writing for CNS News, let the facts speak for themselves. He properly cited the Census definition of “means tested benefits” which equate with the popular understanding of welfare programs that transfer goods, services and income to the poor.

According to the Census data cited by Jeffrey, “in the fourth quarter of 2011 were 82,457,000 people in households receiving Medicaid, 49,073,000 beneficiaries of food stamps, 20,223,000 on Supplemental Security Income, 23,228,000 in the Women, Infants and Children program, 13,433,000 in public or subsidized rental housing, and 5,854,000 in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Also among the 108,592,000 means-tested benefit recipients counted by the Census Bureau were people getting free or reduced-price lunch or breakfast, state-administered supplemental security income and means-tested veterans pensions.” In comparison, 101,716,000 people worked full-time in 2011.

Neither Jeffrey nor the Census Bureau included in this survey of major welfare programs Social Security, Medicare, standard veteran’s benefits, or unemployment benefits. These last mentioned programs should not be considered “welfare” because the recipients qualify for them on other grounds than poverty. {snip}

In contrast, Newsmax led with the aggregate figure to hype the headline “Half of Americans Get Government Benefits.” Clumping all programs together does yield a figure of 49.1% of households receiving something from the Federal government. But some of those benefits are apples and some are oranges, and it only makes political sense to talk about the rotten apples. Mitt Romney made the mistake of not disaggregating the numbers in his infamous rant about how 47% of Americans support President Obama because they “are dependent upon government” and “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” This was arguably the oratorical error that most doomed his presidential campaign.

Most people on Social Security and Medicare, for example, do not consider themselves on “welfare” nor should they. They have paid taxes into the system all their lives and expect to get money back at retirement. They have earned these benefits in a way that those in the “means-tested” programs have not. {snip}


According to the Census, 30.3% of households receive some sort of “means-tested” welfare benefits. That number is bad enough and needs no help from demagogues. Indeed, to be more credible in making the point that current policy is spending (and borrowing) too much on helping people adapt to the recession rather than recovery from it, some further nuances are needed. The direct comparison of welfare recipients and full-time workers has a meaning in terms of the ability of workers to pay enough in taxes to support such a large welfare class. However, the raw number is misleading in the sense that the Census counted as recipients “anyone residing in a household in which one or more people received benefits from the program.” That number includes children who would not be expected to hold full-time jobs. It is not an adult-to-adult comparison.

Another factor that needs to taken into account is that a majority of Medicaid benefits go to the elderly and disabled, not the young and able-bodied who are sitting idle on the dole. This balance will, however, have to be watched as Obamacare goes into effect, as Medicaid may become a refuge from the insurance exchanges.

There are other useful figures from the same Census report that did not make the CNS or Newsmax stories. The government figures were broken down by race. While 20.5% of White and 27.9% of Asian households receive some form of means-tested benefits, 50.9% of Black households and 53.3% of Hispanic households receive welfare assistance. The figure for Hispanic households should dispel any notions that the Republican Party will gain any advantage from immigration reforms that increase the size of this voting bloc. Communities with a high dependence on welfare will vote for the party that promises to keep the benefits flowing. There is a reason every Democrat in Congress supports comprehensive immigration reform that would open a path to the voting booth to those who came into the country illegally.


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  • Manaphy

    “50.9% of Black households and 53.3% of Hispanic households receive welfare assistance. The figure for Hispanic households should dispel any notions that the Republican Party will gain any advantage from immigration reforms that increase the size of this voting bloc.”

    So you mean to tell me that Juan McAmnesty, a “reliable conservative” lied when he said that Hispanics are socially conservative and are natural Republicans?

    BTW, while I’m on the subject, Juan McAmnesty is about just as conservative as my basset hound.

    • Jefferson

      John McCain is about as “conservative” as Joe Scarborough.

      • Erasmus

        I keep hoping someone will shove an IED up McCain’s colostomy bag.

    • Erasmus

      I knew Bush-43 was as mentally deficient as his critics claimed, as soon as I heard him defend Hispanics as “natural conservatives.”

  • Whitetrashgang

    So half of America is on welfare, what is wrong with the white people who support this? Oh well back to porn and football nothing to see here.

    • joesolargenius

      You hit the nail right on the head but left out Soaps and disfuncional television like Jerry Springer and kind.

    • RHG

      I think it’s because if you’re white and say anything you’re beaten down as a “bigot”, best to let the system go all “Detroit” and just collapse.

    • True; if you say anything you’ll lose your job, your career, and be labeled as some sort of evil Nazi /sex pervert combo : a white hooded KKK racist.

      The only thing to do is try to bring one’s kids up with the skills to survive in a challenging environment and try to get assets out of the country.

  • joesolargenius

    Even Mitt Romney came out and said the only way to get their vote is to give them more freebie than the Democrats which would result in a bidding war for those votes.

  • Andy

    I wonder why the number is lower for blacks than Hispanics. That is unusual.

    • Spartacus

      Because fewer blacks have that minimal IQ required to apply for them ?

      • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

        That never stopped White social workers in the past from providing blacks direct access to our pockets.

        • Spartacus

          Maybe more Affirmative Action social workers means less money for the groids they’re supposed to be providing to. That would be great if true .

    • Jefferson

      Because Maria has more kids than Shaniqua. These female south of the border Squat Monsters on average start becoming mothers at around 15 or 16.

      And we know how extremely high the poverty rate is for teenage mothers.

    • willbest

      Hispanics live in larger households, which increases the likelihood of one of them being on public aid. Immigrants generally (and this is true of the white ones from eastern europe as well as the hispanics) have a habit of not informing the government that they are married. So the husband makes working class to middle class money, and the wife and kids are on public aid.

  • Spartacus

    “While 20.5% of White and 27.9% of Asian households receive some form of
    means-tested benefits, 50.9% of Black households and 53.3% of Hispanic
    households receive welfare assistance.”


    This is why the naysayers annoy me… Our enemies can’t even feed themselves !

    • Viking_61

      “They can’t even feed themselves…”

      That is exactly why they are so vulnerable. Cut off the EBT for illegals and you may see millions going home. Blacks, on the other hand, are a different story.

      • Spartacus

        They’re the same story. Blacks would starve to death as well. And if you’d close the border with Mexico and cut off all trade/tourism/etc. Then the problem would be solved for good, as they can’t fend for themselves any better there than in the US .

        • George

          One small issue with cutting off trade with Mexico…
          The largest supplier of oil to the United States is Canada.
          Not far behind is…care to guess?
          Trade with Mexico is one of the best ways to keep Mexicans in Mexico. Spending vacation dollars there creates local employment.
          I don’t mind Mexicans…so long as they are at home.

          • Spartacus

            Or… You could stop trading with them, wait for the innevitable starvation to kill enough of them, then conquer all or a part of the country to get the resources .

  • bigone4u

    Make them all stand in lines at soup kitchens and food distribution warehouses, so that the extent of the ripoff of white working taxpaying Americans is made plain for all to see.

    • Lee_CPA

      Better yet, give them a trash bag and a stretch of highway. Workfare, not welfare.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    The 1996 welfare reform law that changed AFDC to TANF set time limits, but the State of California which contains 1/3 of all welfare recipients keeps the benefits flowing from State coffers when the Federal money runs out. That’s part of the reason why the TANF numbers look fairly low. In other states, recipients are given make-work public sector jobs, or graduated onto SSI for “depression”, or “learning disabilities” for the kids.

    • willbest

      Eventually data mining will be sophisticated enough to catch and flag fraud for human verification and removal. The only problem is the humans in those jobs are bleeding heart twaddles that would rather help people scam the system to “get ahead” than enforce the rules.

  • Derbyshire’s vote-buying scheme is doing it’s job.

  • Dave4088

    The facts don’t seem to matter. Telling the truth about non-whites will always be considered demagoguery to the anti-white establishment.

  • IKantunderstand

    Revolt. That is the only solution. By the way, I know this is O.T. , but I have been disallowed to comment on Disqus. I was forced to make changes to comment here now. When I asked Disqus about the problem, they told me I needed to disable privacy blocks, etc. Has anyone else here had that happen to them?

    • Xerxes22

      Your anti-spyware software might be overly sensitive. Some of these anti-virus, anti-syware programs also deliberately block access to so called hate sites.

      • IKantunderstand

        The blockage of Disqus was “cured” when I changed internet browsers from Firefox to Internet Explorer. Meanwhile, I had originally changed Internet Explorer to Firefox because of a problem with Disqus. Any ideas?

        • itdoesnotmatter

          Do you use a proxy IP? I do.
          After downloading the program, had to jump through numerous identification hoops to post on AmRen, but it’s cleared up now. I use Firefox as well.

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    “Neither Jeffrey nor the Census Bureau included in this survey of major
    welfare programs Social Security, Medicare, standard veteran’s benefits,
    or unemployment benefits. These last mentioned programs should not be
    considered ‘welfare’ because the recipients qualify for them on other
    grounds than poverty.”

    I believe that last time an article on this topic appeared on Amren, I got into a debate with an uppity poster, who doesn’t know what it is like to get laid off, who was trying to tell me that whites who have to temporarily use unemployment are leeches just like blacks on welfare. He needs to read what I have quoted from this article. Unemployment isn’t welfare. Don’t lecture me on how whites who have to temporarily use unemployment are taking YOUR money. How in the world are they taking YOUR money if, in order to be on unemployment in the first place, you had to work enough at your previous job to get any sort of supplements.

    • ghettovalley

      There is nothing shameful about it. We pay into this system for our entire lives. We deserve temporary assistance way more than those who have leeched off of the system for generations.

    • Xerxes22

      He’s probably one of those Libertarian types who hates Social, Security, Medicare , Veteran’s benefits and unemplyment insurance and considers them welfare socialist programs. You can’t reason with those types of people.Just ignore them.

  • mrcan

    The cost of palliative care is too much. the newer technologies are prohibitively expensive and all they do is prolong death….often without dignity. Compassionate care is the solution without the insanely expensive drugs pushed by the legal pill pushers.

  • Viking_61

    The statistic that Hispanics (Mexicans) use welfare at a higher rate than BLACKS is a NUCLEAR BOMB to the pro-Amnesty forces on the Republican side. The “Chamber of Commerce, et al.” cannot hide their BS any more!!! We knew it all along!!!

  • willbest

    Only problem with that is if you don’t give out free sterilization, abortion, contraception you will end up with the Chinese problem where you find infant girls in sewers and dumpsters.

    I believe there is a 5 year life time cap on adult welfare benefits, though it wouldn’t surprise me if that got unwound

  • 48224

    “Women, Infants and Children program, 13,433,000 in public or subsidized rental housing,” Right there is the problem. Uncle Sam has created ant farms for low IQ, criminally inclined, uproductive people who cannot hold down a job.

    They just lay about and breed. It will be interesting to see what happens when it all caves in under its own weight. The TV series The Walking Dead comes to mind. Mindless welfare zombies wandering the countryside eating humans.

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    Tucker, I have been wondering about what the deal is with that, and why certain “conservatives” like Romney and Limbaugh are so hell bent on demonizing hard working people who have to temporarily use unemployment. Interesting.

  • Joe blow

    How about we start reform by cutting parasitic Israel off the $3+billion a year welfare they suck out of Christian America?