Who pays for social programs

Ideally social programs are cost shared, meaning they are paid for by the private sector and the public sector. We all know we do not live in an ideal world.  For the sake of clarity all government and private giveaways will be referred to as social programs. Prior to the government participating in paying for social programs, the private sector was taxed with paying for all social services. Churches were usually the front line to get help if one was struggling. That was at best a hit and miss system.  History tells us things were not good for the impoverished or disabled prior to the 20th century. We can find many examples in literature of how people struggled if they did not fit the norm of society. The mentally ill were often housed like cattle.  The disabled and poor often had to resort to begging on the street to get the basic of needs met.  There were many tent cities throughout the United States as a result of people not being able to afford housing.  If you were hurt on the job your family most likely was taxed with providing your needs. Medical services were often not available to people because of the cost. As a result today we have many social programs. It seems the list grows every year. It is understandable why people are concerned and why the national debt continues to grow. So how are all of these social programs paid for?  How did we get into a situation where everything seems to be subsidized? The first known government assistance program of significance was during the depression. The works progress administration WPA, provided employment to many during the depression.  Many of the projects built during that time remain with us today.

Football stadiums,  bridges on dirt roads, and state parks are just a few of those projects.  It seems that started the giveaways so often scorned today. There is no end to the money given away by the government and sometimes programs are given fancy names or hidden in bureaucracy.

Let’s look at the more common social programs.  We’ll start with Medicare.  Medicare spending is currently fifteen percent of federal spending and a cost sharing program .  As a Medicare recipient, your pay a part of the cost, usually parts Band D.  Current workers pay the entire cost of funding for Part A.  Affordable care insurance, Obamacare, is a cost sharing program as well.  Medicaid, on the other hand, is funded entirely by taxpayers. An example of social programs paid for entirely by private funds would be the Texas Lions Camp and Habitat for Humanity.  At the Texas Lions camp disabled children are offered an opportunity to attend camp for a week at no cost to the camper. Habitat for Humanity builds houses for those in need of low cost housing nationwide. To date, eleven houses have been built in Graham. Locally, Turning Point was funded with private funds.  That program went away due to an inability  to sustain the cost. Young County is very fortunate to have numerous programs funded by private funds. There are many federal grants that are an 80-20 match.    Farmers get subsidies to farm or in some cases not to farm. We subsidize the production of ethanol. Lobbyist often get involved and may be to blame for many subsidizes, especially with subsidies that won’t seem to go away.

We can agree giving money away has gotten out of hand. Who is willing to rollback subsidizes? Congress wants to get re-elected so they offer more and more to their constituents, the wealthy included. Term limits may be helpful in giving Congress more ability to rein in government spending. Our nation·a1 debt grows by approximately 2 trillion dollars per year. We can no longer sustain a decent interest rate because of the cost to the federal government. Do we need new blood in Washington? I’m not sure what the answer is but I would like a congressman who could come up with new ideas and new thinking. I am very hopeful millennials will be the saving force of our country. They appear to be open minded and progressive.  Many are well educated and ready to apply their knowledge to the private and public sectors. Social programs are a part of our world and will always be but the time has come to reevaluate many of our programs.  Where should we start? That is the big question.

The Olney Enterprise

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