Round 17 – Paul
Are you familiar with the just released book, “COMING APART: The State Of White America, 1960 – 2010″?
Said book, written by Charles Murray, co-author of 1994′s “The Bell Curve”, generated a fair amount of coverage last week. Murray, who Wikepedia describes as “An American Libertarian political scientist”, has a BA from Harvard and a PHD from MIT.
In COMING APART, Murray examines the decline of White America throughout the last 50 years. A major premise seems to be that the decline in well-paid manufacturing jobs has caused a corresponding decline in families and greater dependency on government entitlements.
Last weekend, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE set out to analyze Murray’s findings. Which resulted in a lengthy article that was too long for even me to finish. So I didn’t consider sending it to you. But today Paul Krugman, who I know you hate, hits on the crux of that article.
In short, lower class Whites in Red States are dependent on government entitlements more than ever. Yet strangely they’re in denial about their dependencies and supporting Republicans who would shred the social safety net. In other words, the Tea Party movement was largely fueled by these lower class Whites dependent on government.
Look at some of the stats Krugman comments on in this column.
Round 17 – Tom
Krugman’s an even bigger jackass than I suspected. I couldn’t find where he got his data on percent of income being made up of government transfers, but I did look up the list of the most conservative and most liberal states, then compared that list to the richest and poorest states.
Several of the 10 most conservative states are also among the poorest states. Several of the 10 most liberal states are also among the wealthiest states. (Hey, I thought Republicans were the party of the rich?!) So, let’s apply a little logic and see if we can figure out why people in the most conservative states receive more of their income from government transfer programs. Hmmm, that’s a tough one …
And yet I think I’ve got it: The biggest income transfer program is Social Security. If I’m poor and elderly, a much larger share of my total income will be made up of Social Security checks than if I’m rich and elderly. So states populated by a greater proportion of poor people will automatically be more “dependent” on government transfers in the form of Social Security.
However, those people were, like all of us, forced to participate in the Social Security program during their working lives, like it or not. The government took 10-15% of their incomes, like it or not, and now gives them a check that’s a pittance compared to what they could have accumulated in any moderately successful investment program. (For the average retiree, Social Security works out to roughly the equivalent of a retirement program that only earned a 1.5% return on the money “invested.”)
If they’d been allowed to invest that 10-15% for in their own retirement programs, they’d be able to bequeath their accumulated wealth to their children, thus making it less likely their children and grandchildren will also be poor. With Social Security, there’s nothing to bequeath. You die, the payments stop, even if you paid in more than you received, which is often the case with working-class blacks, who tend to die younger than whites.
For Paul Krugman to call conservative low-income people “moochers” because they now receive checks from a program they were forced to participate in – a program that made them poorer in their retirement years than they needed to be – only confirms my earlier opinion: he’s an arrogant leftist jackass.