Last Updated:April 22 @ 10:51 pm

Kudlow: Is Obama Buying the Election With His Welfare Explosion?

By Lawrence Kudlow

With the unprecedented budget explosion of means-tested, welfare-related entitlements, does Team Obama think it can buy the election?

It's a cynical question. But I wouldn't put it past that cynical bunch.

Remember Harry Hopkins, Franklin Roosevelt's close aid? It was Hopkins who argued tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect. Sound familiar? And if I'm not mistaken, the high-tax, anti-rich, big-spending, redistributionist FDR is one of Barack Obama's idols.

So let's take a look at some of the recent budget-explosion data points:

According to Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, means-tested welfare programs soared to over $1 trillion last year. The federal government accounted for $750 billion of that, while $250 billion came from the states, which leveraged federal payments into even larger expenses.

Between 2008 and 2011, federal welfare payments have jumped 32 percent. Food stamps have surged, with 71 percent more spending on the program in 2011 compared with 2008. Health payments, principally Medicaid, have climbed 37 percent.

By the way, it's not just the deep recession and weak recovery that's driving up these programs. It's a substantial  eligibility  expansion, which started under George W. Bush, but has gone much further under President Obama.

In a larger budget context, reporter Jeffrey H. Anderson uses a Treasury Department study to chronicle the 7-Eleven presidency. In fiscal year 2012, ending Sept. 30, the government spent nearly $11 for every $7 of revenues taken in. The exact figures are $2.5 trillion in tax revenues and $3.5 trillion in spending. In other words, it spent 44 percent more than it had coming in.

Previous fiscal years look even worse: The government spent 56 percent more than revenues in fiscal year 2011 and 60 percent more in fiscal year 2010.

All in all, according to Anderson, the government under the Obama administration received $6.8 trillion in taxes and spent $10.7 trillion -- 56 percent more than it had available.

What's going on here is fiscal profligacy on the grandest scale in American history. And there  are  consequences.

Massive amounts of capital are being drained from the private sector and transferred to the government. This is one reason why American businesses have gone on a virtual capital-investment strike. Small businesses, in particular, can't get the capital being drained by Uncle Sam.

After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, both businesses and individuals have held back investment because they fear massive tax increases are on the way. That's a big reason why the so-called recovery has been so weak.

In addition, in our new entitlement nation, growing government dependency is ruining the very moral fiber and backbone of America's traditional work ethic. Increasingly, the feds are paying more to  not  work, rather than providing after-tax incentives to go back to work.

Mitt Romney has taken a lot of flak for raising the issue of growing government dependency. But however inartfully he may have expressed his view, his basic story is correct. The sheer volume of spending going on in this country is bringing us ever closer to bankruptcy.

And consider this: The spending explosion for means-tested welfare programs is outpacing spending on Social Security and Medicare, which are themselves veering toward bankruptcy.

I may be too cynical about Obama trying to buy the election with this entitlement explosion. Perhaps. But Obama wants to raise taxes in order to spend more on government unions and entitlement programs. It  is  redistribution, but it could be vote-buying, too.

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2 Comments

  1. JDZComment by JDZ
    October 22, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    You know that liberals have been “buying” votes forever in all kinds of both direct and indirect ways. In the older more blatant ways, both money and gifts were used, and even today that is still going on in some areas at the lower levels. Today, however, government entitlements like welfare, food stamps, Obamaphones, etc. are used to build voter base for the Democratic party. Another method of “buying votes” has to do with the incestuous relationship between Democrats and public service unions and how both the union dues and manpower is being used to re-elect liberal politicians. Thousands of union “volunteers” are working to re-elect Obama this year as they did in 2008 as they are the ground troops out there pushing voters to register and vote for Democrats. These campaign “workers” are trained to use any form of voter “pressure” or entitlement to facilitate getting their vote.

    Our country is in big trouble as this radically liberal/socialist element within the country that has taken control of the Democratic party has managed to push the boundaries of even our process of nominating and electing our government officials and leaders.

    If a good and decent man with the exceptional educational and work experience background of Mitt Romney loses this election to the inexperienced career politician who has been a dismal failure as our President in Barack Obama, we have gone over the tipping point in the country and there is no saving it from the socialist agenda being forced on us.

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  2. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    October 22, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Yes, he is truly buying their votes. As long as the free corn is available, the wild pigs will be easily surrounded by fence, and enslaved.
    As long as their very existence, their habits and addictions, are paid for, the Government can count on them to be obedient, to their demands upon them. Yes, by giving all, and seemingly expecting nothing in return, the Government keeps the lazy and worthless in line, and their votes are part of that. Don’t get me wrong, there are many people on the rolls of receiving help, who absolutely need it. I have no qualms with these people being helped until they can make it on their own, or for at least a reasonable amount of time. I do hate all those who are just too lazy to do for themselves, and expect America to support them. To sit back and receive what all other Americans have to pay them to get. You know, those who actually hold down jobs, so that they can support themselves, and now the lazy as well. We need to draw the lines in the sand, and start putting limits on who can collect, how long they can collect, and what they collect for. We need to start having them prove their need of our help, and take drug tests to show us that they are not just supplying their bad habits with our money. This step alone, would likely cut those taking from the Government by at least a third, and likely much more. I do not feel we should pay for drugs, steaks, lobster, cigarettes, and so on, for those who would sit and collect, while paying in nothing. Some are on these programs for life, there should be terms, such as 1 to 1 and 1/2 years maximum for these people to collect. If they have not gotten self sufficient within that time, they never will. Make it difficult for them to be supported, not easier. Make sure they actually need the help, and that when the limits are reached, kick them out of the system and let them live on the streets, if they wish, like so many others have to, because they do not qualify to be supported.
    Bring dignity back into our Society, by helping only those who truly need it, and for only as long as they actually need the help. Take all Illegals out of the system. We owe them nothing., as they have never contributed. Bring the working class back, and open the jobs held by Illegals, and America could be mostly put back to work, and it’s people self-sufficient again. No one is entitled, although some are needy, and need a hand up. Do not give those who do not need it hand outs, as all this does is keep them lazy and expectant of our support.

    TAKE OUT THE TRASH IN NOVEMBER.
    ELECT THE AMERICAN CANDIDATE.

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