Letter: Numbers refute common conservative beliefs - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letter: Numbers refute common conservative beliefs

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Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 9:27 am

A new study released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, refutes a common belief among conservatives that our government is nothing more than a tool to transfer wealth from the top to the bottom in the form of entitlements and welfare.

They found that most of the benefits now flow to the middle class, most likely because the middle class has been hit so hard over the past 30 years by conservative tax policies, tax breaks and incentives designed to let upper income earners pay a lower percentage in taxes than the middle class must pay!

A CBO study last year concurred. It found that in 1979, the bottom fifth received over half, 54 percent, of all government largesse, but by 2007, the bottom 20 percent were only getting a bit over a third at just 36 percent.

Today, it is our growing elderly population who collect just over half of all government benefits and those with severe disabilities get another 20 percent.

"The safety net became much more work-based," wrote Arloc Sherman and his collaborators at the center. "In addition, the U.S. population is aging, which raises the share of benefits going to seniors and people with disabilities."

And here's another kicker that might confuse or upset the bigots among us!

It found that blacks who make up 22 percent of the poor, receive just 14 percent of government benefits, very close to their 12 percent population share; while whites, who make up 42 percent of the poor, receive 69 percent of government benefits.

Rod Livdahl



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