The Swanson Approach


I’ll never forget the feeling of disappointment when I received my first paycheck– “Who is FICA and what are they doing with my money?”  I was 14 years old, working for a local shop, and had all of $17.00 taken away.   I wanted to know exactly where my money was going, what it was being used for, and who it was helping.  

Today, these questions still remain.  With all of the taxes that the government collects from its citizens year over year, why don’t they seem to make any difference?  After thinking about this quite a bit, I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of government programs are either misguided, mismanaged, or both.  Tax payers have bee pouring money into our countries problems for hundreds of years and yet nothing seems to get solved.

For example welfare, food stamps and other government programs are largely manipulated by many of their users.  I don’t deny the need for such programs, but there is no way that the number should be increasing as dramatically as they have been since 1975.  If tax payer money was the solution to America’s welfare problem, then numbers would be declining, not increasing. Restrictions need to be put in place to ensure that those who need welfare receive it and those that are taking advantage of our lax, bleeding heart system are cut off.

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8 thoughts on “The Swanson Approach

  1. In general, the most successful social safety net is often considered social security. It is an insurance program, essentially, You pay in when you are working, and then you can collect benefits scaled to what you put in (though it caps at some level. It is true that very high income earners will never fully make back. So, in that sense it is progressive). Medicare, which is health insurance for the elderly, is similar. You pay in while you work; you use it when you are retired.

    Before these programs, born in the 1930s, most old people were very poor. Retirement basically meant you would be poor.

    • I was poking around for historical data on poverty by age… one academic paper cited that in 1940, 70% of men over 65 were poor. That declines in 1950, 60, 70, and 80. By 1990 it was increasing again.

  2. I also cringe inside when I have to pay a fair amount of my pathetically sized paycheck to the government, even though it is an inevitable and all-inclusive rule. One thing that I find bothersome that a lot of this money is going towards Medicare/Medicaid, which we will most likely not reap the benefits when we retire, as it seems that these are going to diminish sometime soon. Therefore, we are basically supporting people with money that will never be returned to us.

  3. I was poking around on the blog you linked to. Regardless of the moral question of whether people should or shouldn’t receive assistance to buy food when their income is below a certain threshold, or the managerial question of how to sort out the “deserving poor” from the “undeserving,: a few of his facts were a bit skewed.

    FOr example,
    1) Comparing the USA’s food stamp population to other countries like the Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iraq is a terrible comparison. They are utterly unalike.
    2) Of course foodstamp payments go up over time. It is inflation. Only real dollar measures mean much.
    3). He says “At $71.8 billion in fiscal 2011, this is a major program.” $71.8 billion is no sneezing matter. It is also only 1.9% of the US federal budget in 2011 of more than 3 trillion dollars. So, size is relative.

    Please, continue your discussion.

  4. To be honest, I have never checked where the money that I paid to the Government as taxes really go. And since I am not going to be around when I eventually retire, it looks like I am paying even more taxes than the American but get nothing in return. This post makes me really sad. 😦

  5. This is a really good argument against liberals and the discussion on welfare. I feel like I am neither liberal or conservative but I think I answered the question about are welfare programs necessary and always beneficial, yes. Though I still believe it is important to help less fortunate people your argument sways me to think the programs aren’t all they seem to be. It is easy to say, I am okay with giving some of my paycheck to fund these programs, but is my money having any noticeable affect? The answer is no. I am losing earned money that is going to some group that I PRESUME is using it responsibly. This idea makes me agree with your argument.

    *side note: you forgot a “n” on been in your post

  6. There are definitely flaws with welfare. For example, in some cases people are getting more from welfare than if they work certain jobs. This is messed up. What incentives does that give a person to keep working? I think that the poor can get welfare, but have to be working at the same time. I don’t want my money going to someone that isn’t trying to find work.

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