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Archive for March 29th, 2010

This story from the Daily Caller about colleges helping kids sign up for food stamps, got me completely depressed. It’s not so much that this is indicative of a bloated, out-of-control government, though it is. It’s more that this symbolizes how the social capital of the nation is being eroded by the moocher mentality. Welfare should have social stigma, it should not be overly generous, and it should not be part of the federal government. As you can see from this excerpt, I’m batting 0-3:

About 20,000 people sign up for food stamps every day, and college students across the country are the newest demographic being encouraged to enlist. Portland State University devotes a page on its Web site to explaining the ease with which students can receive benefits, along with instructions on how to apply. The school says food stamps are not charity but rather a benefit all honest taxpaying citizens can afford. …Traditionally food stamps are for the working poor and single parents, but colleges are trying to make it as easy as possible for students to obtain federal assistance, no matter their socio-economic background. Oregon has a state-wide non-profit which includes a special focus on food stamps for students… The Grand Views, a college newspaper from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, featured a story on students who apply for food stamps because they claim they don’t have time to hold down a job between classes and basketball practices. …Adam Sylvain, a sophomore at Virginia’s George Mason University, recounted a recent conversation with friends in his dorm room. “My roommate told me he applied for food stamps, and they told him he qualified for $200 a month in benefits,” Sylvain said. “He’s here on scholarship and he saves over $5,000 each summer in cash.” “A few of our other friends who were in the room also said if there were able to, they would get food stamps … They think that if they’re eligible it’s the government’s fault, so they might as well,” Sylvain said. …President Obama’s latest budget included $72.5 billion for food stamps — nearly double the amount from 2008. Approximately 38 million people, or 13 percent of the U.S. population is on food stamps. It’s a trend that seems on the rise — Salon recently reported on young, broke hipsters using federal assistance to buy high-end organic food. “I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” one young man said, fondly remembering a recent meal he’d prepared of roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon and sweet potatoes. “I used to think that you could only get processed food and government cheese on food stamps, but it’s great that you can get anything.”

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America’s biggest fiscal challenge is excessive government spending. The public sector is far too large today and it is projected to get much bigger in coming decades. But the corrupt and punitive internal revenue code is second on the list of fiscal problems. This new video, narrated by yours truly and produced by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, explains how a flat tax would work and why it would promote growth and fairness.

There are two big hurdles that must be overcome to achieve tax reform. The first obstacle is that the class-warfare crowd wants the tax code to penalize success with high tax rates. That issue is addressed in the video in a couple of ways. I explain that fairness should be defined as treating all people equally, and I also point out that upper-income taxpayers are far more likely to benefit from all the deductions, credits, exemptions, preferences, and other loopholes in the tax code. The second obstacle, which is more of an inside-the-beltway issue, is that the current tax system is very rewarding for the iron triangle of lobbyists, politicians, and bureaucrats (or maybe iron rectangle if we include the tax preparation industry). There are tens of thousands of people who make very generous salaries precisely because the tax code is a playground for corrupt deal making. A flat tax for these folks would be like kryptonite for Superman. But more than two dozen nations around the world have implemented a flat tax, so hope springs eternal.

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Someboy sent me a link to this American Thinker article, which includes the following word cloud of a Pew Research Center poll on the “One word that best describes your impression of Congress.” Enjoy.

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