The Dependency Agenda

Change the word Democrat to ALP, adjust the numbers to account for local circumstances and the same story could be told here:

Each year, the United States spends $65,000 per poor family to ‘fight poverty’ — in a country in which the average family income is just under $50,000. Meanwhile, most of that money goes to middle-class and upper-middle-class families, and the current U.S. poverty rate is higher than it was before the government began spending trillions of dollars on antipoverty programs.

The Dependency Agenda uncovers the hidden politics of the welfare state and documents the historical evidence that proves that Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ was designed to do one thing: maximize the number of Americans dependent upon the government. The welfare state was never meant to eliminate privation; it was created to keep Democrats in power.

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57 Responses to The Dependency Agenda

  1. Rudiau

    Excellent colorful article by The Phantom.

    Translated for irascible, thick headed liberals: If you FIRED every single seat polishing son of a bitch in every US state and federal welfare agency, and just sent a check for $30K to every poor household in America, THERE WOULD BO NO MORE POVERTY. Oh, and you’d have done it for half what gets spent not doing it every year

    Oh hell yes! Nameless Reader hits it out of the park! As I wrote the post I could hear liberals screaming in my head: “YOU CAN’T JUST GIVE THEM THE MONEY!!!” THEY’LL SPEND IT ON CRACK!!!”

    This then is the core of the liberal effort. It has never been about poverty. Its about Control with a capital “C”. People are too stupid to live without Big Brother’s hand on their neck, forcing them in the right direction.

  2. .

    Phantom is right.

    This video is the greatest argument for pragmatic libertarianism I have seen. Well done to the producers.

  3. Politicians are not highly intelligent. They are highly cunning. Rat cunning to the core. There are no accidents when they benefit the powers that be.

  4. The welfare state was never meant to eliminate privation; it was created to keep Democrats in power.

    This school of delusional thought comes straight out of the box marked “myths – for the use of”.
    The other one that gets dredged up with monotonous regularity is “Labor encourages refugees because they get their votes”.
    Here’s the fix.

  5. .

    This school of delusional thought comes straight out of the box marked “myths – for the use of”.

    No, it is entirely true. You could halve the budget for S&W, cut taxes accordingly and send each family a cheque and fire the public servants.

    Suck it up numbers, your ideology of waste and graft has been busted.

  6. johno

    Steve

    The line in the clip should have been ‘Democrat AND REPUBLICAN’ and we should change it to ‘ALP AND COALITION”. The Coalition’s track record on middle class welfare is as least as bad as Labor, and possibly worse.

    The Dependence Agenda has bi-partisan support.

  7. Tom

    Numbers doesn’t want us to touch the sore in his communist soul. What a fucking school teacher you must have been. Totally without self-awareness. You haven’t even worked out how collectivism leads to fascism leads to mass murder. And why your fascist heroes will next year be frogmarched out of government in this country for decades of exile.

  8. Token

    This school of delusional thought comes straight out of the box marked “myths – for the use of”.

    Sorry Numbers, your ignorance is showing again.

    LBJ on the great society reforms:

    I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” —Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One –

    “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”—LBJ

    Stick to your rants about the narrow little channel you know about.

  9. Tom

    The Dependence Agenda has bi-partisan support.

    I agree, Johno. As soon as the Libs get across the line, we start the next culture war. That’s what the Cat is for. Objective: restoration of common law rights and a cap on government spending of 20% of GDP, which it was before this rabble ransacked our money after 2007. We need practical, achievable targets.

  10. You haven’t even worked out how collectivism leads to fascism leads to mass murder

    Recent mass murders not caused by “collectivism” include 118802 between 2003 and 2011, and about 2 million between 1975 and 1979.
    If you try really really hard, you might detect a connection…..

  11. MichaelC58

    Let me be the devil’s advocate here and show how the voting public sees this:

    If the government can keep us all clothed, fed and safe while those who are ambitious can try for additional wealth, what’s not to like?

    What are libertarians selling? Independence? Who wants ‘independence’ if that means to live from day to day on one’s own wits and risk a struggle to put food on the table.

    Sure the nanny state is unsustainable in the future – but what do I care today or next year. The national debt is not my problem.

    Sure this is inefficient – but again, what do I know or care of efficiency.

    Sure it entrenches one side of government, but that’s the side giving us the benefits, right? Hello?

    For a bunch of capitalists, we libertarians are hopeless at marketing our message.

  12. .

    I agree, Johno. As soon as the Libs get across the line, we start the next culture war. That’s what the Cat is for. Objective: restoration of common law rights and a cap on government spending of 20% of GDP, which it was before this rabble ransacked our money after 2007. We need practical, achievable targets.

    I’d say that’s what the LDP is for…but anyway. I think the target should be 15% of GDP and the only three taxes would be a VAT capped at 10%, a LVT capped at 2% and a mouth of the mine royalty system capped at 5%…

  13. Token

    For a bunch of capitalists, we libertarians are hopeless at marketing our message.

    It is easier to sell to an uneducated market based upon vacuous but loaded emotive statements. Check out all the crap Numbers dumps in a dialog.

    Most reputable sales processes (look at the super industry) involves a degree of education of the consumer to overcome people’s natural reluctance.

    What are libertarians selling? Independence? Who wants ‘independence’ if that means to live from day to day on one’s own wits and risk a struggle to put food on the table.

    No aspiration. Sure a person can live an ok life with a mobile phone & TV in a housing estate, but they also live in fear.

    The freedom from the endless fear is the message we are selling.

  14. @Token
    Some advice – read your sources before you post them. From your link

    he had a few quotations that Lyndon Johnson supposedly made aboard Air Force One that raised quite a few eyebrows. Now, first of all, let’s remember that we have only Kessler’s word to go on. No one has ever corroborated these quotations, so there is always the chance that they were simply made up, embellished, or taken grossly out of context

  15. Token

    Now, first of all, let’s remember that we have only Kessler’s word to go on.

    That doesn’t mean they are untrue.

  16. Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax, a conservative website and magazine. He’d have as much credibility writing about the Democrats as Akerman writing about Labor.
    You can’t tell the difference between op ed and reportage. But that’s a feature of conservative thought.

  17. .

    You can’t tell the difference between op ed and reportage. But that’s a feature of conservative thought.

    Do we chalk this up to Dunning Kruger or an irony free zone?

  18. .

    Again to cut through numbers trolling:

    Each year, the United States spends $65,000 per poor family to ‘fight poverty’ — in a country in which the average family income is just under $50,000. Meanwhile, most of that money goes to middle-class and upper-middle-class families, and the current U.S. poverty rate is higher than it was before the government began spending trillions of dollars on antipoverty programs.

    The welfare state is a failure and its continuance will make us all worse off, especially the indigent.

  19. Alfonso

    Exactly MichaelC.
    Kylee and Cheyne’s politics is about getting the max number of cheques of other people’s money in the mail.
    And the Cats get upset when it’s suggested the comrades are the “natural” party of govt from now to forever with breaks for the odd economic disaster induced conservative govt…….(this does not include welfare state Tony).

  20. Dunning Kruger was based on American subjects. Other studies (e.g. Heine) show the opposite results in different cultures.
    Phillip Ackerman was also highly critical of Dunning Kruger (Personality and Individual Differences – Vol. 33, No. 4), Georgia Institute of Technology psychology 2002.

  21. .

    The welfare state is a failure and its continuance will make us all worse off, especially the indigent.

  22. ella

    Numbers,

    You reckon that the future belongs to the Left when they bring in large numbers of Muslims immigrants?

  23. Jim Rose

    Under-rates unintended consequences in public policy and ignores director’s law.

    The studies starting from Sam Peltzman show that government grew in line with the growth in the size and homogeneity of the middle class that was organised and politically articulate enough to implementing a version of Director’s law.

    Assar Lindbeck has shown that was a ‘Sweden became a rich country before its highly generous welfare-state arrangements were created’. See http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-three-swedish-models

    Sweden moved toward a welfare state in the 1960s, when its government sector was about equal to that in the United States in size. Swedes had the third-highest OECD per capita income, almost equal to the USA in the late 1960s, but had higher levels of income inequality.

    By the late 1980s, government spending grew from 30 percent of gross domestic product to more than 60 percent of GDP. Swedish marginal income tax rates hit 65-75% for most full-time employees compared to about 40% in 1960.

    Swedish economists encountered a new phenomenon they named Swedosclerosis:
    1. Economic growth slowed to a crawl in the 1970s and 1980s.
    2. Sweden dropped from near the top in the OECD rankings to 18th by 1998.
    3. about 65 per cent of the electorate received (nearly) all their income from the public sector—either as employees of government agencies (excluding government corporations and public utilities) or live off transfer payments.

    Sweden is a classic example of Director’s Law. Once a country becomes rich because of capitalism, politicians look for ways to redistribute more of this new found wealth to the middle class. So was the USA in the 1960s on a smaller scale.

  24. Jannie

    Dot I’d say its textbook Dunning Kruger.

    I thought Bismarck introduced the modern welfare state, as opposed to parish poor laws etc. He was a paid of member of the Prussian elite, found pensions a great way to control the loyalty of the lower middle classes, and the army widows.

  25. Numbers, how many of those Iraq deaths were attributable to Iranian proxies? Theocratic regimes are essentially collectivist. If you don’t believe me, try and rock that particular boat and see how far you get.

  26. Rococo Liberal

    So, it is clear that, despite the inane wittering of the Numbers man, the welfare state has failed to live up to its billing and has caused a dependence culture. The seminal book to read on this is James Bartholemew’s ‘The Welfare Stae We’re In’ Aslo ‘Life at the Bottom’ by Theodore Dalrymple shows how the bien pensants of the left helped to replace the working class in Britain with an underclass.

  27. braddles

    I like all the statistics, but where are similar stats for Australia? I have seen the US stats quite a few times, but how many Australian households depend on Govt. payments, how many working age Australians pay no income taxes? how much do we spend on welfare compared to the actual poverty rate?

  28. Numbers, how many of those Iraq deaths were attributable to Iranian proxies?

    Doesn’t alter the historical fact that the invasion destroyed the national infrastructure that kept the sectarian tensions under control. The process has an eerie resemblance to the course of history in Cambodia after the same destructive enterprise occurred there.

    Theocratic regimes are essentially collectivist.

    Really?
    All kinds of totalitarianism are possible, and they don’t necessarily involve collectivism. Any form of communal cooperation scares the daylights out of Libertarians, because they have a delusional view of human motivation.

  29. Peter Whiteford

    These statistics for the USA – and the similar ones for Australia – are based on a pretty comprehensive misunderstanding of poverty statistics and what the welfare system actually does.

    The basic problem is that these commentators don’t seem to understand – or want to understand – that to estimate the impact of welfare spending on poverty you need to look at the difference in poverty before and after people receive social welfare benefits, not how many people are left in poverty after they receive benefits.

    For example, in Australia we currently pay income support benefits to 5 million people (half of them age pensioners) and pay FTB to 1.8 million families with 3.4 million children (and around 25% of those families also receive income support benefits).

    Overall what we provide reduces relative poverty from a bit more than 6 million (before transfers) to roughly 2 million (after transfers), and of course those 2 million are a lot closer to the poverty line than they were before they received social security benefits.

  30. Jim Rose

    Peter Whiteford, I do agree that poverty statistics are far from helpful.

    how do you think poverty should be defined? a relative or absolute measure?

    Hawke and co. abolished child poverty by raising family welfare benefits to $1 above the relevant poverty line.

  31. Peter Whiteford

    Jim

    You can have a long debate about this. The US poverty line is a very poorly designed line. My main point is that these figures are calculated using the wrong denominator. The number of people who are poor before they receive benefits is a lot greater than the number below the poverty line after they receive benefits.

  32. .

    You can have a long debate about this, but:

    Each year, the United States spends $65,000 per poor family to ‘fight poverty’ — in a country in which the average family income is just under $50,000. Meanwhile, most of that money goes to middle-class and upper-middle-class families, and the current U.S. poverty rate is higher than it was before the government began spending trillions of dollars on antipoverty programs.

    The welfare state is a failure and its continuance will make us all worse off, especially the indigent.

  33. Peter Whiteford

    They do not spend $65,000 per poor family. This number is wrong.

  34. .

    No, it is correct. The fact that each family doesn’t actually receive anywhere near that money is obvious, genius, and precisely the problem, which you are prepared to bloviate about and defend no matter how absurd, inefficient or ineffectual it is.

    Just send them a cheque for half of the cost and sack 90% of the public servants involved in the administration of the funds at present.

    What wonderful tales you will tell to defend this idiocy and graft.

  35. Peter Whiteford

    You don’t understand these numbers.

  36. Token

    You don’t understand these numbers.

    All you’ve said Peter is everything is wrong and nobody understands anything but you.

    Any person with an independent mind would be questioning you and your motives now.

  37. Token

    They do not spend $65,000 per poor family. This number is wrong.

    Everyone knows that be implementing multiple levels of government which get entrenched, then laying more layers of government on top of that, the $65,000 is not paid to the family, rather to the every growing network.

    The statement $65,000 underlines the full cost.

    The basic problem is that these commentators don’t seem to understand – or want to understand – that to estimate the impact of welfare spending on poverty you need to look at the difference in poverty before and after people receive social welfare benefits, not how many people are left in poverty after they receive benefits.

    Sure, but what is the purpose of the benefits?

    How do they deal with the immediate problem without creating long term disincentives?

  38. Driftforge

    How do they deal with the immediate problem without creating long term disincentives?

    Get out of welfare altogether. Welfare hurts those it is given to and those it is taken from. Charity helps those who it is given to, and those who give it freely; because it comes with a social cost and the acknowledgement that somebody had to sacrifice for it. Charity resists entitlement. Welfare entrenches it.

  39. Peter Whiteford

    What aspect of the concept of using the correct denominator don’t you understand?

  40. .

    WTF is this old Whiteford coot banging on about?

  41. Token

    What aspect of the concept of using the correct denominator don’t you understand?

    Act like an adult and take the time to explain with detail.

    Ensure you place the full cost of the services, not the gross cost. That will not work here.

  42. Peter Whiteford

    Well if you were to actually read my original comment, and stop to think about it, it would be clear.

    “To estimate the impact of welfare spending on poverty you need to look at the difference in poverty before and after people receive social welfare benefits, not how many people are left in poverty after they receive benefits.”

  43. Token

    “To estimate the impact of welfare spending on poverty you need to look at the difference in poverty before and after people receive social welfare benefits, not how many people are left in poverty after they receive benefits.”

    As I said, please treat the people here as adults as most have been exposed to real poverty in their life (Australian, not Ethiopian) and want real outcomes.

    We understand that what you quote is one outcome, and no one has argued it is either unimportant or not a good result, but all outcomes must be measured in other metrics as well.

    What is the real cost of the services provided? Nothing is of infinite value and by careful examination and reassigning of priorities more can be done with existing resources.

    * Also, but what is the purpose of the welfare, what is the end goal?

    [e.g. Yes there is food and heat in the house, but how do we ensure parents send their child to school being fed breakfast and a real nutricious lunch?]

    * How do they deal with the immediate problem without creating long term disincentives

  44. Token

    This is the disincentives we refer to:

    ONE of the nation’s most senior indigenous politicians yesterday rebuked those of her people who rely on welfare, saying they need to grow up and stop resorting to the “dangerous conversation of endless complaint”.

    Northern Territory Indigenous Advancement Minister Alison Anderson told the Territory’s Legislative Assembly that she “despaired at the reluctance” of some of her brethren to take available jobs.

    I look at the men of Yirrkala and ask why they will not drive the 20km to Nhulunbuy to earn excellent money in the mine and the processing plant there,” she said in her first major speech since taking the cabinet role.

    Such men should not receive welfare. Once they start working a postive cycle will begin.

  45. Driftforge

    Peter – is what you are trying to say that they are dividing through by the number of people left in poverty after benefits rather than the number of people in poverty prior to benefits?

    What is the ratio between the two?

  46. Peter Whiteford

    Driftforge

    That is exactly correct. In Australia the ratio is about 3.1 to 1, and in the US it is about 2 to 1.

  47. Token

    Thanks Drift, you were able to articulate in simple English what Peter failed to do.

    Now Peter, back to my question what is the true numerator and is that full cost?

    …etc…

  48. .

    Driftforge

    That is exactly correct. In Australia the ratio is about 3.1 to 1, and in the US it is about 2 to 1.

    Who cares? Poverty could be eliminated at half the cost of what the programmes cost in the US, and we have over 100 bn AUD in welfare churn in Australia, on top of poverty traps of various kinds (welfare, tax, training).

  49. Driftforge

    Is something like the LDP’s $9k for all, pay taxes from there a pretty simply set up way to start?

    I.e does it resolve the problem set out here?

  50. .

    Yes, because it is more efficient, doesn’t make special classes of welfare and it removes welfare to work disincentives.

  51. Peter Whiteford

    And it halves the age pension

  52. Peter Whiteford

    And it halves the age pension

  53. A first step might be to stop using taxpayer funds to pay people to breed.

    How dumb and unsustainable is that?

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