The wingers have been going on about a report in USA Today last week showing a record increase in the number of people receiving federal aid:
Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.
More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That’s up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007.
At first glance you would think a 17% increase is disproportionate to the economic problems. I mean unemployment has only gone up 5%, so why has things like Medicaid enrollment gone up 17%?
A big contributor can be seen in the underemployment numbers – those seeking fulltime employment but having to settle for part time. A vast majority of these people have to settle for a big pay decrease and accept jobs that have no benefits. A lot of these people are the bread winner for the family, so their economic woes translate into economic woes for their dependents; spouse, children.
Then what about medical costs? In other countries a person making the equivalent of $30,000 a year and raising a family can afford a lot of medical costs out of pocket. That’s not true in the U.S. A lot of preventive care and prescription drugs cost up to ten times what they cost in any other country. Those costs have also continued to increase beyond the rate of inflation and despite the current recession. Likewise the cost of health care coverage has continued to increase at historic rates. All of this amounts to more people having to seek help.
So when you take these factors into consideration, it’s rather amazing that these numbers have only increased by about 8% since the recession began. I would consider that to be a near miracle.
But I am using logic here. Logic doesn’t fit into the tea baggers. Instead they see an opportunity to use this data to take shots at the President, and even do it with a little hint of racism. For example, today’s Tea Party Nation newsletter included a cute little section showing all our currency and highlighting which President appears on which bill. At the end they recommend where President Obama can appear:
And they follow it with:
Obama’s policies have put more people on welfare than any president before him so this placement is most appropriate. Unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, for which he did nothing, this is an “honor” he richly deserves.
Obama’s policies? This increase started more than a year before Obama was even President. They started long before we even knew he would be the Democratic nominee. They even started before the previous administration acknowledged the economy was in a major down turn and heading towards a historic recession.
But again, those are facts and the Tea Party avoids those like Sharon Angle avoids cameras. Instead lies and misinformation fuel the Tea Party as they try to return our country to the same failed policies that put us in this current economic situation. Of course a few more years of Republican style economic policies and we’ll be yearning for the days when only 1 in 6 required federal aide.