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"spending on poor" as primary cause of federal government spending problems is a misconcep

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,333 times Debate No: 59574
Debate Rounds (3)
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"spending on poor" as primary cause of federal government spending problems is a misconception

-one random example, food stamps are like a percent or two of our budget. in the united states, as a federal matter, a standard adult is entitled to nothing except food.
-the idea of a run away welfare nation is also a myth, given the feds only help with cash assistance if the state wants it to and still to a limited degree, and in a lot of states cash assistance might last for a few years tops and only if you have unsupported kids. here in the USA homeless kids are not unheard of by any means.

this website expands a few more expenditures on the poor... but even it with with the formal analysis doesn't put spending at much more than ten percent.

this graph breaks down what we spend money on.

we could break major spending into somewhat equal sections, general spending, health spending, social security, national debt, defense. the health spending is a bit bigger, but all are roughly ball parked the same.

most general spending is on things like EPA or adminstrative stuff... not poor stuff. SS is a middle class and everyone issue, and in theory is suppose to be self supporting by pay roll taxes. same with medicare, which is probably at least half of the health spending.

these are rough estimates. but enough to show it's not poor people as our problems and "welfare" etc. it's mostly governmetn mismanagement, borrowing against programs, not paying for what we spend, cutting taxes while running deficits, not keeping overall spending lower, etc.


While one cannot argue that government mismanagement isn't a huge part of debt problem, we also have to look at what we are spending money on, or at least claim to be spending money on. Welfare is a large, perhaps the largest, part of the US Budget, and a lot of it is, in truth, just money being thrown at a fire in hopes that it will extinguish it.

What We spend on Welfare

In this picture, we have the 2014 Federal Budget. As we can see, while Military is a huge spending area, that most certainly needs to be cut, it is not nearly the largest. Social Security, Unemployment, and Health Services, which are all forms of government welfare, account for 58% of the budget. Education, Science, the EPA, and Administration don't add up to nearly as much.

What this means, of course, is that over half of the money the US Federal Government collects, is going to Welfare Programs. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that there's nothing wrong with a social safety net, but the money that we are spending just isn't doing anything. It isn't helping the poor like we hoped it would. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the effects of LBJ's Great Society welfare program, poverty was decreasing by as much as 1% a year.

As we see in the graph above, since the introduction of Welfare in the late 60s/early 70s, poverty has stagnated. Despite our best efforts, and many Americans giving as much as 1/8th of their paycheck to Welfare, some of whom struggle themselves, we have not significantly improved poverty in America. Our efforts have been for naught.

Now, imagine if we just cut back. With our current budget deficit, we'd have enough to start paying back our debt, AND make a solid investment in Education and Science. Rather than enslave our children to lives in which they must pay our debts for us, we could begin to create a country in which parents give to their children, rather than take from them with debt. We could invest in infrastructure, and this, combined with a much better system of education, and investments in Science and Research, would create a standard of living that would put the US at the top of the world once more.
Debate Round No. 1


con confuses the the use of the world "welfare". welfare generically might mean social security and such.... but it mostly refers to hand outs to parents with kids, and it is usually limited to a few years. even if we took the generic use of the word, con misses the point.

as i said in the last post, social security, medicare etc are paid by pay roll taxes and are so far self sustaining. this is not "spending on the poor" as is the point of the thread, but spending on everyone's future when they are at retirement age. also, if con wants to argue we should reform 'entitlements' by all means, as we can make significant strides in our fiscal health if we do, and it is necessary. but this is not the thread to do it.

we are focusing on 'spending on the poor', and con has clearly missed the point.


Medicare is not a self-sustaining program.
Social Security is, technically, but one does not get out of it what one puts in. This wealth redistribution is harmful to investment, which of course means less taxes from the wealthy (taxes which make up most of the Federal Government's Income), and therefore a wider deficit, which inevitably leads to a bigger debt.

These things are most certainly 'spending on the poor', and use up most of the Federal Budget. Even without Social Security, welfare spending still leads as the majority source of expenditure in the US Government, followed by Defense, VA Benefits, Debt Interest, and Transportation. Though Defense takes up a lot of money, VA and Transportation pale in comparison to the amount spent on Entitlements.

Also, I haven't missed any point. The argument was whether or not 'Spending on the Poor' was a problem in government spending, not whether it exists. I think I've firmly established that it does, and then I showed why such spending was a problem. I went a little further and gave an example of how to fix it, sure, but I haven't averted the point. Spending on welfare is a problem in the United States, one that is not easily fixable, but one that must be fixed.
Debate Round No. 2


con is just reverting to his original arguments. see my first two posts.


I highly doubt Pro even read what I wrote, or is just being facetious and dishonest. But, I'll write a conclusion anyway.

The US Federal Government is massively in debt. MASSIVELY. We have so much debt, that if everyone in the United States contributed all of their production to paying it off, we could not even pay it off in a year.

This debt is haunting, of course, but the issue goes deeper than that. We are pushing it onto our children to pay off. By forcing them to use their money to fix our problems, we are damning them to, essentially, slavery. Just imagine buying a house, car, and a TV, and then telling your children to pay it off, because you just don't have enough money. Imagine the shame you would feel, for forcing your children to fix your problems. That is exactly what the US Federal Debt has done.

Over half of the US Budget goes to entitlements. Unemployment, Healthcare, EBT, etc. And, while a lot of these are good programs, particularly EBT, others make it nearly impossible to have a sustainable budget. Even if it seems like we need these programs now, just wait until the US is spending half it's money just paying interest on debt. Then our children will really need those programs, but we'll be broke. Completely. So, if we just cut back on entitlements a little, encouraged private charity above welfare, and of course closed down a couple Military bases, we could begin to reverse this trend. Maybe, we could even give our kids a little extra.

So, I beseech you. Welfare now will mean sure death later. Cutting it off may hurt some people, but it's much better than the alternative.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro basically gave up.