Welfare for the Modestly Rich

Mitt Romney’s careless comment about “the 47 percent” receiving government benefits — implying they’re all deadbeats — squelched any serious discussion in the campaign. Interestingly, his figure is probably low: More than 50 percent of Americans may already receive benefits. Obamacare will raise this, because families with incomes up to four times the federal poverty line ($91,000 in 2011 for a family of four) qualify for insurance subsidies....

Take Social Security. Created to prevent destitution among the elderly, it now subsidizes the comfortable. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about a couple (he 66, she 70) touring the world. They’ve visited London, Paris, Florence and Buenos Aires. Their financial adviser sends them $6,000 a month from investments and proceeds from their home sale. They also receive Social Security. How much? They don’t say. My hunch: between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. (I e-mailed the couple for details but received no reply.)
As the election fades into the rearview mirror and attention turns more seriously toward the looming “fiscal cliff,” lobbyists and advocates are once again wondering whether Congress might look to the healthcare law for spending cuts.

Specifically, lawmakers might be tempted to tap the health law’s insurance subsidies — by far its most expensive provision, and probably the most tangible benefit it will provide. …

Critics say the subsidies are too generous — 400 percent of the poverty level is more than $90,000 per year. And because the subsidies don’t begin to flow until 2014, they represent a giant pot of money that’s in the budget but wouldn’t have to come out of anyone’s pocket.


Anonymous said...

So Congress might do to the Health Insurance Subsidy what they did to the highway trust fund and Social Security. Would anyone be surprised if Congress took that path?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Grim said...

I would, actually, because of the value to the Senate and President of making the very vast majority -- rather than the bare majority -- of Americans dependent on gov't subsidies.