Friday, June 10, 2011

Budgets and the Working Class

I read in a recent article that states all across the country are closing State Park facilities. California is closing forty permanently. All of these states suffer from one thing in common; depleted budgets. Unfortunately many of these states also suffer from bloated spending on social welfare programs.

The working class continues to foot the bill for these programs through tax increases that affect everything from beverages to tobacco. While the average forty percent of social program recipients pay next to nothing in income taxes. The inception of social welfare was to put the working man back on his feet during job loss in the Great Depression. Today the definition of social welfare has a whole new meaning.

From matching savings accounts to free cell phones the concept of helping those in need has taken on a new meaning. Discounted untilites, Section 8 Housing are all part of a system that is leading this country to economic ruin.

By continuing to fund these programs at a staggering rate, states and counties continue to have to find ways to raise revenue. These ways usually involve new forms of taxation as well as the continual raising of taxes already established. At the same time these same states and counties must cut other spending in order to foot the bill for these social programs.

Now I am not saying that the only spending is on social programs but the proof is there that these programs continue to grow at an alarming rate. Local municpalites suffer as well. Fire departments and law enforcement offices have been shut down in some areas entirely simply because there is no money to operate them.

The question that many should ask is why? Why should we continue to fund these programs and not hold the recipients accountable? There are those on social programs that need the assistance but for every one on a program there are roughly three to four who are using it simply because they can.

The tax base in many major metropolitan cities is shrinking. The number of recipients on public assistance continues to grow and the number of tax payers continues to shrink. Many frustrated residents try to seek shelter in surrounding suburbs however those same suburbs are now facing their own economic issues. But as the tax paying base shrinks cites will face certain economic doom when the revenue levels continue to fall. Why pay a soda tax in the city when you can purchase it from a suburb that doesn't tax?

The bottom line is the working class continues to suffer. The ones who spend 8 to 10 hours a day working, managing their money, paying their bills, paying the full rates for their utilities and housing, and cannot afford a cell phone but need one for emegencies are the ones who suffer the most. Take for example the average family who makes 65000 per year with a couple of kids. They get a two week vacation and want to take a trip. Unfortunately the state parks, which used to be reasonable are either closed or are charging ridiculous daily rates to camp or use the park. Rates charged because funding has been diverted to other "necessary programs" Again the working class suffers because they are simply unable to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. Instead they must pay for that free cell phone or dollar for dollar matching saving account for those that are having a difficult time saving.

Until the government, both federal and state take a long hard look at the system and decide to dam the river of funds flowing to these programs the outlook is grim. The bigger question is how long before those that work says enough is enough.

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