February 3, 2015

As the media and pressure groups demand the Governor and the Legislature expand Medicaid under ObamaCare, Republicans should ask themselves if they really think they were elected to increase welfare entitlements.

Columnist George Will puts entitlement spending in perspective. It’s not pretty.

“America’s national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda. To understand how far this has advanced, and how difficult it will be to reverse the inculcation of dependency, consider the data Nicholas Eberstadt deploys in National Affairs quarterly:

America’s welfare state transfers more than 14 percent of gross domestic product to recipients, with more than a third of Americans taking “need-based” payments. In our wealthy society, the government officially treats an unprecedented portion of the population as “needy.”

And the numbers are huge. Will says “Transfers of benefits to individuals through social welfare programs have increased from less than 1 federal dollar in 4 (24 percent) in 1963 to almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) in 2013. In that half-century, entitlement payments were, Eberstadt says, America’s “fastest growing source of personal income,” growing twice as fast as all other real per capita personal income. It is probable that this year a majority of Americans will seek and receive payments.”

Get your arms around that fact. Government entitlement check income is growing faster than income from work or investment, a prescription for national decline.

But all this spending isn’t primarily driven by so-called earned entitlements like Social Security and Medicare where someone paid something into the system. Instead, free welfare entitlement benefits drive the train according to Mr. Will. “This is not primarily because of Social Security and Medicare transfers to an aging population. Rather, the growth is overwhelmingly in means-tested entitlements. More than twice as many households receive “anti-poverty” benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare. Between 1983 and 2012, the population increased by almost 83 million — and people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million. So, for every 100-person increase in the population there was an 80-person increase in the recipients of means-tested payments. Food stamp recipients increased from 19 million to 51 million — more than the combined populations of 24 states.

What has changed? Not the portion of the estimated population below the poverty line (15.2 percent in 1983; 15 percent in 2012). Rather, poverty programs have become untethered from the official designation of poverty: In 2012, more than half the recipients were not classified as poor but accepted being treated as needy. Expanding dependency requires erasing Americans’ traditional distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This distinction was rooted in this nation’s exceptional sense that poverty is not the unalterable accident of birth and is related to traditions of generosity arising from immigrant and settler experiences.”

What does it mean? With ever more free stuff, the liberals are transforming America. Stagnating our economy.

And now Governor McCrory and the Legislature are being pushed to pass ObamaCare’s free Medicaid health insurance to childless, working age adults who don’t work. More free stuff at taxpayers expense.

Just say no. Because enough is enough.