Americans Who Use U.S. Gov’t Social Programs Think They Don’t Use U.S. Gov’t Social Programs

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You can forgive people who take legal tax breaks like the homeowner’s mortgage deduction or child care deduction for saying they’re not using government social programs — most people would understand such a program to provide a benefit or payment or service directly to you, not just lower your tax burden. But a surprisingly (!) huge percentage of Medicare users claim to not use government social programs — overall, about 50% of those who are direct users of such federal programs claim not to use any such thing. This pretty much is exactly the percentage of Republican and Tea Party voters, right?

44% of Social Security recipients and 40% of Medicare beneficiaries claim not to use any government social programs. Good job of deluding yourselves into opposing the very social-welfare programs that keep you alive, America! [Boing Boing]

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142 comments

  1. emmelemm

    I saw this earlier and thought…. Yep, sounds about right.

    /we're never going to dig out of this mess until people can understand basic concepts like what a "government social program" is

    1. Rarian Rakista

      My uncle retired in his early 50's from a job as floor manager for a government printing press that made all those nuclear safety pamphlets. Out of the 20 years he worked there, the last 10 he did almost nothing, the machines were idle for months at a time, yet he was still being promoted.

      When he retired in 1980, he was making almost 50k a year and with cost of living increases he is getting almost 100k now. He has been retired for 31 years now, so his pension has now paid him nearly 4x as much as he made in his entire career. Rabid as fuck tea partier, he thinks illegal immigrant children should be aborted, he said this at the last family reunion. So glad I am leaving him behind on Facebook, G+ does not have his kind yet. BTW, if anyone needs an invite, let me know.

      1. emmelemm

        Sounds about like my grandfather. He's not making quite as much money as that, but he's definitely making more money than he did when he last worked 30-odd years ago, and he's been retired and pulling the pension for far longer than he ever actually worked.

    2. assistantatlas

      You know what's really weird about those numbers–about a quarter of FOOD STAMP recipients don't think they've used a government social program. Do they think food stamps come from Jeebus* himself?

      *Brown, socialist Jeebus, of course…white Rambo Jeebus could give a fuck

  2. noodlesalad

    Well, mathematically speaking, 50% of Americans have below average intelligence for Americans, so there you go.

      1. MiniMencken

        I believe, mathematically speaking, that 50% of Americans have an IQ that is below the mean, whatever the mean is. An average IQ of 100 does not automatically prove that 50% of Americans test below that score.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      A few years ago – before I got kicked off for questioning the perceived wisdom – I posted this nugget on "Newsbusters." Soon after one of the numerous right wing nutz demanded a website cite to prove it.

  3. DerrickWildcat

    Honey? Rush just said people that are taking money from the Government are destroying our country. Don't we get checks from the Government every month?

    No! Rush is talking about those Communist Liberals, not us!

    Oh, ok.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Well, you see, if you don't actually get a check, it's not a Gummint Social Program.

  4. ShaveTheWhales

    Jeez, you read the comments and more than 50% of them (coincidence?) are from folks who want to nit-pick the term "government social program", presumably so the ones from which they personally benefit don't really count.

    Yes, the mortgage interest deduction is a government social program — it is a tax policy whose entire purpose is to encourage home ownership (once known as the American Dream, until it became the American Albatross).

    Yes, student loans are a government social program, even though you're supposed to pay them back with interest — the social program part is that the interest rate is much less than you would pay for a bank loan. Yes, Pell grants are a government social program — they're fucking GRANTs for Christ's sake.

    I don't forgive any of these bozos — they're all just trying to pretend that the programs that benefit them, personally, are some kind of clever investment plan, and only the stuff that doesn't benefit them are "social programs". The only things on the list I'd maybe consider not to be "social programs" are the vets benefits — I think you could argue that those are a form of deferred compensation.

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    1. emmelemm

      Easier: things that go to brown peoples are government social programs. Things to go to me are well-deserved and well-earned.

    2. PsycWench

      But these programs don't help the economy at all, right? Because they somehow involve tax dollars. You might think that encouraging home ownership would have real economic benefits but no, only tax cuts have those kinds of benefits.

      1. GOPCrusher

        It wasn't that encouraging home ownership that was bad, it was forcing banks to lend money to brown people that wanted to own homes that was bad.
        It was the basis of the entire Bushyt Depression.

  5. Doktor Zoom

    The comments at the BoingBoing article are classic libertard. Subsidized student loans aren't a social program because people have to pay 'em back. The GI Bill doesn't count because it's part of an employment contract. Tax breaks don't count because they're simply a reduction of the amount that the Gummint STEALS BY VIOLENCE from me, and which is rightfully 100% mine.

    It's like Galt's Gulch, only with unicorn chasers.

    1. mumbly_joe

      Yeah, thanks for reminding me before I actually followed that link. BB commenters (including one of the moderators) are incredibly insufferable. And honestly, most of the posters aren't much better, themselves. Maggie Koerth-Baker is pretty awesome, but Doctorow, Frauenfelder and Xeni all make me want to tear my hair out, in different, equally aggravating ways.

  6. smokefilledroommate

    A lot of olds equate the term "government social programs" solely to welfare assistance like foodstamps, TANF and Wic. Also, a lot of people just need to take a basic American government class.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      It's not because they're oldz. I'm a fucking old. It's because they're non-thinking assholes.

      1. GOPCrusher

        The easiest way to cure them of their delusion is to not send out the Social Security checks on Aug 3rd, because the debt ceiling hasn't been raised.

    2. SorosBot

      A lot of white olds equate the term "government social programs" solely to stuff that helps the negroes, also too.

  7. Radiotherapy®

    Or the roads or the cops or the troops or the tap water or the building codes or the Vietnam Memorial or the nuclear arsenal or grandma's social security checks or child labor laws or Yosemite or…..
    Don't you libs see? This is a decisive point in American history, free markets (warm and fuzzy) vs. gubmit bureaucrats (cold and brutal)!

    1. Redhead

      Oh but they support the troops! With patriotic songs and by flying flags and putting those magnetic ribbons on their cars. (Actual money or time, hah, good lord no, what are you thinking?)

      1. horsedreamer_1

        It's the power of positive thinking, which is positively… fuzzy-wuzzy liberal faux-Buddhist twaddle.

  8. natoslug

    Fine. New rule: If you cannot identify the gubmint social program you are using as being a gubmint social program, you lose access to it. There needs to be a penalty for being evil and fucking stupid.

  9. Sue4466

    Of course, when they stop getting the benies, they'll complain about how the stupid gubmint can't do anything. That's why they voted Republican in the first damn place!

    Nose. Face. Knife.

  10. __kth__

    Fine, wingnuts, we'll only call "social programs" the ones those other people get. Trouble is, if you define them that way, they are a pittance, and abolishing them entirely (that would mean we had ceased to be a civilized country, not that you care) would save about three drops out of the whole fiscal bucket.

    1. OhNoGuy

      That and some astounding percent of the public thinks that foreign aid is 20% of the US budget. So, we can cut off the ungrateful fureners and balance the budget in a jiffy.

    1. SorosBot

      Of course we're number one! Could any other nation come up with poetic lyrics like this?:

      It's Friday, Friday
      Gotta get down on Friday
      Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
      Friday, Friday
      Gettin' down on Friday
      Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend

      Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
      Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
      Fun, fun, fun, fun
      Lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend

          1. CapeClod

            I've found that thinking of "Can't You Hear Me Knockin' by the Stones usually wipes any anoying song out of my head.

          2. BlueMonkeh

            Any Abba song will suffice for us oldz.

            However, the cure can be worse than the original affliction.

  11. Sue4466

    Isn't pretty much everything the government does a government social program? I want inspected food, air traffic controllers, lead-free toys for my dogs, clean air, clean water, mail delivered to west bumfuck CA from east bumfuck GA for 44 cents, government-funded student loans, national parks, decent roads, police, fire fighters, infrastructure, functional schools, . . . If the government provides these things, they're kinda social programs.

    1. MissTaken

      Yes, they are. That is why a government should only provide for a national defense that can merely defend it's borders (and beat the living shit out of every other country on earth) and provide tax cuts for the rich. Everything else is soshulizm, except my Medicare!

  12. Goonemeritus

    Boy won’t the joke be on them when their non-government program gets axed. The teatards will go full retard and just in time for the next election.

  13. BaldarTFlagass

    Apparently, a lot of these folks didn't take Glenn Beck's advice to go and read up on how our country works at those FREE public libraries.

  14. OC_Surf_Serf

    What? Milk comes from the store, babies from the stork, and money from the mailbox…

  15. SorosBot

    Question 1: have you ever driven a car on a road? Congratulations, now 90% of the American population over age 16 has proven they have benefited from a government program (and the other 10% mostly all live in liberal New York and other elitist cities).

    1. mumbly_joe

      Hell, even before you drive. Ever go to school? If it's public school, that's out-and-out government handout soshulizm. If it's a private or parochial school, it's a non-profit entity, and thus doesn't have to pay taxes on its endowment, or for that matter, the property it owns. Anyone -anyone- who has gone to school, even if they didn't attend college, benefited from a government handout. Even if they went to a private school their entire lives and paid full tuition out-of-pocket the whole way through, which already pares us down to something like a third of 1% of Americans.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        "down to something like a third of 1% of Americans."

        Those would be the people calling the shots for the GOP and teabaggers.

        1. mumbly_joe

          Right, but my point is that I'm guessing vanishingly few of them take time from their lives of leisure to personally troll internet forums, so the smart money is on people claiming that they've never personally availed themselves of government sustinence are lying, idiots, or both.

          1. BlueMonkeh

            yabutt – thas diffurnt

            just ask them – they'll tell you so

            and the answer is both, katie!

          2. Doktor Zoom

            If they're using the DARPA-developed internets, they're also benefiting from yet another gummint program.

          3. BarryOPotter

            People should take pride in all the shit their awesome government provides instead of focusing on the negatives and acting like total dicks. Just my tax-free 2 cents…

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Man, I thought I was going to be able to use that term for the first time in a blog post, but you beat me to it…

  16. Redhead

    Well the whole teabagger on a Medicaid scooter holding signs saying "keep your gubmint hands off my medicaid!" and "smaller government!!" and then protesting that there weren't enough government-funded public subways and buses available to accommodate the Medicaid scooters meme had to start SOMEWHERE.

  17. C_R_Eature

    You've done such great work with Civics education, FOX News. Thanks.

    Not long from now, we'll all be building wooden Jeeps and airplanes, painting "U.S.A." on our chests & hanging around a deserted airport waiting for "John Frum" to return with our sweet, sweet Cargo. Those of us left alive, of course.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      It reminds of the forgotten mid-90s SNL sketch with Will Ferrell as a morning news presenter on a local affiliate. The teleprompter failed & within fifteen minutes the studio descended into madness, with Ferrell's chest smeared with the blood of David Alan Grier (who portrayed the equally as inept as Ferrell weatherman).

      1. C_R_Eature

        I just saw that one on "The Best of Will Ferrell on SNL"!
        Loved the fastest-ever Lord Of the Flies regression, the beheading and the attempt to return to Our Regular Programming Schedule when the teleprompter started working again.

  18. ProgressiveInga

    Here in the great state of Georgia, a legislator who was the chair of the health and human services appropriations subcommittee, upon hearing testimony about cuts to entitlements stated "I get a Medicare check every month and I've never considered that to be an entitlement". I'm not kidding. CHAIR OF THE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE!

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      I'd say "What do you expect from a Georgia legislator?" but I'd bet a six-pack that this dearth of knowledge and common sense is all-too-common among many legislators, state and national. You can imagine how prevalent that idea is among the sheeple.

  19. PsycWench

    At WalMart, prior to the passing of the health care bill, I witnessed a cashier and an older man passionately decrying any governmental role in health care. The man clearly was old enough for Medicare and the cashier probably was, too, but they never saw the irony. I thought about pointing it out but this is rural Virginia and WalMart, so I might have been shot.

    1. CapeClod

      You could have also said, "Thank goodness the government covers your health care because you won't ever see these assholes give you an aspirin for your troubles."

  20. glamourdammerung

    In other words, research once again demonstrates that conservatives are really only good at ignoring reality.

  21. PuckStopsHere

    From the late, great George Carlin: "Think about how stupid the average person is. Now, consider the fact that half the people are stupider than that!"

    1. comrad_darkness

      Actually, that's the median. Technically, it's possible for more than half of the population to be stupider than the average. Zero bound and all.

      1. PuckStopsHere

        OK, fine. I'm too stupid to understand the math involved here. Does that place me below average or below the mean?

  22. GodShammgod

    When the Koch brothers and their bought elected officials gut the social safety net, and all those teabaggers can't charge their Hoverounds anymore, I'm just going to point and laugh at them until they start crying.

    1. karen

      There's no reason to stop laughing once they start crying, it might be necessary to add a knee-slap.

  23. Beowoof

    I can't wait to hear the bitching when there checks get cut. They will be yelling at their congress people and anyone else steps on their lawn or cash flow.

  24. Callyson

    Good (and infuriating) details in the article that Boing Boing references:
    Although some individual features of the submerged state—most notably, the Earned Income Tax Credit— mitigate inequality, on net, these policies exacerbate it…they often bestow their benefits in an upwardly distributive fashion, as in the case of the
    charitable contribution and home mortgage interest deduction, and to a lesser extent, the tax-free nature of employersponsored health insurance. Second…such policies compound these inequality generating effects. They promote consumption of higherpriced goods than individuals might choose otherwise, for instance as they buy bigger houses than they would in the absence of tax incentives. Inflated prices result, which makes non-recipients of such incentives (e.g., renters) unable to
    participate in the market, and this further promotes inequality… http://government.arts.cornell.edu/assets/faculty
    Warning: do not click on this link unless you have a generous supply of alcohol, or of your drug of choice, within easy reach…

  25. Gainsbourg69

    Don't worry these assholes are getting theirs. My neighbor, a teabagger and a union memeber, used to work for the department of water management until Rick Scott decided his job was just too expensive for the state. Now he's out of a job, his house owes more than what it's worth (he took out a second mortgage to buy himself a huge truck and a boat when his house was over valued) and he's being supported by his wife whose teaching job is hanging by a thread. Good times in-fucking-deed!!!!

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        I would read your comments, but I can't because the socialist educational system failed me utterly.

        1. Geminisunmars

          This would make me pee from laughing so hard, but I can't because of the city water system.

          1. BarryOPotter

            I would pity you and your "busted pipe" but I won't because a display of sympathy may be interpreted as a sign of weakness, inviting Wonkette's libtarded commentariat to mercilessly mock and scorn my gentle soul [Shit! I said too much!]

  26. Negropolis

    Peak idiocy is but a few months away. Then, we'll have a full-scale idiocracy. It will be a beautiful disaster. Most likely, it'll be a full-on theocracy, and then we'll be just like Iran, minus the thousands of years of advanced culture.

  27. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Republicans always claim that liberals have destroyed education. Since the 80s, they have constantly attacked the education system, and tried to control the way things are taught. Since the 80s, test scores have gone down, and Republicans claim that students are not as well educated. Since the 80s, the number of people who claim to be conservatives and who believe things that the 'Baggers, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc. etc. say has increased.

    Think about it, won't you?

  28. ChessieNefercat

    Americans Who Use U.S. Gov’t Social Programs Think They Don’t Use U.S. Gov’t Social Programs

    Shorter Headline: Americans; Dumb as Dirt

  29. Limeylizzie

    Jesus Fucking Christ, I should have bred with an American solely to improve the gene pool.

    1. Steverino247

      And to provide us all with great masturbatory fantasies, no doubt! ("You could be next!")

  30. mumbly_joe

    Right, this is pretty much how all of our baggy trolls and the like keep claiming that they've never needed/accepted/requested a government hand out of any sort. Yes they have, they almost certianly have, or else they inherited enormous amounts of money and paid full tuition at private schools their entire lives, only wait, private schools are non-profits and thus owe the property they own and endowments they have to allowances in the tax code for their existence, whoops.

  31. CapeClod

    It's because they are called "Social Programs" which causes the Socialism Bee to start buzzing around their empty heads. Change the name to "Freedom Programs" and they will gladly say they benefit from them.

    1. BloviateMe

      You may be onto something. Change freeway construction to freedomway construction, and our infrastructure will literally be paved in gold.

  32. Steverino247

    Anybody who receives SSDI funds or Medicare who believes they are not receiving the benefits of a social welfare program for their disability, actually has another disability. They're fucking stupid, too.

  33. PubOption

    My entitlement.
    His unnecessary social program.
    Their government subsidy of illegal Mexicans.

  34. hagajim

    I guess I am the problem. I received a public educashion, went to college on Pell Grants and Student Loans, use my tax write off for mortgage interest and property tax, use my write offs for charitable giving, drive on the roads subsidized by the taxpayer (in a state that is a net beneficiary of federal largesse), and I don't have to fucking pay any sales tax! But other than that I don't use any socialized pogroms (I mean programs).

  35. ttommyunger

    The fact that there is a black family occupying the White House provides all the incentive for idiocy these racist fucktards need to join and support any cause that is anti-Obama.

    1. prommie

      In reality, to the teabaggers and other various fucktards, the words "social program" mean very specifically and literally "giving money to niggers." See also: "welfare Queen," "welfare cadillac."

    2. user-of-owls

      Or a beaner. Or from Chicago. Or worst of all, poor.

      Which means the entire pool of 'social program' recipients is constituted by one Afro-Dominican homeless man under the State Street El.

  36. JustPixelz

    People who lived through the Great Depression are dying off. Most people don't have first hand experience with that kind of economic hopelessness. Seeing it themselves or what it did to their parents.

    Social Security was created because the pensions, the savings, the banks themselves were gone. Elderly Americans — who had planned and prepared financially for retirement — were forced back into the workforce. Displacing younger workers and aggravating unemployment.

    Medicare was created from the same impulse: Elderly Americans forced to stay in the workforce to afford health care or insurance.

    Today's conservatives and tea party Repubicans should think carefully about the impact of retirees headed back to work, or moving into their kids basements.

  37. Thurman Munster IV

    Everything your Wonkeeturds has said is 193% correct, but one thing still puzzles me. Even if we blew the fucking federal government to smithereens tomorrow how much would our taxes go down? My guess is not very fucking much. But it'd cost whole lot more to get the services we rely on from the feds now from the private sector-if we could get it to suply those services.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Ah, but then it would be a contractual relationship between Free Individuals, so it wouldn't be theft.

      Perfectly fair. I, as a Free Individual, have the God-given right to enter into a freely-negotiated agreement with other Free Individuals, like Comcast or G.E., and everything will work out just fine.

  38. DahBoner

    Damn, this debt ceiling crisis is blowing the roof off interest rates, what with the uncertainty and all.

    For example, Discover Bank on 7/20/2011 is going to issue some 5 year CDs with the un-fucking-believably high interest rate of 1.95% interest!!!!!

    The Teatards are right–buy fucking GOLD because inflation is out of control.

    //sarcasm

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