I was told about a recent LA op-ed article, called "Hidden federal benefits" here. I include a small portion below, but feel free to read the entire article. It is more of the same.
Three programs make up most of this "hidden welfare state," as another scholar calls it. The first is employer-based health insurance, which is subsidized by the ability of businesses to deduct some of the costs from their taxes. The second is the home mortgage interest deduction for individuals, and the third is the creation of tax-free retirement accounts, into which employers and employees can contribute. Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker calculates that such "tax-advantaged" programs make up almost a third of America's social welfare spending.
Yet a lot of citizens simply don't recognize these as government benefits. We don't get U.S. Treasury checks for mortgage interest deductions (the deduction just lowers our tax bill). Nor do we directly see the hand of the government in our healthcare; we deal with a private insurer, private doctors and our employers' benefits representatives, not a national health service. And our 401(k) plans just seem like savings accounts, not a government benefit. The way we've set it all up has, in Mettler's words, "shrouded the state's role, making it largely invisible to ordinary citizens."
In fact, according to a 2008 survey by the Cornell Survey Research Institute, 60% of respondents who received a home loan interest deduction told surveyors that they had never used a federal social program, not realizing that the tax break was the result of the government intentionally forgoing revenue to further the social goal of homeownership.
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Notice I didn't highlight or emphasize any specific statement, because I want it to stand as presented. It's pure drivel. I say that because the article operates under a perspective I completely disavow. Using his own example, he states the government allows you set up "tax free" savings accounts, and by not taxing the money from you, it (government) is giving you a hidden benefit. Then, he has the gall to call this "social welfare spending".
The foundational premise behind this thought (using the "thought" word quite loosely) is that everything you own (including yourself and any/all efforts you make) *BELONGS* to the government. And, then, government graciously gives you a "benefit" by NOT taking some (or all) of the results of your labors. Further, it establishes that government - in its infinite wisdom - will determine what is "best" for its citizens by deciding "who" gets to keep "what". And oh-by-the-way, anything government DOESN'T take you should be humbly thankful for being allowed to keep it.
The only good thing about this article is you can tell exactly where this clown stands... right over there, with his hand in my pocket, telling me I should thankful he is stealing from me...