Contrasting Safety Net Trends: US (Relentlessly Expanding) vs Denmark (Wising Up)

So this week, we learned that America’s welfare cell phone program is so out of control that a United States senator received a solicitation offering her one.  How far off base is the screening parameter for a welfare phone that a U.S. senator making $174,000/year (in addition to whatever he or she can scarf from “legal” insider trading) pre-qualifies for one?

Yesterday, we learned via Breitbart (THANK YOU, Judicial Watch) that not only is the Obama admin apparently not checking the immigration status of food stamp applicants, they are actually promoting the availability of taxpayer funded food stamps to illegal aliens.  (Excuse me, President Obama.  Could you perhaps check the law?  LEGAL immigrants do not qualify for social programs for the first five years that they are here.  Illegal aliens, as advocates of illegal immigration have repeatedly assured us, do not qualify to receive social program benefits at all.)

Also yesterday came the bigger picture revelation that, as of January, one out of every five American households has been receiving food stamps, an increase of over 800,000 from the prior year.  Don’t forget the s.s.d.i. rolls, which have ballooned in large part because the federal government expanded the definition of “disabled”.  (Let me know if I left anything off the “Expanding” list.)  Of course, all of this is in addition to Medicaid, Section 8 and other programs which have not contracted but have been chugging right along.

Meanwhile, the New York Times (yes, the New York Times!) reported earlier this week that

With little fuss or political protest — or notice abroad — Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both.

Substantially overhauling them.

Already the government has reduced various early-retirement plans. The unemployed used to be able to collect benefits for up to four years. Now it is two.  …

In trying to reduce the welfare rolls, the government is concentrating on making sure that people like Carina do not exist in the future. It is proposing cuts to welfare grants for those under 30 and stricter reviews to make sure that such recipients are steered into jobs or educational programs before they get comfortable on government benefits.

Officials have also begun to question the large number of people who are receiving lifetime disability checks. …

Which country is taking the more prudent and responsible course?


The abuse of s.s.d.i. has gotten so bad that even Froma Harrop, in today’s (Sunday) Providence Journal, has called for reform.

And there are more of them all the time. Over 5 percent of eligible American adults are now receiving disability payments from Social Security. Twenty years ago, it was 3 percent. One reason is easier requirements giving more weight to self-made diagnoses of back pain or mental anguish.

Social Security’s disability insurance benefit has morphed into a $124 billion welfare program.

[Monique is Editor of the RI Taxpayer Times newsletter.]

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