Comments about ‘Mary Barker: The real 'Hunger Games' — America's skewed welfare state’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 21 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Excellent article! Bravo!

What we have today indeed is Robin Hood, in reverse. Yet, the right seems perfectly fine with it. They call
handouts to the rich and big businesses, incentives. They call handouts to everyone else, welfare/handouts. This has led to our economic ruin. They are the result of of decades of a failed economic policy promoted by an actor.
Yet, the righties refuse to recognize it's failure.

This stuff happens here in Utah. Just look at the prison. Developers don't want to pay for the prison relocation. So they're going to force the public to pay for it while they reap it's rewards. Socialize the costs, privatize the profits.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

We don't need more welfare. We need jobs. Something our current regime has claimed he's fixing, but, instead has run our national debt up $9 Trillion and made the rich richer and poor poorer. Great job baroke.

Giving handouts to the bottom quintile, doesn't help them move up. The assumption is, you give them their "magic juice" and they use the resource wisely to get ahead. In reality, most of these people at the bottom become dependent on the welfare. You try and wean them off and it's devastating to them. We just exacerbate the problem. They live off of the system, have children and teach them this is the way to do it.

The real question is how do you raise someone up, without making them dependent on you? Will bad mouthing rich people solve the problem? Historically, I am going to say no. Generation after generation of class warfare, stealing from the wealthy/stealing from the poor indicates that has never solved the problem. Obama thinks if everyone has a degree then the problem is solved. He fails to consider the supply side of economics. Too much supply and low demand, decreases wages.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

People like to use the word "diversity", it's one of the key buzzwords especially among liberals and democrats. Yet their myopic vision for the nation is "green energy". It's the perfect utopian dream. Endless power supply, limited emissions and pollution. But, that can only create so many jobs. During the past 6 years, more jobs have fled this nation and went overseas. Jobs that at one time, an employee could be trained on site. Overtime gain a pension, middle class wages, health care and provide for his/her family. We no longer manufacture as we once did. We have entire cities that are crumbling and wasting away.

What is the solution? Another $2 Trillion of debt stimulus? Advance degrees for everyone?

Maybe we need to look at why companies don't want to do business here. Wages are down when supply of labor is up, maybe we look at immigration. Our national debt drives down the value of the dollar and increases our interest rates. Maybe balancing the budget and paying off the debt is needed (it's a spending problem and not a revenue problemiethis year record tax revenue

Burke, VA

Thank you, Ms. Barker, for succinctly outlining the fallacies so often trumpeted in our daily dose of political polemics vilifying the poor people of the nation. It will only be when we honestly discuss the facts, as you have done here, that we can find a common ground that will benefit the nation as a whole, rather than enrich a chosen few who don't really need the help.

This year's federal deficit is expected to be $583.0B, the lowest amount in the Obama years, and yet there is so much more that could be done, but cutting welfare benefits for the poorest people in the country is not the answer. Whether it is a reduction in the spending for new weapons of war or the tax subsidies for private companies already making incredible profits there is room to cut.

"But cutting those expenditures would cause jobs losses in the private sector!" you say. Yes they will, and so let's admit that government spending impacts the well being of much of the private sector. But our war on poverty should not be a war on poor people.

Paul Timothy Gibbs
Taylorsville, UT

Our society is stacked against the poor, and we do our best to marginalize and avoid helping them, even creating the absurd notion of "class warfare" against the rich to someone claim they are the ones who are victimized.

It breaks my heart to see how common this mean-spirited attack on the poor is in Utah, where so many of us belong to a religion that teaches us to love and care for our fellow children of God. We need to stop being so considered about following conservative ideology and more concerened about following the teachings of the Savior. They are decidely not one and the same.

Mark l

OK, the rich are evil and need to be brought down, I get it. What does this author propose to do to solve the problem?

seattle, WA

I don't know when, but one day the majority of Americans will wake up and discover the inequities that have been built into our tax and governmental aid systems are engineered to help the already comfortable.

The cries of woe and worry from the Tea Party Republicans aside, the free market system in theory benefits no one in particular and burdens everyone in general. However, when our politicians (both left and right) put into place policies that excessively burden one group over another, we have altered the math of free market capitalism. The winners in this goody game are the corporations (tax breaks) and the wealthy (enough said, they don't usually end up at a food bank). The losers in this redistributionist game are the already poor and struggling.

Follow the real money. It is so easy to distort the argument that the poor couple down the road get a couple of hundred bucks a month to assist them in their life's struggle for decency. The billions accrue to corporate America and the mega wealthy. Tea Party distractions are a complete ruse.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Outstanding article. Mary Barker is a treasure. Let's actually help people who need it. A
And while we're at it, let's be done with the myth of welfare dependency. It's not actually a problem.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Any rational, intelligent person would know by now that the government's transfer of more than $20 trillion to solve poverty has not worked! So what do liberals want to do? Transfer more money and create more dependency which means more poverty! The solution to poverty will NEVER come from government welfare programs that punishes success and rewards and enables idleness, poor personal choices and addictions! Develop some job skills, stay off drugs and booze, work hard and don't have kids out of wedlock! Those are the real solutions to poverty!

Riverton, UT

As stated here by a few, I believe in charity. But forced charity, no matter how you look at it is communism, and that is not what the Savior taught.

Salmon, ID

I agree with Liberal Ted - he needs to pay more taxes.

clearfield, UT

So much is wrong in the logic, reasoning, and analysis in this piece. However, it would take much more than 200 words to sort it out. Bottom line is this. In a capitalistic economy, it is necessary for there to be rich, middle, and poor. Americas poor are much richer than the poor of most any other country. And that is because the rich are much richer than the rich of other countries. And as a result we have a huge bell curved middle class that in and of itself has three degrees, upper middle, middle middle, and lower middle. Our system has worked pretty well for most people. Want to trade it for socialism? Communism? That kind of system would only bring everyone down, except for the elite wealthy. Why is it that liberals seem to believe that social justice is achieved not by bringing people up to their potential, but by lowering others down who have succeeded in our system?

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Develop some meaningful job skills, stay off drugs and alcohol, don't have children out of wedlock, go to work everyday (even two jobs if necessary) and don't spend more than your income! Poverty problem solved! It works every time! These are the reason millions of Americans are not poor and those who don't do these things usually are poor!

Salt Lake City, UT

"What does this author propose to do to solve the problem?"

1) Overturn Citizens United. Corporations are _not_ people, and money is _not_ speech.

2) Campaign finance reform. Require complete transparency for _all_ contributions to political campaigns.

3) Tax reform. Level the playing field. Eliminate specialized tax deductions and loopholes that exist solely to benefit the people who hired the lobbyists to write the tax laws and then buy the legislators to pass them.

4) End corporate welfare. It makes no sense that for-profit corporations receive billions of dollars in public assistance and then employ armies of lawyers and accountants to make sure they pay little or no taxes.

That's a start.


Flat Tax or National Sales Tax. Take your pick. Get taxed on what you spend not what you earn.

Don't like that - we then try this - cut the Government down - a lot.

Still don't like it? Well then just wait a little longer because things cannot stay this way forever.

Economic revolutions come because the systems get over burdened.

We should have switched to the metric system back in the 70's and the flat or sales tax in the 90's when we had the chance.

Michael Matthews
Omaha, NE

She missed my favorite. Probably because it doesn't exactly fit her premise. But why on earth does the child tax credit make sense? I've got six kids, a large family. Why do my bachelor neighbors have to pay extra for me? It's just Republican redistribution and makes as much sense as it does for me to pay for my other neighbor who's on welfare to play video games all day (Democratic redistribution).

Both parties play the system to get the votes they want/need by dangling these carrots out at us and when we vote with our pocketbooks we are failing ourselves ultimately.

Moab, UT

It is ironic that demograficaly those that voted for Obama (twice) have found their wages lower and unemployment higher. While the rich have gotten richer. Yet, I am sure they will continue to vote for more of the same. Speaks volumes.

Boise, ID

The ultra wealthy may get away with stuff but small business owners and the middle class who are successful get hammered. Deductions mean I might pay a few dollars less in taxes but my tax burden is still far larger. 47% of people pay no net tax. At the same time, deductions for successful small business are being stripped away. Quit victimizing our great country.

Study hard, delay gratification, save money, study smart, and you can succeed in America. Dump internet, cable, cell phone unless you are making enough to save. Stay away from drugs and alcohol, don't have sex before marriage and for sure don't have kids out of wedlock. Go to bed early and work hard no matter how bad your job is now. Read good books and spend less time watching tv, video games, etc. That is the solution, not more handouts.

Salt Lake City, UT

Never forget that the United States was built on the foundation of slavery. Slavery literally built the foundation of American capitalism. Our class system is a modification of the slave system. In looking to the future we have to figure out some new ways to do things. Perhaps small "s" socialism, like with cooperatives, can be a way.

Regardless if what type of socialism we head for, socialism of some brand is on the way. Our present system is starkly unfair and unsustainable.

Burke, VA

Congratulations to happy2bhere as the first to raise the inevitable banner of Communism or Socialism. Are they the only alternatives to capitalism? And for happy and Thid BArker, get out of the house and see more of the world than the neighborhood you live in. Poverty is a complex issue that can't be defined by a few simple solutions (get a job, stay off drugs, etc. etc. etc.)

And finally, as the essay by Ms. Barker points out, the poor are NOT the major recipients of "welfare" in our country. We've just chosen to accept other names for it - subsidies, mortgage deductions etc, etc, etc. HONESTY! That's all that's being asked for in this essay and failing that, we have no way to solve the issue.

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