Now politicians like Paul Ryan who used to say things like:
Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. So we're going to a majority of takers versus makers...
are saying, instead:
No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements--entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security--are putting you in a 'taker' category. No one would suggest that whatsoever."
How long will it be before the likes of Veronique de Rugy stop denouncing Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, etc. as programs that have turned us into "a nation of takers", and stop denouncing these programs beneficiaries as "moochers"?
It is in some ways very odd. It used to be that critics of the welfare state pointed to high net marginal tax rates and argued that they had high deadweight losses. Sometimes they had a point. Then, after bipartisan reforms, we got to a point where there were few high net marginal tax rates large enough to induce large deadweight losses.
And then, in the blink of an eye, the problem became not public-finance deadweight losses but, rather, the moocher class, the nation of takers, etc.
Veronique de Rugy, last year:
A Nation of Government Dependents?: **49% of U.S. Population Lives in Households Receiving Government Benefits:88 In 2010, 49 percent — or nearly half — of the U.S. population lived in a household receiving government assistance... “way up from 1983, when fewer than a third were government beneficiaries.”... 16 percent of the population lived in a household receiving Social Security benefits, and 15 percent in a household receiving Medicare benefits. Medicaid benefits had the largest share of dependents, with 26 percent of the population living in a household receiving such benefits. About 35 percent of Americans in 2010 lived in households that received benefits from at least one means-tested transfer program... 15 percent... receiving food stamps, 2 percent unemployment compensation, and 6 percent supplemental security income. The percent of the population living in a household receiving benefits for low-income families with children reached 8 percent, and those receiving temporary assistance for needy families reached 2 percent.... The more people receive government assistance, the more difficult it will be to reform these programs. The majority of future federal spending will be to finance this growing nation of dependents.