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"Poverty" Programs are Employment Programs for the Middle Class


Contrary to popular belief, only about 10% of the federal budget is devoted to means-tested "poverty" programs. Liberals and Conservatives fight fight fight over whether more or less money should go to these programs, but the vast majority of government spending goes to people who don't need it, people like me and my husband--your friendly bureaucrats and government contractors--and people like our grandparents--your friendly unemployed-but-able pensioners.

Poor people are actually quite ineffective at getting the government to subsidize their existence, compared to the general population. When I worked for Legal Aid, much of our (government subsidized) budget went toward helping poor people navigate the maze of legal requirements and waiting periods designed to avoid having to help them. This maze keeps a lot of government bureaucrats and client attorneys busily employed (in the "public interest") at middle-class salaries, and lets the public believe they are helping the poor with their taxes instead of subsidizing their neighbors.


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