The Democratic dissonance on rich and poor

posted at 10:10 am on April 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

This election year has proven quite confusing to notions of rich, poor, entitlement, and exploiter. On one hand, we have Barack Obama drawing the line between rich and middle class at families who make $75,000 or more — a surprise to those who find themselves above that line, most of whom consider themselves solidly middle class. At the same time, we have New Jersey’s Democrat-run state government setting the poverty line for children’s health-insurance subsidies at … $295,000:

People earning as much as $295,000 are enrolled in a state health care program designed for New Jersey’s poor, according to a new audit that found the state failing to check eligibility for all program enrollees.

NJ FamilyCare is meant to help working poor parents and children.

But the state auditor found vendors aren’t performing eligibility checks and the state isn’t checking applications for unreported income.

The state also failed to try to collect $4.6 million owed to the program by 16,300 people who were disenrolled, the audit found.

The findings come with the state struggling to pay for health care for the poor and uninsured.

The problems, the audit found, has allowed at least three people with self-employment incomes of $295,000, $186,000 and $177,700 to enroll in the program.

Remember when the GOP called into question the management of the S-CHIP program? They specifically warned about the poor oversight being conducted by the states with the block grants provided by DC. Not only did New Jersey fail to check tax returns for income eligibility, they also dropped needy families off the rolls through a lack of follow-up on renewals.

The Democrats plan on using S-CHIP as an example of Republican heartlessness this election season. As this shows, it looks more like Democratic mismanagement and obfuscation. The GOP supported S-CHIP in its original context: an assistance to truly needy families without the resources necessary to secure health insurance for minor children. The Democrats wanted to expand it into an entitlement that included adults and families who spent their resources on other elective choices. If the Democrats whip out S-CHIP, they’ll have to explain thir bureaucratic incompetence in subsiding families with a quarter-million-dollar income stream.

So which is it? Do we consider six-figure incomes as part of the needy underclass? Or do we take middle-income families and hit them up for massive tax increases? In the case of Democratic governance, it looks like both at the same time. (via Michelle)


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Maybe we should have raised taxes back when the economy was doing better?

Musta slipped the Republicans’ mind, I guess.

Our children can’t afford to pay for all our gluttony.

Shame on us.

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM

I just can’t imagine walking into a welfare office to sign up for government handouts, and we don’t make anywhere close to $295,000 a year. I just …

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Well, when the Dems say they want “universal” coverage, that means for rich folks too, right?

“Now, Milton, let’s make sure everyone gets a piece. But, the ratio of people to cake is…”

CP on April 1, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Where do I sign up to be poor, struggling on only $295,000 /year.

rbj on April 1, 2008 at 10:29 AM

I just can’t imagine walking into a welfare office to sign up for government handouts, and we don’t make anywhere close to $295,000 a year. I just …

funky chicken on April 1, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Funky,

I have a friend, that is liberal, and he believes that if a program is provided and available, he and his family are just as entitled to it as anyone. BTW he and his wife are almost in the $250,000 income range.

I guess that’s how they justify taking advantage of offered benefits.

Like you my wife and I were brought up to believe that handouts from the gov’t was the very last resort, after taking another job, support from family or friends.

belad on April 1, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Unfortunately, these contradictions are over the head of the average American voter, who will likely decide on personality (“I like Obama better than McCain, because he’s nicer”) and promises (“Free healthcare for everyone!”).

All Obambi has to do is stick to platitudes and smile a lot, and the nasty old Senator won’t stand a chance.

MrLynn on April 1, 2008 at 10:39 AM

If the Democrats whip out S-CHIP, they’ll have to explain thir bureaucratic incompetence in subsiding families with a quarter-million-dollar income stream.

No they won’t – because no one will ask them to explain it – not the MSM, not the Republicans, no one. They’ll get a pass, like usual. Incompetence? Nah. Just a minor slip up. sarc off/

pullingmyhairout on April 1, 2008 at 10:39 AM

One advantage I can see for doctrinaire liberals is that at least they (used to?) want to help the neediest cases first, rather than triangulating, Hillary-style, to co-opt every identifiable socioeconomic group in the nation.

That is some seriously poor program management there, New Jersey. Good thing formula grants never ever get pulled for nonsense like that, huh?

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Rich and poor are whatever they need to be for ‘progressives’ to gain power and grow socialism.

petefrt on April 1, 2008 at 10:43 AM

The “ebonics culture” blacks are so enchanted with having a black president that can stomp on whitie that they can’t see straight.

Life is about decisions and choices, and the “ebonics culture” blacks unfortunately can be counted on to almost always make bad choices. The victim mentality may make someone feel better in the short term with soothing excuses, but in the long term it religates that someone to a life of underachieving and catch up.

saiga on April 1, 2008 at 10:48 AM

And by the way — nice deflection, alphie.

Can anyone imagine our whole lives spent as supplicants to or dependents of programs as badly managed as this one? For some people, that’s apparently utopia.

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 10:50 AM

When Obama lambasts the insurance companies and the banks amd the drug companies, nobody in the MSM ever says to him: If you and Michelle Obama loathe these companies and their executives so much, why did both of you choose to work for the white shoe law firm of Sidley and Austin? Just go to Martindale-Hubbell books or the web site and you can see who the represenative clients of this huge law firm are: Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, large banks, etc. There is nothing wrong with being a lawyer for these large companies but there is something wrong with Barack and Michelle Obama playing the class warfare game while being corporate lawyers for an old line country club law firm. Sure, being a legal aid lawyer is fine for the little people but not for the Obamas.

Larraby on April 1, 2008 at 10:53 AM

For some people, that’s apparently utopia.

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 10:50 AM

We have proven that government handout programs are like financial Opium. You think you feel good while you are actually killing yourself. When will the government learn that people have no respect or sence of value for something that is something for nothing.

saiga on April 1, 2008 at 10:55 AM

This is nothing the government can’t fix with a $800 hammer and a $2000 roll of duct tape.

fogw on April 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Once again, this inexperienced, unqualified and corrupt neophyte makes a statement that makes NO sense.

I live in across the Potomac from Washington DC.

A household with $75K here will barely be able to afford the rent. Home ownership is out of the question, unless you want a one-bedroom condo.

Once again, this guy has no idea what it is he’s talking about. Only the Democrats could come up with a candidate this unbelievably bad, yet get enough ignorant people to buy into the swampland he’s selling.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 10:57 AM

See, you take a human being and remove any common sense and knowledge of economic action and you have a brain dead liberal.

benrand on April 1, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Not a “deflection” Steve.

The captain needs to explain why the economy only grew at a rate of less than 1% a year last quarter when taxes are so low.

This quarter, America’s economy is actually supposed to shrink…with taxes at record low rates.

Voodoo economics that our kids will pay for in the end.

When did the Republicans become the party that leaves all its messes to the next generation?

About 14 years ago.

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 11:08 AM

$75,000 or more — a surprise to those who find themselves above that line, most of whom consider themselves solidly middle class.

I make more than that and I’m poor as dirt. Obama will destroy the middle class.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 11:09 AM

When did the Republicans become the party that leaves all its messes to the next generation?

About 14 years ago.

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Each household owes $400,000 to keep SS and Medicare afloat- and that’s just old people. These idiots now want to take care of the rest of us.

Blame every cent of the national debt on Republicans if you want- it ain’t a drop in the bucket compared to what Democrats did to our future with those 2 ponzi schemes.

Chuck Schick on April 1, 2008 at 11:13 AM

$295,000–isn’t that just about what the Obama family made until Barack wrote his best-selling fiction? Michelle Obama should move to New Jersey, and let its taxpayers pay for her kids’ piano lessons.

Welfare management, Democrat style: set the poverty line just above one’s own income. Works every time!

Steve Z on April 1, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Not a “deflection” Steve.

Someone needs to explain to you the difference between necessary and sufficient.

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 11:18 AM

“Each household owes $400,000 to keep SS and Medicare afloat- and that’s just old people.”

How much do we all owe for our abysmal public schools that the Democrats love so much (tho’ not enough to send their precious offspring to), and refuse to change?

Add public schools to the Democrat’s record of complete debacles. They are money sucking indoctrination centers for what passes for left wing “thinking”.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Steve,

Excuse me if I don’t think three families in NJ balances out the $4,000,000,000,000.00 bill Bush has left our kids.

Bill Clinton managed to shrink the debt, btw.

The idea that the Republicans are the fiscally responsible party anymore is laughable.

How fitting they nominated a guy who was broke until he married into money…

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 11:26 AM

How much do we all owe for our abysmal public schools that the Democrats love so much (tho’ not enough to send their precious offspring to), and refuse to change?

Add public schools to the Democrat’s record of complete debacles. They are money sucking indoctrination centers for what passes for left wing “thinking”.

Just heard this morning that the Detroit public schools are graduating less than 25% of their high school students. Oh well; I guess you’ll end up with the other 75% as Obama supporters.

Badger91 on April 1, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Bill Clinton managed to shrink the debt, btw.

The idea that the Republicans are the fiscally responsible party anymore is laughable.

How fitting they nominated a guy who was broke until he married into money…

alphie on April 1, 2008 at

How ignorant are you Alphie?

Which part of government is in charge of drafting and passing budgets? Which party ran Congress during all of Clintons surpluses?

Which party runs Congress now? Last year’s deficit was around $150B- this year is projected to be about triple that to an alltime record- and thats if Bush vetos all additional spending for the rest of the fiscal year.

Chuck Schick on April 1, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The idea that the Republicans are the fiscally responsible party anymore is laughable.

On this you find me in deeply moved agreement.

Clinton had luck, help in the form of an oppositional-defiant Congress, etc., but the record certainly is what it is. Any credit or goodwill I’d normally have given the class of ’94 has been abused many times over.

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Well folks, we are in a Depression, according to the Brits anyway.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/usa-2008-the-great-depression-803095.html

Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive – a sure sign the world’s richest country faces economic crisis.

Brat on April 1, 2008 at 11:42 AM

I cal BS.

75,000$ a year? That is good money, you can raise a family on that. Try 25,000$ a year. I at times would like to man handle people who make over some magic number in dollars.

SkyWatch on April 1, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Brat, control for population. Also there are institutional issues with increased program outreach, etc. that explain the increase in the pickup rate.

I don’t doubt that we are now at an inflection point, at a minimum. But a Depression?

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 11:51 AM

SkyWatch on April 1, 2008 at 11:44 AM

BS? consider this. Family of seven. Wife doesn’t work. Oldest kid needs braces. All five kids in at least one after-school activity. Food and clothing for all.

Yes, I’m surviving and that’s about it. My only complaint is that Barack thinks I’m rich somehow.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 11:57 AM

“75,000$ a year? That is good money, you can raise a family on that.”

Where, Topeka?

$75K a year in DC is not that much different than $25K in Topeka. If B. Hussein O. doesn’t understand that, he’s a dope. Wait, he’s a dope anyway.

That’s the big problem with federal taxation. It takes no account of the cost of living in different localities. I would be rich in Topeka, I’m not here.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Try raising your family, buy a house and send the kids to decent schools in Los Angeles on $200k. Believe you me, we ain’t rich.

Chuck Schick on April 1, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Unfortunately, these contradictions are over the head of the average American voter

MrLynn on April 1, 2008 at 10:39 AM

I’ll tell you one that ain’t, the libs want to import more poverty labor, legal and illegal, which makes all workers poorer and now they want us to pay for their health care amongst other things.

Too bad McCain can’t use that argument against the donks because he’s just as hostile towards the working class. The delegates are idiots if they select this guy at the convention.

Buddahpundit on April 1, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Maybe we should have raised taxes back when the economy was doing better?

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM

No doubt, Alphinator, that you will vote early and often for the socialist of your choice.

Hening on April 1, 2008 at 12:12 PM

alphie on April 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Sure, if you want to kill it. Recipe to stimulate this economy so everyone benefits:

- Keep taxes low and reduce wasteful government spending.
- Lower or eliminate tax burdens such capital gains and the Death Tax, and lower rates across the board.
- exploit domestic sources of energy, including “clean” alternatives.

CliffHanger on April 1, 2008 at 12:25 PM

DrSteve on April 1, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Doc, I in no way agree with the article. I linked just to show the lengths the media (American and Non-American) are going to to make our economy seem worse than it is.

Outreach programs indeed. The govt. is in hot pursuit of food stamp takers in order to make a more perfect dependent union. Not to mention corruption that could be uncovered too if someone really looked into those massive increases in applications.

Brat on April 1, 2008 at 12:44 PM

So the Dems want to do the same thing for health care that has been done for Social Security, make it universal(doesn’t matter if you’re rich and don’t need it you still receive it). That is one of the things that needs to be fixed so that well off people can’t obtain benefits that they shouldn’t.

ic1redeye on April 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Uh, someone needs a history lesson. Social Security was intended to be universal from the start.

corona on April 1, 2008 at 1:12 PM

Whole Families of Immigrants get by on less than 50,000 in the places you guys say are too expensive for someone making 75,000.

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 1:23 PM

A vote for Obama is a vote for change!!! Um, spare change…And that will be all we have left of our paychecks when he is thru…

soulsirkus on April 1, 2008 at 1:27 PM

“Whole Families of Immigrants get by on less than 50,000 in the places you guys say are too expensive for someone making 75,000.”

Not families, whole “families” of eight day laborers living in a house built for a single-family. And those houses are being foreclosed upon this very moment, all over the DC area.

Obama defined $75K as “rich”. Sure, you can EXIST on $75K a year in DC. But no one outside of a third-world country, will think of you as “rich”.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 1:46 PM

SkyWatch on April 1, 2008 at 11:44 AM

You cannot afford a two bedroom condo in So Cal for that. Yet, you make too much to deduct your student loans, healthcare costs, etc. Is someone who makes $75k “poor.” No. But that wasn’t the contention. The contention, at least from B.O., was that they were rich and needed to pay more in taxes. So much for the middle class.

Spolitics on April 1, 2008 at 2:04 PM

Whole Families of Immigrants get by on less than 50,000 in the places you guys say are too expensive for someone making 75,000.

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Obama and Hillary just voted to raise taxes on everyone making over $32k, so don’t worry, those immigrants will stop getting by so easily.

Chuck Schick on April 1, 2008 at 2:15 PM

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 1:23 PM

What exactly is your point? That it’s okay to keep taxing us until we’re all living in poverty?

Spolitics on April 1, 2008 at 2:15 PM

I guess my point is people are too material minded. Having kids and being poor is better than living to get the latest igadget.

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 2:22 PM

Sheesh…This reminds me of an email I got several years ago from a stranger who wanted me to explain why I, as a Repub, (wrong), could justify the huge chasm between the poor and the rich, of which she said I was one, (wrong!). That was fun to send a reply. Speaking truth to willful ignorance is great therapy.

Christine on April 1, 2008 at 2:27 PM

I guess my point is people are too material minded. Having kids and being poor is better than living to get the latest igadget.

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 2:22 PM

Really? See I was talking affording a decent home, a decent neighborhood and a decent education for the kids- not crap.

Chuck Schick on April 1, 2008 at 2:28 PM

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 2:22 PM

Even given that, do you believe the government has the right to force that choice on you? If you believe that, you can give your money to the charity of your choice. Why does it have to go to the government?

B.O has said, once you earn over $75k a year the government has the right to take more of your money. Do you agree with that?

Spolitics on April 1, 2008 at 2:37 PM

And I’m sure that national healthcare will operate just fine. See then we won’t have to worry about who is eligible and who isn’t. A way to work around incompetence, right

amr on April 1, 2008 at 3:03 PM

“And I’m sure that national healthcare will operate just fine. See then we won’t have to worry about who is eligible and who isn’t. A way to work around incompetence, right”

Everyone will get equally lousy healthcare.

And the beauty is, the left can recycle all of the excuses they use to defend our overfunded, underperforming public schools.

Since Americans buy the argument that public schools can’t educate children because they’re too stupid and ill-behaved, I guess most will also buy the argument that Americans live atrocious lifestyles and that’s why our socialized health care system costs so much and has such poor outcomes.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 3:09 PM

My wife and I pull in considerably more than 75k/ year and we are not rich by any means. We live in a one-bedroom condo and don’t take extravagant vacations or make unnecessary purchases. Is Obama even remotely connected with reality? When is the last time he had a real job? Has he ever had a real job? Navel-gazing doesn’t qualify as a job either.

the wolf on April 1, 2008 at 3:34 PM

Uh, someone needs a history lesson. Social Security was intended to be universal from the start.

corona on April 1, 2008 at 1:12 PM

Not that I like SS, but there was a practical side to SS when it was started because of the depression and politicians have since convinced a large portion of the public that it is a retirement program and has added other benefits over the years; it was supposed to be an “insurance” program with minimum benefits for those who fell into the cracks when reach old age and was far from universal at its beginning.

Politicians have certainly convinced my father, who is now 81 years old, that SS was a retirement with a trust fund; now trying to live of it, he constantly complains that it isn’t enough to live on. So I have to help him financially, as one must do. Yea, he was shortsighted, but he certainly was lied to by politicians.

Historical evidence indicates that there was a plan to turn SS into an annuity program after WWII but FDR died before it could be accomplished and under HST the idea was dropped. Probably only FDR could have managed to do it, even at that early date in its history. Converting it into a semi-private program as Chile has done with their system is impossible to get past the Democrats; as was proven when President Bush tried to do a partial privatization. The Democrats have convinced elderly people, like my father and my father-in-law, that what Bush wanted to so would strip them of their SS.

Just once I would like to see the Democrats taken to task publicly and forcefully for their lies over these many years about SS. That will never happen just as the Democrat’s association with our country’s miserable history of slavery and Jim Crow gets glossed over.

amr on April 1, 2008 at 3:44 PM

I guess I’m an idiot. I lost my job awhile ago and then had major reconstructive surgery on a leg. Finding work has been tough. I cannot, in good conscience, even consider asking for aid. I just can’t.

MNDavenotPC on April 1, 2008 at 5:15 PM

One of my great misunderstandings is why does the left hate the VA? It is what they want to put everyone in. If the people get upset the government says tough shit.

It would seem socialists like Hillary would hold the VA up as their example.

SkyWatch on April 1, 2008 at 6:10 PM

families who make $75,000 or more — a surprise to those who find themselves above that line, most of whom consider themselves solidly middle class.

Wow. I need to become a middle-class American.

Reaps on April 1, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Why are all the most expensive places to live run by Democrats?

spec_ops_mateo on April 2, 2008 at 6:17 AM