With liberals shrieking hysterically at the prospect of small cuts in federal spending–equal to 2 1/2 french fries out of a Big Mac Extra Value Meal–this is an opportune time to talk about where all of that borrowed federal money goes. We are saddling our children with $17 trillion in debt to do what, exactly?
Well, we are keeping Barack Obama in the style to which he has become accustomed, for one thing. Like golfing with Tiger Woods, at a cost sufficient to preserve 341 federal employees from being furloughed, if we think that is a desirable goal.
But that is relatively small potatoes. A huge part of the answer to where the money goes is welfare, now the biggest item in the federal budget, even though the federal government has not been, historically, responsible for welfare programs. The stunning costs that such programs entail is illuminated by the case of an illegal immigrant from Panama who stole the passport and identity of an American who died in Panama, and came to the United States. The New York Post reports on what happened after that:
A Panamanian man who stole the identity of a dead American and used it to steal over $680,000 in benefits over 13 years has been arrested and faces up to 15 years in jail, Brooklyn authorities said today.
Do the math: that adds up to $52,308 per year. Note that the Panamanian is now 32 years old.
He…used the passport to travel to the U.S. in 1997 and in 2000 applied for Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps, prosecutors said. …
Lizando stole over $600,000 in Medicaid benefits, $60,000 in social security payments, and $8,000 in food stamps, prosecutors said.
So the imposter has been on Social Security benefits, perhaps for permanent and total disability, since he was 19 years old. And he has run up an average of more than $46,000 annually in government-paid medical expenses alone.
But this lurid example represents not even the tip of a vast iceberg. One of the fundamental precepts of our immigration law is that we expect legal immigrants to be contributing members of society. Immigrants are therefore not allowed to be admitted if they are likely to become a public charge, i.e., to be recipients of welfare benefits. But the Obama administration has ignored this longstanding provision of the law, just as it has ignored so many other laws it finds inconvenient. The State Department has now confirmed, as the tireless Jeff Sessions points out, that in 2011 a mere .0033% of visa applications were denied on “public charge” grounds.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it meant that we are admitting a high caliber of immigrants who aren’t going on welfare. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Currently, 36% of immigrant-headed households receive benefits from at least one major welfare program. And many illegal immigrants, too, receive federal welfare benefits. In fact, as we have noted repeatedly, the Obama administration recruits illegals to sign up for the food stamp program.
The federal government wastes vast amounts of money, often spending it in ways that are not only useless, but that actively damage the United States. The idea that the government spends its borrowed money so wisely that spending simply can’t be cut–the position of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats–is ludicrous.