The Land of the Entitled

In June, John F. Cogan and Daniel L. Heil of the Hoover Institution published the results of their research regarding the American Families Plan’s entitlement programs. They also wrote an opinion piece based on this research in the 28 June Wall Street Journal. Their work has gotten planty of attention from commentators. Most of that attention focussed on this paragraph:

For the first time in U.S. history—except possibly for the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, for which we don’t yet have data—more than half of working-age households would be on the entitlement rolls if the plan were enacted in its current form. Contrary to Mr. Biden’s assertion that his plan “doesn’t add a single penny to our deficits,” his plan would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. WSJ, 28 June 2021

In The National Review the very next day, Veronique de Rugy took Republicans to task stating that “many of them even continue to support some of these provisions and argue that the lack of federal involvement and money is the source of our current problems.” As might be expected, most criticism has been aimed at Democrats. However, most authors failed to read the research Conclusions.

Over the last two decades, participation in government programs has risen dramatically while the share of households paying income taxes has fallen to new lows. This has been a bipartisan endeavor. …These entitlement expansions have been poorly targeted, with benefits increasingly going to households in the top half of the income distribution. … More than 40 percent of plan’s entitlement spending will go to families in the top half of the income distribution. Paying for these expensive middle-class entitlement programs will require substantially higher taxes or increased deficits. The Impact of President Biden’s American Families Plan on the Federal Entitlement System, pages 19 & 20, Hoover Institution Economic Working Paper Series.

While the plan may not be a great idea, or the best solution, our current national problems (political, economic, and otherwise) should be blamed on Democrats and Republicans equally! It certainly would be nice if they could jointly work on solutions 🤔


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