Who Really Benefits Most From U.S. Entitlement Programs?

October 22, 2013

Reading op-ed columnist Robert J. Samuelson’s October 20th article that appeared in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, “The label ‘entitlement’ has outlived its usefulness,” in which he opined that this nation’s defense and domestic programs are being shortchanged at the expense of programs for the elderly, poor, disabled, unemployed and college students, I could not be more amused.  How is it that the defense budget, which has nearly doubled since the horrific attack of September 11th, is being shortchanged?  America spends nearly as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, yet, according to Mr. Samuelson, we should be spending more.

Also included on Samuelson’s list of deadbeat moochers are receivers of farm subsides.  America pays about twenty billion dollars annually to farmers for crop insurance and commodity price supports.  How is it that politicians have no problem insuring crops but not the health of theirs constituents?  Moreover, why is it that our government artificially inflates the price of certain crops, such as wheat, cotton, sugar, tobacco and feed grains?  Is this not a form of socialism?  However, the really sad thing about this program is that most of the money is paid to Big Agra and mega farm owners.

After reading his article, I wanted to address one question to Samuelson; however, unlike most other op-ed writers that appear in the paper, his column does not include an email address, thus I decided to pose this inquiry to my fellow citizens.  My question is, Mr. Samuelson, assuming you own your own home, how much of an income tax savings do you receive via the home mortgage interest deduction on your annual tax return?  Why do taxpayers have to subsidize homeowners via the mortgage deduction, which encourages people to buy bigger houses than they might be able to afford at the expense of lower-income folks who can only afford to rent?  Personally, I find this type of “entitlement” far worse than helping the poor and the elderly, especially when you consider that the mortgage deduction entitles taxpayers to subsidize millionaires, helping them pay for their mansions.

Steven H. Spring

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