Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Family Budgets, In and Out of the Social Safety Net

Via The Atlantic Cities:

This month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared yearly spending between families that use public assistance programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid, and families that don't. And surprise, surprise, households that rely on the safety net lead some pretty frugal lifestyles. On average, they spend $30,582 in a year, compared to $66,525 for families not on public assistance. Meanwhile, they spend a third less on food, half as much on housing, and 60 percent less on entertainment.
These figures, drawn from the 2011 Consumer Expenditure Survey, don't capture all non-cash perks some low-income families get from the government, such as healthcare coverage through Medicaid. But they give you a sense of the kind of tight finances these families deal with.
But that surfer on Fox News buys lobster, so we know folks in government programs have it easy! I think I'll pay my taxes and be happy I'm not struggling to rotate which bills to pay this month.  Then again, because of how the tax laws are structured, I can stash away over $16,000 in a tax deferred 401K account while folks I know try to raise children on not much more than that in income.  I've told conservatives I know that they can quit their jobs and take government programs if it is such a good deal, but they say they are too proud.  Also, that might cut into their Keno playing funds.

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