S.F. Not the Welfare State of Conservative Nightmares, New York Times Finds

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San Francisco is a favorite punching bag of right-wing provocateurs who decry it as a West Coast bastion of European-style socialism. (Whatever that might be.) Sadly, even some of our city's local journalists buy into the pat image of San Francisco as a cautionary tale of the excesses of expansive government, joining the likes of Bill O'Reilly, who famously dispatched a reporter here to determine what America might look like in the dark night of the Obama administration.

Good journalism tends to demolish facile ideas, and the A-1 story in yesterday's New York Times was very good journalism indeed. A Times investigation revealed that the parts of the country most inclined to despise and decry government benefits are the same areas that are most dependent on the government teat. It's a fascinating finding that's ripe for political and psychological analysis. But in the meantime, here's what concerns us: San Francisco, it turns out, dishes out comparatively less money in government aid when set side-by-side with many other counties.

San Francisco County distributes $7,270 in government aid per capita, the Times found, and such aid constituted 10.24 percent of all county income. To put that dollar figure in perspective, it's more than Marin County (at $6,414) but less than San Joaquin County (at $7,346) and less than the amount spent by over a dozen counties in the socialist paradise known as South Carolina.

Of course, the picture isn't all that simple. Great personal wealth is concentrated in San Francisco, accounting in part for its overall independence of government aid. But the numbers still indicate that SF is not the craven entitlement society many of its lazier critics allege.

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Federale
Federale

And what did they not count as aid?  Honesty from the NYT is not likely.  It does not count government employee salaries and benefits, which are bankrupting the City.  It does not count the free sex change operations for employees.  It does not count subsidized services given out through private contractors, like the free healtcare for illegal aliens provided through health clinics that are not directly owned and administered by the City and County.

Of course it does not explain that if your claim is true, SF is independant and South Carolina dependant on aid, why do San Francisco's politicians decry any nation wide cut in benefits to any program?  Why doesn't the Hag Nancy Pelosi vote to end those subsidies to South Carolina hypocracy?

Well, they don't because the statistics are lies.  Carefully crafted to make it appear that SF is not living off the government teat. 

For example, why doesn't SF pay for its own boutique subway?  Why $120 million from the Feds for it?  Or $350 million for a two mile BART extension?  

And the "study" does not explain what happens in Demoncrat counties in places like South Carolina.  Lots of welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, TANF, WIC, etc spending there.  All attributed to the Red State, but in Blue counties.

909Jeff
909Jeff

European-style socialism. (Whatever that might be.) 

Its real easy,

Tax the shit out of everyone.... Then....

Provide free services (healthcare) that are a bureaucratic nightmare and stifle growth and competition in the private sector. Which is why in Europe one of the fastest growing medical fields is cosmetic surgery... Not covered under socialized medicine so the Dr's. are free to openly compete and set a fair market rate for services.

Make decisions for people as to what they can and cant, buy, eat, drink, read, watch, etc (Hows those happy meals tasting up there?) 

Begin to eliminate free speech by banning anything deemed offensive and then make it a crime to make offensive remarks. You can be charged with a crime in Europe for making an anti-semetic remark among other things. Hate speech is ugly but its a right we have.

Matt
Matt

Wow...I have lived in 3 European countries for the last 15 years. I guess you went to som e other Europe I have not been to. Ever been to Scandinavia 909 Jeff? You make it sound as if Europe is Stalinist Russia. It is not, and in fact in many ways is freer than the  U.S.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Well Matt I know that the European Socialism is seen by your ilk as the ultimate solution but please do tell... Where in Europe is "freer".  

Let me guess Amsterdam? Cause you can puff on the hippie lettuce?  I'm DYING to hear how Europe is "freer" 

John Galliano, the disgraced Dior designer charged with anti-Semitic hate speech, will stand trial on June 22. This was from last year you probably remember seeing it... Charged with a CRIME!  As hateful and ugly the things he said are you would NEVER be prosecuted in the United states for that. EVER! 

Scandinavia Tax rates Norway 54% Sweden 56%Finland 53%

Other European CountriesNetherlands 52%Austria 50% Belgium 50%Croatia 45%Germany 45%

United States Max 35%

909Jeff
909Jeff

The detention sections of the NDAA begin by "affirm[ing]" that the authority of the President under the AUMF, a joint resolution passed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, includes the power to detain, via the Armed Forces, any person "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," and anyone who commits a "belligerent act" against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, "without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the [AUMF]." The text authorizes trial by military tribunal, or "transfer to the custody or control of the person's country of origin," or transfer to "any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

Be truthful you're not really worried about this are you? 

but I am sure you will disagree as it seems you are ignorant about Europe.  

We will disagree, but it has nothing to do with my knowledge of Europe and more to do with the fact that I am a free enterprise capitalist.

Look at the end of the day I was bringing a bit of levity to the argument.. thats all

909Jeff
909Jeff

See Boobies unite us you win!

Matt
Matt

In the US it is now legal to arrest and hold Americans without charge, indefinitely (NDAA). I will say this trumps just about any argument you can use to say America is freer than Europe. No such law exist here. Yes, taxes are higher. However, if you do not have to worry about health insurance you may choose whatever profession you wish without fear of your family or yourself falling ill and losing everything to medical costs. I know people in the US who routinely turn down jobs they would prefer because of insurance issues. Not the case in Europe. There is private health care in the Eu if you so choose as well. University education is also covered by taxes in most European countries giving the freedom to choose higher eduction to everyone. Day Care for small children is subsidized in Scandinavia giving the mother freedom to work. I know people in America who can not work because the income would hardly pay the day care cost...I could go on and on...but I am sure you will disagree as it seems you are ignorant about Europe.  the only example you give is one of a man who used hate speech while drunk. No he would not be prosecuted in the US for this most likely. However, if this is your reason for  thinking the US is a freer place then perhaps its best you stay where you can get drunk and shout out racist hateful slurs without fear of conscequence. Its all relative...you know...going topless on a L.A. beach will get a woman a ticket but in Europe they are 'free" to show breast...LOL...Ill take Europe...you can have your drunk bigots. No, not Amsterdamm

ML
ML

The New York Times was a travesty.  Chris is spot on that it lumps benefits provided to senior who've paid into them for decades with programs that give tax money away.  Factors such as large retirement populations and number of seniors are not factored in.  What's even more diabolical about the Times piece is its failure to mention that the counties in South Carolina with the highest per capita spend-out are small in population and very poor, and majority African American.  In other words, the New York Times in classic faux-gressive fashion, is happy to make its point on the backs of the poorest.  Just like the SFMTA and parking meters.

Better
Better

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Reginald Stonebody
Reginald Stonebody

Yup, the Times article is about federal funds. In a related article, "San Francisco spends about $13.5 million a year on the top 225 street inebriates" says CBS.

At that price, any other county would have already sent their poor to SF a long time ago.

Meatsack
Meatsack

The first article linked "Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It" made no mention of SF, the second link only mentions federal spending and also no specific mention of SF. 

The sub authors thesis may be correct, it really doesn't relate with the two Times linked and the spending of San Francisco county or the state of California though.

The blog also seems to fly somewhat in the face of the article from a few years ago that points out that SF is one of the worst run cities in the nation.

Part of the equation is spending on those who don't have any interest in ever working and lived a life designed to further that goal, the people mentioned in the first article at least try some.  SF also goes out of it's way to count illegal aliens at census time so as to garner further federal funds.  Other areas are probably not so adept at begging as SF.

Chris
Chris

While I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions of the Times article, I have to say the issue is even a bit more complicated than SFWeekly or the Times suggest.

First, you write about San Francisco supposedly "dishing out" relatively less government aid, but the article is focused primarily on federally funded benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare.  San Francisco does not fund these benefits programs.  A study focused on locally funded benefits may produce a somewhat different result.  Second, while I certainly agree that Social Security and Medicare are government entitlement programs, they are generally not viewed as welfare programs since most individuals spend their working lives paying taxes into them (and yes, I realize that currently the benefits paid out are usually higher than what is paid in). 

All that aside, it is generally true that rural poor counties have a higher number of individuals on food stamps and similar government aid than wealthy metropolitan areas. 

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

"A Times investigation revealed that the parts of the country most inclined to despise and decry government benefits are the same areas that are most dependent on the government teat."

As was demonstrated by the red state socialism infographic several years ago.

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