jawlz wrote:In my experience, that is rarely true, especially given the inefficiencies that exist in most public-assistance programs.
I can't speak to vaguely-defined "inefficiencies" in the system, as I can't find any hard numbers on that. But here are some hard numbers that are relatively easy to find:
NY State senator salary: $79,500/year, plus $171 per diem for expenses, which can amount to almost $20,000 per year. So that's nearly $100,000 per year.
I'm setting aside the question of unemployment benefits because that's something that recipients have paid into prior to them needing the unemployment benefits, and it makes the math impossible without a lot more information than is readily available to me.
The neediest NY State welfare recipients receive $324 per month in cash, plus medical, dental and eye-care insurance through Medicaid, and food stamps. The cash payout is all that's relevant here, because AFAIK the proposed law tying benefits to drug testing only applies to the cash portion of the benefits. That's $3888 per year. Let's round it to $4000.
That's $4000 of my tax money given to one person on welfare per year, vs. $100,000 in tax money paid to a NY state senator per year. Since state senators get medical, dental, retirement and other benefits not figured above, for this calculation we can say they cancel out the medical and dental benefits given to welfare recipients.
I believe food stamps are paid out of federal money, so that's not relevant to NY state taxes. But even if I'm wrong about that, there's no possible way that the food stamp benefits even come close to the value of the benefits received by state legislators, which are paid completely out of my NY state taxes.
California legislators get $95,300 per year plus $141 per diem for each day they are in session. You do the math.
There are states in which legislators make far less money than this, but the welfare benefits in those states are correspondingly lower as well.
Nonetheless, being a New York state resident, my statement stands: it takes more of my tax money to pay one legislator than it does to feed/clothe/shelter at least ten poor children. Probably a lot more.
And I didn't even figure in what I pay in federal taxes, considering federal benefits for the needy. The math isn't kind there either: Members of Congress earn $174,000 per year plus miscellaneous "expenses."
If the proposed law is such a great idea, then it should apply to everybody receiving money paid out of tax revenues, legislators included.