Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) is very upset that "able-bodied" people under the age of 55 are on Medicaid and food stamps, but his solution is simply to make things worse. During an interview posted on Twitter by The Hill this Saturday, Kennedy had lots of advice for President Joe Biden on how to pay for infrastructure, and surprise, surprise... he wants to take it out of the hides of the working class and those living in poverty rather than raise taxes on corporations and the rich.
If I were President Biden, I would have said to Congress, look, we're spending $144 billion a year on improper payments. We're sending checks to the wrong people. In many cases, we're sending checks to dead people. Let's see how much we can reduce that. Even if we can reduce it by 10 or 20 percent, that's 15 to, what, $30 billion.
Number two, I would have said, Congress, there's a CBO study that compares every job in the federal government to every job in the private sector and it shows that we pay 17 percent more for the same job in government than we do in the private sector. Maybe we can trim that figure. That costs us $40 billion.
I would have turned to Congress and said, look, why do we have to give a federal employee pay raises every year? Maybe we ought to save the money this year and spend it on infrastructure.
I would have turned to Congress and said, look, we're the most compassionate country in all of human history, but we're spending about $75 billion a year to give Medicaid and food stamps to able-bodied people under the age of 55 who have no children. Why don't we do what they're doing in Denmark, and help them get a job? And how much money can we save over a five year period? The people would be better off. The taxpayers would be better off.
Now, that's just low hanging fruit. He went right to, we don't have the money, so we've got to tax the hell out of all the companies in America, and I just don't think it's a very rational approach. And I don't see how anybody else, who has even a casual knowledge about the federal budget can look anybody in the eye and say there's not a lot of inefficiencies and waste in it. There are! And everybody knows there are!
As it was noted on Twitter in response to Kennedy, the majority of those receiving Medicaid are working.
Kennedy also failed to mention that Denmark is "known for for being an expensive country in which its residents pay a high rate of income tax," with a marginal tax rate for upper earners of 52 percent.