Government-hating tea-partiers love their government checks

This is a great country, isn’t it? It’s a nation where libertarian, government-hating, militiamen can collect government checks that allow them the time to denounce the government! So it is with Michael Vanderboegh, an Alabama militiamen whose blog has urged health care reform critics to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic elected officials:

Vanderboegh said he once worked as a warehouse manager but now lives on government disability checks. He said he receives $1,300 a month because of his congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. He has private health insurance through his wife, who works for a company that sells forklift products.

I first noticed this phenomenon back during the Timothy McVeigh era, when he and his fellow travelers denounced the government, proclamed it illegitimate and dutifully marched off to the mailbox to collect their government-issued farm subsidies.
The same thing was evident in the town hall meetings of last August, when white-haired Medicare recipients were outraged — OUTRAGED!! — over the idea of government involvement in health care. Of course, the closest thing this country has to socialized medicine is Medicare.
Apparently, denial is such a strong factor that these tea-partiers have persuaded themselves that the government and Medicare are two very separate entities. And, of course, emotion can overwhelm reason.

Ms. Reimer often wells up talking about her work. “I’m respected,” she said, her voice breaking. “I don’t know why. I don’t know what is so special. But I’m willing to do it.”

She and others who receive government benefits like Medicare and Social Security said they paid into those programs, so they are getting what they deserve.
“All I know is government was put here for certain reasons,” Ms. Reimer said. “They were not put here to run banks, insurance companies, and health care and automobile companies. They were put here to keep us safe.”

Well, “deserve” is an odd word to use if you really believe the only duty of government is to “keep us safe.” But Mrs. Reimer is also wrong on her facts about Medicare and Social Security. They are “welfare” programs; the average recipient receives much more than he put in.
Consider these numbers from the conservative American Enterprise Institute:

This typical person paid around $64,971 in Medicare payroll taxes over his lifetime. Likewise, after netting out Medicare premiums, he’ll receive around $173,886 in lifetime Medicare benefits. The net? He can expect to receive around $108,915 more in benefits than he paid in taxes over his lifetime.

177 comments Add your comment

Granny Godzilla

March 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

AND….they’ll use their “arms” to protect those checks……

Fang1944

March 29th, 2010
12:25 pm

And Michele Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006.

Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974.

I remember that John Wayne used to suck up a lot of farm subsidies, too.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:29 pm

It is hard to say what the tea baggers want. There have been populist groups in our history that have made a lot of noise. George Washington had to deal with such a group in the Whiskey Rebellion. Those folks would likely be part of the tea baggers today. They were pissed at taxes on the whiskey. This current patch though is getting their cut out of govt and just don’t seem to want anyone else to get anything. Me thinks that they are driven by something other than what they claim. If they were not so predominantly gun toting white folks making what appear to be illogical arguments ( I refer to the sign that says Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare) calling for violence in the streets, they may be a little easier to understand. As it is, they just look like a bunch like the Whiskey Rebellion folks and we all know what happened there.

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
12:30 pm

Cynthia, you’ve just made a great argument against Medicare. No wonder it’s insolvent. And you think government-run health care — aka insurance reform — will fare any better? The problem is, once you’ve paid into Medicare for a lifetime, you’re going to take advantage of it, regardless of whether you take more out than you paid in. That’s the problem with an entitlement program. Once it get started, it’s impossible to stop.

Betsy

March 29th, 2010
12:40 pm

If you think “tea-partiers” hate the government, you’re really clueless. And I’m still trying to figure out what “cut” I’m getting out of the government. It always helps an argument to slide loose and fast over facts and speak hyperbolically

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

Betsy, Did you bother to read the post? If you did, you know what “cut” I’m talking about.

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
12:42 pm

BTW, Betsy, I didn’t say you, in particular, were collecting any “cut.” Yet

Granny Godzilla

March 29th, 2010
12:43 pm

Bubba

If you feel that strongly you do not have to accept the check.
That is not impossible.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:46 pm

So if tea bagger’s don’t hate the government, what they so riled up about?

kayaker 71

March 29th, 2010
12:47 pm

There’s a huge difference between earning what the government owes you and doing absolutely nothing to earn what you get. Most of us military retired stayed with the system for 25 or more years to earn a retirement income, similar to someone who worked for AT&T for the same amount of time. Many of us began contributions to Social Security in our teens and by the time we derived some benefit from it, already 50 or more years had passed. Over 50yrs of FICA contributions should earn you something for your effort, at least unil it gos broke from mismanagement.
Bottom line, there is a big difference in the “entitlements” you describe. A large number of those who contributed to SS over the years have not had the privilege of collecting a dime from it because they died prior to being eligible.
A number of those tea party protesters that you demonize have probably never filed a tax return for Earned Income Tax Credit and most, no doubt, if retired, have earned what is coming to them.
Quit comparing apples and bananas, Cynthia.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:47 pm

Is it just this democratically elected (53% of the popular vote for Obama) government that is riling them up.

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
12:48 pm

After I’ve paid for it for a lifetime? Of course I’ll take it. That’s my point. Such an entitlement is impossible to refuse. But I’ll tell you this: If the government will give me what I’ve paid in SS and Medicare, plus 5 percent per annum — which I could have easily gotten investing it myself — I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:51 pm

I understand the paid in thing and earned the benefits and all that. My question is how does that relate to the fact that this country has so many people who do not have access to medical care and should we just ignore that because we have these paid in, earned the benefits thing?

Granny Godzilla

March 29th, 2010
12:52 pm

Bubba

I get your point. Of course you’ll take it.

However, my point is if you really don’t like it, don’t take it.

Is your money worth your integrity?

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:53 pm

Does the supporting the status quo always result in a reluctance to fix the next problem?

Micar

March 29th, 2010
12:54 pm

Or maybe those who support status quo just feel there is never going to be a next problem.

Dearie Smith

March 29th, 2010
12:58 pm

Ms. Tucker,
Did Martin Luther King check the status of his followers. Could there have been some that accepted assistance that did not deserve it? Some that might have received welfare checks, food stamps, government housing – maybe some ? Did they negate and taint the cause and principles that so many hard working, committed, loyal citizens came out to support.

Please don’t label all tea parties by the actions of a few. I have been to Washington two times ~ never before having even written a letter to my senator or representative. I feel stongly that hand out programs discourage initiative, personal growth, and just continue to prepetuate “poor me” attitude.
If you want to financially support your “down on their luck brothers”, distribute your money and don’t force me to support an even larger number of free loaders.

I doubt Martin Luther King would encourage your Robin Hood mentality.

Kamchak

March 29th, 2010
1:01 pm

Shorter tea partyers—Oh teh stoopid, it burns.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:01 pm

All I know is that I would never want to end up in a life boat with any of these ” I got mine” to hell with everybody else folks. When things got tough and somebody had to sacrifice or go overboard it would never be the “I got mine” guy or gal.

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
1:03 pm

Granny, I’ve paid into Medicare for 35 years now. If the government wants to give me back what I paid in and 5% per year interest, compounded, I’ll take it and never accept a dime of Medicare. Right now. But no, I’m not going to give the government 35 years of free use of my money. I may be stupid, but not that stupid.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:03 pm

Free loaders must = the sick and the dying according to Dearie Smith.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:06 pm

For all you rugged individualist’s, maybe it is time to review some political philosophy. Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson and so on. We have for centuries operated on the social compact theory of government and society. You know the one for all and all for one theory. Now take away this social compact thing and you get back to the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, might makes right stuff.

Jess

March 29th, 2010
1:07 pm

Cynthia,

Seems the only mention of Tea Party was by you. The Tea Party is a movement based on two issues, taxes, and government spending. They are not associated with religion, do not have a stand on abortion, are associated with no radical groups. It is a two issue movement.

I appreciate that you find this a convienient label for anyone who opposes your precious Obama, but it’s a lie, and you should stop.

As for the medicaid recipent at the town hall meeting. I saw it. He was not outraged, and his issue was that they were taking $500 billion out of medicare, which is a real concern to many seniors.

Granny Godzilla

March 29th, 2010
1:12 pm

Bubba

I think you mean Social Security.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:12 pm

Wow Jess, I would never have guessed that it was taxes and spending that were the issues. If that is true maybe they should have been out in the streets in 02 when we were doing 2 wars on borrowed money, or at least later when did a major drug benefit on borrowed money. If it was taxes and spending the party got started a little late. Seems to me they are mad about something else which they don’t want to lay claim to in public. Oh to be around the campfires at night at a tea bagger rally. Just can’t imagine how informative that would be.

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
1:13 pm

No, I mean Medicare. But I’d do it with SS too. In a flash.

Granny Godzilla

March 29th, 2010
1:13 pm

Jess

Are you Tea Party – Grassroots OR Tea Party – Freedom Works/Dick Armey?

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
1:15 pm

Jess, Did you bother to read the post? Vanderboegh didn’t mention tea partying, but Mrs. Reimer, who I also mentioned, is a tea-party activist. BTW, I know there of plenty of folks who oppose Obama’s policies who are not tea partiers. I have never conflated the two groups. One more thing, there were MANY Medicare recipients who attended the town hall meetings and denounced government health care. I don’t know where you got the impression there was just one.

Jess

March 29th, 2010
1:17 pm

Micar,

Their was no tea party in 02, and yes these are their only two issues. The rest of what you said is just drivel.

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
1:17 pm

Dearie, Please define “handout’ program. The common definition seems to be assistance to other people — not to me and mine

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:18 pm

Bubba, lets put that to a vote today. What do you think the tally would be on getting rid of Medicare and Social Security. I am betting 80/20 against. I only say 20 against because your can get 20 of the population to do anything at any given time.

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
1:19 pm

Kayaker 71, how do you know they never fied for EITC? What makes you so sure?

SouthernGal

March 29th, 2010
1:19 pm

I would gladly forego Medicare if they would not deduct it from my SS.

kayaker 71

March 29th, 2010
1:20 pm

Demonizing the tea party protesters is sort of like killing the messenger. They are advocating for a fiscally sound economic system in Congressional spending, not giving way something for nothing to those who refuse to contribute to our society, getting government out of our lives except where the Constitution gives them a role, eliminating these unfunded mandates to states that are already going broke, granting citizenship only to those who enter this country legally and restoring pride to our country on the international scene. These aims are radical? Most of these protesters cannot stand the ground that Bozo walks on and most anything he stands for. For someone who was going to “bring this country together”, he has been the most polarizing indvidual to hit the White House in the history of our country. We don’t like his image of America. We don’t lke him personally. We abhor his chin in the air arrogance and his know it all posture when he speaks. He exudes a superior demeanor that looks like he is looking down his nose at someone who “just could not possibly understand”. And along with all of that, he assumes that “Nobel Peace Prize” posture which is contrary to everything that he stands for. I cannot wait until this clown is voted out of office and sent back to Chicago so we can fix all of the things that he has done to this country while he writes his socialistic memoirs for his library and ponders why all of those stupid Americans couldn’t buy his arrogance or his leftist plan for “what’s good for us”. November will be a start.

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
1:22 pm

Micar, I’d say your odds are about right, if you’re talking about a public vote. If you’re talking about Congress, the answer is zero.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:22 pm

Jess. You make my point – taxes and spending where an issue in 02 but no tea bags – give me a break. And the rest of it Drivel. Really. So they don’t have camp fires in the tea bagger movement. I suppose they don’t clean their guns either.

Jess

March 29th, 2010
1:23 pm

Cynthia,

Did you bother to read my post? I said you were the only one who mentioned tea party. Am I not correct? I have no idea what organizations Mrs. Reimer might associate with. I do know that your lead example was immediately identified as a tea partier, and I saw nothing to indicate this. This is not the first time you have greatly expanded the mission of this group, and I’m sure it will not be the last, but it wrong just the same.

T-Town

March 29th, 2010
1:25 pm

Hmmm, the masses are riled up over this one.

Drifter

March 29th, 2010
1:25 pm

You do have a point. Most of the people who can dedicate their lives to attending meetings and various public gatherings protesting this and that during the day are parasites on the system. The reason people are taking more out Social Security/Medicare is that it’s like a Ponzi scheme…completely dependent on a growing number of people paying into it. If they were investing that money instead of spending it as fast as it comes in, most of us middle class folks working for 50 years would retire as millionaires.

Jess

March 29th, 2010
1:26 pm

Micar,

So Geitner cheats on his taxes terefore all democrats are tax cheats. Is this your message.

Babyboomer

March 29th, 2010
1:26 pm

Kayaker. It the following are facts, your apples vs bananas is just double talk. “This typical person paid around $64,971 in Medicare payroll taxes over his lifetime. Likewise, after netting out Medicare premiums, he’ll receive around $173,886 in lifetime Medicare benefits. The net? He can expect to receive around $108,915 more in benefits than he paid in taxes over his lifetime.” The problem with most government programs is not the program, but people gaming the system. These gamers are not just “poor” moochers and free loaders, but some well to do and some greedy rich moochers and free loaders. If the government does not referee, no one else will. The “best and brightest” using Credit Default Swaps to game the system is a colossal example.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:31 pm

Imagine there are a few Republican tax cheats too. So what is your point? My comments are based on what I see at these tea bagger rallies and what I hear about the threats that are being made from the movement. I just love it when the false argument is introduced (tax cheats) to a discussion.

Micar

March 29th, 2010
1:32 pm

It is not the masses that are riled up. Just a mob.

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
1:33 pm

kayaker 71, the Constitution does not specifically mention Medicare or Social Security, but many tea-partiers like them both

DeKalb Conservative

March 29th, 2010
1:34 pm

Where’s the tea party connection here? A little poetic license at play perhaps? If you’re going to make a tea party / militiamen connection, can you at least have some documentation… heck do what many progressive thinking journalists do and just make up a quote and say you got it from an “anonymous source.”

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
1:38 pm

“many tea-partiers like them both”

Are you basing that statement on personal knowledge or on the basis that they take money from them — one doesn’t necessarily follow the other. I don’t have to like the concept of Medicare to take money I’ve paid into it.

ctucker

March 29th, 2010
1:38 pm

DeKalb, As I said earlier, Vanderboegh didn’t mention tea partying, but Mrs. Reimer, who I also mentioned, is a tea-party activist.

stranger in a strange land

March 29th, 2010
1:39 pm

Politics for dummies:
SS, Medicare, Medicaid – entitlements that can never be paid for. What do we do? I know, let’s pile on another entitlement that can never be paid for. What’s that you say – can’t be paid for? No problem – we’ll take it out of the ’savings’ from the other program that can’t be paid for. What’s that you say – there’s no money, and no savings from there? No, problem – it’s just like Doritos – we’ll make more. What’s that you say – still not enough money? Still no problem – we have guns and jails and if we have to, we’ll just force those revolting (adjective) masses to pay even more taxes. Yay, problem solved! That was fun. What problem would you like to see me solve next? I can always invent one. As a matter of fact….it’s getting really warm outside…I better do something about that
Signed, your friend (insert your rep, or senator name here)

Jess

March 29th, 2010
1:41 pm

Micar,

I see a perfect correlation. I do not think all dems are tax cheats, and I know all tea party members are not radicals. Their are millions of people in this movement, and you and your mentor Cynthia have pointed to the activities of a handful to make an invalid point.

Sick&Tired

March 29th, 2010
1:41 pm

Why shouldn’t I write off all tea-partiers as nut jobs against everything involving the government and/or racist? I read on a daily basis (on blogs) that all democrats and liberals are lazy, looking for a handout, stupid, unamerican and don’t contribute to society. And even more so, if they happen to be black.

Also, any person with high moral values will not accept anything that they are 100% morally against. If you do, you are going against your own principals and therefore, you are a hypocrit. You have to step into a government building to apply for Medicare and Social Security; it doesn’t appear in your mail box or bank account by the “Government Fairy”.