Feature

The invisible beneficiaries of welfare

In the survey, 60 percent of people who received a mortgage-interest deduction insisted that they had “never used a federal social program,” said Gregory Rodriguez in the Los Angeles Times.

Gregory RodriguezLos Angeles Times

Are you one of the millions of Americans benefiting from government handouts? asked Gregory Rodriguez. You sure are, if you claim a home-mortgage-interest deduction, are enrolled in an employer-based health-insurance program, or own a tax-free retirement account. Those three tax subsidies make up almost a third of America’s social-​welfare spending, creating a “hidden welfare state.”

It’s become fashionable to rail about Big Government and transfers of wealth. But the reality is that through massive tax breaks, the government helps middle-class Americans buy houses, get medical coverage, send their kids to college, and put away money for retirement. This kind of government help is invisible; because no one sends us a check, we take it for granted.

In a recent survey, 60 percent of people who received a mortgage-interest deduction—worth thousands of dollars each year—insisted that they had “never used a federal social program.” But they have. The poor aren’t the only beneficiaries of government handouts.

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