By Bill O'Reilly
As just about everybody knows, America is broke. The government owes more than $14 trillion. So spending has to be cut, possibly including some welfare payments to the poor.
In 2002, the poverty rate in America was about 12 percent. In 2009, it was about 14 percent, up two points despite more than $4 trillion in welfare spending over that period.
The big kahuna is Medicaid, which counts for $276 billion this year, an 87 percent rise in 10 years. Medicaid is money the federal government gives to the states to pay for health expenses for the poor.
Food stamps are also big, up a whopping 256 percent in nine years. Child nutrition programs are up 82 percent, low income energy assistance is up 190 percent and direct payments to Americans who earn low wages are up 353 percent. That's the redistribution of income.
Welfare spending is 15 percent of the entire federal budget, but that's deceiving because Medicare and Social Security account for 33 percent. If you take those mandated expenses out of the equation, then welfare payments account for 22 percent of the total budget, a big number.
A recent Rasmussen poll says that 71 percent of Americans believe too many people are receiving welfare who should not be getting it. Just 18 percent of us say more people should receive welfare.
On the immigration front, 57 percent of households with kids, both legal and illegal, are on some kind of government assistance, and obviously this is causing some resentment. It's not that illegal aliens themselves get welfare, although some of them do, but it is the children of illegals who cannot be denied.
The Democratic Party in general does not want to cut government assistance programs to the poor or even to illegal aliens. The basic philosophy of President Obama's party is to redistribute income to those who do not have very much, regardless of their status.
A fair system would hold those receiving government assistance accountable. That is, if they turn things around, they would have to pay back a portion of what they received and they would actively have to try to get work. If they do not, the benefits cease.
President Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Act in 1996 and that slowed the entitlement industry down a bit. But over the past few years, it has picked up steam again.
The feds must impose discipline here and in every other federal spending situation.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads and Patriots
Ninety-year-old Nancy Reagan was attending an event at the Reagan Presidential Library in California when she almost fell. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who was there to speak at the event, saved Mrs. Reagan from her spill. Obviously the senator is a patriot, as is Nancy Reagan.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.