• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: What The Poverty Advocacy Complex Costs You

    This Monday the Senate voted 83 to 7 to strip funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) from this year’s housing and transportation appropriation bill. The move came after upstart website BigGovernment.com posted videos showing ACORN employees in multiple cities across the country conspiring to help under cover reporters avoid taxes for criminal enterprises.

    Despite the swiftness with which the Senate acted, this is hardly the first time ACORN has been accused of illegality. Last fall when ACORN was investigated for vote fraud in a dozen states, the New York Times reported that an internal ACORN legal memo raised “questions about whether the web of relationships among its 174 affiliates may have led to violations of federal laws.”

    The Times reporter who wrote that story, Stephanie Strom wanted to pursue the story further, but she was discouraged by her superiors at the Times and gave up after blistering phone conversation with then-candidate Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Strom revealed in an email: “I’m calling a halt to my efforts. I just had two unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a rightwing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else.” Explaining why she wanted to pursue the story further in another email Strom wrote:

    The real story to all this is how these myriad entities allow them to shuffle money around so much that no one really knows what’s getting spent on what — and for the charities like the housing orgs, that’s a problem. Charitable money cannot be spent on political activities. It’s a big no-no that can cost charitable organizations their exemptions.

    That “web of relationships” between poverty advocacy groups like ACORN is the real story here that impacts the American people. ACORN is by far not the only suspect community organizer group. Just last summer federal investigators raided a city-chartered nonprofit agency accused of abusing a federally financed program that was created to clean up houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Teachers unions have contributed over $1.3 million to ACORN and its affiliates, since 2005. And the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has chipped in another $7.4 million. ACORN founder Wade Rathke even has a book out titled “Citizen Wealth” which “shows how to cut through government indifference and bureaucratic obstacles” to achieve “maximum eligible participation” in the “anti-poverty programs still out there.”

    All of this community organizing for an expanded welfare state has real costs. Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector will release a new study this morning that crunches the numbers on what the poverty advocacy complex is costing Americans tax payers and the results are sobering:

    • Over the next decade (2009-2018), President Obama will spend $10.3 trillion on welfare programs. This includes cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services for poor and low income Americans. Of this spending $7.5 trillion will be federal spending and $2.8 trillion will be state government matching contributions to federal welfare programs.
    • President Obama will spend twice as much on welfare as Clinton did, after adjusting for inflation. Over the next decade welfare, spending will amount to around $300,000 for each person currently living in poverty, or, on average, $1.2 million for a poor family of four.
    • President Obama will spend more on welfare in a single year (FY2010) than Bush spent on the Iraq war during his entire presidency.
    • Total cost of the War on Poverty since its beginning in 1964 has been $15.9 trillion. By contrast the total cost of all other wars in our nation’s history has been $6.4 trillion.
    • If total welfare spending were divided equally among all poor persons, each would get, on average, $16,800 in welfare benefits.

    That last point is key. Gallup has a new poll out today showing that on average, Americans believe 50 cents of every tax dollar that goes to the government in Washington, DC, today are wasted. The American people know that when the federal government funnels their money through groups like ACORN, that money ends up benefiting professional poverty advocates, not real Americans in need.

    Quick Hits:

    • House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) called on the FBI and the DoJ to open investigations into ACORN.
    • Also according to Gallup polling taken after President Obama’s speech, 38% say they would advise their member to vote for a bill, while 40% oppose.
    • Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said yesterday that she could not back Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill.
    • Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) also said yesterday he would vote against the Baucus bill.
    • According to the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, the individual mandates in Obamacare will force middle-class families and young adults to bear the brunt of the costs of reform.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    37 Responses to Morning Bell: What The Poverty Advocacy Complex Costs You

    1. Jane, Rumson, NJ says:

      How do I put this…? If criticism of Obama is just racism, than we need to investigiate how he was elected. Per Hillary and Biden supporters in the caucuses and primaries, Obama employed Acorn to conduct massive voter fraud. It seems a reasonable question then, if we racists could not possibly have given him a 54% majority over McCain, how did he become president?

    2. Connie, Illinois says:

      Yes, our two esteeeeeemed Senators, Durbin and Burris voted NOT to pull government funding of ACORN. No surprise really, I am just fed up with them not listening to any of us.

    3. RB, Virginia says:

      Another hot topic…..

      If abortion a.k.a. "reproductive healthcare" is not going to be included in the healthcare reform bill why have I received a letter from the President of Planned Parenthood asking for a $donation and my support, saying: "You and I have to do everything possible to make it clear that nothing will deter us from protecting a woman's right to choose. And your membership in Planned Parenthood Federation of America will help us stand up to anti-choice forces."

      One bullet point headline is confronting State-by-state restrictions:

      "Abortions are unavailable in 87% of the counties in America!"

      And another points:

      7 states have fewer than 5 providers each who are willing to perform abortions!!!!!

      "Indeed, anti-choice politicians in Congress may stipulate that excluding reproductive health care from basic coverage is the price of their support for reform."

      Thank goodness this two page plea was printed on recycled paper.

    4. Abraxis Coral Spring says:

      Personally I think welfare should be only for the people who are disabled. I am a single mother of four and do not receive a dime in aid,instead i work 17 hr days and sometimes don't have a day off for 2 weeks in a row. it sickens me that i watch people lay up and give birth to a new child from a different daddy and they don't stop. They can't afford to pay rent or buy groceries but they have new rims on their cars. It doesn't make sense. What happened to personal accountability and integrity. It boggles my mind that I have to work as hard as I do for people to get a free ride. When will it end?? Soon I HOPE…

    5. Cliff Cowles , AZ says:

      If ACORN is not out of business soon they will guarantee Obama re-election in 2012 and ever after.

      Additionally, they will guaranted the Dem. scum of the Senate and House re-election in 2010.

      Obama controls the Census. With Acorn and the Census they will win any election they choose.

    6. Joan Sarasota FL. says:

      There can be only one reason why Obama's friends and all the people he appoints are such a collection of socialist, criminals and nut cakes. He is one of them. What other excuse is there?

    7. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      How long can we afford to allow Obama and his vast gang of Marxist thugs to run roughshod over America?

      It reminds me of a western movie wherein a gang of outlaws rides into town with guns blazing and takes over. The people are hapless and helpless until a Clint Eastwood rides in to rout the evildoers.

      Every day in every way the Obama gang seeks to destroy everything about America. They want things run the way they want things run and hold the populace in contempt.

      The sycophants in the various Obama-serving Media suck up to these thugs and do their bidding, some out of fear, some for personal gain and some out of misplaced idealism. They grovel like Satan Worshipers and choose to embrace "Evil" rather than "Good". They are the continuance and the progeny of 1960's- '70's people who chanted: "Better Red than dead".

      The American people have to be the "Clint Eastwood" that saves America.

      Let's boycott any and all businesses that are in bed with Obama-Marxism; let's all vote to oust the phoney politicians in both parties; let's stand up and fight back! Let's demand that our representatives work for the people and not allow them to pursue their own personal agendas.

      We can re-claim America We must not surrender our freedoms to the Obama Gang!

    8. Mark, Chicago says:

      I tried to combine these numbers with the government pension numbers and my little grey cells started over heating.

      mark

    9. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      We want to believe in our country and our government, yet we all hear the members of Congress as they talk about the people of this country as if we are just sevants of the government, and that we do not have the common sence to do what is right. The government is telling us we need them to make decision for us, and if our decisions are different from the powers that be, then we are un-American or right wing idiots that have been mislead.

      I remnember a time when this country was a mass of demonstartions aganist the government and aganist those of us that went to war. The members of Congress listened to those people then. Senator Kerry even went so far as to tell Congress that those people in Vietnem were thugs and all were guilty of torture. No one ever mentioned the torture that was inflicted upon the soilder at the time by the viet cong. i know this is not what the article is about, but the will of the people goes along the same line. The majority of the American people do not want socialized health care, and the dems and obama are going to push it down our gullets. The will of the people means nothing to this bunch. We as citizens and voters need to make our desires known, send letters, e-mail and phone calls to congress and tell them what we fell about this issue. If we do not stop this BS we will long regret the mess we are getting into.

    10. Benjamin Marcoux says:

      I am a 76 year old American Citizen. I am appalled and disgusted with our present administration and it's president. I have never in my 76 years seen so much corruption in one administration and its president.How and what can be done to start criminal investigations??? Why HAS'NT CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS ALREADY BEEN INITIATED ??? WHERE IS THE GOOD PART OF OUR GOVERNMENT??? OR IS THERE NOT ANY OF OUR ELECTED CONGRESSMEN TRUSTWORTHY ENOUGH TO "CAST THE FIRST STONE" ??? HOW CAN AMERICANS GET CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS STARTED — NOW ??? BENJAMIN MARCOUX VETERAN.

    11. la voce says:

      Re "Quick Hits" for 09/16/09 Morning Bell:

      Remembering those who BAILED on the United States of America… those three Republicans to whom the acceptance and commraderie of newly-elected President Barack Obama, and his Administration, was far more compelling as they collectively

      'crossed the aisle' last Spring to vote for Obama's Crippling Stimulus Package. I no longer trust Sen. Olympia Snowe to authentically, and consistently, do the right thing for any length of time. Will continue to pray for her but she gets NO VOTE of confidence here. Sorry Ms. Snowe.

    12. Peter Easton, Virgin says:

      So 90 senators voted on the ACORN deal. Who are the 9 that did not vote and why did they not vote?

    13. James Cooke, Rockwal says:

      Since the fix (ala Chicago) is probably in at DOJ, perhaps loyal Senators and governors can persuade the state AG's to probe their respective ACORN, et al operations for fraud, intimidation, and other related evils. I will suggest this to our Texas governor and AJ. In the words of Saul Alinsky, "Keep attacking".

    14. Bob, Portland, OR says:

      Mr. Obama, your too young to remember hearing some of Bobby Kennedy's speeches.

      Here's one of my favorites:

      "The worst thing you can do to a human being, is to put them on the government dole".

      Bobby Kennedy

      You see Mr. President, when you put someone on the dole, you create future generations of people who want the same.

      By the way, this applies to all race, creed, color etc.

      Putting people on the dole is what holds them down. This… is racisim at it's purest form.

      When you promise something free to someone they will stop and wait for it. All of their efforts shift from becoming a productive citizen, to a person whose efforts becoming entirely focused on getting their share.

      This is what keeps the people down, not some notion that somehow our subliminal attitudes or thoughts actually cause emotional harm to people.

      But you already know this, don't you.

      Well anyway, you might want to ponder what Bobby Kennedy said.

      Best regards…America

    15. Dave, Laguna Niguel says:

      Birds of a feather flock together. But, President Obama is "above that"(?!). The CZARS(not a communist name according to the lefty media)are the largest collection of un-vetted, un-investigated communists/ultra-radical/sociopathic/insane/America hating/lunatics on the planet. I am sure Bill Ayres is hidden in this group somewhere, the media tried its best to HIDE Vann Jones. But this group is no reflection on the president himself…HUH?! And as for yesterdays discourse on the media…Charles Gibson "knew nothing" of the ACORN sting?! Dear Charles who tried to humiliate Sara Palin just because she is a republican?!!! Please, throw this BUM on the street and let him try for a job in the private sector, jobs which are vanishing into thin air while we are "under new management".

    16. Al Alfonso says:

      Always Celebrating Obama's Radical Notions (ACORN)…this has been a blinding flash of the obvious for a long time. They have been allowed to exist because folks are afraid of being labeled as racists for taking them on. Wrong is wrong no matter what the color. We need a full accounting for the money they received from taxpayers.

    17. T.A. Votaw, Coos Bay says:

      Is it any wonder that people strive to stay on the welfare rolls? It's a profession unto itself, minus the element of work or supporting oneself and family – the taxpayer will do that.

      It's a endless paradigm, and one that the Obama group has breathed fresh life into. His entire background, and intent, is based upon continued, perhaps enhanced emphasis on this "poverty" status. No doubt ACORN, SEIU and other advocacy groups are basking in wealth and support as a result.

    18. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the rich out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply the wealth by dividing it."

      Sadly, we have approached critical mass.

    19. B. Skrivanek says:

      "According to the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, the individual mandates in Obamacare will force middle-class families and young adults to bear the brunt of the costs of reform".

      So what's new…middle-class and young adults have always paid dearly for the cost of reform! Doesn't seem any different this time around.

    20. Ron Derry NH says:

      It is becoming more and more believable and I fear the worst, that our government has gone over to the dark side.

      The government has broken the economy and have blamed us, they have put into play, laws that invite corruption and the extortion of the American system. They seem to hate the work force and want to ride us all into the ground by allotting human value through government extorted set values and last but not least they seem bent on ignoring us with every attempt by putting more burden on us to cover their ineptitude with ever more increasing anti work ethic ways.

      When will this end?

      Here in NH we know the Democrats have to go as they are bankrupting the state with fiscal irresponsibility, non productive funding of liberalism's agenda and unraveling our economic structure.

      Unfortunately the teachers unions, and government unions want higher pay, retirements and less responsibility so we may just fail like Massachusetts and become a dependent to the socialist federal bureaucracy that is lynching the work force in favor of government mandated servitude to their agenda.

      I never thought Americans would enslave each other or their children; but here we are accepting that from Democrats.

    21. Mrs. Dorothy Barron, says:

      I invite you and others to visit http://mrsdbarron.typepad.com/slingingstones and read Parts I.-IV. of Where are the Bootstraps or Laces? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron. Such presents you with an opportunity to get involved in solving a problem involving our social and welfare systems.

      Thank you,

    22. Robert Chambers, Whi says:

      Although I still find President Obama someone I don't know very well, there is much to be learned from the fact that he worked for ACORN in Chicago and became an instructor in ACORN's community organization techniques. No wonder NYT's Stephanie Strom got yelled at by the Obama campaign. So much for the president's vaunted transparency. There is very little that I've seen thus far.

    23. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Check the connection of ACORN-SEIU Credit Unions. They exist, they are connected. More investigation needs to be done into this connection and brought forth to the public review!

      Hozro

    24. Bob, Portland, OR says:

      Good point T.A. Votaw.

      I thought this president was all about unity and bringing the country together. I guess what Obama the "candidate meant" was that if we all got together in lockstep with his programs and kept quite it would look like we are all together.

      This race card is being raised to a new level.

      We can't allow this to detract us from the real issue which is the socialization of our country.

      American's, stay focused, stay calm, organize.

    25. John California says:

      If our officials that we elected to represent us do not listen to the majority of us then I say either vote them out or impeach them.

    26. paul collins.the vil says:

      since nancy demanded an opology from joe wilson,I demand one from carter.I am not a racist and am insulted to be called.I am against obama not he is black but because he wants to be a dictator.The reason I have been against carter is bacause he is incompetent and his remarks are proving it.SO MR. CARTER I AM WAITING FOR YOUR APOLOGY.

    27. Dave, Laguna Niguel says:

      Good VS Evil is now on display in this country. The winner, the AMERICAN PEOPLE or The Socialist Party, will be the one who fights the toughest fight. So far the LEFT has shown their true colors and why ANYONE would follow a group of people who RELY ON LIES, DECEIT and PERSONAL DESTRUCTION is beyond me. As a conservative(was a dem, a rep, now indep) I would NEVER espouse that platform. The inept/in-the-tank-for-lefty/totally corrupt/brain dead/lazy-ass so-called NEWS MEDIA has chosen the side of the LIARS AND SPINNERS so we are behind in the score already. BUT! WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE KNOW WHAT TO DO AND THE TIME IS COMING WHEN WE WILL DO WHAT IS RIGHT TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY WHICH CONSERVATIVES OF EVERY COLOR BUILT AND WANT TO PRESERVE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THEIRS. The ones today screaming RACISM are in fact THE RACISTS! Do not let that charge silence the TRUTH, as the REAL RACISTS are just to darn STUPID to argue the POLICIES! Do not engage in a mental battle with LEFTIES as they have nothing to fight with! Facts and the truth mean nothing to them. OBAMACARE is nothing but CONTROL…the health industry will be unionized, Obama is trying to get every worker in this country to join/start a union, thereby the LEFTIES in our society will be in control FOREVER! Unions "USED" to serve a good purpose. NOW, wherever there is trouble in a company, ITS THE UNIONS! "Hey man don't work so hard, you make the rest of us look bad, besides, work slower and they will have to hire more people, and that raise? You will get it when the rest of us do and it doesn't matter how hard you work, in fact you keep working that hard we will break your legs! And forget about your ideas, no creativity is allowed!" Get ready AMERICA, choose your side.

    28. Judith of The Great says:

      Acorn is Obama

      Obama is Acorn

      Scary, isn't it?

    29. Bernard says:

      Marxism is the opiate of the asses.

      Fight organized crime and corruption:

      RE-ELECT NO ONE!!!

    30. Bobbie Jay says:

      I don't understand why people oppose their freedoms, liberties, human rights, common law, independence, personal achievements being taken away?

      When government calls American citizens exposing corruption of Obama's government policies racists, what is the message they send about Obama's race? Insulting. Humiliating.

      Kick immature ignorance out the door.They are manipulating resentment.

      Get rid of all obama's corrupt government programs. Then get rid of obama for the sake of a free people.

      The less government dependency the more people use their innate ability to figure it out for themselves.

    31. R Morini New Hampsh says:

      Some very good comments have been left here. Welfare is necessary for some, but the system is abused terribly. Bob in Portland OR and Ron in Derry NH, you make very good points here.

    32. jim toledo says:

      I guess this is what you call 'hope and change everybody can believe in'. I think that is the reason for all of the Czars in this administration; basically, these folks are operating under the radar doling out monies and developing initiatives that undermine the Constitution. I guess if you want to subvert the government and radically change the countries direction, then, you'd do exactly what we see unfolding before our eyes. When you look around and understand this administration is really not doing anything to benefit the majority of Americans.

    33. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      Maybe, just Maybe, people will wake up and realize that career politicians are the problem, that the longer one is in office the more corrupt they are and arrive at the only logical conclusion, " NEVER RE-ELECT ANY INCUMBENT, REGARDLESS OF THE BRAND OF LIES HE/SHE SPEWS" Welfare never works, never has worked, never will all it does is destroy peoples since of self worth and make drug addicts and breaks up family's. All making career politicians does is encourage elitism growth of government, and welfare states If we will set term limits at one term, reduce salaries to one dollar a year, and cut health benefits to that one term, we will get rid of these leaches, and get smart people who REALLY want to serve their country, and in a Very short time, we can turn this around and once again be the shining beacon of freedom and prosperity we were before apathy and Ignorance allowed these crooks to take over and choke the freedom and wealth out of us.

    34. J. White says:

      Heartless or not, that is the question- the PROFESSIONAL POOR ARE a huge definite drain on the energy and innovation/creativity of this nation. They produce nothing of value, they provide no services, yet they are spending OUR money [[buying $200 sneakers that used to cost $2.98.]]

      The "idea" that somehow , they are "owed" something that they did not earn is an anathema. BUT, we must remember that there are more white people on the dole.

      People on the dole remind me of the unions; [[Teamsters who once told me to slow down or be hurt one night after work]]- the unions' motto: 'Less work for more money.'

      These are the very one the Empty Suit is handing out verbal fertilizer to garner their votes- nothing else.

      It is an insult to every working man and woman; regardless of race, creed, or religion. Welfare is not condoned in the Bible. Did not Jesus tell his followers when they went out to take nothing with them, but earn their keep; as did Saul of Tarsus- a tent-maker"

      The original concept of welfare was to help keep people's heads above poverty until they could find another job..But, foolish, hungry-for-votes white liberals used it to creat a voting block..But, ultimately, whose fault is it that allows this to continue? The voters for not making those people on the dole in Washington, DC-who are called Congressmen and senators- remember for whom the work.

    35. A. Aquino says:

      This reminds me of what happened when a close relative went to get help because she was pregnant and had no health care. She went and applied for help through one of our government agencies and did not qualify. She and her husband made to much money to qualify. She was actually told by the gov't employee to say her husband had left her so she could qualify. Basically, to lie. I want to add she did not do what was suggested.

      I know of a woman who actually does this. Tells the govt' agency her husband does not live with her so she can get gov't help. So his income is not being used when they go to apply for help from gov't.

      This is wrong because WE THE TAXPAYERS are paying for alot of dishonesty. And some of the gov't employees are helping.

      I guess they don't actually realize that the money paying for their dishonesty is coming from hardworking people and not the gov't. Where do they think the money is coming from?

      I see alot of this type of thing happening. People on gov't assistance but they wear gold chains, nice clothes, sneakers. We are paying for this and alot of other people have learned how to deceive the gov't and get away with it. I see it as a learned process for some. Their parents lived off the gov't (Taxpayers, in reality) they are taught to live this way.

      I know there are alot of people out there that need help and go about it in an honest way but there is alot of dishonesty that needs stopped.

      A hidden camera may be needed to stop this also.

      Gov't welfare needs to be eliminated. Let's go back to neighbor helping neighbor. Communities (I mean the people) helping communities.

    36. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      If everybody who has lost his/her job because of all of this, would make it their job to take back America. we could win every seat up for grabs. the secret is to get them out of the hands of career politicians and into the hands of real people. the way to do this is to get a map of your voting district Call everybody you know who lives in this district concentrate on those willing to help do not waste your time trying to talk anybody into anything. get those people to call everybody they know. do this seven times. get everybody together, and pick a candidate to replace the career politician who is your master now. get a friend whom you know and trust. or at least know and trust someone who knows and trust your candidate. Get them into office. concentrate on your district, and on people who agree about getting rid of career politicians. Ignore party lines, and ignore the attacks you will get from everybody. FIGHT, and Win. Then you can get a real job that will support your family.

    37. Pingback: The Bitter Fruits of Social Justice « Pond’rings

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×