Today’s Concord Monitor reports that when Rick Santorum was asked a question about the Affordable Care Act at his “town hall forum” in Hudson yesterday, the presidential candidate responded with a rhetorical question.
“Did the government pay for your housing? Did it pay for your food?” Santorum asked Jillian Dubois, a Hudson voter.
The Monitor does not record if Santorum waited for a response. But the correct answer to both questions probably would have been, “yes.”
The federal government provides a subsidy of about $100 Billion a year for homeowners through the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. The federal government also subsidizes agriculture to the tune of about $10 Billion a year, half in direct payments to producers of commodity crops.
“How much is the role of government to pay for things that you should have to pay for?” Santorum also asked. How’s this for an answer:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” That’s the preamble to the Constitution, to which Santorum will have to swear allegiance should he ever be re-elected to federal office.
I’d include health care in the “General Welfare” category.
As for government spending to subsidize housing and food, I suggest a look at how the subsidies are distributed.
Nearly 50% of the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction benefits go to the wealthiest 10% of taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Data Base, 10% of “farmers” took 74% of all subsidies between 1995 and 2010. 62% of farmers received no subsidies at all.