He says rewards of govt go mostly to "the people" through massive transfer programs such as Social Security and the costs have been borne mainly by the rich and upper middle class who pay most taxes.
This is an endlessly recyled conservative mantra designed to undermine the overwhelming consensus of the economic profession on how (a) income and wealth inequality have grown in the IUS over the last 40 years, and (b) how transfer payments and other redistributive schemes have only marginally modified the growing inequality. In response to Samuelson again beating the dead horse, think of these issues: (1) is military expenditure a transfer program from the people to the military-industrial complex, and if so, what does that do to the numbers he wants us to look at, (2) "the rich and upper middle classes" (whatever exactly that means" mostly dont pay social security taxes (and even fewer will once ACA is repealed) which account for almost half of what is raised by the federal govt and specifically exempts non-labor income (the super rich get most of their income from property, not labor) and all income above roughly $120,000 per year, and so on. More importantly, consider this: the origin, cause, and rationale for transfer payments follows from the failure of US capitalism - i.e. its leaders, the employers as a class - to provide jobs with adequate incomes to sustain the population. Letting that underemployed and/or underpaid population starve or die is dangerous for the system, so capitalists take a portion of the profits they get from how they treat the working class and give that back to them to pacify them, make them dependent on the govt and hesitant to rebel. To cast this sorry situation as some sort of burden on the rich derived from the poor is to turn an unjust world upside down in order to flatter those who cause the entire problem by their maintenance of a capitalism that has outlived its usefulness or value to the majority of people.