Last week on CNN Jack Cafferty, who asks for viewers to respond to a stimulus statement, said that new data suggested that 100 million (or about 1/3 of the American population) is using some kind of government assistance. He wanted to hear what people had to say about this. First of all, it’s a loaded question designed to elicit negative responses about our dependence on the government (even though it’s our own money) and to call forth those who long for small government or those who think America is going down the long slow hill to financial ruin.
I went on line to see if I could find the study that counts those on assistance at 100 million. According to the census and Breitbart Connect 49% of the U.S. population lives in a household receiving government benefits. It is difficult to compare households and individuals because I don’t know the total number of households. (We do know there are 313+ billion Americans.)
None of the studies I looked at accounted for overlap. Many people on Welfare also receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, and perhaps WIC. Should they be counted once or once for each kind of assistance they receive? The latter way to count would certainly pump up the numbers. Do we count people twice when they receive both Medicare and Social Security or both Unemployment and Food Stamps? This could eventually give us numbers of people receiving government assistance exceeding the number of Americans. Nothing was said about overlap. Studies do show that the numbers have gone up.
These charts were in a document on the website of heritage.org (very conservative). I do not consider Social Security government assistance because I was told that I was saving money for my retirement and the government did take money from my wages. They never told me they did not take enough money until I was already retired. I do not consider Medicare government assistance because I also paid and still pay my health insurance premiums every month. I was recently told that my payment is not sufficient to cover costs. Am I supposed to feel guilty about this, or angry?
The World Socialist Web Site (one would assume, very liberal) says “Half of Americans in household receiving government aid” (Andre Damon, 7 June 2012) which is a repeat of the report from the census bureau as reported by Breitbart (on the right) so we can probably all use these numbers. I still do not know how many households there are in America.
From the economic collapse blog comes an article entitled “16 Statistics Which Show That The Number Of Americans Dependent On The Government Is At An All-Time High”
#1 According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
#2 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
#3 The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has increased by 10 percent since Barack Obama first took office.
#4 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America. Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.
#5 The number of Americans on food stamps recently hit a new all-time high. It has increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House.
#6 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps. This is unprecedented in American history.
#7 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
#8 Back in 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. In 2010, government transfer payments accounted for 18.4% of all income, which was a new all-time high.
#9 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans received a total of approximately 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits. As the retirement crisis becomes much worse, that dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.
#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010. That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.
#11 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#12 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than previously anticipated.
#13 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.
#14 It is being projected that entitlement spending by the federal government will nearly double by the year 2050.
#15 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
#16 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
What I can’t understand is how Obama is to blame for this? (I would blame the recession.) What I can’t understand is why we are so surprised about this? The housing market collapsed – more people needed aid. The job market collapsed – more people needed aid. We had a very bad recession – more people needed aid. We have baby boomers reaching 65 – more people retired and began to rely on the government programs they paid for.
How nervous are we supposed to get about this? Are we in imminent danger of running out of money? Apparently we are. Do we think that we, the American people, did anything wrong? Do we think that we, the American people, deserve to be punished? This was certainly not the approach the last time there was a recession. Do we think that austerity and misery are the answers to this? Will we bite the bullet if we have to? I guess we will if our fearless representatives in Washington can actually prove to us that this is the only way. We could, for example, end the Bush tax cuts for all of us. I, for one, am still not convinced that there are not other ways out of this besides kicking those on the bottom. One economist has taken over the dialogue in Washington, Paul Ryan. Almost everyone accepts that he is extreme. They need to stop threatening us, telling us we will turn into Greece. We are not in danger of turning into Greece.
We need JOBS! If we had plentiful, good-paying jobs many of these problems would go away. Fewer people would have to rely on the government. We could return to our key role as master consumers, keeping the American economy healthy. If you want us to shop, find us jobs. If you want more tax revenues, the answer is jobs. If you need to temporarily increase government aid to stimulate jobs, then do it. Stop asking state and local governments to take care of everyone. They are in a worse crisis than you are. They made exorbitant promises to public employees. The federal government did not make exorbitant promises. They have kept the level of assistance at fairly reasonable levels.
If you want to see if the spirit of competition still exists in Americans you can look to the recent Olympics. We did very well. And individually our athletes showed so much heroism and perseverance. One of our athletes continued racing with a broken leg so he would not let down his team mates. We don’t need a stick; we need a carrot. Paul Ryan is a stick man, and that is why I am so bummed out that Romney went there. A lot of Americans seem to feel that they have been bad and need to be punished. I don’t. My litany is: JOBS*JOBS*JOBS!
Here are two links on this subject:
NB There are 114,235,996 households in America. The data suggests that 55,975,638 receive some form of assistance.