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  • The Growth of Dependency on Government Threatens the Future of American Democracy

    Today marks the seventh year that we have published the Index of Dependence on Government. And, for seven years running, our Index shows growing dependence. The Index now stands at 240, up from a value of 19 in 1962, or a nearly 13 fold increase since the Kennedy administration. The rate of growth, however, actually has increased over the last eight years. That period saw the second highest rate of growth in dependency creating programs: since 2001, the Index has increased 31 percent. Most disturbing of all, all of the evidence points to even more rapid increases in dependency ahead, which well could threaten democratic government.

    From virtually the first day of his presidency, Barack Obama and his top deputies have advanced programs and initiatives that deepen and expand American citizens’ dependency on government. From new federal programs designed to boost economic activity to health care reform that could place the U.S. government at the center of the nation’s health care system, the central thrust of policy since January 2009 has been to increase Americans’ daily dependency on Washington.

    However, the rapid expansion of dependency-creating programs did not begin with Barack Obama’s inauguration. Indeed, President Obama inherited substantial momentum toward greater dependency on government from the George W. Bush Administration and prior governments. President Bush’s years saw growth in all dependency creating categories, but particularly in programs aimed at health, education, and working-age income support.

    Even more disturbing is the confluence of growth in the index with increases in the percentage of taxpayers who pay no taxes and Congress’s control over spending. The percentage who pay no taxes jumped from 21.3 percent in 1980 to 34 percent in 2008. In 1980, 20 million tax filers paid nothing; in 2008, 48 million paid nothing. This number will growth dramatically next year when the Index counts for the first time taxpayers who took advantage of Obama era credits, such as Making Work Pay and the first-time homebuyers credits.

    Combine these two indexes with the Steuerle-Roeper Fiscal Democracy Index, and you have a perfect storm for the future of our republican form of government. The Fiscal Democracy Index measures the percent of revenues not allocated by previous Congresses to mandatory spending. In short, it measure the control that Congress has over outlays. This Index nearly hit zero in 2009 and is forecasted to be steadily below zero in 10 years.

    The steady growth of dependency creating program, particularly the so-called entitlement programs, and the equally steady shrinking number of taxpayers who have any financial stake in the government threaten rapid growth in mandatory, dependency programs and our very democracy. Are Americans closing in on a tipping point that endangers the workings of their form of government? If citizens can vote ever greater outlays for their income, health, housing, education, and food support; will the growth of government overwhelm the delicate political balances between those citizens who provide the means for helping other citizens in need?

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to The Growth of Dependency on Government Threatens the Future of American Democracy

    1. juandos says:

      Mr. Bill Beach!

      Just an excellent description of the problem sir! Just excellent!

      Simple and to the point that even a dummy like understands…

      Thank You!

    2. Pingback: The Growth of Dependency on Government Threatens the Future of American Democracy « Locust blog

    3. Dave, Minnesota says:

      Then, the Rich are NOT getting richer, and the poor are getting richer! By the way, low-income non-taxpayers, not only do not pay taxes they receive a check from the federal government up to $5000.

    4. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      Conservatives are accused of being anti-minority and unwilling to help the poor. What we oppose is helping the poor to stay poor, which is the result of most of the entitlement programs we now have. We provide, through taxpayer supported programs, just enough money, food, housing and services to keep millions of families about at the poverty level.The fact that most of these people "need help" is not because they are poor or black or some other minority. It is because they have been beaten down by a culture that has been promoted by a liberal philosophy that exempts them from self-reliance and instills a sense of entitlement. At the same time it foists guilt upon a gullible segment of society that is willing to tax itself to assuage that guilt. Liberalism is a poison that slowly incapacitates a nation as it spreads throughout society. It not only excuses ineptitude, it encourages it by subsidizing those conditions that cause it. Liberalism sees the average person as incapable and in need; it demands that government establish programs to “help”, but which in fact only keep that person incapable and in need. Liberalism is about power. Liberalism is easy; it requires only good intentions and other people’s money. Good results are optional. In fact, good results hurt liberalism. If all these welfare programs actually worked, the liberals would lose their power because no one would need them.

    5. Da Dog says:

      Growing up in the 1950s, I remember a time when everyone worked. If one did not work, one did not eat. Being a student of psychology and the human mind, I understand the concept of motivation quite well. Our government has created an underclass that is unfamiliar with self-sufficiency and is only motivated to find ways to "get over" on the system without doing anything meaningful.Expanding and perpetuating such behavior will eventually destroy us as a nation. It may already be too late. What will the underclass do if cut off from their free ride? I believe this is a question easily answered.

    6. Tim Az says:

      F.D.R. created the raw deal [new deal] for the express purpose of creating a class of govt.dependents that would ensure that liberals would always remain in power to advance America towards socialism. This current crop of socialists are growing tired of this incremental approach. They are also nearing the end of their lives so they are now doubling down on F.D.R.'s policies to accomplish the socialist utopia they crave within their lifetimes. Fortunately their sprint to socialism has finally awakened Americans. I think America will now be able to return to its former glory as the Nation it was founded to be. It won't be easy by any means. But it certainly will be worth it.

    7. Drew Page, IL says:

      This is the price for buying votes.

      Keep promising more and more give aways. More illegal immigration, more blanket amnesty and then more benefits for them. Throw more money at "Education", that seems to have worked well over the past 30 years. Keep promising to fulfill the "dreams" of everyone who can't afford to pay for what they want. Can't afford to buy a house? Don't worry, were from the government and we'll make sure you get that mortgage loan. Can't make the mortgage payments, blame the real estate agents who told you home prices will only go up. Can't pay your taxes or your credit card bills, see a lawyer who will get you browbeat your creditors so you only have to pay "pennies on the dollars" you owe. After all, the banks, G.M & Chrysler and Wall Street got bailed out by the government, why shouldn't you?

      Nobody should have to pay their bills, that's what the government is for. Didn't want to pay for health insurance when you were healthy, because you didn't need it then, right? But now, you or your dependent is sick and facing big medical bills and you can't get insurance because you have a pre-existing condition. Where the hell is the government? Why aren't they making sure my bills are paid?

      And the beat goes on.

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    9. Gary C. says:

      Question for this group; We're constantly told, even by conservatives, we're a "center-right" country,yet I never see it; either in our governance and now driven home in this index. Every year spending, programs, everything gets bigger not smaller, personal liberties are curtailed and our laws lean left. So, how can we say and what's the evidence we're a center-right country.

    10. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

      Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency

      Alexander Tyler. Scottish historian quoting from others.

      The more things change the more they say the same. Sadly, Obama is following the path as described above and unless we respond quickly our grandchildren will live in bondage. Time to act.

    11. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      I think it means that the majority of citizens are center-right in their social and political beliefs. What used to be called the silent majority. Well, thanks to the Tea Party movement, we're not going to remain silent any longer. I think Barack Obama arrived on the scene just in time, while there are still enough of us around to demand a return to constitutional governance. My son is 25 and the only conservative he knows in his age group is his sister. And this is West Texas. If we wait another 15 years to turn this around, it will be too late. There won't be enough of us left.

    12. Bill B, Alabama says:

      From November 1992 to the present, the evidence from voting, governance, and the willingness of Americans to live with their heads in the sand, suggest this is a left of center country. If the Tea Party movement was cohesive and had a larger following, I might suggest the pendulum is swinging to the right. Its my belief that most Americans have lost their motivation or desire to be free individuals taking responsibility for their actions or in-actions and choose to be wards of the state. Individual freedom has taken a bath since the founding of this country and freedom is the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

    13. Norma in Nebraska says:

      The irony is that the increase in jobs resulting from the stimulus money will be in Federal and State government. Because these workers will not be producing anything to export, the fact is that we will just be circulating the money without any economic growth. Where does the small business owner fall into this picture? Moving overseas that is where!!! The sad fact is if we don't stop the mass production of government jobs, we will tax ourselves to death!!!!!! When we can pay taxes anymore who will be left to pay the additional 2.5 million government workers expected to be hired THIS YEAR??????


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    18. Drew Page, IL says:

      To Gary C — The people who are "center-right" are making their presence known at Tea Parties and Townhall meetings. They are making their feelings known in websites like these. They are flooding the offices of their representatives with letters, calls and e-mails. They showed up on election day in Massachusetts and Virginia. They apparently have gotten the attention of at least a half-dozen Congressmen who have decided not to run for re-election.

      I believe we will hear quite a bit more from them come this Novenber.

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    20. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      The old adage of "Give a man a fish and he has a meal, teach a man to fish and he eats often" my not be exact wording, Welfare, medicaid, food stamps is like givinf a man a fish, no one is teaching them how to fish, the gov't. we have in power today wants votes and they figure the poor and uneducated will vote for them if they can give them FREE housing, food and medical care, then they go to churches and agencies to beg for money to pay their utilitites. I have one question WHO PAYS FOR their cell phones?? I was at a local gov't bldg, there is a room where they sign in for medicaid, foodstamps, sec. 8 housing etc. everyone of them had cell phones, not cheapie ones that are pre paid but with camera's and text capabities, I do not have all this, don't need it, my cell phone is so I can be reached when away from home by family members, can call in an emer. I worked nights for years as a nurse without a cell phone, I wonder how I managed, I would have loved to have had one when I broke down on I-95 at 10:30 Pm, I just waited for a state pol.to show up, lonely but safe. Let's go back to how it was meant to be , If you are an ablebodied person you work or you don't eat, children can be taught as I was, chores are part of being in a family and only the aged and sick can op out. I am 78 and I still work, I do day care, keep house for 2 sons and grandsons and I will be out supporting the conservative movement when able.

    21. Gary C. says:


      Thanks but my point is that we did not just become center-right (CR) over the last year. I'm being told we've always been a CR country. So how did we get this way over the last 8-10 years? Something must get in the way of our beliefs vs. implementation of those beliefs. I see a CR perception rather than reality.

      BTW – before it's over this Tea Party movement will be savaged and attacked by the left and politicians as it represents all that's anathema to them.

    22. Pingback: Dependency Will Destroy Our Republic | thelobbyist

    23. Dennis Social Circle says:

      Work, honest work is not the way of society. Society has been told so often the "guverment" will take care of all the needs and provide most of the wants. People have believed this will ahppen, well the well is going dry, there is only so much money to be had, only so many people are working and providing for all the ones that depend on the "guvement" for their needs and most of their wants.

      It ius amazing to see generation after generation that live off the backs of others, to see those in line at the grocery store makeing a purchase of more and better food than those that work, then pay for the cases of beer with cash. Drive through the "guvement" housing abd see the vehicles parked in front of the houses, see how fancy the cell phones are, the most expensive clothes, and the high dollar hair do's these people have. Will it ever stop?????

      It will only stop when we the people go to the polls and vote those in power out in the street, and tell those that are elected they work for the people, not just afew but for all.

    24. Kitty/new jersey says:

      We have made it to easy for people to believe that they are entitle to be taken care of. There are many parents who have not taught there children to take responsible for themselves. I saw this when I was sub-teaching you couldn't give these children a failing mark becasue you couldn't hurt there feeling. Then you have the illegals who come here for what they can get and do not care about our country because they will go back to there country as soon as the take what they can get free. Then we have leaders who only care about the power & money they can get and not what this country stands for. Our forefathers came here to get away from countries and there Kings & leaders who only cared about what they could get for themselves.

    25. Cliff, North Little says:

      Gary C.

      All sectors have their factions. Right/Private -vs- Left/Public will likely be

      feudin' well into eternity, against each other as well as from within. It seems quite difficult to find contentment among the vast array of problems and ideas that comptete for our attention as concerned citizens.

      This article covering the growing dependencey state our fellow citizens are being herded into, defines the pirmary difference between the so called Right and Left of Center Ideologies. The vast majority of the Conservative Constituents are NOT … in any way, shape, matter or form … for what has evolved into American society over the years.

      The "things" you surmised that may be getting "in-the-way" of the

      Conservative or Center Right may include:

      o- lack of Conservative representation when politicians "take" office,

      o- a not so friendly … LEFTIST PRESS,

      o- an education system heavily drenched with an "un-Conservative" slant

      o- a class envy/warfare/guilt trip mentality for those who do succeed,

      o- incentives to actually NOT strive to be productively active,

      o- rewards for out-of-wedlock childbirth calling for Big Gov't as daddy,

      o- TARP, Stimulus, Bailouts, Takeover of Health Care, Cars, Homes, etc

      The list goes on and on which I think helps to present what the

      VAST MAJORITY of Americans … (which are Conservative) … fundamentally think are deterents that hinder our ability to improve the conditions that desparate and vulnerable citizens find themselves

      seemingly wedlocked to with no prenup agreement/option.

    26. Mike, Topeka, Ks says:

      As I read and see what is happening to our country right now is beyond my comprehension why the Progressives have been trying to "fundamentally change" America. We were the shining example of freedom in the early years then, for some reason, the Progressives, starting with Theodore Roosevelt, through Woodrow Wilson, to Barrack Obama, have set about destroying the greatest country to ever have existed.

      Thomas Jefferson said "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work, and give to those who would not" He also stated that "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

      I am apalled at what has happened to our country, right under our noses. Between Executive Orders, expanded powers of agencies like the EPA, Depart of Education, the HHE, etc, we are losing our freedoms one at a time. That's what Progressives do, they "nudge" you towards their ideal of government. Such as not taking away your right to own a handgun, but making it impossible to buy ammunition, or making the fines for not offering health care to employees small enough that companies would rather pay the fine than carry the insurance, forcing (nudging) the public towards single payer health care.

      We need to re-read the letters of our founding fathers and see that they formed this nation not as a body politic, but a nation under God. The Declaration of Independence is based on 22 bible verses. The basis of the formation of this nation was freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. They stated that the basic freedoms we sought were divinely given, not government sanctioned.

      I also feel I am running out of options in so far as who to best trust with my vote. I am looking for someone who will stand up for freedom, free market, that there is not a right of equal outcomes in life, but a right to the PURSUIT of happiness. I will continue to voice my opinions, vote my conscience, and pray. Most of all pray for our nation.

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    28. Dale Cord says:

      Neil Sankey, a former British policeman who’s now a licensed private investigator in Los Angeles, initiated a preliminary background investigation of Barack Obama and uncovered 49 addresses and 16 different Social Security numbers.

      Forty-nine different addresses? Sixteen different Social Security numbers? That’s beyond bizarre.

      At the Illinois addresses listed for Obama, two Social Security numbers appear with frequency. One begins with the number 042… the other begins with the number 364.

      The Social Security number beginning with 042 was issued in Connecticut… even though Obama apparently never lived or worked in Connecticut.

      One can only ask why? Is the President of the United States a victim of ID fraud? Or, is something else entirely going on?

      More Questions Than Answers.

      Sankey, who discovered the many addresses and Social Security numbers suggests what we may be facing:

      “I have personally experienced many, many cases where such information has led to subsequent exposure of fraud, deception, money laundering and other crimes.”

      Let’s be perfectly clear… we are not saying that Obama has a criminal past. We are not saying that Barack Obama has committed any crime.

      We are, however, saying that what Sankey has uncovered demands… begs for… further investigation.

      But don't hold your breath waiting for anyone in the liberal media to take the bull by the horns.

      Don’t wait around for the liberal media to ask Obama if he really lived at all the addresses that Sankey found, or why 16 different Social Security numbers pop up under Obama's name at these 49 addresses. Remember, this is the same liberal media that will not ask Barack Obama why he refuses to produce a valid birth certificate.

      Let's face it: the liberal media won’t investigate the strange facts surrounding Barack Hussein Obama. That's up to patriotic Americans like you and me.

      The Western Center for Journalism is willing and able to take on that responsibility… but investigating these and other such matters takes time and money… and that's why we need your help.

      More Questions Than Answers.

      Let's just examine one of those questions.

      In an exclusive investigative report for the Western Center for Journalism, former California legislator, Steven Baldwin writes:

      “After Obama was elected to the United States Senate in 2005, he moved into an apartment at 300 Massachusetts Ave NW; the Social Security number attached to that address is the 042 one. Yet, three years later, Obama used a different Social Security number for an address listed as: 713 Hart Senate Office Building… the address of his United States Senate office. This Social Security number began with 282 and was verified by the government in 2008.”

      Will Obama clear up this strange situation up for us? Don’t hold your breath: the more hard questions Americans ask, the more Obama clams up.

      Will the liberal media – also known as the OAS, or the Obama Adoration Society – investigate the matter?

      Don't count on it. This is the same liberal media that derisively calls those who ask the important questions: “teabaggers” … or “birthers” … or “deniers.”

      In short, the liberal media ignores the problems and attacks the messengers.

      The Western Center for Journalism has done ground-breaking research into the parts of Obama’s life that he wants to keep under wraps.

      With your financial support, we can shed journalistic light on areas of Obama’s life that he would prefer remain in the dark.

      We don’t know precisely where our research will lead, but we know that it must be done.

      And we need your help.

      He's A Real Nowhere Man.

      Remember the old Beetle's song “Nowhere Man?”

      He’s a real nowhere man

      Sitting in his Nowhere land

      Making all his nowhere plans

      For nobody

      Doesn’t have a point of view

      Knows not where he’s going to…

      Of course, Obama is not "a bit like you and me" … an examination of his life reverals a series of endless questions… and no answers.

      Baldwin again:

      “The president who campaigned for a more ‘open government’ and ‘full disclosure’ will not unseal his medical records, his school records, his birth records or his passport records. He will not release his Harvard records, his Columbia College records, or his Occidental College records—he will not even release his Columbia College thesis. All his legislative records from the Illinois State Senate are missing, and he claims his scheduling records during those State Senate years are lost as well. In addition, no one can find his school records for the elite K-12 college prep school, Punahou School, he attended in Hawaii.”

      As Baldwin indicates, the man who now leads what we used to call the free world has refused to share any relevant information about his life. He might as well have descended here from another planet.

      Some people frankly wonder if he’s not a real-life version of the“Manchurian Candidate,” someone programmed by others to do serious damage to the U.S.

      Is that an outlandish view, given Obama’s life-long attachments to various radicals, including: his early Communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, Muslin fanatic Rashid Khalidi, and crazed preacher Jeremiah Wright?

      Is that an outlandish view, considering the various self-admitted Marxists and extreme leftists hand-picked to serve in the Obama Administration, including disgraced “green jobs czar” Van Jones… Chavez-admiring Communication Czar Mark Lloyd… and Mao-admirer and manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom?

      Obama is not only a bad president. He’s a dangerous one… and getting information about Obama is worse than pulling teeth.

      As Baldwin puts it: “Everywhere one looks into Obama’s background, we find sealed records, scrubbed websites, altered documents, deception and unanswered questions.”

      However, with your financial assistance, the Western Center for Journalism will tirelessly look for the answers to the questions that Obama won’t answer. We'll tackle the crucial questions the liberal media refuses to ask.

      Who exactly is this man? And what’s he really up to? Exactly what are you – Barack Hussein Obama – hiding from the American people?

      Call him the Man Behind the Mask . . . call him The Great Impostor . . . call him The Worst Thing That’s Ever Happened to the American Presidency… call him whatever you like… but one thing is certain.

      Barack Obama is a man who holds many secrets… secrets that, if uncovered, might be fatal to his presidency.

      At the Western Center for Journalism, we want to unlock those secrets.

      And we need your help.

      Floyd Brown

      Western Center for Journalism

      P.S. Even if you can not join us in this effort right now, you can still help us expose Barack Hussein Obama by sending this e-mail to at least 10 of your friends.

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    30. CitizenAuthority says:

      As I canvas sites, read books, and quiz politicians, I never thought I'd say this of Heritage Foundation–but to have the organization not correct such a gross and destructive fallacy as the following is damning to the credibility of the organization.

      In this and other articles on heritage.org we get this type of falsehood "The steady growth of dependency creating program, particularly the so-called entitlement programs, and the equally steady shrinking number of taxpayers who have any financial stake in the government threaten rapid growth in mandatory, dependency programs and our very democracy." Did you catch the problem with the statement? How about the title of the article: "The Growth of Dependency on Government Threatens the Future of American Democracy" Did anyone catch the gross error?

      If you're asleep like most American's you didn't. The phrase "American Democracy" is the issue! Folks, we are not a democracy! Why on earth are we being conditioned to this idea of American Democracy? Because nobody is watching or paying attention to the truth or speaking out. Do you know the truth as an American citizen? You know the basic premise that when a lie is stated enough times it becomes the truth even if it can be proven to be false. Find me anywhere in the founding documents where it states that we are a democracy? In fact, all of the founders stated vehemently that we should steer away from democracy! How did this happen?

      Sad really. Shame on the Heritage Foundation! Do a search on the site for more of this nonsense-you'll be surprised. I'm wondering if I can trust them with such blatant negligence? Even the organizations that we trust most to help defend and protect the "Constitutional Republic" are living a lie and perpetuating falsehoods in small but deadly doses.


      Citizen Authority – In Vindiciam Libertatis!

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