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  • Dependence on Government at All-Time High

    The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, released today, should be a wake-up call for America. Published by The Heritage Foundation for the past 10 years, the Index tracks the growth in government dependence dating back to the early 1960s. This year’s edition shows an alarming trend. Among the most troubling facts:

    • One in five Americans—the highest in the nation’s history—relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington.
    • Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.
    • The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans. The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).
    • At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.
    • In the next 25 years, more than 77 million baby boomers will retire. They will begin collecting checks from Social Security, drawing benefits from Medicare, and relying on Medicaid for long-term care.
    • As of now, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years. However, research shows that private, community, and charitable aid helps individuals rise from their difficulties with better success than federal government handouts. Plus, local and private aid is often more effectively distributed.

    This much dependence on government has not been seen before in our nation, and it spells grave danger for the republic. A dose of reality would inform politicians that federal handouts, while politically expedient, will doom the republic if they are not curtailed.

    A plan exists that would reverse the yearly rise in government dependency. It’s called The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    45 Responses to Dependence on Government at All-Time High

    1. Chris in N.Va. says:

      Increasing Government dependency? That's a fully as-designed hardwired feature, not an aberrant bug, for a huge number of socially (un?)conscious politicians. H/T to Bill Whittle's informative Youtube-posted video on how the huge bucket of government entitlement spending provides a way for incumbent politicians to buy votes with a staggering amount of "free" money to (re)distribute.

    2. Steve says:

      There are many ominous and odious signposts along this path we have been traveling…warning us of what lies ahead. The majority blithely speed on taking the rest of us along for the ride of a lifetime! The 'Brake Failure' light has started to wink at us.

      • Nick says:

        It's been blinking ever since LBJ's Great Society took off. It was a joke then and it's a crying shame now. "Guns and butter" huh. Please.

        It's over over here.

    3. Sandy Olnhausen says:

      Wake up America!

      • cheropride says:

        Amen!!! Wake UP! Great Article by the way! Why doesn't the main stream media report this information!!!

    4. Stirling says:

      It's all by design http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloward%E2%80%93Pive

      "The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward (1926–2001) and Frances Fox Piven (b. 1932) that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of "a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty."

      In other words create a "crisis" to "nudge" people into government dependency. If people would try to understand what the progressives believe then it's easier to see why the policies seem so different and counter to what is "comon sense" but is all by design.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      This is exactly Obama's plan! It's working because so many of the American people will not accept the fact that an American president, any American president, would deliberately collapse this nation. If Obama is reelected he will not be restrained in any way, even if conservatives control both the House and the Senate. He will still have his "executive order" pen which his has already shown he will use to dictate his ideology without consideration for the Constitution, the law, or the people.

      • Hog wash. You have to be a rich republican, how can you ever admit you liked Cheney and Bush? Why should we want to pay taxes to enrich the obscene rich? So you would have genocide of the poor? The republicons spent trillions on a war that was premised on a lie to begin with.Not paid for! Then they dumped it back into the deficit for Obama. He was in office exactly 1 year and 4 months when the Republicons got the house and they went after every bill he proposed just to kill it. You don't want any of Romoneys crap and lies put out there, so you hark back to reverend Wright etc. He was a very young man when he had those associations, you dont want anyone go go back and show what a spoiled rotten rich kid Romoney was. He was on a mission to avoid the draft as he was old enough during the Vietnam war. I am LDS and I know he even got deferment because he had a boil on his butt. His dad got that for him. Also he was in Paris the most choice place for a mission and he spent more time in a huge mansion more then in is small hovel they gave as his address. Take all old people off medicare, take away help for the legitimate poor, kill unions and the tax revenue's will drop.Then you will be crying in your beer.They want to take control of woman and how they live also. Voted against equal wages between men and woman for the same job. I don't think republicans think anyone should have equal rights, only the rich. They had a meeting with slides and all figuring out how to stop any good Obama could do by voting all his bills down. And doing that on his inaugural night. or filibustering them until they didn't have to take a vote. The only time the republicons even think of the constitution is when they want to amend it to change what will benefit the middle class.

        • Virginia says:

          obvious you are uneducated! and it is clear that you probably never had a job and sat on your butt receiving a check in the mail that you did not even earn! You are a slave to poverty being on this…your kids will grow up thinking that this is the way life is.."live off the system" and they will be convinced that they would never be a successful wealthy individual because they will be taught that rich people are the "evil ones". Taxing the rich is not the solution to end poverty here. Your kids will remain in poverty because of government assistance..you are so blind to see that they have you by the balls and you think obummer cares for you…guess what he is racist and does not care at all about your problem….he is a terrorist and this how they take over. Go get a job and stop being lazy! There are jobs to be found. If why be jealous of the rich man because he worked for his. most rich and middle class people worked from the ground up to build their business and crafted their own wealth…they weren't lazy begging for a hand out! I know people that had worked three jobs and supported their family just so that they can go to college and get that business degree and start their own business and now; years later they are wealthy!

    6. Janice says:

      It is getting easier and easier for me to decline charity donation, such as Susan Komeni and United Way. There are enough safety nets out there now that government is allowing so many onto the gravy train.

    7. Bobbie says:

      What's really sad, those people who nurse from the teat of government as accommodation not desperation. For instance, food shelves were designed for those in desperate need to get by for a time being. All voluntary donations from average everyday good people and generous grocers. Basic necessities. Perishables! No tax dollars appropriated. Some people complained there was no "culturally appropriate" food available without even a thought to donate it themselves! The most selfish complaint I've ever heard. People once grateful, now beggars for accommodations…and government complies now subsidizing.

      Dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year because of the administrative social mindset installed "want is to need" (conveniences: cellphones, internet, electronics, cable, transportation etc.) How much of the percent are literally getting their expenses covered while working a live-able wage job?

      The government intervenes to make life easier for the poor? by letting them sign mortgages worth a quarter of a million dollars for houses in the market government holds them less the responsible? Excusing them for signing?? Destroying the economy and the lives of what responsible people are less the make for themselves because government uses our money on this crap that requires self governing??!!! How underhandedly despicable! Done with the corruption! time for accountability and reprimand!

      That 70 percent of the (everyone's money earned) budget is going to uncredited causes. GIVE IT BACK! Individual programs can exist within the freedom of the individuals, not by abuse of government expenditures on government preference showing American government favoritism, discrimination, bias.

      Government dependency on anything outside the peoples' of America's constitution is a weak society, an overruling, poorly run government. Hiding themselves behind the problems they serve. This much dependency on government has never been seen before because leadership still has it's place and respect for America's freedoms of her people and our independence from government control. It takes a leader of strength and common good to protect and fulfill America's standing as a country free from government dictate!

      Honest people are threatened by government dependency as this administration sets the mandates without purpose, only increasing costs of living at the will of government, while making government access readily available for those of us who doesn't have the money to afford the unAmerican, irrational, incomprehensible costs of what the government is doing to us.

    8. Loudmouth Elephant says:

      The dependency on government through progressive taxes is what propagates this. Why do progressive tax rates exist? Well, they are pushed by the left to get VOTES! The left is so sleazy that it will buy votes with numerous promises to it can stay in power? Don't believe us? See what The Elephant in the Room has to say in this very simple example of vote allocation with respect to progressive tax rates:

    9. Landowner says:

      Stop acting like retirement programs are freebies! Those folks paid into that system and had no choice but to do so. Now if the gov would stop subsidizing illegals and laziness the OTHER programs that ARE entitlements could be trimmed to a hand up instead of a hand out. See how easy it is to correctly identify the issues?

    10. The numbers are scary!

    11. Mike Morgan says:

      What a disservice Heritage does to our nation when you trump up a "report" that so obviously works toward your preconceived and entrenched political opinions. How can we have a civil discussion of what to do to address our problems, if both sides of the political spectrum trot out these faux studies and tout them all over the media as factual. The progressives are sometimes just as guilty, and it's harming our democracy. The whole piece seems to exist only so you can write your headline and send it out to your supporters who swallow it whole without questioning how you defined 'dependent', what you left out of that definition, what you included, and why you skewed it to suit your politics. See the blind support comments so far as proof of that.
      I'm not saying he's 100% right, but please, open minded readers of this Heritage "report", read and react to the points raised by Rex Nutting at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heritage-foundat

      • Me22 says:

        Firstly, we are a republic, not a democracy. No one should be getting long term government assistance other than disabled & war veterans. It doesn't matter what the numbers are – they are too high since there are illegals & losers collecting. The leeches of society will eventually run out of blood.

    12. Mike Morgan says:

      "This much dependence on government has not been seen before in our nation, and it spells grave danger for the republic."??
      No. Per your own chart and the way you define 'dependence', the average 'dependence' during the Reagan 80s was 21.4% vs. the 21.8% you fret over in your report.

    13. Gordon says:

      Shocking. What has happened to the American spirit. Instead of giving out unemployment, food stamps, section 8 housing and welfare, we should make these people show up and work for these benefits. The rest of us give up our time to earn a living and pay taxes, the recipients need to do some work as well. They can sweep streets, clean their communities and work the fields, (the work that only the illegals will do). Make them work for their benefits, and if they don't like it, then maybe they will go out and find a job.

    14. JFactor says:

      My neighbors make more on welfare than i do working full time. I feel like a host for a bunch of leeches. I stopped giving to United Way because I can't afford to after paying for health care, bills and taxes.

    15. Valerie S. Carlquist says:

      I do not consider Medicare and Retirement payments through Social Security as our dependency from the Federal government. 8.1% increase includes all those people who reached retirement age. I would like to see the numbers for programs outside those two institutions.

    16. This should keep you awake at night. Truly frightening statistics

    17. Larry Marthaler says:

      Between the tax cuts, the two wars, and the baleout that Bush was responsible for, All of which was not paid for in the budget, it's no wander this dependency on the Goverment has grown. Untill The GOP starts to work for America and it's people, Obama can only react instead of making progress. Until people quit playing politics. and start doing what they are there to do, nothing will change. Stop deciding what people are saying and start listening. Money is the root of all evil. Right now our government is just about as evil it gets. Come on people lets buy our congress. It will be ok. The super rich already run the country. The rest of us will just live off the government. To get help from the government we just need to show where big business and the rich have walked all over us. That's the only that anybody can get that rich!!!

    18. As stated, this much dependence on government has not been seen before in our nation, and it spells grave danger for the republic. A dose of reality would inform politicians that federal handouts, while politically expedient, will doom the republic if they are not curtailed. What we require are less handouts and more personal accountability.

    19. Pat R says:

      It has bothered me for sometime that Social Security and Medicare are clumped in with welfare programs, all of which are called "Entitlements". For this purpose, to be entitled to something is either by virtue of its having been earned (through years of paying into a program) or by virtue of legislation for those who did not pay for benefits.
      Social Security and now Medicare are benefits of a contract for which recipients have paid "premiums", not unlike a 401k or health insurance. To be classed the same as non-paid-for welfare benefits is an affront to those who have paid into Social Security all their working lives. Why is that distinction never made or even alluded to? Yes, they are all debts of Federal Government but that's where the sameness ends.

      Then to propose Social Security & Medicare cuts yet not like proposals for welfare programs is pouring acid into an open wound. In fact welfare keeps expanding and growing. I don't like being made to feel as though I did nothing to earn my benefits, but am receiving a handout because I exist.

      • Lorie0617 says:

        I have complained about this issue also. I have worked since 1965. Both my employer and I have paid into Social Security and medicare on my behalf. To have it compared to welfare and other giveaway programs is an insult.

    20. Travis Peacock says:

      It amazes me how many people do not see a problem with the current administration, no matter your political affiliation we all can see how much spending is taking place. Our kids and grandkids will be paying for this and it is immoral to just sit by. The sheep on the left are being fed socialism, and don't even realize it.

    21. John says:

      Ronald Reagan had it right. Government does not really solve problems: it subsidizes them. And it does not produce a dime of revenue. It can spend only what it first takes from the pockets of working men and women of this country.

    22. Larry Marthaler says:

      It started out with Bush giving tax cuts, got us in 2 wars and started the stimulas to bail out the big banks. Without paying for it in the budget. Bailing out the very people who caused these problems in the first place. Now the GOB wants to move on and not take responsibility for their actions. These Republicans who were elected in 2010 and completely mis-read the reason the voters sent them there. Just like Gov Walker in Wisc., they work for big business and noone else. How long are the people going to allow such nonsense to go on. The GOP believe that untruths, when said enough time, become truth. That they can convince us of anything if they say it enough. They remind me of children who want to take their ball and go home. I wish they would go home and listen to the people that elected them. That is why so many people do not have jobs and need government help. That is why our economy is so bad, and will never change. Grow up people. It's love and family that really matters and all the bull in the world cannot change that.

    23. Kunst says:

      Cut Social Security, we can't afford it, we already spent that money on wars. Cut Medicare, seniors don't really need it, repeal that Socialist Part D. Unemployment payments? No, just unemployment insurance payments deducted from your check. And the poor and disabled don't really need help with food, housing, or medical care costs. They should reduce their expectations. There are hundreds of millions of people in China who would be happy to trade places with them. And whatever you do, don't touch corporate welfare or tax breaks that primarily benefit the rich and middle class. Hey, we're having a party! BYOB.

      • Adam says:

        Explain how you give a tax break to those who don't pay taxes? Or better yet, WHY? As near as I can tell, this house of cards tax system will collapse when those taxpayers who are subsidizing the rest via their hard-EARNED dollars decide they've had enough and quit working or move out of country. What will Uncle Sam do then? Oh right – print more money.

    24. Michael Mainelli says:

      Why do folks include Medicare and social security retirement payouts in the dependency narrative. I paid FICA (along with my employers) for 37 years. These payments were the premium payments on my Medicare health contract and my retirement annuity. Damned if I'll be labeled dependent.


      • Kunst says:

        Amen. And what about unemployment and disability payments? I worked for 41 years and paid taxes for those (directly or indirectly) that whole time, never receiving a dollar of benefits. If I had, would I be one of those leeches the every-man-for-himself crowd loves to vilify? This is INSURANCE. Most people hopefully don't need it. Those who do have paid into it and deserve the benefit. Maybe some of these benefits that we paid for should be called deservements instead of entitlements.

    25. Paul says:

      Is not slavery against the law and the constitution? You have 54% of the
      population being forced to supply the needs of those who do not work.
      Those who do not work keep placing new and increased burdens on
      the enslaved working class. The Slave Masters who are the 46% have
      enslaved the 54% . Slavery must stop, put the slave masters to work.

      • Kunst says:

        Oh, that's rich. The poor are enslaving the taxpayers. Most of those who don't pay "income taxes" (conveniently separated from payroll taxes) are working or would like to be working or working more. News bulletin: taxes are not slavery.

    26. Vanessa says:

      Honestly, $32,748 is certainly more than I bring home in a year. :-/

    27. Scott L says:

      Putting SS and Medicare in this is deceitful as well as the 49.5% not paying federal income taxes because over half of those are retirees and then even more of them are the working poor. Lets focus on the real freeloaders and not try and alarm people by making the numbers bigger to suite your agenda Heritage Foundation.

    28. Bobbie says:

      How embarrassing!

    29. Richard says:

      Why is anyone shocked …surprised even, at this level of dependence on government? Apparently those people have not read the book "Dependent on DC The Rise of Federal Control Over the Lives of Ordinary Americans," (Palgrave/St. Martins Press, 2002) by Professor Charlotte Twight. The dependency is there by design, and its creation has been bipartisan.

    30. MIKE says:

      It is shocking that "nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes." However, does this figure include young children? If so, then I'd very much like to know what percent of "working-age" Americans (perhaps age 21-65) don't pay income taxes? That would be a much more meaningful and forthright figure.

    31. Pat says:

      Hasn't anyone ever read "Commune 2000"? Isn't that our altimate goal?

    32. Chris says:

      Social security and Medicare should not be included for those who contribute to the system. That is our money and does not belong to the Federal Goverment.

    33. Mitt wasn't far off, about the 47%.

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