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  • Morning Bell: Dependence on Government Highest in History

    When John F. Kennedy was President, just over a quarter of federal spending went to fund programs paying for some 21.7 million Americans to be dependent on Uncle Sam. But as high as that spending and dependence on the federal government was then, it has exploded today, with one in five Americans — more than 67.3 million — depending on Washington for assistance.

    The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government shows an alarming trend under the Obama Administration of a level of dependence on our government that has never been seen before. Today, a full 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to pay for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance, with recipients ranging from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries. Heritage’s Patrick Tyrrell writes that other findings from the study show:

    • 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.

    Representative Allen West (R-FL) writes on The Foundry that this disturbing trend does not bode well for our country and, in fact, will ultimately lead to an America where dependence — not independence — becomes the norm. And he says Washington must play a role in changing course while also encouraging charities and community groups to help lift up Americans who need support:

    We in Congress need to do our part to aid the struggle for more personal responsibility. We need to reduce government spending levels so we are taking less from America’s producers of economic growth. We need to take a long, hard look at these assistance programs, eliminating duplicative efforts and directing aid first to the neediest of our population.

    We also have to embolden charities, local groups, and private-sector initiatives to empower individuals through programs that require more “skin in the game.” Far too often, these good Samaritans are pushed aside by government zeal to provide inferior and bureaucratized services. And finally, we need to reform entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security so that they are viable for future generations without bankrupting our country.

    With America about to witness the largest retirement of people in world history — and with the number of “taxpayers” who pay no taxes only continuing to grow — alarm bells should be ringing in Washington and across the country warning that the federal government is about to burst at the seams. The United States simply cannot afford to continue fostering a society where a growing number of people are dependent on the federal government and not themselves. What’s more, if this trend continues, America will see increasing division between those who pay for programs that advance dependence, and those who unquestioningly accept–and expect–the assistance from those programs.

    The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan offers policy solutions to fix the debt, cut spending, reform entitlements, and restore prosperity, enabling the people of this country to thrive and succeed — without depending on the government. And those kinds of reforms are desperately needed if America is to gain control over its $15 trillion debt and its exploding entitlement system so that the people can produce for themselves, not for Washington.

    Quick Hits:

    • The U.S. government is moving up plans to withdraw 8,000 Marines from the island of Okinawa while also scaling back plans to build key bases in Japan and Guam, all due to political obstacles and budget constraints, The Washington Post reports.
    • California and New York are set to join nearly all the other states in reaching a $25 billion foreclosure settlement with the nation’s largest banks. At issue are allegations of improper foreclosures based on “robosigning,” seizures made without proper paperwork.
    • The Obama Administration will grant 10 states waivers to the No Child Left Behind law, with 28 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico indicating that they, too, will seek waivers.
    • Google is facing increased efforts by a consumer watchdog group that is trying to block the company’s new privacy policy from taking effect. Under the policy, Google would be able to harvest more information about its users.
    • A new National Labor Relations Board regulation that expedites elections for union representation will likely lead to dramatically higher rates of unionization, Scribe reports. Read about it on The Foundry.

    Click here to read the Spanish version on Libertad.org

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    77 Responses to Morning Bell: Dependence on Government Highest in History

    1. George says:

      I'm tired of hearing how the social security fund is an entitlement program. As citizens, we have invested thousands of dollars into our social security fund over our lives and the government has borrowed or should I say stole almost every dollar of it. Now, they want to give us less then what we put into it. Their first priority should be to restore what they stole from their citizens.

      • recce1 says:

        I must agree with you. I have SSDI, VA pension, and a military retirement. I paid my dues to earn them having served a full career in the military and having suffered a disability for doing so. Yet the government is moving to put the military retirement and VA pensions under the welfare system. Furthermore, every promise made to those serving when I did has had every promise made to them about benefits if we made it to retirement broken. I expect considering Obama's hostility to the military he'll find ways to further reduce our hard earned benefits.

      • Bob Jones says:

        Actually, the problem is that people are living too long, so the required rate of return that equates expected benefits with contributions (payroll deductions) is much higher than the actual returns earned in capital markets over our lifetimes. Thus, to pay current retirees, we are esentailly stealing from future generations. This is why social security should become a defined contribution system. Then each generation will take out what they put in, plus the actual return on capital over their lifetimes. We did make promises to current retirees, so the change should be gradual and apply to younger workers only, but a defined contribution plan is the only fair way to go.

    2. Loudmouth Elephant says:

      This really isn't a surprise. This is the residue effect of progressive taxes. Why is the left so big on this re-distributive form of taxation… VOTES and POWER? They promise, promise, promise tons of gov't programs to the largest voting bloc in order to win their votes. The democrats are smart because they know this voting group will not bite the hands that feed them and ultimately, democrats get reelected year after year. We did a brief analysis/write-up about this with respect to progressive tax rate's favorable treatment for the poor and how the poor would vote. See it and pass it on: http://loudmouthelephant.blogspot.com/2011/11/pro

    3. Frank says:

      Let's face it, America has become a socialistic, unaffordable, big nanny state that is now in an inevitable downward spiral with little hope of regaining economic & Constitutional control before it crashes & burns. The key to the downward spiral: more people dependent on government handouts that then elect more politicians to give more handouts that then tax/borrow/print more money for unaffordable handouts that then depress the economy even more leading to more people dependent on government handouts… etc.

      So there you have it: the end of America as we know it!

      The only solution: drastically cut the size & scope of government, balance the budget, cut red tape & regulations inhibiting new jobs & businesses & allow free markets to reign instead of artificially over-regulated government run markets. Central planning is economically inefficient. Free market solutions are economically efficient. The USA is headed towards ever more central planning, not free market solutions. Will the people dependent on government handouts vote to cut those handouts off to improve the economy in general? NOT LIKELY!! Thus, a death spiral down for this once great nation.

      The ONLY candidate willing to put forth a much needed plan to break this downward spiral: Ron Paul. The rest either tinker around the edges or make the problem worse (like Obama).

      Prediction: all the people dependent on government handouts re-elect Obama & the USA soon crashes & burns.

    4. ThomNJ says:

      This is where we are headed if we don't stop the government handouts and let people work. Here is a Judge Judy clip some of you might have seen. It is simply stunning to watch, because the man just.does.not.get.it.

      Cut and paste into your browser if the link does not come up.

    5. J. Andrew Reid says:

      If "government dependency" includes those on Social Security, then those figures are bound to rise as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age and this trend will continue whether Obama stays or goes. The question in my mind is this; how many retirement age seniors are smart enough to know that allowing Obama to remain in office, no matter what promises he makes, can only result in a system that cannot afford to send their SS checks out because there will be insufficient money coming in. The only hope for those SS recipients is a free, robust, growing economy that will create more tax payers in the short term and restructuring of SS for younger Americans as quickly as it can be managed. Without capitalism we will discover what it feels like to be truly helpless as we stand in the bread lines.

    6. Chuck says:

      It's all about votes and control and furtherance of the gestapo.

    7. Pastor Ron Aldridge says:

      Frankly, this is simply Governemtn 101, but when we have career politicians who are more interested in getting re-elected than solving problems, this happens. It doesn't take a genius to fix our nations problems (thank goodness), it only takes a willingness on BOTH parties to work FOR the people and not for the party. It's also the voters fault; we keep putting these people back in office who are destroying our country, but as long as almost 50% are paying no taxes and getting refund checks, they've got almost 50% of the vote. These panhandlers don't have enough sense to know that the money HAS to run out and THEN our entire nation is bankrupt; can you say GREECE?

      • Tony says:

        That figure of 50% not paying taxes includes children and disabled, retired people living under the poverty level. That number is really not a ralling call it is a ridiculous statement.. Go to IRS.gov and see some real numbers most of the 1-2% upper earners pay less by % then a $40,000 earner how is that fair.

    8. there are now more people in the wagon being pulled, than there are pulling the wagon
      we ARE NOW officially GREECE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    9. Rick B. says:

      How much of this dependency is the result of current and prior failed economic policies which have served to the collapse the American manufacturing sector? While I loath public dependency on the government for subsistance, it nevertheless is a necessity — funded to provide our fellow citizens assistance in desparate times of need. That said we cannot ask private organizations to step forward and fill this vital social need when our own public policies are crippling the private sector's ability to provide the very jobs needed to avoid this governmental dependency….we are in a "do-loop"….

    10. In the past one (1) year, government dependence has gone up over 8%! I don't see how America can survive another presidential term of liberal "progressive" programs!

    11. azwayne says:

      Means they've accomplished their goal, gaining with every story they propagandize

    12. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Read history. In the '60's, Cloward & Piven devised a plan that would "overload" the welfare system by having millions of undeserving citizens file for federal benefits. By doing so, they reasoned it would cause so much stress the system would collapse. During that period, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, etc (of Weather Underground fame and Obama close, personal friends), were all part of that scheme. Is their no one out there that cannot recognize the connection to why we have such a major increase in government dependence under Obama?

    13. Greg says:

      I teach in a middle school. I cannot count the number of students that I teach that are on welfare. That is not the shocking part. I myself was on welfare for about 3 years in elementary school. However, my family got off of it as soon as possible. A vast majority of the students I teach view it as a viable means of support when you grow up. When asked what they want to do when they grow up they simply state get a check meaning welfare. There is no stigma or thought that the money is being provided to them from taxpayers. They have no intention of trying to get off it and see nothing wrong with that attitude.

    14. Leonard Lash says:

      Yes, there is much truth in this column, but much that is lacking. We must
      remember that many of the people currently dependant on the government
      now are those that lost their jobs because of the recesion. Although many
      of those jobs are back, many more are not and many are lost. Unfortunately,
      jobs are the last of recession losses to be alleviated.

    15. MJF in CT says:

      People should have been weened off of government support years ago. It's supposed to be "a hand up – not a hand out". There is also no reason to keep people on unemployment as long as they do. 15 weeks was good enough years ago – find a job and work, that was the motto then. Now, everyone has to be catered to and coddled or they will die. America – the land of wimps!

    16. Does it not bother you that our rankings in OECD nations are:
      #2-Least taxed as percent of GDP—Taxed 30% of GDP in federal-state-local taxes
      #2-Least taxed corporations as % of GDP. 35% top rate could be 100% no one pays it
      #4 on Inequality—In 1980, in bottom 5.
      It would bother Jesus Christ!!

      1980 to 2009 our Tax Book has been a Christmas Tree loaded with goodies for Rich and Large corporations
      Think not? Then explain how they get more exemptions than they pay in taxes?

      Explain how from 1945 to 1980 bottom 20% gained more, percentage-wise, than top 1% in Wealth?

      Explain how the top 50% get 87% of total individual income and pay a 12..5% Tax Rate which is actually about 10% of Total Income?

      Explain this AWFUL—How 10% get 73% of net wealth ; 83% of financial wealth; 50% of individual income ; pay 18.5% tax rate or “about” 15% of total income???

      Explain how 80% got the big shaft since 1980????

      • john says:

        What the heck kind of simplistic, underexplained percentages and numbers are these? Who cares about what other nations make when it comes to being an american and supposedly taking care of Americans? Why should we be worried about their policies when we have our own unique situation with our own unique problems?

    17. KWM says:

      How are new college grads ever supposed to become independent from the government, when the only available jobs require multiple years of experience (post-graduation) that the graduates do not have? Without the availability of entry-level jobs in the private sector, we cannot sever ties with the Government because we need the assistance in order to survive. Maybe if the private sector opened up more assets, then we, The People, could be independent from the government. Instead, the private sector is playing quid pro quo with their brothers and sisters while turning around and blaming it on the government, making the whole process rather cyclical. Moreover, I have always maintained conservative values, with a lean towards free-market capitalism, but this is just getting ridiculous and the only entity willing to truly help The People, of late, has been the government, unfortunately. Maybe we will pay for it later down the road, but right now it is helping us survive.

    18. allen says:

      Thank You for the Article. I really enjoyed something that was well written. Have a nice Weekend You deserve it.

    19. Basia says:

      This is just what Obama and his party want. A permanent dependency class that are guaranteed voters wanting all of their goodies and voting in the politicians that ensure them. We are not on the path to Greece. We ARE Greece.

    20. joseph hohmann says:

      I agree with almost everything you said. However I believe that you need to show Social Security and Medicare separately. My reasoning is that these are programs where I was forced, and still am, to pay insurance premiums (medicare), and have paid into social security for decades on the premise that it was a secure investment managed by the government (big mistake). I do not see these as entitlements but as payments from my government controlled personal savings accounts. Could you separate these from depending on the government statistics. It would clarify the data and make it more meaningful. I can't tell you often I wish these were personal private accounts and programs and not subject government control/

      • Pensacola Pete says:

        joseph, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement. I earned my military retirement and federal civilian retirement by working each and every day while paying into a third program called Social Security. These are not entitlements but earned benefits. At the very least these payments can be called "earned entitlements". They definitely should not be included in entitlements such as welfare and other non earned payments. Entitlements are the politicians vehicle to purchase support (votes) from people they could care less about. The people are stupid enough to buy the ruse, hook, line and sinker…..Stupid us!

    21. Alan says:

      "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." It would be really helpful if you could site the source(s) for this.

    22. J E Houser says:

      With respect to the Constitution: I propose an easy solution. Take all the cases relating to the Constitution as determined by the courts and put them in a paper shredder and then require very subsequent opinion apply the Constitution as written.

    23. I call BS!!! Remember: Use a crutch and you will…..

    24. Paul Veen says:

      Whoa! It sounds like you are including retirees as dependent on the government. I hope that we are not included among those you claim rely on Washington. For just short of 50 years I was FORCED to pay near 15% of my income into a government operated pyramid scheme, which ultimately became a Ponzi scheme. I was FORCED to forego the opportunity to invest that money for retirement, and now that I am hoping to live long enough to get back my FORCED "contributions" I am considered to be dependent on the government? And, Medicare…I have been FORCED to pay into the system since it's inception, and now I am being FORCED to participate in the program, and additionally FORCED to pay for it. There is no option to keep my current insurance plan, but because I am collecting MY money back from the government I must participate in their plan, AND PAY FOR IT. That sounds more like an out of control government dependent on me!

    25. here is what I was talking about

    26. TXLeeVee says:

      I live down the road from the Welfare exit sign pictured. My family and I have always joked that " you have to to welfare to get to comfort." If you take exit 533 and follow FM289 through Welfare, it will, in about 10 minutes, lead to the town of Comfort. Ironic!

    27. Patriot Conservative says:

      When John F. Kennedy was President, just over a quarter of federal spending went to fund programs paying for some 21.7 million Americans to be dependent on Uncle Sam. But as high as that spending and dependence on the federal government was then, it has exploded today, with one in five Americans — more than 67.3 million — depending on Washington for assistance. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Patriot-Conserv

    28. Wayne Peterkin says:

      The dependence of so many people on the government are exactly what many politicians, including every liberal and all too many others, want. Strong, independent voters are the last thing these politicians desire, simply because the politician can no longer control those voters nor can they depend on their support. It is one main reason why almost half of the earners in this country pay no federal income taxes. Those voters overwhelmingly support the politicians who protect them from having any skin in the game. It has very little to do with compassion for the poor and everything to do with political power.

      • william says:

        Wayne, you are right. The democrats have bought the souls of many in our country. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that all wins votes for the demos and more than likely, give BHo a second term.
        Unless , we win back the senate and the House of Representatives . our country is domed.

    29. Moses A. Cardona says:

      While agree with the over-all premise stated in the article above, I would point out that my Social Security check is NOT an entitlement. I worked and contributed 15% of my income over 60 years to support the program.

      It's not my fault that the "government" screwed it up. So please, remove Social Security from the equation.

      • Roger Lennert says:

        That's what I'm confused about as well. I have payed into Social Security for 50 consecutive years and am still paying into while working full time at 68, and also collecting SS monthly check. Am I one of these dependents? Am I supposed to return the money? I'm confused. It seems that it wasn't until the last 5 years or so that SS has become "an entitlement" and I feel like I'm on the dole. Tell me what to do.

      • Larry C says:

        It isn't your fault is it? The federal government has been raiding the Social Security trust fund for years, and politicians – whom you and millions like you have been voting back into office year after year – have stood by and let it happen. Have you been protesting? Have you been writing your Congressman and your local newspapers? Have you been organizing, support your local Tea Party, getting the word out to your neighbors and friends? Probably not. You are getting fleeced like sheep and all you can say is "Baaaa."

        Democracy works only when the citizens are alert and participating. Voting once every 4 years doesn't cut it anymore.

    30. Gary C says:

      I hope you're not suggesting that by taking back the money I paid into Social Security for 40 years, that makes me "dependent" on the federal government. I have plenty of my own retirement funds to survive, but I'll be damned if I will let the US government keep what was forcibly taken from me during my working years.

      • william says:

        Gary, i agree with you. If I were a rich man (millions) I would give my social security away to charity. I earned my social security.

      • ThomNJ says:

        I don't think that is the intent of the article – and I agree that our money has been stolen from us.

    31. KC-NM says:

      Americans will need help from the government at times, but the government must require some form of repayment for the entitlements. The 50% who do not pay income tax, those that receive free medical care, food stamps, free education, and many more government handouts should be required to pay this privilege back. Community work is always needed. There are many tasks that need to be done in and around every community. Fixing our broken tax system – incorporating a flat tax for everyone would be a start. Bottom line – we cannot keep giving the freebies without something in return.

    32. Kenneth Chilton says:

      Can you please tell me how many of these 67 million folks on the federal dole are Social Security recipients? Because working Americans have no choice on whether to be a part of that system, it seems inappropriate to include them in the count . I would have a much bigger nest egg had I been able to invest my (and my employers') payroll deductions in my own 401k.

      Inquiring minds want to know so please favor me with a reply.

    33. todd brooks says:

      You should be ashamed of yourself for this class war mongering you are passing off as journalism. You are suggesting that federal employee salaries, guaranteed student loans, and defense spending are all "entitlements". You know better, and you will win no one over to "our side" by debasing yourself with these tactics regularly reserved for the "left-wing" media. Shame on you. Shame.

    34. Lou says:

      In order for the democrats and this president to remain in power they must infantilize Americans. This party and this president, in particular, need "victims." Hence the paternalistic "hug" from the govt. This president cannot allow personal responsibility to persuade the victim to assume his or her accountability for his or her actions.

      • sdfultz says:

        Isn't the President demanding personal resposibility by mandating everyone pay for health care in some form or fashion? If you got it fine, if you don't you need to pay, so the rest of us don't have to pay for you.

    35. Kenneth Chilton says:

      Can you please tell me how many of these 67 million folks on the federal dole are Social Security recipients? Because working Americans have no choice on whether to be a part of that system, it seems inappropriate to include them in the count . I would have a much bigger nest egg had I been able to invest my (and my employers') payroll deductions in my own 401k.

    36. Don says:

      "And finally, we need to reform entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security"
      Where does this statement come from, My employer and myself payed for these "Benefits", I resent Medicare and Social Security being called "Entitlements".

    37. Jeanne Stotler says:

      In 1620 a Ship left Plymouth, England and headed for the "New Land" one of the backers was and passengers wa Richrd Warren, I am his 12th generation grgranddaugter, I've rea a lot about the plymouth colony including Bradfords accountings. One thing was certain they did not take care of people wo didn't work, everyone had a rolein maintaining this little band of people, even children pass the age of 7. It was well known if you didn't do your share you didn't eat. This did not apply to the sick or as time went on the aged, Richard's wife my grgrandmother lived into her 90's, raised 7 children and was a well respected member of the colony, her grandson became a Col. who fought to prevent the colony from being taken over by Indians"king Phillips war". I believe in the beatitudes from the Bible, but I also believe you get off your buns an work, not expect others to do it for you, justas it was in Plymouth or Jamestown colonies.

    38. steve h says:

      Roughly 90% of the people 'dependent on Uncle Sam' are the eldery, disabled, and children. With unemployment around 9% most of 2011 while the recovery is still slowly improving, it seems to make sense to me that more people would be getting some sort of government assistance, particularly with 4 unemployed people for every job opening.

      Also, you speak of those who pay no taxes at all, but make no mention of those in the upper income brackets who are paying the smallest percent of taxes ever in the history of the country. Amazing if we look back 3 decades to see the top income bracket paid 70% and we see how much that has dwindled, along with the cap gains and dividends tax, and the estate tax…and to see in 2001 Heritage was concerned that the surpluses were growing too fast and we should not pay down the debt so quickly (of course calling for more tax cuts).

      • ThomNJ says:

        The percentage or rate paid by the rich is not completely relevant – the fact is that they pay the bulk of the taxes. I am not rich, but I pay a hefty chunk – nevertheless, it is not your right or anyone else's right to punish those who have been successful. If a person makes a million dollars, is that person only allowed to keep $200,000 ? Is that what you think we should do – decide on an appropriate amount? So if the next person makes $250,000, they will pay $50,000 to get to some magic number? That is fair in your eyes?

        And claiming that 90% of those receiving welfare are the elderly, disabled, etc is not really true – at least not here in New Jersey. And it doesn't seem to take much to get oneself qualified as disabled, that's for damn sure. I have seen plenty of people who have made themselves fat, for example, and now suddenly they get a handout?

    39. Ron W. Smith says:

      Yesterday, Brownfield's post emphasized the Obama administration's reluctance to respond, presumably with action, to the Syrian crisis and saw the administration's foreign policy re: the Middle East as "crumbling." No mention at all of the great expense of being the world's Superpower on Call, expected to carry the world's burden on our dime while other countries are off the hook for the tab. Not a word about our $1.3 annual deficit or $15 trillion national debt, the bulk of which can be traced to National Security spending, annually more than is spent on National Security by the rest of the world combined. Not a word except to conclude that we're failing in our international obligations under Obama.
      Today, the flip side of the big national expenditures coin, the topic of dependency on government at an all-time high. Since we're still riding out the greatest economic downturn after the Great Depression, one would expect such news–in fact, know it by heart having heard the facts and figure leading up to this latest summary conclusion many times over.
      Are the two major categories of national expenditure equal? Not at all. National Security has no dedicated incoming revenues to draw from, the taxes we pay the only source (with a couple of exceptions where we've been helped with the cost of military operations). What have become known as "entitlements," though, have, at least in a couple of cases, dedicated funding–Medicare's premiums and Social Security's FICA tax. Of course, these two sources of incoming funds do not underpin all of the outgo for "dependency" areas. However, they do need to be deducted from the outgo causing the "all-time high" dependency figures, and, as usual, they weren't. What a difference-maker failing to report sources of financial support can be when drawing conclusions about national dependency figures!
      The case Brownfield could make about the cost to you and me of the many controversial and sometimes simply questionable foreign policy decisions we've made over the years would make for an interesting piece. Our annual deficits and growing national debt could use some fair and equal coverage.

    40. The information in this article clearly shows that our government entitlement programs have to be eliminated or we will bankrupt our country. I won't go into the details but everyone should know by now that our Social Security program is already bankrupt. Knowing this, Congress is presently trying to pass the (U. S./ Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement or treaty that would make Mexican/American citizens eligible for full Social Security benefits whether they had paid into the system over the last few years or not. (see additional comments on this)

    41. Clarence Rumpe says:

      POLITICAL POWER=RATE OF DEPENDENCY which leads to SOCIALISM. I believe the private sector can do a better job in resolving poverty. However, part of the problem is our social mindset on whom should be considered in the poverty roles and why thery are in that position. Example; churches of every denomination strive to help the "poor" while not makiing ANY EFFORT to determine why a person or family is in poverty. Much of our poverty problems are caused by the willingness of government to take over personal responsibilities and citizens who are unwilling to control their spending habits. Each of us, citizen, business and government is responsbile for what we do, spend, and save if any.
      C. Rumpel, Stoughton, WI.

    42. Norman Schultz says:

      As a retired Vietnam Veteran and Heritage member, I am offended and disappointed by your staff continuing to refer to Social Security as an "entitlement" (dirty word) or a "dependency" program. Those of us who served in the sixties were told that our social security contributions would be well invested and grow to provide a dependable supplement for our retirement years. Those contributions were mandatory, but considered to be a wise investment. We were also told that if we were willing to serve in the military for at least twenty years, we would be eligible to receive "free" lifetime healthcare.

      As you probably know, neither the "well invested contributions" for retirement or the "free" lifetime healthcare became a reality, as the government found other uses for the social security receipts.

      I realize that "everyone does it" but I would really welcome a change to refer to social security payments as earned benefits or government obligations as they were intended. I am sure you would not write about someone who contributes to a 401K plan and then takes distributions, in a demeaning manner.

    43. Bobbie says:

      if the economy is so great nobody would be dependent on government welfare. Everybody would be responsible to their legal signatures and find their own (personal) justice like grown ups' legal signatures do if they've been wronged? and all would be fair for a deliberately sickened economy to recover.

    44. Sherman Axinn says:

      When discussing dependence on Gov't., there should be a differentiation between funds paid as part of a contract, such as SS , Medicare (paid into by recipents), reirements (which were earned), and the entitlements which were neither paid into nor earned. Even more attention must be paid to the almost half of our fellow citizens who contribute nothing to the Federal Government but manage to enjoy "Entitlments".

    45. GregC says:

      What are people without jobs supposed to do?
      Social structures have changed since the 1930s.
      Families and neighborhoods have been falling apart so what are people supposed to do??
      During tough times the government is going to spend more to help.

    46. sdfultz says:

      Amazing what 2 wars off the books, prescription drug program unpaid for 8 years will do to the people.
      Did I mention the thief in the mortgage industry for many, many years what that does to the people. I know of many people who have been forced to apply for assistance, but none who want to, circumstance has forced them into submission, after all they have children. So where's the Jobs, jobs, jobs
      that John Jobs Bohoner (forgive my spelling)ran on in 2008? Just asking.
      So if anyone is surprised about the current status of the people depending on the people's government programs, they should wake up and smell the coffee or get in line for some.

    47. Wil Freeze says:

      With over 29% of our citizenry on the federal dole, with over 50% of our citizens not paying any federal income taxes and our leadership in the Senate declaring that a federal budget is not necessary, it does not take a Political Science major to predict that President Obama has manipulated the populace far enough to the left to ensure himself a second term. Why? Because the apathy of those who are within their comfort zones do not care enough to speak out against the liberals and progressives that preach political correctness and blatantly circumvent our Rule of Law. Wake up America!! It will take a landslide of concerned citizens to object, speak out, demand true representation from our lawmakers and justices. Demand adherence to our Constitution and demand setting aside this race into Socialism.

    48. Wayne, La says:

      I agree with Norman that Social Security is not an entitlement but an earned retirement program. It just is ineffective in stemming the tide of excessive spending. It has taken me a while to come up with this idea. I believe that the Government should provide a conducive system to allow people of all economic strata to save their own money for retirement, health care and of course adequate living. It is important then to consider how to achieve this construct. My idea is to consider a person earning the minimum wage. If you provide this individual with the opportunity to put away money for retirement, save for health care and still maintain and adequate standard of living then it you have successfully established a government structure that supports a conservative approach to this country's future. This does not mean that Government would not provide help in the form of matched funds for the low income earners. This would just remove Government from control of the system.

    49. Michael Spitz says:

      This is very, very informative. To bad there are no Statesmen left that will lead this nation out of the abyss for which it is heading.

    50. Jack W Estes says:

      I agree with all you folks objecting to SS and Medicare branded as entitlements as if you are supposed to spit on the ground as the word is uttered. While Webster's does define the word entitlement as a government program that guarantees benefits to members of a particular group, the word has evolved into one that brands this particular group as pariahs. That is just wrong. I think a better word would be "obligation." In my opinion the government didn't just screw up when they began stealing from the supposedly untouchable SS funds never paying it back, but it was really when FDR started it as part of the new deal, and we have been stuck with it ever since. Now it is time to start paying the piper.

      One thing that should be noted is the large group (boomers) that paid the majority of the SS funds into the coffers over the years and are now claiming what is rightfully theirs will also begin to cease drawing from the fund at about the same rate they started as they go to meet their maker.

    51. howardfrombroward says:

      has anyone figured out that a "community organizer" is a person who encourages people to file for entitlements and assists them in doing this? the only jobs a community organizer ever created are the ones for people doling out food stamps, medicaid, tanf, school lunches and breakfasts, public housing, public transit chits, etc.

    52. Clearhead says:

      Once I thought of getting myself on the gummint dole. If I could have done this, I might have gotten enough dough from Washington to offset the exorbitant amount of income tax the gummint was stealing from my paycheck. But then I woke up and realized that come tomorrow morning I would see my working neighbor next door face to face. That I couldn't bear, so I gave up the idea. Probably wouldn't have been successful in this endeavor anyway, because I am not a registered dumbocrat.

    53. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      This is what Obama wants.

    54. TalkingMonkeyNOT says:

      What so very many people don't seem to want to fully admit to, or realize, is that the anger SHOULD be directed towards the federal government (and State governments, for going along with it) and NOT towards those who only speak the truth. Yes, I understand that so many of us "forcibly" paid into certain programs, being told by those who ran our governments, federal AND State, that those funds were protected. It is NOT the fault of the people who write these kinds of articles that our government(s) LIED to us! THAT is where the anger should be directed. ALL of these "programs" were PONZI SCHEMES from the very beginning, whether or not people understood that. And the way that all manner of foreigners AND others not "entitled", who have never paid a dime into them, are NOW receiving benefits from them, MAKES them "entitlement programs." If you do NOT like the terminology, maybe it's because your anger is MISPLACED. Do NOT let those who have the biggest voices, ie our government(s) and their agents, continue to steer you towards what they want. We HAVE to be willing to give up what we were CHEATED out of, in order to save our country and restore our Republic. Because if we don't? We are all playing right into their hands. And when the hammer comes down? It is NOT going to make one hill of beans difference whether or NOT we paid into something that was only a means to an end to begin with. Understand THIS, and you will be among those who know what has really been going on. Maybe THEN we will be on a road to actually correcting what is wrong with this, our country.

    55. Declan Sheehy says:

      The research for this article is completely flawed. The inclusion of social security recipients in the total is disingenuous to say the least. Of course there are more people depending on government. There are more retirees. This is typical of starting with a point of view and then picking facts or half-truths to try to prove it.

      • Bobbie says:

        "of course" Declan? "of course?" We're not talking about retirees who've paid their way while the government steals from, we're talking about welfare recipients. Able bodied people that are taking advantage off the backs of Americans with the support of a vengeful government run by personality conflicts. Keep up with the conversation and you'll come around to knowing the truth for yourself.

    56. ThomNJ says:

      I would not lump "retiree" who have had their money taken from them over the years for social security in with welfare recipients who contributed nothing. Social security is not an entitlement…at least not for those of us who actually paid into the system…………unlike the elderly Russians, and others we have taken into this country for some reason and now foot the bill for their Medicare and Social Security needs when they paid not a single dime into the system. It is the expansion of coverage in SS that is ridiculous – we have let in immigrants who are beyond their working age to contribute to our country's economy yet they now live off of us? How stupid are we?

    57. Sandra says:

      Social Security was an introduction of what was to come. The difference between social security and the ensuing "entitlements" is that participants paid into social security. Entitlements are funded by our taxes and distributed to others depending upon govt's mandates.

      Do any of you wonder if this huge expansion of govt mandates and increasing dependence upon govt support is intentionally undertaken to weaken/destroy our democracy?

      Is our country stronger, are our citizens better educated and contributors to our economy? As entitlements reach nearly 50%, is this largesse supportable?

      Once the rich are taken down and our companies and businesses regulated to death, where will the government find persons or businesses or companies to tax?

      Perhaps Obama and his supporters believe that socialism/communism will work better than capitalism.. The problem with that belief is that history does not support it. What is seen by our situation is that the more govt taxed, the ore it promised and the more it overspent to fund those promises. Work ethic? Whaat work ethic?

    58. frank says:

      Let's start at the top. Cut all congressional salaries & benefits by 10%, restore the bush tax cuts and cut waste and fraud in govt. We can't afford many of the items you note, but we can afford to let illegals get all the benefits for free that we pay for and we continue to spend millions to enforce silly programs such as seat belt enforcement. Please, this country is a money tree for the rest of the world; let's spend money on the people who paid it. I don't want to hear another senior citizen froze to death for being too proud.

    59. Guest says:

      This Administration is real big on class warfare. I personally am getting real tired of hearing it. The Republicans need to stand up and be firm to keep pointing out the errors. Paul Ryan and others are very good and we need more good fiscal conservatives. We The People are very aware of what is happening to this country and we will take our country back!!!! We will because we cannot allow Obama to use any more plays from The Saul Alinsky Handbook!!!!!

    60. Torrie says:

      And I hope everyone votes for Ron Paul so we can start to fix this mess.

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