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  • More Than 40 Percent of Americans Are on Some Government Program


    How many Americans depend on a government program for a basic (or not so basic) need? According to recently released Census Bureau data and Heritage Foundation calculations, the number is 128.8 million. That is the number of individuals directly receiving aid that they depend on for their daily consumption of things such as rent, prescription drugs, and higher education.

    That is 41.3 percent of theU.S.population as of July 2011.

    The Wall Street Journal puts the number of people living in a household where at least one member receives help at an even higher 49.1 percent.

    The 41.3 percent number is surely undercounting. It is based on survey responses to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) of March 2011. These responses are well known to undercount the number of people receiving Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, State Children’s Health Insurance, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Heritage research shows that the undercount in higher education subsidies may be the most dramatic.

    The calculations that Heritage ran on the Census Bureau data do not, however, double-count individuals. So if someone receives Medicare and Social Security, he is counted only once. Therefore, the dramatic undercounting in higher education subsidy beneficiaries makes the biggest difference, because recipients of education subsidies are generally younger and not likely to be on other dependency-creating programs.

    Those subsidized by the government for their higher education are generally dependent only on that government program. Heritage research shows that of the small number of people in the March CPS survey who admitted that they received higher education subsidies—about 2 million—less than one-half of 1 percent relied on Social Security retirement income; only 1.5 percent were on Medicare in 2011; and only 16 percent were on food stamps. The 2 million admitting they received higher education subsidies is assuredly a vast undercount, because the number of people receiving Pell grants in 2011 was 9.7 million, according to the Department of Education.

    Just counting true Pell grant recipients would add millions to the lowball estimate of 128.8 million government dependents.

    Sixteen years after President Bill Clinton erroneously declared “the era of big government” over, it’s not over; it’s still with us and growing. Unless something is done,Americaas we have known it will cease to exist.

    There is a way out of the dependence-on-government trap. Steps are laid out in Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan. If this plan were implemented, the economy would grow, government expenses would be held in check, and more Americans would support themselves. Some of the good results for individuals and the country would be:

    • More Americans climbing the prosperity ladder.
    • Fewer Americans stuck in the rut of “just getting by.”
    • Those who currently receive more from the government than they pay in taxes could become contributing taxpayers.
    • Catastrophe averted by shrinking the runaway national debt.
    • More happiness as the intergenerational cycle of government dependence would be shattered and replaced by an intergenerational cycle of self-reliance and private-sector opportunities for all.

    All the government has to do is adopt the plan.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to More Than 40 Percent of Americans Are on Some Government Program

    1. steve h says:

      What about the Americans getting mortgage interest deduction, employer health insurance deduction, charitble donation deduction, and board members and corporations taking advantage of loopholes and deductions….all that is costing us all trillions a year.

      Sad that you use Medicare and Social Security as examples. Americans have paid into these systems theri entire lives.

      40-45% on a program, but 95-100% pay some sort of tax (sales, excise, payroll, incomes, etc.)

      • Jason says:


        You are looking at this backwards. Allowing people to keep more of what they earn is not a "cost". Your arguments are based on a perspective that all income, wealth, property, etc belongs to the government and anytime someone keeps more of it, it costs us. Reducing ones taxes is not a cost to us. This way of looking at things is dangerous and ultimately leads to failure as a society and economy. Far better is the view that people own what they earn and create, and ALL of us pay a small amount to fund the necessary functions of government (easily half of what it is currently), the rest stays in people's hands and in the economy and we all benefit. The more money pulled OUT of the productive sectors of the economy, the greater the cost to us. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that at some point in the near future, there won't be enough people producing in order to pay enough taxes necessary for all these programs and benefits.

        Social Security and Medicare benefits people receive grossly exceed the amount that people have paid into them, which is why those programs are unsustainable.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Once dependent on government, freedom no longer exists. What an admittance of poor and weak leadership when the goal in America is independence and freedom. How embarrassing for America when it's all manufactured by personal insecurities of those in control taking over our personal control called: governmentalism.

    3. texac says:

      Means Testing. I’ve read where many folks (and politicians) are calling for means testing for “the rich”
      What about means testing for those on food stamps and other programs who:
      Have high speed internet – not dial up – but High Speed so they can surf the web, talk to their Facebook buddies, and play interactive games on their Xbox.
      Or those who have “smart phones” – not just phone to get phone calls, but phones to surf the web, play games, get on Facebook,etc.

      I’m not opposed to Food stamps and other social safety nets – but do those in “poverty” behave as if they are in poverty ? For the most part no. Too many enjoy perks of the middle class while the middle class pays their bills.

      Means testing should apply equally. If they want assistance they should have only dial-up internet, voice only cell phones, etc

      • saveamerica says:

        qualifications are lax. when Hmong immigrants came to our state 25+ years ago, they sounded like they would take care of their own without burdening society. They described their culture of people as "family" that help each other. They live off the land as part of their culture but our government makes them exception over people obligated to follow rules that bend for them. They've evolved government services in their cultural name which is so wrong in America but democrats will belittle any culture for their vote. We don't know what cultural people get from our paychecks, recently seen kiosks handing out free cell phones when everyone should work for what they want with no freebies, but Hmong get as many government services that avoid inspiration to be self reliant so it seems their "family" only helps direct each other to more government services while they have the same jobs and pay as everyone else who takes care of their own at less because of unfair tax exemptions forcing unfair tax obligations to carry their burden. The same immigrants said 'nothing gets passed us?' which is almost threatening as elected leaders who are immigrant to America but in the government are suppose to lead for all under the rule of law but immigrants know more about our government than we do. Helping them out with shelter and living expenses to start is one thing but when you go from huts and bikes to housing, cars, education, living expenses and then some while no incentive to hold them equally accountable to their own on top of making equal pay less the tax burden, it's over the line this 25 years plus, later. With no gratitude but the attitude "Americans are stupid" shows means testing is not sincere and taken advantage of as only pity words are spoken with no verification, less restriction, less responsibility, less accountabilities and much discrimination. They have to stand on their own.

        When my two nephews were in school the public administration asked them if they were Hmong? When my nephews denied it and said "We're American" it was a proud moment that melts the heart! My sister is an excellent mother of the American nature. But the administration disrespected their answer and attempted convincing my nephews are Hmong to get more discriminating favor at the expense of tax payers, obviously. That's not America. No one should be seen less capable of handling their own in any title of race, creed or culture. We all equally breath air to survive, eat to survive, sleep to survive with our individual minds that can take us anywhere we personally want to go. Unfortunately one of my nephews has fallen into liberal college communists educators to say "food stamps are good. Everyone should have them." We're working on him…

        The mind sets of many Americans needs "change."

      • Elizabeth Greene says:

        There probably aren't many people, poor or wealthy, who don't wish to indulge in diversions. The diversions change. Before video games and the web more people spent time at movie theaters or going to dances. People swam and played chess. I don't know. But humans enjoy play. Are poor people supposed to resist the allure of the internet, with its endless innovations and joys? Don't you enjoy being able to comment on this board, or being able to research topics. Do you have kids who use the internet for homework? Don't you love your cell phone? For kids in unsafe neighborhoods, a video game system is a way to escape and enjoy life indoors. Are poor people supposed to resist technology? Or should poor people remain in the past?

        • Annette says:

          I am sick of people who are on food stamps but pay for high speed internet and drinks in a bar. AND refuse job offers. When times are tough you cut the internet and the cable and do whatever it takes to get back on your feet.

    4. Roibert H. Bart lett says:

      Medicare and Social Security are programs we have all paid into directly by Payroll Deductions(Taxes) and indirectly through the Income Taxes we pay,.


      • Bobbie says:

        If it was the article that mentions it as a "dole" be confident they're talking about the ones cheating the welfare system and government programs by receiving without paying in. And because government is in control while derelict, incompetent, intentional mismanagement with no accountability to any of it, the elderly and all tax payers will suffer the consequences that will hit ss and mm. Hopefully democrats and the like, will someday be responsible for their thievery of Americans and the republic will return in full force.

        Few years ago we needed help and applied to see if we qualified for the free school lunch program. We qualified but were denied unless we applied to receive other government programs taxpayers were obligated to pay for. So a big problem is government and their rules and bribes to rope us into their arms to take more of our control of our own. We only asked for help in that area! We didn't appreciate the set-up at all as it is belittling. We struggled without it but the school system probably used their names anyway to add to their "dole out" fraud to get fed aid anyway… There's no rules in government cheats that doesn't benefit government and their agenda taking our freedom and liberty…

    5. Washington76 says:

      The only thing that has really changed is the years, and not their party!

      As is usually the case, facts and reason will reduce the lefties to sputtering incomprehensibility. People like them are, stuck in perpetual adolescence will never get beyond their feelings that something is just not fair. They never recognize that the only "fairness" that should be and can be rightly imposed is the removal of obstacles to personal success. Anything else is simply thievery, and right now we have far too many thieves in our the country, and in Washington.

      13th Amendment: 100% Republican Support Abolished Slavery 23% Democratic Support

      14th Amendment 94% Republican Support Slaves to be Citizens 0% Democratic Support

      15th Amendment 100% Republican Support Right to Vote for All 0% Democratic Support

      CRA 1866 Enacted by the Republican Party Equal Rights

      CRA 1871 Enacted by the Republican Party Anti-KKK

      CRA 1875 99% Republican Support Anti-Discrimination 0% Democratic Support

      ———–It took another 82 years until the next Civil Rights Act———
      ———–The Democratic Party blocked every attempt to equalize citizens of color—–

      CRA 1957 Enacted by the Eisenhower (R) Administration
      Then Senator Kennedy Voted against this Bill Filibustered by Democrats

      CRA 1960 Enacted by the Eisenhower (R) Administration
      The final version was watered down by then Senator LBJ Filibustered by the Democrats

      CRA 1964 82% Republican Support 63% Democratic Support

      CRA 1965 87% Republican Support Voting Rights 75% Democratic Support

    6. Bobbie says:

      100% of TRUE Americans wouldn't have or want anything to do with government dependency!!!!

      • Bobbie says:

        okay, thumbs down welfare recipients of America. stand proud thieving your fellow Americans, dependent cowards.

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