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  • Index of Dependence on Government Jumps for the Fourth Year in a Row

    The leak of a video featuring former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has sparked debate about government dependency and the number of people in the United States who do not pay federal income tax. The Heritage Foundation has published the Index of Dependence on Government for the past 10 years, and the Center for Data Analysis offers a preview of next year’s report.

    The Index tracks government spending on the federal programs that breed government dependency. The Index rises 3.28 percent in next year’s report, for which 2011 is the latest year the underlying data are available. It is adjusted for inflation, so it rises or falls because of spending in real dollars. The updated Index reveals:

    • Government dependency jumped 3.28 percent in 2011, with the largest increases in higher education loans and grants and in retirement spending.
    • This is the fourth year in a row that the Index has risen, rising 31.73 percent in that time.
    • At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (48.47 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.

    Today, more people than ever before depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States reached another milestone in 2010: For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes.

    It is the conjunction of these two trends—higher spending on dependence-creating programs, and an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers who pay for these programs—that concerns those interested in the fate of the American form of government.

    In last year’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, it was reported that 70.5 percent of federal spending goes to dependency creating programs—showing that the often-repeated mantra, “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem” could not be more true. One need look no further than the results of the 1996 welfare reform that started work requirements for able-bodied people to receive cash welfare payments to see that it is possible for people to become more self-sufficient.

    More data from the upcoming 2013 Index of Dependence on Government will be released next month.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Index of Dependence on Government Jumps for the Fourth Year in a Row

    1. Bobbie says:

      The democrats aren't moving in unconstitutionally because of the bad economy democrats made worse. They're moving into convenience people for now until their intentional collapse of our country. Adding excessive government regulations to businesses adds needless costs and results in loss of jobs and businesses, helping collapsed companies with billions of dollars, handing out cell phones, making rules less to comply where housing is concerned…

      Don't let democrats do this to you. Americans are better than democrats want to give credit for because it threatens democrats job insecurities… democrats want to do for you what's already expected of you to do for yourself. Democrats get rich doing what you can do for yourself while they put you down to exploit you incapable!! Why, people? Why would you want that? Become America's solution which is handling your own livelihoods. Raise yourselves above the democrat entitled tokens!!

      Health care, housing, food are dutiful, personal responsibilities to survive. We don't want the controlling force of government to obligate us to pay for 47% of the country's lack of independence when we take personal responsibility for our own while the costs of government are unconstitutionally exceeding our ability to take on our responsibilities to our independence.

      The increase dependence on government control is contrary and a disgrace to America and all Americans!!

    2. Wait until the baby boomers retire. Its all about balance. You cant spend what you dont have. If you dont save grain when the sun shines, you wont have any left when the drought hits. You dont cut spending in a recession. You cut spending and save when the economy is booming. You dont cut taxes on the higher wage earners, and raise taxes on the lower wage earners. Its just not really that complicated.

    3. Rob says:

      It comes as no surprise that govt spending has increased under Obama. He has no idea of how to run a business let alone a whole nation. His policies are ruining the economy and costing jobs. Look at the coal and oil industry. They have lost thousands of jobs due to Obama. Furthermore, federal regulations have increased markedly under Obama. When will the American people wake up……

    4. Karl Quick says:

      Obama progress: increasing dependence upon the powerful to increase their power.
      American progress: increasing independence and freedom to distribute power as broadly as possible!
      Simply put: do you want a handout or a job?
      Hint: it takes people with jobs …wealth producing jobs… before handouts can be distributed.
      Still need a hint? Dependency is slavery!
      What, still don't get it? ….well you can't get anything unless we all get a lot more jobs!

    5. David Weikel says:

      While i value the information presented in this article, what I need to know is the percentage of Americans that get these benefits that have not paid taxes for them. This question rules out Social Secutiry and Medicare. We pay for those programs. What are the percentages, not including Social Security and Medicare? That is a more realistic figure.

      • JR42 says:

        Take into account that Social Security also pays to dependent children w/ "disabilities", i.e. labelled w/ a learning disorder, ADHD, or some other "problem" of being a child. SS also pays to other "disabled" individuals, however true that disability may be. Most people think only of retired folks and other elderly types on Social Security, the mass of lazy parents and others simply looking for a handout are easily forgotten.

        Let us not forget this same population that malingers on to MediCare and MedicAid for many of the same reasons. Unfortunately, I get to see far too many of these individuals in the course of my days. Those who expect things be done for them simply because they have shown up in front of you, with no thought that they might actually do anything at all for themselves to change anything.

        It is this population for whom I have zero respect or sympathy and feel no obligation to assist in any way.

    6. Kathy says:

      There are many college students who fall into the "47%" that is being widely discussed across this country. Many of them did not get jobs when they graduated from college, and millions of others are getting grants and student loans to finance their college education. This is a good thing. Why would someone belittle someone else because he or she is receiving government assistance? The government should be for the people, not against them.

    7. Rich says:

      The conservative notion that social safety net programs "create dependency" is an assertion, not a fact. Please show me actual cases in which people with family-supporting jobs have quit them so they could get unemployment compensation. Please show me cases in which students with the ability to pay for college themselves have instead applied for and received student aid. Please show me cases in which people with health insurance have given it up so they could receive Medicaid. These are conservative fantasies, trotted out with depressing regularity to justify budget cuts that will promptly be offset by yet more upper-income tax breaks. The simple fact is that the American economy has for several decades now squeezed ever-growing numbers of working and middle class families with stagnant wages, benefit cuts, and outright job cuts, forcing more and more of them to rely on the relatively meager support programs the federal government actually offers. The idea that all these people lack is that good old-fashioned get-up-and-go American spirit and that cutting them off would magically restore it is the height of absurdity.

    8. Terry Tuggle says:

      I would like to see the numbers for companies receiving government contracts added to this statistic. There are people getting rich off our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that hardly represent the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that exemplifies this country. Also, where do business and farm subsidies fall into this graph? There is a lot of talk about social welfare, what about Corporate welfare? The debate can be framed in a myriad of ways but this graph only serves one purpose, and that is confirm the opinions of it readers, NOT, challenge them to make positive change.

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