No. of Recommendations: 27

Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It

Adam B. Ellick/The New York Times
Published: February 11, 2012

Most Expect to Give More Than They Receive, Poll Finds (February 12, 2012)


Dozens of government benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each man, woman and child in the county in 2009, a 69 percent increase from 2000 after adjusting for inflation....the government now provides almost $1 in benefits for every $4 in other income.

Older people get most of the benefits, primarily through Social Security and Medicare, but aid for the rest of the population has increased about as quickly through programs for the disabled, the unemployed, veterans and children.

The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits....

Almost half of all Americans lived in households that received government benefits in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. The share climbed from 37.7 percent in 1998 to 44.5 percent in 2006, before the recession, to 48.5 percent in 2010. ...

A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published last year....

Over the next 25 years, as the population ages and medical costs climb, the budget office projects that benefits programs will grow faster than any other part of government, driving the federal debt to dangerous heights. ...
[end quote]

This is a long article. The explosive increase in entitlement spending over the last 50 years is stunning.

The share going to the poor has dwindled to about 1/3. No surprise, since the poor vote in lesser numbers and don't have the money to fund lobbyists.

Many people who receive government benefits don't count them as such. Many inaccurately perceive that they contribute more than they receive.

Half of of all Americans live in households that received government benefits. Many of these are elderly, who vote more than younger people.

Growth of entitlement spending will crowd out other government spending -- not to mention higher taxes will inhibit economic growth.

Whether need-to-have or nice-to-have, whether a matter of life and death or a matter of needing a second job (which may not be there), the middle class entitlements will sink the U.S. economy if they aren't controlled.

Who gives a rat's @$$ about the latest "social issue" (e.g. gay marriage)? Any issue but the transformation of the U.S. into Greece is a waste of legislative breath.

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