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America Is Officially A Welfare State


The average American relying on federal government assistance now receives more in benefits than the average American’s disposable personal income.

President Barack Obama has been called by Newt Gingrich the “food stamp president.” A study released this month proves the moniker is deserved.

Gingrich bases his claim on the fact that 14.2 million new people have joined the food stamp rolls since Obama took office. The total as of October stood at 46.22 million Americans on government food assistance. If that seems a phenomenal number, that’s because it is. It represents about 15 percent of the American population.

But that is not the whole picture.

The Heritage Foundation on Wednesday released its latest Index of Dependence on Government report. The results were staggering.

America has truly become a welfare state.

The most frightening thing in the new report is that the average American relying on federal government assistance now receives more in benefits than the average American’s disposable personal income. The Index reports Americans who rely on government receive an average $32,748 worth of benefits, surpassing the average American’s disposable personal income of $32,446.

Overall, some 67.3 million Americans, or almost 22 percent, rely “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,” according to the abstract of the study, which was authored by William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell.

Supporting those 67.3 million Americans costs U.S. taxpayers about $2.5 trillion each year. More than 70 percent of federal spending goes toward these dependency programs.

The problem is compounded by the fact that 49.5 percent of American workers pay no federal income tax.

You don’t need a doctorate in economics to see this trend cannot be sustained.

“The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction … or face economic and social collapse,” they wrote. “Yet policymakers made little progress … since the 2010 Index of Dependence on Government was published.”

Even liberals have to understand that a soaring national debt and nearly a quarter of Americans depending on government aid is a disaster in the making.

While Obama and his fascist policies have to shoulder much of the blame, we can’t place it all on his shoulders. He just happens to be the skipper of this shipwreck at the moment, though he is accelerating the boat toward the iceberg.

The study found that we expended 15 times more resources toward paying for people dependent on government in 2010 than we did in 1962. The Index of Dependence on Government grew by 8.1 percent in 2010 alone. It has grown 60.7 percent since 2001.

There does not appear to be an end in sight. If anything, the problem is going to get worse.

“Over the next 25 years, more than 77 million boomers will begin collecting Social Security checks, drawing Medicare benefits, and relying on long-term care under Medicaid,” the authors wrote. “No event will financially challenge these important programs over the next two decades more than this shift into retirement of the largest generation in American history.”

Making matters worse is that many, if not most, of these boomers who will be collecting these entitlements are middle-class to upper-class Americans and can afford to support themselves. This is because these federal retirement entitlements are pegged to a person’s age, rather than his or her financial situation.

“Paying for these … entitlements in the coming years will require unprecedented levels of deficit spending,” the authors wrote. “Americans face $45.9 trillion in unfunded obligations (read: new borrowing) over the next 75 years. That is more than $200,000 per American citizen — an unsustainable level of debt that is sure to slow the economy and could force even higher rates of taxation in the future.”

Retirement is not the only area bankrupting our futures. Farm subsidies, college, health care, housing, indeed, nearly every area of human activity is being subsidized by the federal government.

I understand the human desire to help those in need. However, government assistance is not charity. Forcing someone at the point of a gun to support someone else should not make one feel good.

Ultimately, dependence is just another form of government control and tyranny. Fortunately for governments, too many people do not think.

Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is a columnist with The Lima (Ohio) News, a Freedom Communications newspaper. He is also a veteran of the Iraq war and a law student at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Visit his blog at http://www.lucente.org. Readers may write to him at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807-1538, or e-mail him at tlucente@limanews.com. His telephone number is 800-686-9924, ext. 2095. Follow him on Twitter at http://tho.lu/twitter, Google+ at http://tho.lu/google, and Facebook at http://tho.lu/facebook.

This post originally appeared at OfficialWire.com and has been reprinted with permission.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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