Currently, it should not at all be difficult for any objective observer to notice that America’s entitlement mentality is at an all-time high and growing. All that anyone must do to soak in this reality is to take a trip to the nearest grocery store or social security office.
At grocery stores and supermarkets all over the country, on a daily basis, the checkout lines are filled with able-bodied people, unloading heaps of name brand sodas and choice steaks from their shopping carts. This is all made possible by state and federal food stamp programs and the ever-burdened taxpayer. If you are one of those unfortunate taxpayers, and you find yourself in line behind one of these individuals, you’d better not be in a hurry. It’s liable to be a long wait that’s made to seem even longer, as a result of mental anguish.
If you find that your investigation at the grocery store doesn’t yield any evidence, which is doubtful, you must only travel to the nearest social security office. Again, if you’re a taxpayer who has paid into the social security system for years, and you’re seeking to make arrangements at the desk for a return on some of this hard earned income, just pull up a seat and don’t hold your breath. You’ll most likely stand just inside the office door, at the end of a long line of able-bodied men and mothers of many children. They almost always at least appear to be in perfect health. Are all these people really disabled? Are we starting to see a pattern here? All these social programs, especially those for food stamps, welfare, and disability compensation, have become extremely and overwhelmingly problematic for everyone concerned.
All these social programs, some technically dating back all the way to the country’s founding, were put in place to help only those who were truly helpless: those indigent, widowed, or physically or mentally disabled individuals who would be allowed enough subsistence to survive with the help of their local almshouses or workhouses. In this former system, even those who received these benefits would do so as a last resort, in such cases where these individuals had no immediate or extended family members who were able or would agree to assist them.
This system is a far cry from the wasteful, loosely enforced, fraud-provoking system of today. But this hopeless situation didn’t develop overnight. These programs have been gradually expanded over the years, until they have become far too tempting for many to resist. We all know that there are still those who actually need some outside assistance, on a limited basis and for a limited amount of time, but they are grossly outnumbered by those who abuse this poorly protected system. As the benefits of these social programs continue to grow for those who participate in them, and as the taxpayer’s slice of the pie continues to be trimmed thinner under the weight of supporting them, the incentive to continue to work and pay taxes diminishes by the day. This is the destructive power of socialism in true form.
Let’s take a look at some current statistics about these programs, gathered from several sources (including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the CATO Institute.) As of May 2012, about 4.1% of the total U.S. population received welfare assistance. We might think that 4.1% doesn’t sound too threatening, but as applied to the current total population of the U.S. of over 313 million people, this percentage of recipients amounts to about 15 million people. We should take into account that this does not include those who receive other social benefits, such as food stamps, unemployment, and disability compensations. If we include these programs into the equation as forms of welfare, the percentage of Americans receiving this assistance rises to about 8% of the U.S. population, or about 1 in 6 Americans.
If these percentages are not negatively impressive enough, we can look at the situation in terms of dollars. Based on official government figures over the last five years, the total annual government spending on welfare (minus food stamps or unemployment) amounts to a staggering $131.9 billion. Other statistics are equally or even more alarming. First, at the most basic level of the program’s regulations, someone can make $1000 per month and still receive welfare. In 40 states, welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job. In 7 states, welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job, and in 9 states, welfare pays more than the average salary of a public school teacher in those states! Out of the top 10 hourly wage equivalent welfare states in the U.S., Hawaii is at the top at $17.50, and Virginia is at the bottom at $11.11. All these income levels probably seem to make for a good living in the eyes of many of us as working taxpayers.
So how could all this be, under the leadership of “the Great Uniter,” Mr. Obama? He was supposed to create an American society in which all shared great success together. He claimed during a speech in February 2009 that the economy would be fully repaired after the first three years of his presidency. His administration even claimed that unemployment would never rise above 8% if the stimulus plan was passed, but since then, it has risen as high as 10% and now stands at about 8.2%, according to most figures. However, if we factor in those who have given up looking for work, or who have accepted part-time employment in the absence of full-time employment, the real unemployment rate is closer to 22%.
One might at first think that the rise in the number of people receiving government benefits is directly proportional to the rising unemployment, but according to these numbers, that just isn’t so. This shows us what we already know; most working people are honest taxpayers who will do whatever it takes to regain employment in some capacity. These people are hurting, and their absence in the workforce is negatively felt in our economy. But they are not the ones to blame. Some who are to blame are those who are increasingly and continually taking advantage of an already broken system at the expense of the rest of us. Their playing of the system has become a way of life, often spanning generations in their families. They are, though, only engaging in a lifestyle made possible by the corrupt liberals in our government, who now cater to them in their strategy to gain and retain votes for their next terms of office, which brings us to the ones who are most to blame: corrupt politicians in our government and the ones who elect them.
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