Government dependency is on the rise, with more than half of all Americans relying on the government for survival. While the Obama administration is broadening eligibility, US citizens increasingly also say they prefer it this way.
Americans’ self-reliability has been decreasing as eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credit, work pay tax credit and unemployment benefits have broadened since 2009 to allow more US citizens to enjoy them.
More than half of the US population – 165 million of 308 million Americans – is now dependent on the state in some form. Of these, 107 million Americans rely on government welfare, 46 million seniors collect Medicare and there are 22 million government employees.
The number of Americans on welfare have increased from 97 million to 107 million since President Obama took office, according to research by Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions. The number of Americans on food stamps during the president’s term has risen by more than 14 million.
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job – they’d just send you a welfare check,” stated a recent anti-Obama television advertisement.
And it seems that Americans increasingly want it that way. In 2011, a report by Globescan showed that the number of US citizens who believe in the strength of a free market economy dropped to 59 percent from 74 percent in the previous year, falling below Brazil and China. When Globescan first conducted this survey ten years ago, 80 percent of Americans favored a free market economic system.
Those with the lowest annual incomes were more likely to oppose a free market economy.
This year’s annual Index on Dependence on Government, released in February, found that since 2008, the American people’s dependence on government has grown by 23 percent. The US government broke a record last year, spending the most on federal assistance in the nation’s history.
The Heritage Foundation found that on average, Americans who depend on federal assistant received $32,748 in annual benefits, which is more than an average American worker makes in a year. In 2011, the median annual paycheck was reported as $26,364.
“We expect the government to take care of us from the cradle to the grave,” said an analyses in the Economic Collapse blog.
In 2010, more than 70 percent of federal spending went to dependence programs – which is almost 2.5 times more what it used to be fifty years ago. In 1962, only 28.3 percent of federal spending was used for these purposes.
But the cost of these programs does not go to those who reap the benefits. Half of all American households pay no income taxes – the very half that is most likely to be granted welfare and food stamps.
As government dependency increases, the cost of federal assistance programs will decrease with less people paying for it.