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The Metastasizing American Entitlement Society - How Long Can it Continue?

Government Dependency Steadily Increases - A Dangerous Phenomenon Which is Approaching the Breaking Point

For those that believe that our nation is offering only a basic safety net of government benefits, I offer the following items for your consideration from a Jan. 25, 2013 Wall Street Journal essay by a resident scholar at The American Enterprise Institute:

Over the last fifty years, government transfers to citizens have been growing twice as fast as overall personal income, now totaling 18% of all personal income versus 6% in 1960;

Social welfare programs dispense entitlement benefits of more than $2.3 trillion per annum, or $7400 per capita;

In 1960, social welfare programs accounted for one third of federal spending.  Today, entitlement programs account for two thirds of federal spending;

49% of Americans live in homes that receive one or more government transfer payments, up nearly 20 points from the early 1980’s;

In December 2012, there were more than 8.8 million working age men and women receiving disability payments, nearly three times as many as in December 1990.  For every 17 workers, there is one recipient of Social Security Disability payments.  The Social Security Disability Fund is on a path to run out of money before President Obama leaves office.

We are headed in the wrong direction, friends, and if we do not determine a means to fix it, and soon, the era of government checks written with borrowed money, will come crashing down. How much longer can we continue to expect that there will be a sufficiwnt number of individuals capable of paying for their neighbors' benefits?

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Deb January 27, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Yes, and let's not forget the problem of corporate welfare, which by sheer dollars alone, makes the entitlement issues very small. But as long as we stay focused on complaining about individuals, the attention and anger at those big numbers is ignored. Mass distraction works again!
Oren Spiegler January 27, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Given the recent Wall Street Journal article which asserts an unfunded entitlement liability of $86.8 trillion, I cannot ever consider the entitlement issue to be small, but you make some valid points in your recent posts, Deb. Yes, corporate welfare is disgraceful. I cite two stories from this week's news: Giant biotechnology pioneer Amgen recently secured a benefit provided by legislation which is estimated to be worth $500 million to the company, of which apparently virtually no member of Congress was aware! Please seethe link below. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-amgen-house-bill-20130124,0,1382046.story Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show featured a story about the evil of lobbying, noting that General Electric spends about $150,000 PER DAY on this activity. Whose call is going to be returned first, that of John Q. Public or a General Electric lobbyist? A guest on the show that has written a book about corporate influence in government noted that the finest restaurants in Washington D. C. have bucked the poor economy because they host lobbyists and members of Congress that are being courted with expensive food and wines. They have no shame! Our government is for sale to the highest bidder, and it is all perfectly legal!
Duke January 27, 2013 at 04:35 PM
How can I get my share of the $7,400?
Clear Thinker January 28, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Oren, I'm sure when you are collecting your generous state pension and Social Security checks you will be singing a different song about the entitlement society.
Roger January 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Clear, ... those most concerned about the things Oren writes about in this piece are those who are already collecting retirement money and SS checks. Those in younger years don't seem to be concerned about the issues raised. Pretending the problem does not exist, does not make it go away.

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