Nearly half of U.S. households receiving government benefits

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Nearly half of U.S. households receiving government benefits
18
Wed, 10-05-2011 - 5:13pm

So half the population of the U.S. pays no income tax, and about half the households in the U.S. have a member who receives some sort of government benefit. No wonder we are a nation divided. I've read some referring to Obama as the food stamp President or the Medicaid President. He seems to believe government can solve just about all our problems.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/10/05/nearly-half-of-households-receive-some-government-benefit/tab/print/

Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year.

Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.)

Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2% of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care program for the poor).

Another 14.5% lived in homes where someone was on Medicare (the health care program for the elderly). Nearly 16% lived in households receiving Social Security.

High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation’s share of taxpayers. Some 46.4% of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s up from 39.9% in 2007, the year the recession began.

Most of those households will still be hit by payroll taxes. Just 18.1% of households pay neither payroll nor federal income taxes and they are predominantly the nation’s elderly and poorest families.

The tandem rise in government-benefits recipients and fall in taxpayers has been cause for alarm among some policymakers and presidential hopefuls.

Benefits programs have come under closer scrutiny as policymakers attempt to tame the federal government’s budget deficit. President Barack Obama and members of Congress considered changes to Social Security and Medicare as part of a grand bargain (that ultimately fell apart) to raise the debt ceiling earlier this year. Cuts to such programs could emerge again from the so-called “super committee,” tasked with releasing a plan to rein in the deficit.

Republican presidential hopefuls, meanwhile, have latched onto the fact that nearly half of households pay no federal income tax, saying too many Americans aren’t paying their fair share.

UPDATE: Nearly half of the population lives in a household that has at least one member who receives some kind of government benefit. An earlier headline incorrectly suggested that half of American households receive some government benefit. Due to differences in household size that isn’t the case.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2009
Well, now you're just talking silly, with logic and facts and that fancy stuff.

But seriously, how anyone can say that Bush won the war is beyond me.

Do they also think he won the war in Afhganistan? If not, is it because of a piece of paper? Cause I don't see much of a difference in the two. No WMD and no Bin Laden.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2009
Good point! I hadn't thought of that.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

Having lived through the Vietnam War era, I can certainly understand why revisionists are actively promoting their own "reality".

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Bush won the war in Iraq. A treaty was signed (the status of forces agreement) prior to Bush's departure. It gets all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002

Plus the term "households" is a bit amorphous. We are all aware that more "households" include adult children returning to parental homes, and elderly/aging people, often move in with family as well. I wonder if this was taken into consideration? For example, my parents, who are in their 80's, can no longer live independantly. They have moved in with my sister. My sister has a job and recieves no assistance, my parents get social security and medicare. So my sisters house counts as one of these households. My parents old house sits empty, as the person who bought it, promptly went into foreclosure. So I wonder if these stats consider things like this? My sister is NOT recieving aid, my parents ARE. They no longer have their own house, and there is noone occupying their previous residence. So does my sisters house count as a "new" household recieving aid? Aid these people have recieved for 15 years? Was my parents previous home taken out of the stats?

Just wondering. As more and more houses sit empty, the number of occupied "households" declines. As people who are disabled, unemployed and elderly, move in with relatives, these homes become homes where people "recieve aid." These people ofte are already recieving aid.



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Especially with the large population of aging/retiring Baby-boomers!

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

NO, NO, NO. Bush did NOT win any war in Iraq. He did manage to invade a sovereign nation without just cause, get thousands of our troops killed, hundred thousands of Iraqis killed, Iran's hand strengthened in the region, and Iraq used as a testing ground for terrorist tactics in Afghanistan--all this without ever finding those oh-so-deadly WMD. If that's "winning", I sure as heck don't want to see what your definition of "losing" would be.

Combat troops didn't leave Iraq until August 2010. And if you parse the wording, you will note that "combat" troops didn't mean all troops. Bush may have done his negotiations before leaving office but those negotiations did NOT end the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Yes, Bush won the Iraq war and negotiated removal of all our troops prior to Obama taking office. You can read the status of forces agreement with Iraq here - http://usiraq.procon.org/sourcefiles/SOFA-11-19-08.pdf . Bush won, ended and agreed with pull all combat troops out of Iraq prior to Obama taking office.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Most investment in treasury bonds is from the federal reserve. Rates are kept low because we send ourselves IOU's and agree to loan money to ourselves at below market rates. If the federal reserve stopped printing money, and we had to borrow at the market rate, there likely wouldn't be any treasury bond selling for under 7% and interest rates on most home equity lines or credit and credit cards would skyrocket to 12% or more.

We have an artificial economy, we are printing money with no backing. If Europe weren't ahead of us on the meltdown curve, our dollar would be worthless. When Europe either crashes or recovers, the U.S. is going to have very weak currency and may not be able to sell dollar denominated debt to foreign investors.

As to why litigation is bad, we are spending considerable quantities of our wealth to fight over innovation and prohibit it. Many invest in patent portfolio's which often are for dubious inventions. These portfolio's are then used to sue various targets. This causes no innovation. This is one example. There are many others.

Our litigation system has become more of a cultural hindrance than help of late.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Thanks for answering. Saved me the time.

I see that once again someone is completely ignoring the fact that there are not enough jobs for unemployed workers.

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