The economy is struggling and, as a result, more and more Americans have turned to the government for welfare.
The percentage of Americans now receiving a federally-funded “means-tested program” now stands at 35.4%. When you add pensions, unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare to the mix, the percentage of Americans relying on government for part or all of their subsistence is 49.5% of the American population.
But the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.
When those receiving benefits from non-means-tested federal programs — such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and veterans benefits — were added to those taking welfare benefits, it turned out that 153,323,000 people were getting federal benefits of some type at the end of 2012.
It's important to separate those receiving retirement benefits, pensions, and even unemployment from those receiving “means-tested benefits” because in theory, the recipients of the former have pre-paid their benefits, whereas those receiving welfare have to have tax money appropriated to give them their benefits.
Which means-tested welfare program is the largest?
82,679,000 of the welfare-takers lived in households where people were on Medicaid, said the Census Bureau. 51,471,000 were in households on food stamps. 22,526,000 were in the Women, Infants and Children program. 20,355,000 were in household on Supplemental Security Income. 13,267,000 lived in public housing or got housing subsidies. 5,442,000 got Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. 4,517,000 received other forms of federal cash assistance.
Medicaid enrollment is set to only increase as Obamacare forces more people into the program. Also, these numbers do not include those receiving Obamacare subsidies, which can be received by anyone making 400% of the poverty level.
It is clearly not sustainable to have a country where more than half of the country is receiving benefits from the government. It will force tax rates to go up and lessen flexibility on other federal spending as the tax base shrinks.
We need to find ways as a country to reduce the number on welfare and help them become more self-reliant.