WASHINGTON, D.C.—Under the current administration, there has been a 32% increase in direct government payments made to individuals, and the last budget President Obama presented asked for another $500 billion dollar increase by 2016.
According to the latest Census Bureau statistics from the third quarter of 2010, only one-third of those direct payments came from programs where benefits were expected, namely Social Security, Railroad Retirement, veteran’s compensation, veteran’s educational assistance, and Medicare.
Republican contenders have labeled this administration the “Food Stamp” administration, and the numbers seem bear out that. At the end of 2008, approximately 9% of Americans were on food stamp assistance. Today those numbers are at nearly 15%.
A weak showing of 2011 fourth quarter GDP growth from just-released reports indicate the economy still continues to flounder and will not provide the opportunity to get people off the public-assistance rolls. And now with a projected $16.7 trillion dollar debt, our debt-to-GDP ratio is over 100% and puts an increasing strain on the financial system of the United States.
Mitt Romney has said that “over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society.” Newt Gingrich has labeled Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.”
Obama, by contrast, insists that the government must play the role of insuring that everyone steps up to the plate, that there must be a “shared responsibility” so that society is fairer for those less fortunate. It is very reminiscent of his 2008 campaign in which he stated he wanted to “spread the wealth.”
The country embarked on European entitlement-type spending in the late 1960s, and that, along with an aging population, is contributing not only to the increase in numbers of government dependents, but to the deficit as a whole. Statistics show that nearly 50% of homes have at least one or more people receiving one or more government benefits (Social Security, welfare, workers comp, unemployment, etc.), compared to fewer than one-third of the population recorded in 1983.
Payments were taken out of paychecks for many of these programs, such as Social Security, so in fact these are benefits due to beneficiaries. However, Washington theft of trust fund monies from these programs has put those at risk, as evidenced by the administration’s threat during a budget showdown that Social Security checks would not go out if a budget wasn’t agreed to.
Politicians continue to play fast and loose with the nation’s monetary system, with its economic system, and with the ability to tax to continue their rampant, run-away spending spree. When the majority of Americans become dependent on that government for a paycheck, what will happen when that government’s financial system implodes?