Free Markets, Free People

Circling the drain

The NY Times has an article out saying that extended unemployment benefits are beginning to wind down.  Of course that’s in the face of at least 5 million still unemployed.   And while it obviously has to happen, i.e. the cut-off of extended unemployment benefits,  my guess is that Democrats are less likely to want it to happen than Republicans.

In case you haven’t heard there’s an election soon.

But, that said, it does take us to a number that should concern everyone:

49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.

Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.

Yes, that number.  49.1%.  Why should we be concerned about it?  Well if I have to explain, you most likely won’t get it anyway.  Make this comparison:

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

That’s a very large increase from 1984.  It speaks, at least to me, of dependence.  Now I know the recession has somewhat skewed the numbers.  Got it.  And, as the unemployment benefits wind down, the number will probably drop.

But in reality it points to a trend in which more and more people depend on less and less working people to help pay their way (CBO says food stamp rolls will continue to grow through 2014).  What this points too is increased government spending (no matter how you slice it – those drawing money from the government is up and that means government is spending more) in an era we can’t afford it.

With increased government spending comes the need to pay for it, and if taxes aren’t going to increase that means deficits. Nearly three-quarters of Americans blame the U.S. budget deficit on spending too much money on federal programs, according to a Gallup poll last year, but when the conversation turns to which programs to cut, the majorities are harder to find. For example, 56% of respondents oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.

Why do you suppose that is? Why would 56% oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare?

Because they have a vested financial interest in the two programs.  Government has, for decades, taken money out of their pay check, spent it on other things and over promised the benefits.  Or to simplify it for you, they’ve grossly mismanaged the two programs to the point that anyone in the private sector would be in jail.

And yet, the number of Americans getting benefits from government continues to trend upward.

Can you not spot the big red kangaroo here?

Why is it obvious to everyone but our politicians (yeah, that’s a rhetorical question for those wondering)?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

10 Responses to Circling the drain

  • Why is it obvious to everyone but our politicians (yeah, that’s a rhetorical question for those wondering)?
     
    Uh, I’ll take “how do politicians get re-elected for 10″
     

  • For example, 56% of respondents oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.

    Largely because who the hell knows what that means…besides it sounding all “significant” an’ stuff.
    Poll a definitive proposal.  That Gallup crap can be predicted to glean those kinds of results.

  • And while it obviously has to happen, i.e. the cut-off of extended unemployment benefits,  my guess is that Democrats are less likely to want it to happen than Republicans.
    But one democrat who probably likes the status quo is Barack Obama.  If they were to further extend unemployment benefits, the total number of people in the “potential workforce” would go up and so would the mystical unemployment number.

  •  
    “Nobody wants a handout,” Obama said. “Nobody wants to get something for nothing.”

    Wow ! 49.1% of Americans are now “nobody.”

    • ““Nobody wants to get something for nothing.””
       
      Well, except Barry, who got two big prizes for doing nothing in the same year – President of the US and the Noble Prize.

  • Strangely, the US has one of the highest degrees of child poverty—being edged out for the position of worst in the developed world by Romania. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/29/491443/un-report-child-poverty/
     
    This status represents the reason why the instance of government aid is so high.  If we reduce this kind of assistance, we will soon be compared to Congo.
     
    Face it, this problem is the result of the ratio of jobs the people in need of work is in the negative (used to be 9:1).  Until something happens to change this situation, it’s going to continue.  I sometimes think ultra-conservatives—like those frequenting this and other similar sites—would favor children begging in the streets, like in Mexico,

    • Wow … a new low in attempts to change the subject.

      Ever been out of the country? Ever seen real poverty? Yeah, me too and what we call “poverty” is called “middle class” everywhere else.

  • It’s the Obama program. Ruin and dependency until there’s nothing left to depend on.