Friday, October 25, 2013

The Welfare Scales

CNS News reports:

Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits in 2011 outnumbered year-round full-time workers, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau. 
They also out-numbered the total population of the Philippines. 
There were 108,592,000 people in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011 who were recipients of one or more means-tested government benefit programs, the Census Bureau said in data released this week. Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, there were 101,716,000 people who worked full-time year round in 2011. That included both private-sector and government workers. 
That means there were about 1.07 people getting some form of means-tested government benefit for every 1 person working full-time year round.
... The 108,592,000 people who were recipients of means-tested government programs in the fourth quarter of 2011 does not include people who received benefits from non-means-tested government programs but not from means-tested ones. That would include, for example, people who received Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, or non-means-tested veterans compensation, but did not receive benefits from a means-tested program such as food stamps or public housing. 
In the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Census Bureau, there were 49,901,000 people who received Social Security benefits, 46,440,000 who received Medicare benefits, 5,098,000 on unemployment, and 3,178,000 who received non-means-tested veterans compensation.
What the article doesn't relate is the amount of overlap--i.e., the number of full-time workers receiving means-tested government benefits. Also, it would be interesting to see how many of these people work part-time. Remember, the rolls of the part-time employees have been increasing due to various economic and government incentives.

This statistic should be troubling for various reasons. For one, it shows the relative weakness of the economy. It also demonstrates that a significant portion of the population is dependent on the government for their day-to-day survival.

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