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A new chart from The Heritage Foundation shows the dramatic growth in the number of Americans who now depend on the federal government for their livelihoods.

Over the past five years, the number of Americans dependent on the federal government has reached a record high of 67.3 million people, about one in five Americans, according to The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Dependence on Government.

Heritage’s Bill Beach and Patrick Tyrrell, who authored the report, give further details:

Americans should be concerned about this seemingly relentless upward march in Index scores. Dependence on the federal government for life’s many challenges strips civil society of its historical and necessary role in providing aid and renewal through the intimate relationships of family, community, and local institutions and local governments.

This trend will not be an easy one to reverse. Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan outlines ways to cut spending and reform government programs to start moving the trend in the right direction.

What do you think American can do to significantly reduce dependence on government?

Comments (6)

Carey P. Page, M.D. - February 14, 2012

I would love to see a graph that separates federal retirees as a portion of all receiving a “government check.” Clearly, these folks are in a different category.

JWM - February 14, 2012

Several things need to be done: downsize and then eliminate unconstitutional agencies; index government pay to equivalent civilian jobs; and eliminate all public employee unions and their right to collective bargaining.

C Gray - February 15, 2012

I too would like to see the actual numbers broken down to specifics. Receiving a Federal retirement, a military retirement or social security IS NOT a governemtn handout. If these factors are included in this study then there is really no “dramatic growth in the number of Americans who now depend on the federal government for their livelihoods”.

Docwho,M.Sc. - February 18, 2012

Taxes are a necessary to operate any civil , organized society that benefits all members . The problems arises from the misappropriation of revenue and the misaallocation of funds . Elected officials seem to have no problem spending other peoples money on themselves and their own pet projects . I.e Why are we spending huge amounts of US Tax dollars on rebuilding the infrastructure of Afganistan while our very own is in decay !!
As for Medicare and Social Security – yes, it is an entitlement program – if you paid into these programs under the established guide lines and only if you paid into them should you be entitled to a payout. Just as you collect on any insurance policy that you paid into !!!

JOSEPH - March 28, 2012

I have contributed to FICA from June 1965 until i retired at the end of October 2009. I receive Social Security. I hope you do not consider that dependence on the government. How are you treating Social Security payments for those of us who have worked and contributed to Medicare and FICA?

william.p rowe - April 8, 2012

I am concerned with Americans dependency on drugs,alcohol and other addictions.i feel we need National discussion regarding how federal Government may be involved in enabling these dependency.Has Heritage a definition of what is included in Dependency
? ie ie,what government programs? Are we including social secuity,medicare,medicade,etc. Thanks

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