Americans are suffering from a growing dependence on big government.

In fact, one in five Americans now depends on Uncle Sam for assistance, according to new Heritage Foundation research.

For the last 10 years, The Heritage Foundation has published the Index of Dependence on Government to highlight the dangers of America’s increasing dependence on government programs.

The 2012 report paints a grim picture, as Heritage’s Bill Beach explains:

Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions.

This growing dependency has two major causes: 1) increased government spending on dependence-creating programs, and 2)  a shrinking number of taxpayers who pay for the programs.

In 2010, the United States hit an ominous milestone as nearly half of all citizens paid no federal income tax.

The average individual who relies on Washington receives benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income of $32,446. In 2011, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to assistance programs that further dependence.

In addition to creating a nation of citizens dependent on government, these programs hurt the nation’s financial situation. Beach, who directs Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, writes:

Not only did the federal government effectively take over half of the U.S. economy and expand public-sector debt by more than all previous governments combined, it also oversaw a second year of enormous expansion in total government debt at the federal level. Much of that growth in new debt can be traced to programs that encourage dependence.

The problems are clear. America must take drastic measures. The Heritage Foundation has created a plan that will do just that.

Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan offers policy solutions to fix the debt, cut spending, reform entitlements, and restore prosperity, allowing Americans to succeed and thrive without dependence on government.

What do you think must be done to keep American from sliding further into dependency?

Comments (73)

Lawrence Beckman - February 10, 2012

Eliminate fraud and abuse. Eliminate illegal immigrants from the rolls, and do not pay for services rendered to them.
This would save billions of dollars each and every year.

john - February 10, 2012

I believe a revamp of welfare would help all involved including the government itself. I believe all welfare must be justified and audited. I believe:
All able bodied people who are on or apply for welfare should be given an opportunity to learn a trade of some type.
That process worked well after WWII when high schools were opened evenings for such training.
Individuals could select from a list of occupations and receive training provided they could meet the basic qualifications of that particular skill set. If not they would select a lesser occupation.
They would be trained in their selected specialty and found a position (they may have to move). The new employer would be responsible to provide a semiannual report on the individual and it would be fed back to the school where they received the training..
WELFARE would be restricted to a maximum of five years. During the time on welfare and in school, random drug tests would be performed. Individuals in school would have to meet a specific grade level or they would be dismissed from school and welfare would be stopped.
They would be given one more chance to try again at a different occupation or skill set. If they fail the second time they are dropped from the welfare system.

In low paying jobs a portion of the welfare would continue to allow the individual to adjust to new surroundings. It would be restricted to one year after the individual completes schooling and starts work. No schooling would exceed four years at a community college.

Gerald Spiering - February 10, 2012

I am not yet drawing Social Security; soon, however, as I approach retirement. How can the conversation be changed from looking at that as “government assistance” to “using my retirement funds” as it was couched when I was forced to start paying it as a young worker?

Dean - February 10, 2012

Just what Obama wants. The more people on the government dole the more re-election votes.

David Creel - February 10, 2012

What can be done to change the dependency? Vote Obama and every liberal Democrat out of office in November.

Peter Palecek - February 10, 2012

This analysis does not take into account Obamacare, it will be much worse if not repealed. Eliminate all illegal immigrants from our schools and hospitals. Hundreds of billions will be saved. Reintroduce philosophy of The Ellis Island in our immigration practices.

Shirley J Hurley - February 10, 2012

The answer is elect Dr Ron Paul who advocates self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Illegal Aliens need to be cut off of any taxpayer money, period, arrested & deported. Apparently this government now gives Illegal Aliens free cell phones to the tune of 1.6 Billion per year. Enough is enough!

cliff davis - February 10, 2012

Regain our constitution and cut the deficit by electing RON PAUL.

Edith Kurie - February 10, 2012

I think the most effective thing would be to simply take away the entitlements, or at the very least create some qualifications such as drug tests, proof of attempting to find a job, references, evaluations, police checks and anything else that would prevent further enabling of those capable of working. If necessary provide counseling, job coaching or other means to help individuals find ways to support themselves.

David - February 10, 2012

My employees must pass urine tests for illegal drug use. If they fail the test, they don’t get a paycheck.

Don’t you wish we were doing the same for those who get their checks from the government?

Thomas Tingey - February 10, 2012

Replace the current administration and as many liberals in Congress as possible. Switch to a Chile style retirement program from what I have read of it.

Lloyd Tindal - February 10, 2012

I wish that you would stop saying that Social Security payments for retirees are a “Dependency”. We are just collecting the payments due, that they stole, from the money I paid in over the years. Also any money paid to the military and their retirements distort the numbers. I for one would like a true breakdown as to those who work for it, have it owed to them and those just on the take.

Carroll George, Arlington, Virginia - February 10, 2012

Revise the rediculous many thousand page tax code to provide an environment that encourages investment in job creating producing useful goods and services busines ventures with the same proportionate tax from all.
Revise Social Security to personal accounts bringing about twice the benefits with half the tax, and government the other half insuring that all get at least now promised benefits. Allow investment in home mortgage principal with rate of return 2.55 x interest rate nontaxable interest savings and accounts can be willed to their children. Pay off 30 year mortgage in 18 years saving 40% of mortgage payments in home purchase.
Increased life expectancy, variation in birthrate, like the Baby Boomers contributers during their working years and then being benefishieries receiving after big government has misappropriated most of the extra they contributed and not even having it recorded in either the national debt or annual deficit data, but additional billions of debt on our children and grand children.
There is no way the 1936 designed Social Security system can be sustainable long term, even though the BabyBoomer surplus made it a going proposition up to this point carrying the longer life expectancy.

Harold A. Morrall - February 10, 2012

Mr. Beckman’s suggestions are excellent; I would add two more.
1- Stop companies that have moved to foreign countries from importing products previously manufactured in the United States.
2- Increase import excise taxes dramatically on non-riciprocal countries.

Thank you for listening.
Harold A. Morrall

Mark A Streadwick - February 10, 2012

Impeach Obama and get rid of his entire cabinet and all his programs.

J. K. Johnston - February 10, 2012

It is easy to lump all government expenditures to individuals as “entitlements.” We musn’t forget that retirees who now receive government payments have bought into Social Security and government retirement plans during their working careers by paying into the plan in accordance with the requirements specified, Now they are depending upon the program for their retirement income, just like retirees from the private sector. Further, government retirees do not qualify for the full amount of Social Security that private sector recipients receive, based upon an equal contribution. Then private sector retirees pay NO income tax on Social Security benefits while government retires do. And government retiree annuities are subject to Federal and state income tax. Military retirees also are paying income tax on their annuities. Government employees at all levels are subject to the same tax systems as private employees when they both retire. So they should NOT be lumped in with those who have not paid into a retirement system and who do not now pay taxes to support the government. Don’t mix apples with lemons!

Michael D. Schultz - February 10, 2012

You have to be careful with data such as espoused. Unfortunately I am one of those that have become dependent on Social Security due to a disability. I became ill 2009. I had o use my savings, lost all of my assets. I am a physician that for years was productive.You are implying that the statistic of 20% is something that can be avoided. In my case this is the only option that is available to me. You need to take into account that the population of USA is becoming older and this statistic will likely rise over the near future. I will tell you I would rather be working. However, I am not able, also the amount per month is just above subsistence. No one that I know is becoming rich on the relief provided.

Mike McDonald - February 10, 2012

We must get government – municipal to federal – out of our lives. Things will get better if we get rid of Obama.

Russell Errett - February 11, 2012

Is there anything that can be done when the takers outnumber the makers. The problem is the interpretation of the constitution. Even the Supreme Court has trouble with the constitution. How else can you explain all the five to four decision. Here is a recent letter to the editor.
Common sense, may it rest in peace. Was it the green hornet who learned the art of clouding man’s mind? Congress has learned that secret. How else can you explain that year after year that they told us that they have the wisdom to make socialism work. Year after year the unintended consequences of socialism are ignored. Or is it the fairy dust (the promise of bread and circus) that clouds our minds. The nine supreme wizards could wave their magic wand and the fairy dust would disappear. But they too have ignored the wishes of the founding fathers.

ART LIND - February 11, 2012

100% of people recieving an income should pay some income tax. It may be a very small amount of money, but it would let them know what it feels like to lose some of their income to the Federal Government. They would then have some of their “skin in the game.” It would also be educational for them to fill out their tax return.

Fred Carlucci - February 11, 2012

There are too many people that think that the “system” owes them something. These people are not concerned with personal responsibility. They are concerned with getting their “fair share” as Obama would say. The Democrats have trained them to believe that they do not have to work for the things they want because the government will provide those things for them free of charge.

Paul Perretta - February 11, 2012

Aloha !

No brainer !

Elect a GOP President,House and Senate !

Mahalo !

Rita Earley - February 11, 2012

“Protections for Low-Income Working
Households”, “Earned Income Credit
is retained as part of the overall system of financial
support for low-income Americans. Further, the calculation
of taxable income excludes all other cash
and noncash benefits provided by the federal government
through its anti-poverty programs, such as food stamps”
“Capping and Reforming Antipoverty
Spending.”, “tailor assistance more efficiently to help families
escape poverty and dependence and achieve independence.”
Decades long decay of our culture, people were not forced to go on the govt dole, they happily waited in lines to sign up for every thing they could! The only way to stop this cultural decline, is to simply stop the government from being the nanny. I want to read how the plan is going to stop the government from continuing the nanny state. Stop Stop Stop, not roll back to 2007. The nanny state was unconstitutional in 2007!

John A. Quayle - February 11, 2012

We *MUST* break the cycle of dependence by sharply cutting funds. It may be painted as harsh by the liberal media, but there needs to be a *CLEAR* delineation between private charity and the federal government (which is *NOT* a charity nor was it ever meant to be).

Julius Hill - February 11, 2012

Eliminate the “free stuff” provided by our politicians at the expense of the tax payer. It is too tempting for them to be generous (buying votes) with our money.

Implement a flat tax broadening the tax base. Everybody pays something! It is essential! Without this there can be only increasing dependency; the people see only the “free stuff” without incurring the cost.

Enact legislation requiring that no Member of Congress can receive benefits which are more generous than those available to the general public. No more “sweetheart deals” for Members of Congress.

John - February 11, 2012

1. Get rid of dependence creating programs.
2. Get the boot off businesses’ throats.
3. Get people out of this “I’m the victim” mentality and do something for themselves, for a change.

The third one is the biggest one. People need to realize that the ‘opportunity’ this land provides must be sought. It will not come to them. Only when they have found a way to stand on their own strength can they claim that they have found the American Dream.

Kevin W. Ezell - February 11, 2012

I would hope that we Educate people better in school so that they learn about America and its greatness. People want to grow, to do better and to excel when they understand what is in it for them.

Ed Kalvelage - February 11, 2012

Here is the irony: it was argued when the first income tax was implemented, that it would only be a tax on the top1%. Then it was expanded to cover almost all income levels. And the original goal was revealed. Now we are complaining that 50% of us do not pay income tax. I understand the problem of non contributors having no skin in the game. But what is the answer?


Dwight Steele - February 11, 2012

We need to teach economics and high finance at an early age. I enjoyed math when I was in school, but I don’t recall any thought problems that dealt with financial leverage or return on capital. I didn’t take Home Economics but those I spoke to who did described it more as a cooking class rather than a study in money management.

Maria - February 11, 2012

Drug testing before check!

Allan T Templin - February 11, 2012

It is obvious that when a country only manufactures 10% of what it uses there is a major shortage of jobs.Until we put people back to work in jobs that contribute to the GDP we will continue to depend on the the government for assistance. It is time to end this “Big Brother” mentality and bring jobs back to this country. A start would be by making all states “right to work states” and offering big business tax incentives to return manufacturing to this country.

Denny Converse - February 11, 2012

Vote this clown as president out of office would be a big step in the right direction. He has single handedly made a mockery of the office. With his entitlement agenda he continues to destroy any hope of looking for and finding the American dream!

Mike - February 11, 2012

While likely impossible to do, we the people need to recognize that Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare are all unconstitutional at the Federal level. Obamacare needs to be repealed and Social Security and Medicare need to become voluntary programs for those unwilling to invest in their own future sans government. The transition could be age-based (e.g. those 55 and older at implementation stay with the existing programs). For those who opt out, they would receive a lump sum payout that must be rolled over into an IRA. There is a way to end this insanity but the reality is that we headed down this dependency road full time under President Woodrow Wilson and dependency habits are hard to overcome.

Terry Christian - February 11, 2012

We must get rid of Obama and his minions. Why is Eric Holder still on the payroll? Why is Acorn still being funded via secretive means? Why are we sending money to Egypt and other Islamic nations who hate us? Why are the taxrolls still funding $250,000 for every Chevy Volt that is made (and no-one wants) Why are we paying up to $4.00 per gallon for gas, and Canada has just signed a deal with China to export their crude? The list goes on and on.

Lloyd Scallan - February 11, 2012

Cloward and Piven devised this plan to overload the welfare system in hopes it would collapse. Along with Obama friends and members of the Weather Underground, Ayers and Dohrn, the plan as finally succeeded.

Paul Pappas - February 11, 2012

Foremost conservatists must stick to our principles of liberty, individualism, and limited government. Further, we must communicate these principles to the masses to counter the propaganda that comes from the left. Heritage is doing their part, but it needs to go down to a personal level. Conservatists should preach and explain these principles to anyone who will listen.

Roger Dennison - February 11, 2012

Your article combines “handouts” and “earned entitlements”. This is not a true look at dependency on the government. I was gainfully employed for 40 years. During that time my employer and I were required to put money into Social Security, building up to my retirement years so that I would have money available at that time. I did not have the choice to save this money on my own (I could have done much better than the government). Now that I am drawing on my “savings”, you are lumping me in with those that have done nothing (or very little) to warrant what the government hands out to them. I am “dependent” on the government, not by choice, but by government mandate. Let’s fix the mandate, but don’t “punish” those of us who were required to participate in this program.

Dan Haigh - February 11, 2012

We should take immediate action to significantly reduce federal entitlements. Yes, it will be painful for many Americans to have this occur, but it must happen in order to combat the destructive and growing addiction to government support that is happening within our nation. If we do not reduce the addictive dependency upon federal entitlements, we condemn those who presently receive those entitlements, as well as those who will in the future receive such support, to a life of dependency and subservience to an ever-growing, increasingly-suppressive government. Every individual upon the face of this earth has a deep desire for individual freedom, but individual freedom will be eroded little-by-little with every increase in government power and entitlements until that freedom disappears and is forever lost. We must act, and act soon!

J E Houser - February 11, 2012

Reduce fed govt to Constitutional limits. Reduce corp taxes to get companies back to USA. Enforce existing immigation laws. Allow state competition in all areas including education. Limit congress to 2 terms. Repeal Amendment 17

COL R.W. Spotts USA Ret - February 11, 2012

I and my wife are almost totally dependent on the Government,,,,,,,Military Retirement, Medicare and Medicade but we do have some income from 401K plans. It has always bothered me IF we are included in some peoples minds as being on government welfare?????? We continue to pay income tax on all earnings and paid into SS until fully retired………I think that we have done our part, not sure that others think the same…….

Gary Wilkins - February 11, 2012

Any person who receives welfare benefits of any kind have to pass a mandatory drug test and be drug free to continue collecting money. Any women on welfare who has more that two kids with no father cannont collect welfare for additonal children. No more free cell phones for anyone regardless of how low their income is.

Allen - February 11, 2012

I believe reductions are needed in all federal spending programs. Further, social security benefits must be reduced, SS eligibility ages should be increased and the criteria for disability payments must be tightened. Finally, federal income tax rates should be changed to a low flat tax and ALL Americns should pay income taxes– no exceptions!

Gerald Davey - February 11, 2012

The states need to collect all income taxes that fund the federal government. That would keep the federal government’s spending in check. It would also promote much innovation for how best to manage states. The 16th Amendment must be repealed and a new means of funding the federal government through the states must be created.

Patsy Bohanan - February 11, 2012

Give no-strings-attached grants to churches and other faith-based organizations to minister to the poor and the needy. These organizations are many times over more efficient than any government agency (local, state, or federal) at delivering services.

Larry Ericsson - February 11, 2012

It is an over simplification BUT it seems obvious to me that common sense dictates a gradual elimination of most entitlement programs NOW. Also, we MUST get control of the outrageous benefit programs and perks given to all elected federal politicians after terms are expired and they leave office. Let them eat Soc.Sec.

Ken Stahl - February 11, 2012

Allow people to divert some Social Security taxes to private investment accounts.
Remove all and any payments to illegal aliens.
Shorten unemployment benefits to 40 weeks max.
Stop paying for cell phone for low income people.
No food stamps for students.
Have ALL U.S. residents pay at least some amount in federal taxes.
Tighten requirements for Soc. Sec. disability.

Charles H. Spiller - February 11, 2012

1. Drug screen and review individual cases annually.
2. Create a sensible immigration plan that does not pardon current illegals. Issue work permits to immigrants legally entering the country. Require employers check for a work permit or other legal entry permit or proof of citizenship before hiring. Current illegals would have to apply for a work permit and pass screening before issuance. Those who do not pass screening, or are identified as not having a work permit must be deported. Eliminate or means test all other benefits they are now receiving.
3. Annually review disability cases that are not readily apparent, to include personal and/or telephone interviews of persons who know the individual.
4. Increase social security retirement age to 65 for early and 68 for normal. Means test for persons who had high incomes.
5. Allow those who do not wish to participate to have their deduction contributed to a private plan of their choice. Retirement ages of 65/68 to still apply.
6 Remove payroll deductions for social security retirement from the general fund. All deductions should be applied to social security retirement fund only.
7. Eliminate most restrictions now levied on energy to create jobs and cheaper energy. Make laws that will bring manufacturing back to this country.
That’s all for now!

William M Snedden Sr - February 11, 2012

Every recipient should be E-Verified before obtaining any Benefit. Illegal immigratnts should be deported along with any dependent family regardless of their citizenship status. (i.e. try not to break up families, but not harbor illegals because one might be a citizen)

Means testing and drug testing should be applied before doling out benefits.

When possible, allow the welfare recipients to perform some useful work to “earn” some of their benifits.

lauren fariss - February 11, 2012

I do believe that gov. should be a hand up, not a hand out. I know of some of the crowd that is taking advantage of any and all that the gov. is giving away. You dangle a carrot in from of a donkey(Dem) and they will pull the cart. Thats not to say that the Elephant hasn’t done the same thing.(Rep) where does the end come? When we have a sen. with a brain tumour, or an other that has to be waken up and told how to vote,
In my humble opion, get the term limits on senate, and con. kick out the lobbist, and let the american people choose what they want. I forsee a point that this country will implode on its self, theres a lot of work to be done, ie. building a chicken coop, a rabbit hutch, a victory garden. Put some swine/hogs in there, methane fuel, plus protein. Lets keep America what America was all about. We can’t win this as a nation, to many spin doctors, it has to happen one person at a time. Obama wants a soc. party, so everyone can depend on him or the gov.
Get rid of term limits, get rid of lobbist, get back to the american people.-true story, went out with a soc. worker that worked in LS. she told me that out in the back land there was a shack with 4 small children and the mother was pregant, when she ask why, the mother said that her monthly check would be bigger. (Go Figure) Peace.

Jeff Yetter - February 11, 2012

I believe the biological term is symbiosis, wherein two entities establish a not-stictly-mutually-beneficial relationship.This does not represent a typical symbiosis, in that the two entities are parasitic on another host: the taxpayer.One must allow a grudging admiration for such a salubrious efficacy, whereby the burgeoning welfare class can trade its’ enfranchisement for exponentially expanding benefits,while the governing component sees its’ efforts produce such a cornu-copious wad of dividends. I believe the solution here is very linear, and, in keeping with the nature of the problem as I described it, very biological. When you remove the blood supply from a parasite, it will inevitably DIE and the host will LIVE.
I listen in amazement to hear pundits, pols, and people speak of how the U.S. is Broke. What a gross and fatuous understatement! In the strictest sense, Broke is the absence of money.Being Gut-wrenchingly, Spirit-sappingly, Soul-suckingly in DEBT FAR surpasses a night/day difference. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!

Paul W. Jensen - February 11, 2012

Abolish all Federal institutions which were not authorized in the original U.S. Constitution. Reduce Congress and the Senate to 535 and 100 members, respectively. Pay each member $1,000,000 annually and allow them to hire their own staffs and pay them from their own income. No more federally funded congressional staffers. All bills must be written in plain English only by the elected officials and be legible from a distance of one foot on one 8 1/2 X 14 sheet of paper. Eliminate all non-elected bureauctats and their incomes from the federal debt. If they are needed those positions will be created privately. Eliminate all federal pensions: no work no pay! Just like the rest of us. That would be a good start.

Hugh Campbell - February 11, 2012

Every citizen should pay taxes. That gives them skin in the game. Yes, tax their welfare/subsistence check. Then start reducing the checks and eliminating the give-away programs. Eventually they’ll have to look for work or starve. They are too comfortable in their present state.

Carl J. Berger - February 11, 2012

I really do not like it when we say that persons receiving social security are taking money from the Fed. We paid in all those many years and we are only getting back the money that we and our employers paid in to the syestem. If this amount of money would have been invested rather than spend by the Government we would have plenty of money with some left over after our death.

Christopher Plante - February 11, 2012

The trend needs to be reversed, and quickly. Every dollar given in benefit and subsidy is much more than a dollar removed from the economy when the cost to maintain the bureaucracy that redistributes it is factored in. So, every dollar that is removed from these assistance programs infuses more than a dollar back into the economy. The target ought to be to reduce all benefit and subsidy recipients by twice the factor at which they were added to the various rolls. As those outlays are reduced and the monies removed from the budget and retained in the economy, jobs will be created to handle the influx of job-seekers. In 15-20 years assistance will be reduced to the truly needy and our economy will be booming. There will also be plenty of entry-level shovel ready jobs available for the ex-government bureaucrats that will, of a certainty, be looking for private sector jobs.

Alan Noble - February 11, 2012

First, I paid and my employer paid into Social Seocrity and Medicare all the working years of my life. I resent the fact that it is now called a government liability. I have paid for my monthlky check over many years. The fact that the government took it and spent it on other things is a crime. If a private company had done that they would be considered criminals and sued .
Second, any one with a brain must realize that people are living longer and therefore, must not retire at 62 or 65 and expect benefits. The retirement age for people 50 and younger should be raised to 70.
Third. Medicare premiums shoul be raised to meet needs. How can it be that you pay upwards of three times as much for the 20% not covered by medicare as the medicare cost? Policicians are so interested in their own benefits that they cannot understand what their bosses problems are.
Four. We need term limits on both the House and Senate and thir jobs should be considered part time and they should not be given lucrative pensions and health care benefits. Also, their salaries should be paid by their state Governments–that way there can be some restraint on their activities. Ove rall our Government is broke and until something is done to bring it back in line with our constitution we are all in jeopardy..

Tisha Horne - February 11, 2012

I know that many people who are on government subsidy are forced to remain dependent since they are not allowed to earn any extra money (a very little is allowed). If they were allowed to do so they would have a higher (than dirt) standard of living, and most importantly it would let them develop skills so that they could transition off of the government support. Becoming independent is strictly punished with loss of equal money, so what is the point of working? They are not allowed to work basically. Could we develop some kind of system that would actually help people become independent? Some kind of transition phase. Of course, that would mean helping them to get jobs, what jobs? Even well and educated people can’t get jobs. I wish I had the answer.

Pat - February 11, 2012

The annual payments averaged out over $32,000 per recipient? My husband retired last year after working and paying into SS (at the maximum amount) for 50 years, his annual income from SS is $22,596. When we went in to apply for his SS, we were the only English speaking people in the waiting area….

Robert Northrop - February 12, 2012

I would like to know if those of us on Social Security and Medicare are included in the 1 in10 relying on Govt. assistance. Frankly, I paid into Social Security and Medicare my entire working life. While I believe these programs need dramatic overhauls to continue to be viable, I don’t consider myself on the “public dole” by receiving these benefits. Just interested to know if I am considered 1 in 10??

Jim Pfister - February 12, 2012

Federal government must get back to the constitution and fund what the founders stated in the constitution and leave the rest to the states. This will take a long time to do because of our economy and elected official that buy votes, this use to be called bribs and was illegal.

Sam Hoye - February 12, 2012

For those of us who are retired and receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you keep referring to us as being on a government dole. We were forced at an early age, whether we agreed with it or not, to pay a tax for this benefit, and, if the Congress had not borrowed all of the trust funds supporting Social Security for their pet projects, the taxpayers would not be paying for these benefits today. Please stop referring to us as government dependent! Also remember that there is no way for us to opt out of Medicare, either!

Robert Murry - February 13, 2012

Dear Sir;
I would like to know where this info comes from and which categories of people are lumped into these data? I am one of the people who receive my income from the gov’t, I am also one of the people that the liberals hate the most. I’m retired Army. I would realy hate like hell to be lumped into a group that includes well-fair(sp), the sick,lame, and lazy, and the other creatures that have their hands out for what they can get for free. I and the other military professionals who dedicated a minimum of twenty(20) years to defending this country and protecting its people at home and abroad very much have earned our retirement. Its true that I have traveled around the world many times on the tax payers dime( a lot of people don’t realize that the military also pay taxes unless actively it a recognised combat zone) but I didn’t stay in some swanky hotel. Try tents, foxholes, and few water and leach filled rice paddies. The run of the mill “occupier/liberal” would run screaming in circles at the prospect of pulling a tour of duty in a jungle or desert. So I am asking you to not lump us in your numbers with the filth and the lazy, If you must use our numbers please do us the courtesy of distinguishing the difference between classes being used for your data. Please don’t dishonor the current crop of American patriots doing battle with our enemies nor their predecessors who also acted with honor defending our flag,country, and people. Thank you


Marlene Frazier - February 13, 2012

Less money going to the state and to the federal government. It is time that we have government that supports religion. There was a time that church and charity helped those in need and did a better job for less. Until we clean up and not accept what is in movies and on television–games, etc.. that is immoral–we will remain in trouble. Family is the core of society–until family is brought back into being important–and yes, government not taking on the role of being our parent–we will stay in trouble. I would like to say, it means getting back to how the Constitution was written. Judges like Ginsberg needs to be impeached. When she made remarks that says that she does not value our US Constitution of “We the People”, that says it all. We have an administration that is using executive order to payoff his debt to his contributors that are bankrolling his campaign. How can there be in limits, when a person does not have to fear being punished or limited in his actions? Which also goes to say, we have a Department of Justice Office that is a joke. Term limits is needed–we need to stop the career politicians. Service to the people rather than service to self is what our nation needs now. Federal government must protect the country–that is its job. Our president should be looking at jobs as a way to gain security in our country, stop the gluttony of government hiring, instead the government needs to downsize and freeze all hiring. I am sure everything here said would be an improvement. I do think it is time to get real and stop stealing from the youth entering the workforce. There is no need for them to pay into Social Security–young people need to seek out their own retirement plans. Government has failed–there has not been any accountability to the use of funds–so common sense will tell you, it is obviously broken and don’t require other to pay into something that is no more than throwing your money away.

One thing that might be a light in the tunnel right now–the Speaker of the House–he needs to vote on Obama Care NOW!! Now that everyone has read it and sees all the fine print–take a vote and see who has the guts to vote Yes. If Obama really cared about the health of people in catastrophic illness, etc.. He would have allotted a sum of money to grant people out of the first stimulus. There was enough money there to help those who are in catastrophic need, those not insured, and those who had pre-existing conditions. That would have been too easy and made too much sense.

Anthony Landry - February 13, 2012

I am 66 years old I have been working since I 15 years old. Yes I do get a SS check each month, but I earned it, I have worked for it, it is my money, and I don’t live off of it. I STILL PAY TAXES. I don’t think I should at my age, but I still work and proud to say I do. In fact I enjoy it. What I hate is when I go into some areas of this town and see people who don’t work, live off of goverment wellfare and nothing is wrong with them. Cut goverment run programs, if you need help, go work for it, I did.

Michael Pflum - February 13, 2012

If we (conservatives) do not regain control over the American education system America will be lost. We have been pumping out generation after generation of students who either never finish school, did so poorly while there or were products of social promotion that they were doomed from the very start. We cannot and should not expect more from our adult population if we don’t first expect more from our youngsters. It is hypocritical if not immoral to turn a blind eye to that is going on in our schools and then blame those same kids for being deadbeats when they grow up.

I am not recommending tossing more money into education, but reforming it to where we refocus on the kids rather than the unions, the special interests and the social elites. We MUST get back to mastering the basics, expecting a reasonable effort and placing at least as much emphasis on academics as we do sports.

We cannot compete in a global world with kids that can’t read, write or think about economics beyond that of what a new pair of sneakers cost.

Sharon Jackley - February 13, 2012

Those paying no Federal Income Tax need to pay something, even if it only a few dollars. It is disgusting in the extreme that so many people pay nothing, and even get paid for not paying, I don’t buy the poverty argument. I am 74 years old, and have long realized that the poor spend money on luxury items, i.e. beer, cigarettes and bowling. That is only one example. I work Toys for Tots at Christmas. While some families are really at the bottom of the barrel, a good many are obviously scamming the system. My husband and I contribute to children’s charities that receive no Federal funds. We are old, but strongly believe that Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed. It is unconscionable that our younger people will be expected to pay ever more for the support of the elderly. It is my view that people must be educated from day one that they have a duty to provide for themselves in old age.
My husband and I are Los Angeles natives, but have lived in Arizona for the past eight years. The impact of uncontrolled illegal immigration has had a very negative effect on both states. The borders need to be sealed.
On the subject of birth control, that is a personal responsibility. Birth control is readily available. No insurance company or tax payer should for such products. As for abortion, a nightmare. Planned Parenthood managed to destroy as many lives in two years as the Civil War. The Civil War took four years.
I don’t know if any of these things can ever be stopped, but it is worth a try.

Lester - February 13, 2012

I understand the need for your report on all government programs; however, Social Security is a VERY different program than welfare. Welfare promotes dependency and drains our nation’s resources. I started drawing my Social Security a few years ago at age 67, and I am still working fulltime and paying into Social Security which I have been doing since the 1950s. I had no problem with the government raising the full retirement age a while back even though that directly affected me. It could be raised again as one part of a comprehensive overhaul of the bloated federal government. However, that could only happen if the politicians (many lifetime politicians, contrary to our founders’ intentions) in Washington would put the country’s needs above their own selfish desires. Welfare and other true dependency programs are destroying the very fabric of our nation and will continue to do so until we get rid of all of the liberals in Washington. They have no clue what indvidual responsibility means and their only solution to any problem is more government spending which is destroying our nation.

john uhrhammer - February 13, 2012

!.) We cannot afford the wages of so many high paid federal employees, both elected and generally hired.
2.) We cannot afford to continue to import energy, mostly in the form of oil.
3.) Stop ALL “earmarks”
4.) Stop ALL foreign aid and re-establish some of it on a case by case basis based on humanity needs not political gamesmanship.
5.) Get a return on our investment in people by having infrastructure built as we once did with CCC or WPA like programs.
6.) Impose “term limits” so those elected won’t become rich and powerful at tax payer’s expense.
7.) PRAY

John R. Whalen - February 13, 2012

As a contractor in the D.C. area I have run into them all. Arbitrary rules, beyond lawful athourity, not a problem. They control your money, complie or die.

Gary Shaw - February 19, 2012

When such issues are discussed, I think we need to be very careful be more specific. I think it destroys the credibility of the argument when you lump everyone who gets a check from the government under “dependent”. I an both a Navy veteran and a retiree who paid into Social Security for nearly 50 years. In both cases I made a contractual agreement with the government from which I have since received some preagreed upon “return on investment”.
This is hardly “entitlement” or dependency.
We would do better to stick to relevant abuses and ineffective or misdirected programs.

James C. Scheuer - February 22, 2012

Social Security funds belong to the workers who have contributed over the span of their working lives. Since the Government usurped SS funds for other purposes,
it must now find a way to restore the necessary balance.
Pensions, welfare, Medicare/Medicaid should be cut 3 -5% immediately to put recipients on notice that the current entitlements are unsustainable and that recipients must act in their own behalf. Those same expenditures must be further reduced each year until the Nation is able to produce a Federal budget surplus.
In the interim religious and charity organizations should be supported to provide sustenance for those verifiable, critical cases of need. The tight loop of need/support at the local level is so much more efficient than the pipeline of taxes to welfare through the federal government with all the politicians taking “their handful” as the dollars flow by. Restructuring the tax code is necessary but much of the benefit will be consumed by politicians with their hand remaining in the till.

Rebecca Fahlin - March 8, 2012

I think we are assuming here that people who are on government assistance want to be on assistace when in reality they are trapped. They go on assitance because they are disperate because they have trouble finding a job and when they do get one the wage is so low that they can’t afford fuel or insurance so they get frustrated and go on the doll just to keep their head above water. What I believe that needs to be done is for government to get out of the way and let the private sector create more jobs and they should get rid of the insurnace regulations that say you can only buy insurance within state lines. That would give people the ability to shop around and buy insurance that they can afford so that they can afford the other necessities of life and not feel pressured into going on the welfare system.

Rebecca Fahlin - March 8, 2012

There is another misconception out there. That is the misconception that unemployment benefits are tax free for the recipient and thus welfare. That is wrong. When you look at either a 1040, 1040 E, or 1040 EZ form there is a line where you enter what you had received for unemployment benefits for the tax year. In other words, you must report it as income. If you did not have taxes taken out of the checks you received or there was not enough taxes taken out then guess what you need to send a check to the Fed and/or the State for taxes due.

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