50 Percent Of American Households Now Receive Some Type Of Government Help

Tara Dodrill - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 8:34 p.m. ET

Approximately 50 percent of American households now receive some type of taxpayer-funded government assistance, according to a Wall Street Journal report. During the last half-century the number of United States residents qualifying for governmental aid has reportedly grown monumentally. Entitlement programs began dominating the federal budget in 1960. The WSJ article also revealed that more funds are used in the transfer of public services, goods and money to private citizens than all other budget categories combined.

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In early 1960 the United States government spent the equivalent of $24 billion in today’s dollars on entitlement programs, the Bureau of Economic Analysis notes. By 2010, expenses for the same types of aid had grown nearly 100 times larger. Even though the federal spending analysis took into account both population growth and the rate of inflation, social services spending has increased by a whopping 727 percent. The average rate of public aid increases at approximately 4 percent per year.

The WJC analysis also reports that in 2010 alone, a total of $2.2 trillion was spent on assistance programs. Social Security and Medicare payments totaled approximately $1.2 trillion in 2010. Health care assistance based on either age or income, accounts for about $900 billion in annual spending.

During the 1980s approximately 30 percent of American households garnered some type of taxpayer-provided help. By the 1990s the number of homes accepting fiscal assistance rose to more than 35 percent. The largest recorded jump in need since the Great Depression occurred during the past 12 years. Many of the financial support initiatives citizens can file for today did not exist prior to the 1960s.

Has public support grown to out-of-control levels or are initiatives such as food stamps and welfare too necessary to face budget cuts?


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