This is a subject nearly impossible to discuss because so much of America has come to accept the current state, an expanded state of dependency on government.
We have gone beyond helping those in need on a temporary basis to creating a permanent reliance on government that may well perpetuate poverty and dependency thereby vesting growing power among those who decide on the distribution of government entitlements.
49.5% of the population received some form of government entitlement benefit in the third quarter of 2012. . For comparison, in the third quarter of 1983, only 29.6% of Americans received government entitlement benefits such as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and various means-tested entitlements.
With the expansion of Medicaid that 49.5% is higher in 2017. These programs were intended to provide temporary assistance to those in need or to supplement other resources such as with Social Security, but for many, perhaps most Americans, they have become an ongoing entitlement.
Are we comfortable with a growing dependency on government or more specifically the people we elect to run our government?
With only half of Americans actually carrying the cost of these programs, is it time to question where we are headed? Do we truly define progress as expanding the number of Americans influenced more by the politicians who promise to preserve what they have or to provide more, than by their own initiative?
Shouldn’t the goal of the richest country be to have decreasing dependency, an actual declining poverty rate, not one based primarily on wealth transfer as often measured by socialist leaning countries?
Social Security presents the best example of intentions gone astray. Here is what FDR said to Congress about Social Security:
“In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.”
Note the key points; self-sustaining and the concept of additional voluntary contributions and individual initiative. How did that work out?
👉 Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 48% of married couples and 71% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
👉 Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 21% of married couples and about 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
Congress has expanded Social Security over the decades, but has failed to follow the original self-sustaining concept and instead created growing expectations and dependency. Given the public debt and deficit one could argue the same irresponsible behavior applies to all entitlement spending.
Have we reached the point where our dependency on government has shifted the balance of power from the people to the politicians?