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President Barack Obama: “The Dependency President”

Government dependency is on the rise according to a new Heritage Foundation study.  Americans can thank President Barack Obama for a huge spike in the numbers of Americans dependent on government resources, but both parties can share in the blame.  If the federal government does not make government smaller and less intrusive, then there may not be much private sector wealth creation for government bureaucrats to take to redistribute to dependent Americans. 

American are relying on government handouts rather than hard work for many of the necessities of life.  One in five Americans rely on the federal government for housing, health care, food, college tuition and retirement resources.  The 10th year of The Heritage Foundation government dependency study, the 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, proves that members of both parties need to take a hard look in the mirror and figure out a way to slow, then end, the creeping expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our lives.

John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily writes that that the Obama presidency can take credit for 23% of the surge in dependency. 

The American public’s dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under President Obama, with 67 million now relying on some federal program, according to a newly released study by the Heritage Foundation.

Merline points out that the Obama increase is the largest two-year jump since the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.  The reason for the stimulus in government dependency was President Obama’s and Congress’ efforts to increase housing subsidies, expand Medicaid and more welfare spending including food stamps. 

If more people become reliant on government, expect Americans to go down the road of our European friends who have relied on big welfare states for years.  With a big welfare state and less people working to pay for big government, the federal government’s natural inclination is to raise taxes on job creators to engage in wealth redistribution.  The take away from this study is that big government and a shift to a dependent society will be the death of free markets and the idea of a relatively unencumbered version of capitalism.  Get ready for the slow walk to socialism that we can see every day destroying Europe.

As Patrick Tyrrell of The Heritage Foundation, my employer, puts it “Dependence on Government at All-Time High.”  Tyrrell points to some facts in the new study that should shock Americans.

  • Dependent Americans – One in five Americans—the highest in the nation’s history—relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington.
  • Government Stimulus for Dependency – Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.
  • Record High Dependency Spending – The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans. The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).
  • Almost 50% of Americans Don’t Pay Income Tax – At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.
  • Future Dependency Spending Projected to Explode – In the next 25 years, more than 77 million baby boomers will retire. They will begin collecting checks from Social Security, drawing benefits from Medicare, and relying on Medicaid for long-term care.
  • 70% of  Federal Budget Dedicated to Dependency – As of now, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years. However, research shows that private, community, and charitable aid helps individuals rise from their difficulties with better success than federal government handouts. Plus, local and private aid is often more effectively distributed.

Government debt stands at about $15.2 trillion; a number higher than the economic output of the United States for an average year.  Dependency is growing as government grows.  These trends are bad for freedom and the future of America.

Although this trend toward government dependency has accelerated under President Obama, he is not wholly to blame.  Both parties have supported a massive expansion of welfare programs over the past few years.  The food stamp program is the fourth largest entitlement program and stands at about $89 billion for this year.  There are 72 means tested welfare programs that grow in size and scope every year. 

Bailouts have made big corporate America dependent on government money when they can’t make ends meet.  Medicare Part D was a creation of a Republican administration that expanded dependency of the elderly on government subsidized prescription drugs.  If both parties don’t stop promising more government largess in an effort to buy off American voters, our nation is endanger of insolvency.

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