Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Conundrum We Face with Government Spending

Here are some statistics cited in the New York Times article that I recently recommended:
  • In 2000, 37% of federal and state government revenue was spent on "safety net" support for Americans. In 2010, that percentage had increased to 66% of government revenue.
  • In 1979, 54% of government "safety net" benefits went to families in the bottom 20% of household income. In 2007, that amount had dropped to 36%. This means that almost 2/3 of government assistance is now going to "middle class" families.
  • In 2010, 48.5% of Americans lived in households that received government benefits.
  • For every $3 in Medicare benefits provided today, only $1 was contributed through Medicare taxes.
  • Since 1980, support for Republican candidates (who generally promise to cut government spending) has increased in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. Support for Democratic cabdidates has increased in states where federal revenue is greater than expenses.
The New York Times article contains interviews with people who want to cut safety net benefits while drawing from those same benefits. It appears to me that either too many Americans think they have "earned" the benefits they receive and that others recipients don't deserve what they are getting, or they hold an unrealistic expectation that "my benefits" won't be affected by budget cuts.

[Originally posted on Facebook on February 12, 2012]

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