American Economy,  Barack Obama

United States Becomes Handout Nation With Half Living in a Household Receiving Government Benefits

Nearly half of all Americans live in households that received some government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to census data.

Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year.Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.)

Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2% of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care program for the poor).

Another 14.5% lived in homes where someone was on Medicare (the health care program for the elderly). Nearly 16% lived in households receiving Social Security.

High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation’s share of taxpayers. Some 46.4% of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s up from 39.9% in 2007, the year the recession began.

Most of those households will still be hit by payroll taxes. Just 18.1% of households pay neither payroll nor federal income taxes and they are predominantly the nation’s elderly and poorest families.

The tandem rise in government-benefits recipients and fall in taxpayers has been cause for alarm among some policymakers and presidential hopefuls.

The American economy is facing a collapse unless something is done by the federal government to stimulate economic growth. And, America is not going to achieve this by taxing the rich.

President Obama and Senate Democrats have better get serious about the economy or get the hell out of the way and let the GOP House do it.


  • Christopher

    Reading this is like getting a root canal without the benefit of anaesthesia. The author manages to demean 99% of the people while taking zero responsibility for the policies that make the great majority of the people receiving those benefits working folks whose only crime is that our businesses don’t pay a living wage.

    • Gregory Flap Cole

      Reading your response is like getting an extraction without ANY anesthesia = painful and stupid. What are you rambling about?

      The American economy is going to collapse. Too few payers and too many recipients of government handouts.

  • Leesholive

    What ever happened to The Constitution of The United States ?? The Bill of Rights ??? Laying no claim of being an university educated person a simple observation a pose. Article I section 9, ” No Capitation, or other direct tax shall be laid, unless Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before taken.”
    Amendment 16, ratified 02-03-1913, ((Article I, section 9 of Constitution was modified by the 16th amendment), The Congress shall have Power to Lay and Collect Taxes on Income, from Whatever source derived, Without apportionment amoung the several states, and Without regard to any census or enumeration”.
    In other words, our founding fathers created Article I section 9 to prevent the government from taking direct tax and prevent the government from becoming more like the British King Rule. Here we are. Freedom you say? Liberty you say? 
    Our Government has already watered down and polluted the Constitution and Bill of Rights by Amendments passed which in and of themsevles are UNCONSTITUTIONAL !!  The sad thing is not one pollitition has done anything to fix the damages inflicted and fewer still citizens even realize the extent of the damage or simply dont care. 
    So here we are a country where the people fear the government…..whats that called???? does anyone remeber ???? TYRANNY!  Look it it up if you can still read . so sad.