The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, released today, should be a wake-up call for America. Published by The Heritage Foundation for the past 10 years, the Index tracks the growth in government dependence dating back to the early 1960s. This year’s edition shows an alarming trend. Among the most troubling facts:
- 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 dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.
- 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).
- At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.
- 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.
- 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.
This much dependence on government has not been seen before in our nation, and it spells grave danger for the republic. A dose of reality would inform politicians that federal handouts, while politically expedient, will doom the republic if they are not curtailed.
A plan exists that would reverse the yearly rise in government dependency. It’s called The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan