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Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits
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Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits

  #1 (permalink)
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Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits

49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.

Cutting government spending is no easy task, and itís made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.

The Census data show that 16% of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives Social Security and 15% receive or live with someone who gets Medicare. There is likely a lot of overlap, since Social Security and Medicare tend to go hand in hand, but those percentages also are likely to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages.

With increased government spending comes the need to pay for it, and if taxes arenít going to increase that means deficits. Nearly three-quarters of Americans blame the U.S. budget deficit on spending too much money on federal programs, according to a Gallup poll last year, but when the conversation turns to which programs to cut, the majorities are harder to find. For example, 56% of respondents oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.

The more people who receive benefits, the harder itís going to be to make cuts, and itís never popular to raise taxes. In some respects that argues for letting a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that is set to automatically hit in 2013 take effect. Thereís just one problem: the Congressional Budget Office says it would sink the economy into recession.

Letting the 2013 provisions come into force would be like dealing with a weight problem by cutting off your right arm. It may not be popular, but a long-term, well-planned diet is the only solution.

Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits - Real Time Economics - WSJ

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  #2 (permalink)
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Is social security a government benefit? Because I can't opt out of it, therefore I am not sure counting me (if I was) a receiver is equal to counting me for some other kind of handout.

Of course we pay for all hand outs, and can't opt out of any of them, but social security is a different category in my opinion and shouldn't be included.

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Big Mike View Post
Is social security a government benefit? Because I can't opt out of it, therefore I am not sure counting me (if I was) a receiver is equal to counting me for some other kind of handout.

Of course we pay for all hand outs, and can't opt out of any of them, but social security is a different category in my opinion and shouldn't be included.

Mike

I guess SS isn't by definition a handout but when it comes time to collect and you end up receiving many times more $ than you paid in then maybe it could be considered a handout.....kinda/sorta

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kbit View Post
I guess SS isn't by definition a handout but when it comes time to collect and you end up receiving many times more $ than you paid in then maybe it could be considered a handout.....kinda/sorta

If you are self employed I don't think that is likely. I have to pay over 10% to social security, and since I will probably only live into my 80's at best, it is impossible I would ever get back more than I paid in.

It seems ridiculous that I cannot opt out of this. If you are going to force me to save, then at least let me do so in a savings plan that I can get 100% of my own money back out of...

Mike

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  #5 (permalink)
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If you are self employed I don't think that is likely. I have to pay over 10% to social security, and since I will probably only live into my 80's at best, it is impossible I would ever get back more than I paid in.

It seems ridiculous that I cannot opt out of this. If you are going to force me to save, then at least let me do so in a savings plan that I can get 100% of my own money back out of...

Mike

I agree with you on the option idea but in the mean time I plan on living into my 100's just so I can make a profit on this thing ....

Edit: actually your idea would never work becuase SS is a Ponzi scheme and if you were to opt out or otherwise alter the chain the scheme would collapse that much sooner than it will currently.....they need your cash precisely because many of the retirees collect more than they put in.
Regretably for you.....you are the biggest loser in this as a self- employed person.


Last edited by kbit; May 27th, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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  #6 (permalink)
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They could pass a law that says starting next year, people born xx year so they are 16 years old next year or younger, those are the ones who can choose a type of 401k instead of social security. Fine if you want to force them to save the same percentage, so the govt doesn't end up caring for people who can't care for themselves due to lack of financial planning. But at least they are responsible for their own savings.

Mike

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