According to US Census Bureau data, 49.1% of the US population lives in a household where at least one member is receiving government benefits:
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.
The key line from the WSJ:
The more people who receive benefits, the harder it’s going to be to make cuts, and it’s never popular to raise taxes.
The administration refuses to address the causes of the problem–a plethora of economic ailments which include the government spending more than it takes in, tight regulations on business and energy, and the weakening of the dollar.
Spending on food stamps continues to rise.
Of course such a record-high number of Americans are receiving government assistance. This same government, under the current administration, has made it difficult for businesses to operate and provide jobs, let alone for Americans to be self-sustaining. Expect this number to rise as more people drop out of the job pool.