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ROYC75
09-17-2010, 09:04 AM
http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/110680/nation-of-entitlements?mod=bb-budgeting

Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history.

Obstacle to Deficit Cutting: A Nation on Entitlements
by Sara Murray
Thursday, September 16, 2010


Efforts to tame America's ballooning budget deficit could soon confront a daunting reality: Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history.

At the same time, the fraction of American households not paying federal income taxes has also grown -- to an estimated 45% in 2010, from 39% five years ago, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization.

A little more than half don't earn enough to be taxed; the rest take so many credits and deductions they don't owe anything. Most still get hit with Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes, but 13% of all U.S. households pay neither federal income nor payroll taxes.

"We have a very large share of the American population that is getting checks from the government," says Keith Hennessey, an economic adviser to President George W. Bush and now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, "and an increasingly smaller portion of the population that's paying for it."

The dimensions of the budget hole were underscored Monday, when the Treasury reported that the government ran a $1.26 trillion deficit for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, on pace to be the second-biggest on record.

Yet even as Americans express concern over the deficit in opinion polls, many oppose benefit cuts, particularly with the economy on an uneven footing. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted late last month found 61% of voters were "enthusiastic" or "comfortable" with congressional candidates who support cutting federal spending in general. But 56% expressed the same enthusiasm for candidates who voted to extend unemployment benefits.

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As recently as the early 1980s, about 30% of Americans lived in households in which an individual was receiving Social Security, subsidized housing, jobless benefits or other government-provided benefits. By the third quarter of 2008, 44% were, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.

That number has undoubtedly gone up, as the recession has hammered incomes. Some 41.3 million people were on food stamps as of June 2010, for instance, up 45% from June 2008. With unemployment high and federal jobless benefits now available for up to 99 weeks, 9.7 million unemployed workers were receiving checks in late August 2010, more than twice as many as the 4.2 million in August 2008.

Still more Americans -- 19 million by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office -- will get federal aid to buy health insurance when legislation passed this year is implemented.

The expanding federal safety net has helped shelter many families from the worst of the downturn. Charlene A. Mueller-Holden doesn't fit the stereotype of a person on benefits. Laid off from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM - News) in January 2008, Ms. Mueller-Holden, 38, drew unemployment for 99 weeks.

The Newark, Del., resident knocked $40 a month off her mortgage payments through the federal Making Home Affordable Program, designed to keep people in their homes by helping them modify or refinance their mortgages. But when her unemployment benefits ran out, Ms. Mueller-Holden and her husband, a government employee, couldn't afford the $1,008 monthly payments.

She turned to the Delaware State Housing Authority which, under a federally subsidized program aimed at helping families with children stay in their homes, gave her $1,000 a month for five months toward mortgage payments. She and her two sons ate lunch for free at the local school this summer, and she has applied for free lunch for one of her sons who will be a first grader this year.

Ms. Mueller-Holden's family earned too little to pay federal taxes last year, and received an extension on their state taxes. "Quite frankly, I don't care about the deficit," says Ms. Mueller-Holden. "It's going to take years upon years upon years to pay this all back," she says, so it's better to focus on job growth now and deal with the deficit later.

Government data don't show how many of the households receiving government benefits also escape federal taxes. But there is certainly some overlap between the two groups, since many benefits are aimed at those earning too little to pay income taxes and at people who don't have jobs, and who thus don't pay payroll taxes.

Cutting spending on these "entitlements" is widely seen as an inevitable ingredient in any credible deficit-reduction program. Yet despite occasional bouts of belt-tightening in Washington and bursts of discussion about restraining big government, the trend toward more Americans receiving government benefits of one sort or another has continued for more than 70 years -- and shows no sign of abating.

An aging population is adding to the ranks of Americans receiving government benefits, and will continue to do so as more of the large baby-boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, become eligible. Today, an estimated 47.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare, up 38% from 1990. By 2030, the number is projected to be 80.4 million.

The difficulty of restraining benefits when so much of the population depends on them is now on view across Europe, where efforts to rein in deficits are forcing governments to cut popular entitlements. European countries have traditionally provided far more generous welfare benefits than the U.S. has, including monthly allowances for children regardless of income, free college tuition and universal health care. Public retirement programs are also bigger, since the combination of aging populations and low birth rates means fewer workers are paying into the system.

In recent months, political leaders in Europe have struggled to convince voters that change is necessary. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has exempted pensions from her government's planned budget cuts, reflecting the growing power of the retiree vote. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is facing mass protests, including a national strike week, as he tries to raise France's minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. Greece's government had to face down demonstrations this year when it slashed pension benefits, as it was forced to do to get bailout money from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund.

Still, Europe does offer examples that change is possible. Germany slashed benefits for the long-term unemployed in 2004, a step that analysts credit with prompting more Germans to get jobs as well as improving the country's budget balance. Cuts to entitlements are politically possible, says Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies, a nonpartisan think tank in Brussels, "but societies need some time to get used to the idea."

The U.S. government first offered large-scale assistance during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. The Social Security Act, passed in 1935, created the popular retirement program as well as unemployment compensation, the early stages of what became known as "welfare" and assistance to the blind and elderly. In the 1940s, the G.I. Bill offered unemployment benefits, education assistance and loans to veterans. That same decade, Washington began offering free or reduced-price lunches to children from low-income families and, a decade later, monthly benefits to the disabled.

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Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs brought food stamps plus Medicare and Medicaid. In the 1970s, Supplemental Security Income was created on top of routine Social Security benefits for the poorest of the elderly and disabled, and so-called Section 8 vouchers began subsidizing rental housing. The earned-income tax credit was launched in 1975 to offer extra cash to low-wage workers, and grew in the 1990s to become one of the government's principle antipoverty programs.

Benefits for children were expanded in 1997 with the State Children's Health Insurance Program during the Clinton administration -- and were expanded again in 2009. Shortly after President Barack Obama took office, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill, which among other things extended unemployment compensation and offered incentives for states to cover more workers.

All this is expensive. Payments to individuals -- a budget category that includes all federal benefit programs plus retirement benefits for federal workers -- will cost $2.4 trillion this year, up 79%, adjusted for inflation, from a decade earlier when the economy was stronger. That represents 64.3% of all federal outlays, the highest percentage in the 70 years the government has been measuring it. The figure was 46.7% in 1990 and 26.2% in 1960.

When the economy recovers, some -- but not all -- current recipients of federal aid are likely to lose their benefits, which some say is reason enough to keep them going for now.

"If there became an expectation that government was going to provide over half of the population's well-being to a significant degree without requiring anything of the recipients, there would be reason for concern," says Robert Reischauer, a former Congressional Budget Office director and now president of the Urban Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C. "I don't think that's where we are or where we're headed."

The public appears divided on what to do. A new Allstate/National Journal poll found that 35% of voters want the government to make sure future retirees receive all the benefits they've been promised even if it means raising taxes. Another 34% said the government should make retirement programs "financially sustainable" by making some cuts to those benefits and raising some taxes, and 22% said they'd be willing to see benefits cut to restrain the programs' rising costs.

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The call for restraining benefits resonates with voters like Robert Letherman. "You name it, someone is lining up to get bailed out, or a handout, courtesy of the hard-working American taxpayer," says Mr. Letherman, 39, a real-estate developer in Elkhart, Ind.

Mr. Letherman says he has struggled through the recession like many others, but doesn't qualify for government assistance. His income has declined 40% since 2007. Some $4 million in development projects percolating in the spring of 2007 have since been shelved.

He supports helping people in need, says Mr. Letherman, but believes many people game the system. Extended unemployment benefits, for example, give some Americans an excuse not to go back to work, he says. If it were up to him, government would be half the size it is now.

He favors eliminating pensions for all government workers, excluding military and intelligence personnel, and would impose a nationwide sales tax to pay off the country's debt. "If we continue down the path of deficit spending, the great recession of 2008 will be nothing compared to what we will face in five, 10, 20 years," he says.

Cutting federal benefits while the economy is still weak would be a mistake, some analysts say, because it could hinder recovery by giving consumers less money to spend.

Paul Hester has relied on government benefits since he lost his job in June 2009. The 54-year-old microbiologist has a master's degree and was earning a salary of $50,000 at the Indiana State Department of Health. He says he regularly looks for jobs, but has landed only two interviews in the past year.

Influenced by the credit wariness of parents who lived through the Great Depression, the Indianapolis resident has always been thrifty. He once watched his dad walk into a dealership, "plop down $10,000 in cash and buy a car." Mr. Hester has one credit card, and before he was unemployed, he tried to pay it off every month.

He lives on $375 a week in unemployment checks and his health-insurance premiums are subsidized by the federal government under a provision in the fiscal stimulus enacted by Congress in February 2009. His daughter, a college sophomore, pays for part of her schooling with Pell Grants, a federal program for low-income students that is set to expand because of new legislation that increased the number and size of grants.

"I don't like taking government money," says Mr. Hester, but "what else is there?"

-- Marcus Walker contributed to this article.

Write to Sara Murray at sara.murray@wsj.com

The Mad Crapper
09-17-2010, 05:41 PM
The Soviet Union tried this shit years ago and failed but Barry was raised in a moonbat vacuum and doesn't know any better.

Ugly Duck
09-17-2010, 06:04 PM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

stevieray
09-17-2010, 07:50 PM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

puffpuffpass

donkhater
09-17-2010, 10:27 PM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

I've said it before and it bears repeating anytime some idiot brings up the past administration.

Democrats love to bark about how conservative principles ruined the economy and point to Bush's administration as exhibit A. Except that Bush and his co-conspirators in Congress were anything but conservatives. They were Obama-lite.

Bush's largest deficit--~$400 billion
Obama's-$1.3 trillion (and growing)

Brainiac
09-17-2010, 11:28 PM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Your avatar is perfect for you.

2bikemike
09-18-2010, 12:01 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Its all bullshit. Democrat, Republican there all to blame. The White House and Congress are all to blame. The only way we will see real change is to vote out every mother fugger serving regardless. They come up for reelection boot their ass to the curb.

BIG_DADDY
09-18-2010, 12:33 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Is that you Thomas?

ROYC75
09-18-2010, 02:55 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Barney Frank in charge of the housing ?

Chris Dodd in charge of the Finance commission ?

Rangel in charge of the House & Means ?

The Dems having control of the house & Senate the last 4 years ?


Any of this stuff ring a bell to you Mr. Duck ? Or are you just going to continue to squawk like a crybaby .

Brainiac
09-18-2010, 01:25 PM
Anyone who thinks Obama is a moderate obviously can't be reasoned with.

jettio
09-18-2010, 09:35 PM
What does the thread title have to do with the article posted?

Bwana
09-18-2010, 10:49 PM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/9527/matttreymf0.gif (http://imageshack.us)

Direckshun
09-19-2010, 01:59 AM
Of course Obama's a moderate.

What has he done that's so extreme?

Name one.

Stimulus was way under what we liberals wanted.
HC reform was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay short of single-payer.
No movement on gun rights.
We wanted to price carbon, which was never on the table with energy reform.
He opposes samesex marriage.
He ramps up war in Afghanistan while ramping down Iraq.
Financial regulation reform avoided completely some of the most stringent examples of strict regulation.

So......... ???

Direckshun
09-19-2010, 02:02 AM
Bush's largest deficit--~$400 billion

Try again.

ROYC75
09-19-2010, 02:18 AM
What does the thread title have to do with the article posted?

The sad state of affairs our government is in ? :shrug:

ROYC75
09-19-2010, 02:19 AM
Of course Obama's a moderate.

What has he done that's so extreme?

Name one.

Stimulus was way under what we liberals wanted.
HC reform was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay short of single-payer.
No movement on gun rights.
We wanted to price carbon, which was never on the table with energy reform.
He opposes samesex marriage.
He ramps up war in Afghanistan while ramping down Iraq.
Financial regulation reform avoided completely some of the most stringent examples of strict regulation.

So......... ???


Good thing too ........ But wait, there is still more time for him to take us where no man has gone before.:doh!:

BucEyedPea
09-19-2010, 07:50 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

The only people I know who call Obama a moderate are further to the left than Obama. Communists and anarchists.

Obama is no moderate.

BucEyedPea
09-19-2010, 07:59 AM
Of course Obama's a moderate.

What has he done that's so extreme?
See below:

Stimulus was way under what we liberals wanted.
This doesn't make him moderate. You're using moderate as falling between the two sides. It's not moderate when one falls between two bad extremes. Just because it's way under what extreme profligate Keynesians wanted, doesn't make the Obama regime moderate. Keynesianism from its inception is not moderate—it's BIG govt central planning of an economy.

HC reform was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay short of single-payer.
He just couldn't get away with it. As it is it's still an extreme and drastic way to reform healthcare. Only a socialist would call it moderate because it's another incremental step to Euro-socializing America. It's a gigantic step away from the limited govt our Constitution authorizes.

No movement on gun rights.
He can't get away with it.

We wanted to price carbon, which was never on the table with energy reform.
He's not done yet. We know what he wants though.

He opposes same sex marriage.
So what? It's a state issue.

He ramps up war in Afghanistan while ramping down Iraq.
So he's a NeoCon. That's not moderate either. While we're at it since when is war a moderate stand?

Financial regulation reform avoided completely some of the most stringent examples of strict regulation.

Reform was window dressing. It's gave more power to those who created it. That does NOT make his regime moderate. It makes it phony. It also means more controls over us and it's bad control to boot.

Control of the major means of production—>what Direckshun wants. Anything less than that is moderate.

Baby Lee
09-19-2010, 08:33 AM
I hope people realize that libs and cons talking past each other on Obama's 'moderateness' is a function of libs looking at what Obama's settled for, and cons looking at what he aspires to.

RINGLEADER
09-19-2010, 10:54 AM
Let's see -- the Dems told us we couldn't overhaul Social Security and wipe away tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities because it could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and put the management of people's retirements in their own hands. So instead we pass a healthcare "plan" that costs even more, doesn't reduce costs, imposes trillions in new taxes (their word, not mine), and changes the system in ways that even the supporters of the bill don't understand.

As long as we're led by career politicians controlled by national political parties this is unfortunately the unavoidable trend. Politicians just can't think ahead (witness the Internet bubble generating revenues that both state and federal governments assumed would continue forever) and address these kinds of problems. The conclusion of this story is either draconian cuts or bankruptcy.

The Mad Crapper
09-19-2010, 05:49 PM
Let's see -- the Dems told us we couldn't overhaul Social Security and wipe away tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities because it could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and put the management of people's retirements in their own hands. So instead we pass a healthcare "plan" that costs even more, doesn't reduce costs, imposes trillions in new taxes (their word, not mine), and changes the system in ways that even the supporters of the bill don't understand.

As long as we're led by career politicians controlled by national political parties this is unfortunately the unavoidable trend. Politicians just can't think ahead (witness the Internet bubble generating revenues that both state and federal governments assumed would continue forever) and address these kinds of problems. The conclusion of this story is either draconian cuts or bankruptcy.

The conclusion is a military dictatorship.

banyon
09-19-2010, 06:17 PM
See below:


This doesn't make him moderate. You're using moderate as falling between the two sides. It's not moderate when one falls between two bad extremes. Just because it's way under what extreme profligate Keynesians wanted, doesn't make the Obama regime moderate. Keynesianism from its inception is not moderate—it's BIG govt central planning of an economy.


He just couldn't get away with it. As it is it's still an extreme and drastic way to reform healthcare. Only a socialist would call it moderate because it's another incremental step to Euro-socializing America. It's a gigantic step away from the limited govt our Constitution authorizes.


He can't get away with it.


He's not done yet. We know what he wants though.


So what? It's a state issue.


So he's a NeoCon. That's not moderate either. While we're at it since when is war a moderate stand?



Reform was window dressing. It's gave more power to those who created it. That does NOT make his regime moderate. It makes it phony. It also means more controls over us and it's bad control to boot.

Control of the major means of production—>what Direckshun wants. Anything less than that is moderate.

I think he was trying to apply normal people standards. Not crazy people standards where anyone but Ron Paul is a socialistfascist Neocon.

banyon
09-19-2010, 06:21 PM
I hope people realize that libs and cons talking past each other on Obama's 'moderateness' is a function of libs looking at what Obama's settled for, and cons looking at what he aspires to.

Problem being is the "aspiration" is just lip service.

Clinton made many of the same overtures and zealotous right wingers said he was a socialist and the death of america too. But in the end, he was judged on what he did, and he wound up pretty moderate too.

Brainiac
09-19-2010, 06:25 PM
Problem being is the "aspiration" is just lip service.

Clinton made many of the same overtures and zealotous right wingers said he was a socialist and the death of america too. But in the end, he was judged on what he did, and he wound up pretty moderate too.
Clinton didn't socialize our health care (although Hillary really wanted to).

Clinton ran budget surpluses, not trillion dollar deficits.

Clinton did turn out to be pretty moderate. Obama will never be thought of as a moderate by anyone other than radical Leftists.

banyon
09-19-2010, 06:29 PM
Clinton didn't socialize our health care (although Hillary really wanted to).

Clinton ran budget surpluses, not trillion dollar deficits.

Clinton did turn out to be pretty moderate. Obama will never be thought of as a moderate by anyone other than radical Leftists.

Really? When did Clinton run his first surplus? Was he in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Depression?

Most of that addition to the deficit was for corporate and bank bailouts and a war people on the left didn't want in the first place.

Under the same nuanced "he really wanted to but couldn't" analysis, it should be the same result on the health care, shouldn't it?

ROYC75
09-19-2010, 08:56 PM
Clinton didn't socialize our health care (although Hillary really wanted to).

Clinton ran budget surpluses, not trillion dollar deficits.

Clinton did turn out to be pretty moderate. Obama will never be thought of as a moderate by anyone other than radical Leftists.

Clinton benefited from the Contract with America, a Republican House & Senate by cutting spending during his 2nd term, cutting taxes and the economy prosper for a short time. Plus Clinton got the economy in a much better position than Obama did, by far.No matter who won,Obama or McCain, they were dommed from the get go. Clinton raised taxes early and pissed off his followers,reason the D's lost the House & Senate.

blaise
09-20-2010, 05:54 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Yeah, that's why his numbers are so low.

BucEyedPea
09-20-2010, 06:48 AM
Clinton didn't socialize our health care (although Hillary really wanted to).

Clinton ran budget surpluses, not trillion dollar deficits.

Clinton did turn out to be pretty moderate. Obama will never be thought of as a moderate by anyone other than radical Leftists.

Clinton was restrained by having enough of an opposition party in congress as a check and balance to earn the label "moderate." He veered sharply left and pulled in enough Republicans to temper that. He really wasn't though. He was very much a left of center statist; his wife more so. I would say he was NOT as ANTI-business as Obama is though. Also, Clinton did heed the voice of the people once he pulled in an R congress. Obama is tone deaf to the people. He prefers to only hear those he labels " dispossessed people." That's a special interest group like any other.

eazyb81
09-20-2010, 07:52 AM
Obama's approval rating has taken a dip cuz he's such a moderate that he's pissed off the Left, but we've seen what a disaster the Righties bring. Even a lukewarm moderate is better than putting the Righties back in charge to bring us back to the brink of another Great Depression again. We barely survived the last rightwing rule - lets recover from their last fail before we let them do the same stuff all over again.

Thank God most of America is not this stupid. November can't get here fast enough.

Chief Henry
09-20-2010, 08:40 AM
Barney Frank in charge of the housing ?

Chris Dodd in charge of the Finance commission ?

Rangel in charge of the House & Means ?

The Dems having control of the house & Senate the last 4 years ?


Any of this stuff ring a bell to you Mr. Duck ? Or are you just going to continue to squawk like a crybaby .

You can't blame Duck...he has a life size poster of Keith Olberman in his bathroom that he wacks off to daily !