21 Facts That Prove That Government Dependence Is Out Of Control In America

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The End of The American Dream blog,

If you could stay home and watch television, play video games and hang out with your friends all day at government expense, would you do it?  Of course most Americans that collect money from the government each month are not abusing the system.  Many truly are incapable of taking care of themselves, and others are just receiving government benefits (such as Social Security) that they feel that they have earned by a lifetime of hard work.  But with each passing year the number of Americans jumping on board “the safety net” continues to grow rapidly, and a lot of these people should be able to take care of themselves.  Today, the American people collectively receive more money from the government than they pay in taxes.  And remember, the federal government uses our money to build roads, inspect our food and fund the military as well.  So what does this say about our economy?  Could it survive without all of these debt-fueled transfer payments?  And what does this say about our society?  At one time, our nation was known for our work ethic.  What would our forefathers say about us today?  The following are 21 facts that prove that dependence on the government is out of control in America…

1. According to a Congressional Budget Office study that was just released, approximately 60 percent of all U.S. households get more in transfer payments from the government than they pay in taxes.  Here is more about this stunning report from Mark J. Perry’s Carpe Diem blog

Some additional analysis and commentary will be provided here that reveal a yet-to-be discussed major implication of the CBO report – almost the entire burden: a) of all transfer payments made to American households and b) of all non-financed government spending, falls on just one group of Americans – the top one-fifth of US households by income. That’s correct, the CBO study shows that the bottom three income quintiles representing 60% of US households are “net recipients” (they receive more in transfer payments than they pay in federal taxes), the second-highest income quintile pays just slightly more in federal taxes ($14,800) than it receives in government transfer payments ($14,100), while the top 20% of American “net payer” households finance 100% of the transfer payments to the bottom 60%, as well as almost 100% of the tax revenue collected to run the federal government. Here are the details of that analysis.




The figures in Row 6 in the table above (and displayed in the graph above) show the amount of federal taxes paid by the average household in each income quintile minus the average amount of government transfers received by those households in 2011. For each of the three lower income quintiles, their average government transfer payments exceeded their federal taxes paid by $8,600, $12,500, and $9,100 respectively, and therefore the entire bottom 60% of US households are “net recipients” of government transfer payments.

2. About 70 percent of all government spending now goes toward dependence-creating programs.

3. From 2009 through 2013, the U.S. government spent a whopping 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs.

4. The percentage of the U.S. population that gets money from the federal government grew by an astounding 62 percent between 1988 and 2011.

5. According to an analysis of U.S. government numbers conducted by Terrence P. Jeffrey, there are 86 million full-time private sector workers in the United States paying taxes to support the government, and nearly 148 million Americans that are receiving benefits from the government each month.

6. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare.

7. Currently, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States.  By 2050, that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million.  Supporting all of those senior citizens is going to be extraordinarily expensive.

8. Right now, more than 64 million Americans are receiving Social Security benefits.

9. Right now, more than 54 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.

10. Right now, more than 70 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid.

11. The number of Americans enrolled in the Social Security disability program now exceeds the entire population of the state of Virginia.

12. If the number of Americans on Social Security disability were gathered into a separate state, it would be the 8th largest state in the entire country.

13. In 1968, there were 51 full-time workers for every American on disability.  Today, there are just 13 full-time workers for every American on disability.

14. At this point, the federal government runs about 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.

15. The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 46 million today.

16. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

17. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

18. Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

19. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

20. According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.

21. Most Americans are not earning enough to support themselves and their families without government help anymore.  The following are some statistics about wages in the U.S. from a Social Security Administration report that was recently released

-39 percent of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-52 percent of American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-63 percent of American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-72 percent of American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs, and those are disappearing from our system very rapidly.

As a result, the number of people that are financially independent continues to drop.

So what will the future look like?

Will the government eventually have to take care of almost all of us?

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LawsofPhysics's picture

Are you suggesting those "highest quintile folks" have not benefitted from Central Bank printing government BAILOUTS or the ZIRP that central banks continue to practice?

Please, try to think a bit more critically.  Retribution is gonna be fun when all those paper receipts start chasing real assets in earnest.

lordylord's picture

"Please, try to think a bit more critically"

Couldn't get passed item #1, huh?  What about the other 20? Care to disprove the thesis of the article or are you just going to shit post? 

Yes the top .1% get more governent welfare than anybody, but the majority of that top quintile probably don't deserve their hard earned money stolen. 

End the welfare state for poor and rich alike.

PT's picture

Sorry, my mind's wandering a bit today.  I found it hard to get through the article.  Was it 21 facts or was it 21 different ways of stating the same 3 facts?

GeorgeWKush's picture

Funny that first graph. Why could it be that low income are so much on the negative side? Could it be because in socialist America everyone gets benefits no matter how lazy, or could it be because in fascist America people working their heads off at the service of mega corporations get paid in pennies (and subsequently taxed in pennies) and thus cannot survive without substantial help?

Amazingly, some people manage to bet on the wrong answer.

PT's picture

It's supposed to be low income on the negative side, otherwise something would be wrong.  That is how welfare is supposed to work.  The main problem, as pointed out by the graph, is that a lot of low and not-so-low income earners pay negative tax.  Welfare should be for those unemployed or part-time income, not for low income and not-so-low income full-time workers.  Why re-circulate tax?  i.e. why tax someone just so you can give the money back to them?  Every time you do that you waste a portion of the money in administrative costs.

Then, of course, you have the inflation aspect.  What are the govt subsidies really doing?  Are they helping the poor to survive or are they simply just pushing prices up so nothing is affordable unless you have the subsidies?  Does rent assistance stop the poor from being homeless or does it push up the price of rent for everyone?  Who is the ultimate welfare recipient - the welfare momma or her landlord?  A bunch of tradies congratulate themselves on being good little capitalists while building homes that are sold to a landlord that rents them out to people who can only afford to live there due to govt subsidies.  Sure, the tradies worked for their pay but you still gotta laugh that ultimately they get their pay from the govt handouts they despise.

I've seen long-term unemployed people who live in nicer houses than the working poor and drive cars while the working poor do without.  How did that happen?  That's why, as I mentioned below, I'd like to see a better breakdown of all the bennies, how they are structured (grant, loan, or loan on paper that in reality never gets paid back with no negative consequences? ) and who they are to whom they are really available.

Escrava Isaura's picture



“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” -- Andrew Carnegie

The9thDoctor's picture

In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs, and those are disappearing from our system very rapidly.

I noticed this article critiqued government dependence but not corporate dependence.  In order to be middle class you need a Just Over Broke. 

"Without even entering into the question of the world economy’s ultimate dictation within narrow limits of everybody’s productive activity, it’s apparent that the source of the greatest direct duress experienced by the ordinary adult is not the state but rather the business that employs him. Your foreman or supervisor gives you more or-else orders in a week than the police do in a decade."

-Quote by Bob Black

Son of Loki's picture

The numbers above may skyrocket next week after Barry legalizes somewhere betwen 5 and 11 million illegals when he dictates his executive order in his speech this Friday in LV I read.


... rumor has it ....

JamesBond's picture

What they should have earned was a return of between 4% to 7% on their social security deductions - period -  no more - and a handshake on the way out the door; now go help some kid learn to read.




Tall Tom's picture

"The Bell Curve", by Herrstein and Murray, informed the reader that the Welfare State needed transformation to the Custodial State. pp. 523-526


In order to do that they had to eviscerate the Middle Class to the state of dependency...job...or no job.


The Corporate "Dependence" is no more than a raid on the Public Treasury in order to collapse the United States from within so the Corporations take control. That is a seizure of power.


Of course anybody who has bought stocks in these Corporations has tendered support for the implementation of these policies outlined in "The Bell Curve" as FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS SUPPORT.


This transformation to the Custodial State is near completion.


And you actually support this development per your previous posts about Stock Market investment. (There are alternative reasons for buying Gold than profiteering. Gold is the passport to Liberty and Freedom, Ivy Leaguer)

zerohedgejjxxzz12's picture

 Gov Money is never wasted, or wasted in administartion costs, it pays the gov's friends, and family members, wages, benifits and pensions. /sarc

the US can just keep printing, they have the press, when these guys get out of politics their coffers will be so full and the problems will belong to some other politician.

rinse repeat


PT's picture

While I'm here, I would like to see a breakdown of where all that welfare money goes.  How many low income single people pay less tax than they receive?  Families?  Single, unemployed with mortgage vs rent vs single income family vs double income family vs unemployed single head of family vs all combinations and permuations of single, married, kids, no kids, mortgage, renting.  I'm betting there's a HUGE variation of bennies available within each category.

You got the story of the single mothers with the expensive cars.  We have a similar thing over in my country.  Now I know damn well that if I sign up for the dole, I won't be qualifying for one of those things, so what does it take to qualify?  Is it a grant?  Is it a loan?  Is it a loan that conveniently never gets collected but the paperwork keeps you liable?

In my country, the dole can pay for food, as long as you don't have a mortgage, but some people manage to survive long term on the dole.  This suggests some kind of rental subsidy.  You guys got one of them?  How does it work?

I'd like to see a breakdown of your ( and our ) housing welfare.  Using all the permutations I mentioned above, how much is loans and how much is grants?  Rentals, assisted rentals, mortgage assistance, "shared loans" (where the repayments are extra low and in return the govt takes part ownership of your house and recoups the loss when you sell).  Where does all the dollars go and how much is "given" dollars and how much is "lent" dollars?

Oh yeah, and what % goes into administrative costs?

Any help answering these qs would be much appreciated.

sun tzu's picture

As usual , people miss the point. There are srrious structural problem with both the economy and the welfare system when 12% of the population depends on the government for the bare necessities. First, it show there are not enough decent jobs. Second, it show way too many are able to abuse the system. Welfare is supposed to be a safety net,  not a career. The same goes for QE and corporate welfare. What happens when the welfare prorrams can no longer be funded? You will have tens of millions who cannot feed themselves

Nobody For President's picture

So Sun, you aare saying the welfare system is broken?

Duh. The health care system is broken. The court systems are broken. The Legal system is broken. The Justice system is broken. The Electoral System is broken.

The War on Poverty, The War on Drugs, and the War on Terrorism have all been lost, along with the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments to the Constitution.

And what really pisses me off is that I have four grandchildren that are inheiriting this mess.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Don't worry lordylord, that which cannot be sustained, won't be.  Exactly my point end all welfare.  If you don't work, you don't eat.  Rich or poor.

philipat's picture

As Margaret Thatcher once famously said; "The problem with socialism is that, eventually, you run out of other peoples' money".

silverserfer's picture

were not in a functioning socialist society, is facism. and the money printers print whatever they need to to preserve their power. taxes and fiscal responsibility would only matter if the we were not in the late stages of a massive ponzi scheme.

DFCtomm's picture

They have worked to circument an important feedback mechanism provided by increasing taxes to pay for programs.  Both political parties know they could never get the working class to agree to the taxes needed for this level of government services, so they've put it on the card, and the working class tax payer won't get the opportunity to complain until the money is already spent and they hand him the bill.

nmewn's picture

Well, accepting the responsibility for the bill is a completely different topic...lol.

silverserfer's picture

see my comment below about diffrent taxes that we all pay. They have imbedded the taxes into every single fucking thing we do and consume. I 'm pretty sure that we pay taxes to take a shit also. 

DFCtomm's picture

I agree that a great effort has been made to hide much of the tax burder placed on the citizen, however it's obvious from the debt that it still hasn't been enough, and more flesh is required.

brown_hornet's picture

I do pay 30-35 dollars a month to the Salt Creek Sanitary Disrict

woody188's picture

The guy that pumps my septic used to dump it on his land as fertilizer. The government told him he couldn't do that, so now he charges $30 extra to pump it into their waste treatment system, which eventually dumps in the river. I think the old way was better, and easier on the river, and the towns downstream. This is commonplace and considered "sanitary" but isn't really, and our waterways are now full of estrogen from birth control pill and also ibuprofen that hasn't processes in our bodies and is released in the urine.

JohnFrodo's picture

What you fail to observe is that the best countries in the world to actually live in are all socialist, Germany, Singapore, Canada, Austrilia.

bh2's picture

They also aren't funding and fielding a military establishment larger than the entire rest of the world combined.

JamesBond's picture

also warum müssen wir?

There's your answer.

Pool Shark's picture



They are also countries with relatively homogenous populations with shared values, culture and a history of a work ethic.

Socialism; like Democracy, only works for a moral, industrious people...


DFCtomm's picture

A perfect people need no government at all.

PT's picture

Yeah they do, to protect themselves from the imperfect people that have the huge military muscle.

Although I do hear that you can fight that with free land packages ...

Tall Tom's picture



Why did you just not retort that there are no perfect people anywhere thus his argument is a Hopium Pipedream and moot?


Or are you also dreaming of these mythical perfect people also?

DFCtomm's picture

The point is that government is not a universal constant. You could probably stand a lot less of it and do just fine.

PT's picture

Yas both gave perfect replies to my comment.  I'm in awe.

Tall Tom's picture

I am well aware of Civil Disobedience. It is a classic.


But the people are not anywhere ready for that. They want to follow the suicidal psychopaths to their own demise.


The problem herein lies in the nature of the Herd Mentality.


We were born as Herd Animals and it is hardwired in the DNA to follow the alpha male.


You cannot change Nature or the Laws of Nature. They are immutable and inviolable.


Perhaps in another 100,000 years, maybe that will be bred out.


But at this rate we're are going I would not count on the Human Race lasting that long.


Oh I agree that no Government is ideal. But I live in reality.


The best that you can hope to do is take care of yourself and your progeny.

DFCtomm's picture

You know which state of the union address achieved the highest Flesch-Kincaid readability test score? It was 1815. Everyone acts like an animal if they aren't taught not to.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

fiat is worthless paper (it is). business is evil, wealth is evil, labor is exploited, as clinton the younger stated "she does not think about money"...why not take the .gov cheese? doing otherwise is obviously evil and futile.

we live in the  west in a post work world..where mega corps and mega banks own us all, and .gov goons see to it that control and order is maintained, while bread and circus keep us docile.

our (my) problem is worthwhile work, jobs, goals & hopes have become a negative thing an illusion built on a fake economy run by fake leadership, corrupt pols and banks.

find useful work, do it and ignore the rest..No work no eat.






PT's picture

Our (Aust) govt is working very hard to try and "fix" that "flaw" ...

seek's picture

All with massive deficits as well -- holding them up as shining examples to duplicate is a red herring, they're going down with everyone else. The only real viable country with socialist policies is Norway, which has no deficit due to massive oil income.

If you print to cover a deficit, your country is doomed, what it goes to pay for is immaterial. The fundamental problem with most socialist policies is paying for them; pull it off with a balanced budget and it's workable. The problem with that is the tax burden becomes so high if the benefits are good that no one wants to work (tragedy of the commons) and the burden asymptotically increases until it falls apart -- the exact phase the US has been entering..

A Lunatic's picture

Looks like we need to pass a law that forces everyone above age 16 to have a job. The Freedom to Work Law or something catchy like that. Of course we will have to pass it in order to see what's in it, but I'm sure the Union execs that write it up will be very open and transparent with the whole process.......

Cloud9.5's picture

Just bust him with a dime bag and then you can put him in a slave labor camp.  Problem solved.

gwar5's picture

Socialism is for idiots. East Germany was also socialist and look how they did compared to West Germany -- same people, different systems, drastically different outcomes. Same result with North Korea and South Korea -- same people, different systems, drastically different outcomes. West is using Keynesian economics to fake it and make it last longer.


Greece, Spain, France, are all socialist and failing so bady that Germany, Finland, and fellow less stressed socialist countries are balking at expanding socialism to bail out fellow welfare state EU nations because they know it's all an unsustainable Ponzi scheme that is just going to collapse them faster, too.

All the countries you mention are essentially homogenous societies that subsidize their socialism thru free market selling of resources or products and by the USA paying for half of their national defense expenses for them (2.5% vs 5%) thru life under the US umbrella. Without that margin they'd all be in the hurt locker already.

The USA is increasingly NOT allowed to sell it's vast resources to help pay for social welfare programs, yet keeps adding massive entitlements and millions of illegals. A failed outcome is guaranteed.

Norway, the Saudis of Scandanavia, sells billions in oil for their population of only 5 million people to pay for all their shit but give awards to fellow frauds like Al Gore for ranting against the 'evil' fossil fuels.

Singapore, less dependent on USA, is very homogenous city-state of 5.5 milliion joyless automatons getting their trickled down money from banking and China shipping. In their little slice of utopia, possessing over an ounce of pot is a mandatory death sentence and a positive urine test for pot is 10 years, and you don't get to choose where you live; the government chooses your apartment for you, unless you have money like Jim Rogers. 



GoinFawr's picture

Good ghod, where does a rational person start with such a wretched, steaming, pile of conditioned rote?


tommy douglas and the CCF ran 17 (count 'em seventeen) consecutive surplus budgets while successfully introducing single payer health care with 'universal'coverage, in a province with one of the most diverse populations in North America. I think that level of fiscal responsibility is a fucking 20th century record, worldwide.

lol,and here's what a decade of 'unsustainable ponzi' looks like for Norway's national balance sheet:http://www.finfacts.ie/artman/uploads/3/Norway-sovereign-fund-Oct202010....


But nice strawman re:where that money comes from. Instead of holding their noses and trying to behave responsibly, they should have, what?, turned them up and just handed out all that wealth to you, right? Because it's just a ghod given fact that private ownership of non renewable resources is always always always better.. for some ONE.

"East Germany was socialist" <facepalm> really? Pull the other one! And you believe Stalin was a dyed in the wool 'communist' too, I suppose? Sen.McArthur called: he wants his Webster's Collegiate dictionary back. You and the rest of the echochambermaidens deserve new aprons for your unceasing sophomoric misnomers.

Please allow me to help you to understand (I can draw a picture if the following is still difficult for you):

Socialism seeks to empower labour. Fascism seeks, by any means, to entrench a plutocracy.  Anyone who tells you anything else is selling skittle shitting unicorns, or feeding you to them.

"The USA is increasingly NOT allowed to sell it's vast resources to help pay for social welfare programs, yet keeps adding massive entitlements and millions of illegals. A failed outcome is guaranteed."

Wait, are you suggesting a better outcome if the US had embraced fiscally responsible socialism, rather than plutocrat worship? Canada/America/Uk? Oh yeah, they're proper fucked now, but certainly not because of anything close to what you and the rest of the Osh Kosch By Goch's useful idiot cheerleading squad constantly misrepresent as 'socialism'.

JohnFrodo's picture

Thank you for pointing out there is a spectrum of ism"s left to right  Communism, Socialism Capitalism Facism. I have also coined a new one that will replace all the other soon  Preperationalism.

Stalin may have used the goverment in a facist manner but was the total oppostite. Whats going on in China is a better example of communist facism.

sun tzu's picture

Norway is a tiny country with huge oil resources to fund its socialist programs. Great example.

GoinFawr's picture

Nice apron.

'exampleS'; you mean.

The US, for example, is ~60 times the population of Norway and is (or was, before they/you allowed it to be actually stolen by a handful of international plutocrats) >>60 times richer in natural resources.

"scalability", you should look it up sometime, it might be important.

Grrrrrreat point Tiger

PS Gwart:

Meant McCarthy, not the hockey player.

sun tzu's picture

Those are all quasi socialist countries where private businesses and people who work fund the socialism. You see, the government has no money except for what it forcibly takes from its citizens.

GoinFawr's picture

If (and that's one big 'if' considering roughly 80% of their eligible electorate routinely volunteers to provide a mandate) the Norwegian gov't is 'stealing' that oil wealth from its citizens, who are the lucky ducks receiving the lion's share of the benefits of that 'theft' exactly, I wonders?

Hint: It's certainly not internationally connected foreign creditors...or their MIC.Think closer to home (theirs)

Those sure are some fancy Osh Kosch B' Goch pom poms you're waving around; you'd think your arms would be tired after all these years of flogging that same dead horse.

zerohedgejjxxzz12's picture

Canada's medical system is run by the gov with wage caps.

 We lose a lot of Dr's to the US for momey, but not everyone wants to live their.

We do not force people to purchase medical care, nor do we force you to purchase it from a private company. it's a no brainer why it costs so much south of the 49th.

 it seems everyone in the us system is on the take!