Animation: America's Metamorphosis To A Welfare State

Tyler Durden's picture

Still confused why there are those who call America the USSA? Don't be. As the following animation from the NYT so vividly shows, government benefits across the US have nearly tripled from a modest 7.8% of all personal income in 1969 to a 'European' 17.6% in 2009. And this before Obama went to town (as a reminder total debt has risen by over $4 trillion under Obama - a significant portion of that has gone to fund social welfare). Thus, we are confident that as of this writing, the government accounts for at least 20% and possibly as high as a quarter of all personal income. One can use any word to describe that transition depending on one's personal political preferences, except for one: "sustainable."

Source: NYT

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GeneMarchbanks's picture

Peak 'productivity' is real. No debate.

earleflorida's picture

the subtle shades of a nuclear winter when ignorance sustains arrogance, and arrogance, and begets animosity for thy keepers

ratso's picture

Interesting to see that it is the red states that receive the most government assistance.  These are the same states that are rejecting and complaining about Obama all the while taking all the help they can get - nice.

Shocker's picture

Very good Graph, Its sad to see how not far we have come.

All assistant programs and everything are great safety nets for temporary situations, they were not intended for long term use.

The problem/question is, we have got to this point.. is there any way to reverse it or does it just continue to grow

Stuck on Zero's picture

There's a very simple way to reverse the problem.  No work no pay.  To receive a handout you must work for it.  There are millions of jobs out there.  Examples: cleaning roadways, building infrastructure, patching potholes, building and maintaining trails, sorting, posting, stocking, ...   I don't need to go on.  If someone comes to the welfare office asking for aid a job is found and assigned.  These can be subsidized private sector jobs.  For the same price the government receives something in return. 

hadriansnightmare's picture

Be damned if I'm going to hire a referrel from the welfare office.  Apparently you never had to handle employees.  You would have 10 disability/workman's comp cases on your company in a week.  Rake leaves in the park-maybe....


Hugo Chavez's picture

Now that is true.

There is no one more motivated to find a way to hurt themselves on a mandatory welfare job than someone who is applying for disability, yet forced to work. About a third of these injuries that come across my desk seem self induced. Once this class of rats figures out they can take your acreage by having an injury on your property, even if you have no tresspassing signs, then things are gonna get even worse.

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Interesting to see no matter how obvious it becomes the earth is flat crowd will still be around.

Hugo Chavez's picture

Most of my career has been spent working with the disability, welfare, and medicaid crowd. I have seen all the tricks in the book. Fake slip and falls are not as common anymore in densely commercial areas due to video monitoring. They are now ocurring in other places. It is growing and there is nothing that can be done to stop it unless juries wise up.

memyselfiu's picture

OT, but check this out...

Apparently part of it is allegedly accusing a Swedish leader of being a spy for the US since the 70's....

may answer the question of why Assange is actually being raked over the coals....

zkay's picture
WikiLeaks begins publishing 5 million emails from STRATFOR



  6. Monday 27 February 00:01 GMT 2012
  8. The Global Intelligence Files
  10. Twitter tag: #gifiles
  13.     Monday 27 Feburary, noon, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, Paddington,
  14. London, W2 1QJ.
  16. LONDON--Today WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal's Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example:"
economics1996's picture

Currently, 2011, the US spends 65.1% of the federal budget on payments to individuals or $3.7118x0.651= $2.416 trillion / $15.2943 = 15.8% of the GDP.  54.1% is direct payments.

economics1996's picture

What should be noted is the growth of mandatory entitlements from 5% of the GDP in the 60s to 13.5% of the GDP in 2011.

Hugo Chavez's picture

Why woyld someone junk you? What is wrong with requiring people to pick up trash or whatever in return for welfare, food stamps, and subsidized housing?

The Fonz...before shark jump's picture

Agreed there is dignity in all work.... I often wondered that as well...why not have them mobilized to do any kind of work (part time) of course and the othe other half they can use to find a job...

Bringin It's picture

We need to get rid of corporate welfare [Solyndra] before we bust out the chain gangs for welfare workers.  Just keeping things in perspective.  I noticed some of those places with high payouts are Indian reservations and there certainly entitled to what ever they can get back.  Lots of farmers get paid not to plant.

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

They stopped paying farmers to not plant 30yrs ago.  I love when the big government promoters turn the farmer into bad guys.  It is hilarilous, planet earth here: need food, fuel, banking system and military to operate a country in the modern world, don't need thousands of federal agencies doling out social benefits.



Bringin It's picture

I'm not a big government promoter you douche-bag. 

And as far as farm subsidies go, these guys say it's over $40B/year with many of the recipients living in places like ... New York City!!

Despite Claims of Reform, Subsidy Band Marches On

I love farmers.  I am a farmer.  No, I don't get any subsidies.

JW n FL's picture



Farm Programs Rain Cash on Urban Billionaires, the Dead

10 / 18 / 2007

As the Senate debates a five-year, $286 billion agriculture-subsidy extravaganza, consider the heartwarming rhetoric about saving family farms. Who ever imagined such families included the Rockefellers?


Mark Rockefeller Gets Farm Subsidies From Taxpayers


FrankDrakman's picture

Your marklar is strong and true, young marklar.

One of the biggest problems with not having a job is the inertia and rhythym you get into once you're on welfare. No need to get up in the morning, and you are probably depressed, so you sleep until 10 or 11. Then, come midnight, you're not sleepy, so you decide to watch Jon Stewart, just to keep up with the fake news. Then, of course, you have to watch Colbert, and then catch the last hour of Ferguson, and hey, it's 2 am, but TCM has a great old movie on, and it's 3:30 before you toddle off to bed, to start the whole cycle over again.

Having to do any kind of work ensures you get up in the morning, and get moving. Then, by all means, spend the second half of the day finding a job, getting help with your resume, networking, etc. That's a much more effective way to get people off welfare than cutting benefits outright.

blunderdog's picture

This is one of the super-obvious suggestions that sounds like a good idea right until you've thought about it for a half a second.  Like employ the brain and actually consider the implications for just a moment.

Dude: the people who currently DO those jobs don't want to compete with free labor.  You say a welfare recipient should be filling potholes?  Brilliant, except the folks who fill potholes make over $25/hr and will burn down city hall the minute you put them out of work for the benefit of the folks with no skill or experience. 

What do you do for a living? 

Do you think you'll be able to continue doing whatever it is if 40 million Americans had to do it so they could get foodstamps?

(It's really easy to convince yourself how talented and gifted you are as long as you're properly protected from the competition of the other 7 billion people on the planet.)

Hugo Chavez's picture

Obviously there are complications. Most programs that require work for recipients cost more than just giving someone a check for nothing. However the moral principle is important. If you can do anything at all in return for your government handout then it is morally imperative you do so.

blunderdog's picture

Right, one of the crucial roles of the Federal government is to enforce a preferred "morality" on the commoners.  Go tell that to the libertarians. 

Maybe we could even become a theocracy like in all really nice parts of the world.

Hugo Chavez's picture

I would prefer not to enforce anything on anybody. If you dont work and dont have resources nor family to support you then anything you get should be from voluntary private charity, not forceably extracted from taxpayers.

If I am forced to give my money to people in the form of welfare or subsidy, then they can damn well work for it.

Hugo Chavez's picture

So it makes me a theocrat because i dont think people are entitled to government freebies without any strings attached?

blunderdog's picture

No, it makes you someone who can't seem to think through the implications of your personal desires.

I'm not in favor of the welfare state.  I'm still capable of understanding the factors that led to its creation and maintenance.

If you want to make major changes, you have to start by rethinking the underlying *conditions* that got us here.

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Not really. The assertion that the GES and Walmarts of the world are behind it is beyond ludicrous.

Maybe one day you people will notice that besides the obvious direct benefactors of having 50million on food stamps, the folks who directly administer it,  that the pension funds including public union pension money are amongst the largest owners of stocks of these corporations.

As they are the military ones, the outsourcing ones and much of Wall St.

Which makes the entire diatribe aweful hard to reconcile.

But don't let that get in the way, afterall having an underclass who's existence is commensurate with royalty in parts of the world is socio economic fail on

BTW good code in the first post, don't want the destitute taking grossly overpaid union jobs or anything. 

Calmyourself's picture

Ah, finally this smart fella here has described a perpetual motion machine for us dimwits..  Really pal..  Union pension funds hold stock the welfare folks do business with so the Gov hands out free money, that is the best you got?

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Really pal, impoverishing the nation is in the best interests of GE and Walmart so much so that they are the ones behind it, I read it on

It is so obvious that the big government promoting imbeciles are, have always been and will always be behind it.  Not only those who are direct profiteers, you know the perpetual motion machine- the beaurocrats and corps who administer it but those idealististic rule from an ivory tower idiots who think they can alter the path of water, their enablers-the ultra rich big government promoting imbecile who uses the government as a means to prevent others from becoming super rich.

What  a pathetic joke this place has become blaming the welfare status of the country on the corporations when it is wholly on the government and long in place before it was as corrupted as it is now. 

They invented outsourcing yesterday, doubling the workforce with women was supposed to have no effect on wages or jobs, the 35% government burden on full time hires has nothing to do with one having to be on LSD to start a labor intensive business in modern america and the watered down education system is benign,

GE and Walmart purposefully impoverished the USA, I read it on so it must be true.


blunderdog's picture

You're really crazy.  Get help.  You aren't making sense.

If this place is so stupid, please go somewhere where your brilliance will be appreciated.

Or at least comprehensible. 

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

No GE and Walmart are really behind all of this.

Feigned ignorance, good move.

and I am the one who needs help.

Surrender noted.


blunderdog's picture

If you state your case, I'll be happy to address it.  But you've just presented a really strange strawman.  It's bullshit--there's nothing sensible enough to discuss.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Let them (the welfare recipients) do what we consider volunteer work - staffing soup kitchens and food banks and such, or doing unskilled government labor. Who maintains Section 8 housing? Let Section 8 recipients do it.

However you have to realize making them work will discourage them, and limit their ability/time to search for, regular jobs. It would not be wise to expect someone who just did an 8/9 hour shift to be able to hunt for regular employment as well or as much as someone with more time. We know the subgroup which really is milking the system (however large a percentage you think that is of all welfare recipients) isn't out looking for work all day, but some portion of welfare recipients are and would be counterproductively burdened by having to work while searching for work.

What this doesn't address is the so-called livable wage. If there has to be some form of safety net, why not a minimum income guarantee (direct transfer payment to individuals below some income threshold) instead of a minimum wage which distorts the entire labor market?

Of course none of this will or ever could work because the premise is flawed, that premise being that the government could possibly care any less about what welfare recipients do or how the welfare state distorts the entire economy. Proposing any form of welfare reform is nothing but an invitation to be mercilessly insulted and cursed at while being piously accused of hating poor people and/or minorities. It's just another third-rail.

blunderdog's picture

One thing that most of the "reformers" have never understood is that, although there is certainly graft and corruption, the majority of people who are living off the welfare system are people who have serious enough problems that they CANNOT WORK.

In this very thread, you'll find a poster who writes about his father, now unable to work because he lost a leg.  Obviously, there is certainly plenty of stuff he could be required to do if he wants to receive disability or SocSec or whatever.  The problem is that there are ENORMOUS administrative costs in centrally planning every individual's role in an economy.

And what's interesting is how many of these same reformers, aggravated by the maintenance of the welfare state, have all the perfect solutions for how the economic deadbeats could be fitted into SOME productive role, but simultaneously purport to oppose a centrally-planned economy.

One thing's for sure--it's hard to fix stupid.

dogbreath's picture

I think the suggestion was that there are many jobs going undone because of the cost.  Like sweeping, raking, picking trash.  one of the reasons why we are so fucked is labor has outpriced itself to do all these menial jobs that no longer get done.  so is this free labor in competition with those who already have job doing this work??  Hardly.  benefits are paid from your neighbors pocket so why shouldn't the taxpayer expect to have the grass cut or the trash collected.   These are minimum wage jobs that everyone expects to get 20+ bennies per hour for.  If you don't wan't to do shit jobs learn how to do smarter ones.  Lazy welfare cocksuckers who have money for smokes, beer, cable TV, and other luxuries when thay could stand to lose 100 pounds

blunderdog's picture

  Like sweeping, raking, picking trash.

That's interesting.  You live somewhere in the USA where these things don't get done?  That's usually a ghetto.

dogbreath's picture

i don't live in the USA.  around here pot holes, garbage and sweeping are not getting done

get your snake oil's picture

how many more Post Office's do we need?

cranky-old-geezer's picture



All assistant programs and everything are great safety nets for temporary situations, they were not intended for long term use.

Unfortunately long-term government assistance has become the norm as the economy continues sinking further in depression. 

For example unemployment compensation has been extended to 99 weeks and beyond. That's never happened before.  Millions of people on unemployment will not find a job in the foreseeable future, meaning unemployment compensation will have to be extended again and again.

It's gone on 3 years now, not really long for a depression, but there's no indication of a real upturn.  It's structural economic depression, not temporary, and it'll go on a while because no fundamental changes are being made.  What caused it is still happening.

Zero Govt's picture

it's a good graph in that the spread of socialism is coloured in a darkened blood red colour ..kind of what a cancer looks like

calltoaccount's picture

what % of the debt increase went to fund banks domestic & foreign, and other industries (oil, nuke, agri, etc.) subsidized by stealing from taxpayers?

roadhazard's picture

The American worker/taxpayer is not getting near enough of the pie. If the People were getting the money there would not be enough for everything from 11 carrier groups to subsidizing foreign adventures to bailing out American & European banks. Yeah, those welfare queens and hippies and retired folks are the bitches, my ass. Sell that shit somewhere else.

Hugo Chavez's picture

All welfare needs to disappear, including military welfare and banker welfare. There is no hypocrisy on this point among libertarians. It is all corrosive to moral values and civic virtue.

LaLiLuLeLo's picture

I'll take it one step further. Man can circumvent the laws of nature for so long, then it gets  to a breaking point (now) and people start to die. Darwanism is a bitch

AldousHuxley's picture


republican party used upper middle class and religion to justify enriching top 0.01% by making capital gains tax half of income tax+FICA

You don't make $10,000,000 / year through merit alone.


Income distribution curve is not a straight is a sick exponential curve.


Executive pay...and most people know that executives at Fortune 500 don't do shit except give a big lipservice about how workers are the companies best assets.

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Don't end up with obese folks who own cars and homes being labelled "poverty stricken" by any means without perpetually describing poverty as the bottom 1/6th or it will exist at the same identical level forever.


Half the world lives on $2 a day or less, the difference between the avg US CEO and the avg US mininum wage worker is teeny by comparison.

CharlieSDT's picture

When do we start geting to kill a banker a day?  I heard they were going to let us do that.