Entitlement Nation

The Chicago Tribune has a good article today re: the growth in federal entitlement spending.

The bad news:

Reports The Wall Street Journal, “Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history” (our emphasis). In 2008, that group encompassed 44.4 percent of the U.S. population, and the weak economy has undoubtedly increased the number as people are thrown onto unemployment benefits, early retirement and food stamps.

The really bad news:

As if that trend were not worrisome enough, it coincides with another one: The number of households that pay taxes to finance all that assistance is declining. The Tax Policy Center says that in 2005, 39 percent of households paid no federal income tax. Today, it’s 45 percent. Most of those do contribute to Social Security and Medicare, but not all: 13 percent of households pay neither income nor payroll levies.

As Alexander Tyler said:

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

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