American dependence on government has soared to an all-time high under the Obama administration, spiking 23 percent in just two years, according to a new study by the Heritage Foundation. The conservative research group’s 2012 "Index of Dependence on Government" revealed that 67 million Americans are now banking on some federal program, including programs related to healthcare, housing, welfare, education subsidies, and other government programs that were "traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families."
The one in five Americans who now rely on federal assistance costs the government $2.5 billion annually, and the average recipient collects $32,748 in benefits, about $300 more than the country’s average disposable personal income. About 70 percent of the federal budget goes to individual assistance and nearly half of the population does not pay a dime in income taxes.
"Americans should be concerned about this seemingly relentless upward march in Index scores," the study’s authors warned. "Dependence on the federal government for life’s many challenges strips civil society of its historical and necessary role in providing aid and renewal through the intimate relationships of family, community, and local institutions and local governments. While the Index does not measure the decay of civil society, it reflects a declining role in this most important aspect of society."
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