The Heritage Foundation reports that 20 percent of Americans receive some form of subsidy from the federal government. That means nearly 70 million Americans are on the dole, receiving housing, food, medical, or other assistance from the taxpayers, and well more than half the federal budget goes to direct assistance to individuals.
Heritage noted that never in American history have so many citizens been collecting federal welfare aid.
Foundation analysts William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell, writing in the think tank’s annual “Index of Dependence on Government,” reveal the results of their study of dependence in five areas: housing, healthcare, retirement, education, and rural and agricultural assistance.
Housing assistance from Uncle Sam increased 42 percent between 2006 and 2010, Heritage reports, and now stands at $59.4 billion. In 2009, it was $52.3 billion.
Welfare and low-income healthcare subsidies are even more expensive. Between 2008 and 2010, such spending increased 41 percent to more than $1.14 trillion. Since 1990, the growth in these expenditures has been enormous. They increased 87 percent from 1990 to 1996 and 89 percent from 1997 to 2007.
Healthcare costs also present a grim picture. Medicare spending has increased 138 percent between 1999 and 2010 to $452 billion. From 2009, healthcare expenditures rose $22 billion. Medicaid isn’t much better. Spending on that program in 2010 was $273 billion, up more than eight percent from $251 billion in 2009.
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