We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We in America have created suicidal government; the threatened federal shutdown and stubborn budget deficits are but symptoms. By suicidal, I mean that government has promised more than it can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have. But government can't easily correct its excesses, because Americans depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat. Government's very expansion has brought it into disrepute, paralyzed politics and impeded it from acting in the national interest.
Few Americans realize the extent of their dependency. The Census Bureau reports that in 2009 almost half (46.2 percent) of the 300 million Americans received at least one federal benefit: 46.5 million, Social Security; 42.6 million, Medicare; 42.4 million, Medicaid; 36.1 million, food stamps; 3.2 million, veterans' benefits; 12.4 million, housing subsidies. The Census list doesn't include tax breaks. Counting those, perhaps three-quarters or more of Americans receive some sizable government benefit. For example, about 22 percent of taxpayers benefit from the home mortgage interest deduction and 43 percent from the preferential treatment of employer-provided health insurance, says the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
"Once politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything," writes the eminent political scientist James Q. Wilson in a recent collection of essays ("American Politics, Then and Now"). The concept of "vital national interest" is stretched. We deploy government casually to satisfy any mass desire, correct any perceived social shortcoming or remedy any market deficiency...
The only reason I care about politics is because politics cares (too much) about me.
This points out how people view income from the gooberment differently.
I don't see how you can include Social Security as a dependency on the gooberment since from the point of view of the retiree, that is money he paid into a system that was promised to him for his participation (forgetting a lot of ways to look at this ponzi scheme). The fact that the politicians screwed it up is not the retiree's fault. The same could be said for Medicare.
Of course, you could look at it as a hook to get to get you dependent where the politicians who "care about the little guy" devise a program that said little guy is FORCED to participate in. Of course, originally, the retirement age was set to one year past life expectancy so it really started out as a con. Then more politicians continued to "care about the little guy" to the extent that new promises about the program would eventually be financially catastrophic - after he is out of politics (or even dead). During all this time, those who "cared about the little guy" could beat their opponents over the head when they tried to reform the system so that it could be closer to financially viable.
Roosevelt didn't get us out of the last depression. Maybe he will get us into the next one...
Tax deductions are not "government benefits" or "subsidies". He sounds almost like a progressive saying that "tax cuts" need to be "paid for" as if it's the State's money and they are graciously letting us keep a little more of it as a handout - from them.
This error pretty much ruined the article. I write off interest as one of the few methods I have to limit my very hefty tax burden. I subsidize the state by a wide margin, it does not subsidize me.
To say that exercising a tax deduction to reduce the overall tax paid to the fed-dot-gov is a "dependency" on the government is a lot like saying that a robber who steals your wallet, but hands you back a $20 bill is "giving you money".
Under no circumstances does this dude get any awards for creative essays. In fact, the real data, which has been well researched and analyzed, can be found at the Heritage Foundation Index of Dependency on Government page. The last published report uses 2008 data. The first report looks at 1962, when the index stood at 19. This latest report shows a dependency index of 240, an almost fifteen-fold increase. The report states "It is the conjunction of these two trends--higher spending on dependency-creating programs and an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers to pay for these programs (from 22% in 2000 to 34% in 2008)--that worries those interested in the fate of the United States' republican form of government." The obvious problem with Samuelson's "analysis" is that he appears to be double counting participants in multiple entitlement programs. For example, it seems logical to conclude that a large number of SocSec recipients also receive Medicare assistance. For a much more analytically professional discussion of this topic visit the Heritage Foundation website, which has been warning of the coming train wreck for many years. The really bad news is the unwillingness or inability of the general public to grasp the catastrophic consequences confronting the USA (actually nearly all Western Welfare State societies) whose debt is compounding faster than its ability to finance that debt through the growth in real GDP. It's hard to have much hope for the future.