Patterico's Pontifications


A Grim Milestone Has Been Passed

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:12 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Depressing news in  this article:

U.S. households are now getting more in cash handouts from the government than they are paying in taxes for the first time since the Great Depression.

Households received $2.3 trillion in some kind of government support in 2010. That includes expanded unemployment benefits, as well as payments for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and stimulus spending, among other things.

But that’s more than the $2.2 trillion households paid in taxes, an amount that has slumped largely due to the recession, according to an analysis by the Fiscal Times.

Also, an estimated 59% of the 308.7 million Americans in this country get at least one federal benefit, according to the Census Bureau, based on 2009 data. An estimated 46.5 million get Social Security; 42.6 million get Medicare; 42.4 million get Medicaid; 36.1 million get food stamps; 12.4 million get housing subsidies; and 3.2 million get Veterans’ benefits.

And the handouts from the government have been growing. Government cash handouts account for a whopping 79% of household growth since 2007, even as household tax payments–for things like the income and payroll tax, among other taxes–have fallen by $312 billion.

The entitlement state cannot continue.  Period.  Yes, we would love to make everyone have a wonderful little safety net, but the math just doesn’t work.  It’s that simple.  And if we are ever going to balance our budget, we are going to have to recognize that reality.

Meanwhile, in defiance of reality, we are about to slam into our debt limit.  CNS reports that we are less than a week away from that event.  I summed up the ridiculousness of the argument for raising it a few months back:

Try this sometime.  Go to your local bank.  Tell them that you need a loan.  They will ask why, in one way or another.  When they ask why, explain to them that you already have a massive loan to someone else that you will not be able to repay unless you get this loan from them.  When they ask how you got that loan in the first place, then explain to them that this loan was taken out because otherwise you couldn’t have paid a previous loan.

And when they ask how you plan to pay off this loan, explain to them that surely someone else will loan you that money.

Then, let me know in the comments when they stop laughing at you.

I have yet to hear a cogent explanation as to why we must extend their credit.  I think it should only be done with the steepest conditions.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

28 Responses to “A Grim Milestone Has Been Passed”

  1. not for sure but it looks like they didn’t include the earned income tax credit in their analysis… if so it’s a substantially worse situation than even the one they describe

    happyfeet (760ba3)

  2. Racist

    JD (318f81)

  3. Obviously the answer is simply to increase the amount of money the govt. takes in. Even if the rich don’t have enough if we confiscated it all, it grows on trees. What? It doesn’t grow on trees? How about bushes? Oh, we can just print more of it? Who ever said this was a problem?!?!

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  4. “Yes, we would love to make everyone have a wonderful little safety net…”

    Actually, I’d rather keep my money for myself, instead of having the government tax it all away, and then give me handouts, assuming they decide that I’m worthy of getting a handout.

    The accounting is so much simpler if you do it that way.

    Dave Surls (565f70)

  5. I’ve been such a fool all these years. I’m going to call my congresscritter and ask how I can become a net payee instead of a payor.

    Diffus (228fe4)

  6. A.W. – That’s not a grim milestone, that’s a plan. Dependence on the government creates Democrat voters. Why would you question that this was not part of Obama’s strategy?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  7. Well, daleyrocks, it’s a plan where the democrat party is utterly dependent on entitlement spending to be politically viable with selfish people. Yet they have created a system where entitlement spending like we have cannot persist forever.

    What is going to become of the democrat party when entitlement survival depends entirely on fiscal conservatism (it already does, only this is true outside the next election cycle)?

    I guess the truth is that the plan was for current dem candidates to bribe their way into power, not to preserve their useless political party.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  8. “U.S. households are now getting more in cash handouts from the government than they are paying in taxes for the first time since the Great Depression.”

    That’s kinda what happens after the GOP allowed the stealing of trillions by the banksters, wall street, and add in $3 trillion blown on a needless war. It kinda sorta has an effect on the economy in a not so positive way.

    We could just let people starve to death and sleep on the streets.

    Is that what you had in mind?

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  9. I knew this was coming. The American worker has been paying Payroll taxes his/her entire working life. American Business has been paying unemployment taxes as long as they have been in existence. Now the problem is, that they are actually having to pay it out – and our jive ass Congresscritters have spent it all. So the problem has become those “greedy” folks who actually expect what they’ve been paying for? Okay, slash my Social Security and Medicare to the bone. Just enough to keep me alive – since now your also talking about stealing my 401K. But when you do that, I want to see whole groups of Congresscritters riding down to the Mall for a date with the guillotine. It will make me feel better as a spoon my bowl of gruel and pull my threadbare blanket a little tighter.

    Mike Giles (cb715b)

  10. I’ve been such a fool all these years. I’m going to call my congresscritter and ask how I can become a net payee instead of a payor.

    Comment by Diffus — 4/21/2011 @ 9:04 am

    It’s real easy. You can become disabled. My sons friend just hit the lottery with that one. A diving accident that has left him a quad.

    You can lose your job through no fault of your own and then as a result lose your health insurance. And then get sick and lose your house everything else you’ve worked your entire life for.

    Go for it. By all means. It’s the life that all of us yearn for.

    Ramen noodles and homeless shelters…. ahhh the life!

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  11. This whining amuses me.

    “It’s MY money, not the GUBMINT’S” grumbles the Tea Partier at tax time.

    Well, this just shows that it IS your money. What we pay to the government, we get back (plus a military that defends us, post offices, safe food, etc.)

    BTW, I wouldn’t go around calling Social Security (for example) a “handout”. I know I’ve paid into it for years, and when it’s my time, I insist on it. So will you.

    Kman (5576bf)

  12. _______________________________________________

    The entitlement state cannot continue.

    But the United States probably faces a future as one of the world’s biggest — or THE biggest — Banana Republics. So what does or does not take place over the next X number of years or decades — politically and governmentally — won’t necessarily change the trends of this society eventually becoming like a variation of a Mexico, mixed together with a bit of Greece, combined with a healthy dose of Spain, and then rolled together with a Venezuela and France.

    Mark (411533)

  13. Oh look everyone, a troll is amused at this problem.

    What a shock he’s a democrat. Reacting to this problem with amusement is just sad. The last resort of the loser is to laugh that nothing matters.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  14. Oh look everyone, a cowardly douchebag troll is amused at this problem.

    Fixed it for you, Dustin. 🙂

    Darth Venomous (a0b6a2)

  15. You folks have no more solutions than our current GOP led Congress.

    They think that more government intrusion into women’s bodies will solve our problems.

    You’ve lost the gay hating issue.

    Maybe a flag burning amendment is the answer.

    How about a jobs bill? Do ya think that maybe they ought to try to address jobs? And by address I don’t mean lay off a bunch of government workers.

    You’ve all got nothing. And you know it.

    Thus, your silence.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  16. “This whining amuses me.”

    Kman – If you believe you should surrender your entire paycheck to the government and let them decide what to let you keep, because THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!!!!!!11ty!!!!!, I find that truly amusing.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  17. We lost the war when we decided that it was morally correct to make it legal for the government to take, by force if necessary, from one person the means by which he might care for himself and his family and bestow it upon someone who did nothing to deserve it other than exist.

    Diffus (228fe4)

  18. If I ran my condo association like this I’d get my ass kicked and deserve it.

    the wolf (3f20ac)

  19. How about a jobs bill? Do ya think that maybe they ought to try to address jobs?

    You really aren’t familiar with the GOP argument for more jobs?


    You think ‘gay hating’ is part of the GOP platform these days?

    Must be easy to win arguments with this strawman, but you have to bend over backwards to ignore reality because you’re a total coward.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  20. Gawd, jharpy. You are f@cking stupid and dishonest. That is a potentially lethal combination. You should stay clear of anything sharper than a bowling ball.

    JD (318f81)

  21. Dustin posted “You really aren’t familiar with the GOP argument for more jobs?”

    Do you mean the Bush Tax Cuts that reulted in the worst job creation record since Hoover?

    Yes, I am familiar with that failure.

    I am talking about todays Congress. You know the GOP controlled House where all bills begin.

    Please. Let me know what jobs bill they either have on the table or have passed. And the bill to fire and lay off $39 billion dollars worth of federal employees is a job killer, $39 billion dollars worth of jobs gone. Poof!

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  22. Such aggressively stupidity. Fundamentally dishonest, and demonstrably stupid. My walking cast is 8x as smart as jharpy, at its worst.

    JD (3ad5b9)

  23. Do you mean the Bush Tax Cuts that reulted in the worst job creation record since Hoover?


    That is such a strange cherry picked, if not fictitious stat.

    I would love to return to 5-6 percent unemployment, you freaking weirdo. I’d love it.

    By job bill, you mean the government just taking wealth from employers and hiring more people who have to vote democrat to keep the gravy train rolling. That’s not really a job bill. It takes less money for jobs in the private sector.

    Before democrats took congress in 2007, everything was much peachier. Calling the GOP congress a failure is pathetic when we just had the most miserable failure of a congress from Pelosi is how long?

    Sadly, the GOP congress is neutered. If they try to mildest job saving bill, such as making the Bush tax cuts permanent, Obama and his friends will refuse. Hell, they threatened to shutdown government and keep military families from being paid, over a pathetically small spending cut.

    I think Americans will remember what it was like to have a GOP House and GOP president. I’m not saying we can return to that level of prosperity overnight. It’s going to be very hard to pay off Obama’s spending. It will probably take a decade to get the debt down to where it was 6 months ago. I’m not exaggerating.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  24. “You folks have no more solutions than our current GOP led Congress.”

    Sure I do, and cutting off your welfare check is step number one.

    Dave Surls (5c7053)

  25. How would congress create job with a job bill, jharpy. Do tell.

    The idea that Bush’s record on jobs is worse than Barcky’s is laughable. I am laughing at you, jharpy. Laughing at you in your face. You are blissfully stupid, and full of hate.

    JD (318f81)

  26. You know what, the dems owned both houses of congress and the white house as unemployment just plain soared. It happened on team D’s watch, with Team D holding all the levers of government.

    Why didn’t they pass a job bill? Oh wait, they did, and that made the economy much worse, if I recall. But when they saw that, why didn’t they pass another job bill?

    Maybe the government can’t just create prosperity. That’s the problem with my desire to see nuclear power plants, too. We need an economy to be prosperous enough to support that dramatic investment. So I have to support oil drilling. We must be prosperous in the private sector, through government getting out of the way, for any plan involving government ‘investment’ to work. We can’t just spend our way to success.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  27. We have an entitlement problem?

    Torquemada (fccc6f)

  28. Jharpy thinks it is the government’s job to create jobs. And thinks that cutting 352 million from a 3,700,000,000,000 means 39 billio dollas worth of jobs are just gone. That might be one of the dummerr ASSertions that clown has ever made. And that is no small feat.

    JD (318f81)

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