The debate over America’s social safety net is usually defined by liberals as a question of whether or not we “care for the vulnerable members of our society,” or something along those lines. But there’s a thin line between caring for someone and enabling them, leading to dependence. And, as the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data illustrate (via these great graphs by Zerohedge), dependence on the government is on the rise. In a big way.
We’ve covered the tragedy of foodstamps before here at Dustinstockton.com, but what the latest data shows is that the number of Americans on foodstamps is on the rise. Though some of this is related to the recent economic collapse, it’s clear that we’re fast becoming a nation of government dependents. 46.5 million Americans, nearly a sixth of this nation’s population now receives foodstamps… even with a relatively high unemployment rate of 8 percent, that’s an unreasonably high number.
If you’re still thinking that all this is just a product of a weak economy, this chart will change your mind. Not only is the foodstamp rate higher than the unemployment rate, we’re seeing even stronger growth in the number of Americans taking disability benefits. Obviously a weak economy does not increase the number of injuries, so there’s little choice but to conclude that more and more Americans are simply lining up for a handout.
And why not? Not only does the government advertise the benefits of its handouts, it even gives out free cell phones to people on foodstamps. And all this costs is a mere $81b in higher taxes paid by those of us who foolishly choose to keep working instead of joining the line at the government handout window.
Sadly, though, this problem goes even deeper than just unfairness or the sheer cost of these benefits. America is, and has always been, a nation of strivers, entrepreneurs, and fiercely independent individualists. These are our greatest national strengths, and as a country we seem to be abandoning them for the comfort of social welfare. Not only will this ruin our budget, but we risk losing the very engine of American success… and without that, we will never return to the greatness that has defined this country’s history.