Monday, February 04, 2013

96% are Takers! America Tells it like it is


http://americamagazine.org/issue/current-comment-2


A Nation of Takers?

Here is a startling fact: About 96 percent of Americans benefit from some kind of government assistance. Whether the benefit is student loans or Medicare, chances are that at some point in your life you will receive public aid. This figure is instructive regarding the role of government in the lives of citizens. The divide in this country is not between the “47 percent” who depend on government programs and those who do not. The story of government assistance is more complicated, more surprising and ultimately more vexing.
Consider this: The top 20 percent of households receive 10 percent of entitlement spending, yet they receive 66 percent of tax expenditure benefits. In other words, they receive a disproportionate share of tax breaks in the form of exemptions, deductions or credits. High earners also receive better benefits packages at work. While these benefits are not government assistance per se, the government has opted to let employers handle the disbursement of certain social resources. These facts should shape the way the government approaches social welfare. Sensible tax reform is within reach and could help to bridge the gap between rich and poor.

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