Examining America’s Growing Government Dependence

With President Obama’s lofty budget aspirations and clear desire to perpetuate and expand many American’s dependence on the government, I felt it was a good time to examine this by the numbers since they are indisputable.

As a starter, we’ll begin with with government dependence started and where it is today. This chart, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation, shows American’s dependency steadily growing since 1962 based on the amount of income a government-dependent person receives:

Pretty staggering that in 1962, the government was giving out around $6,000 to it’s dependents. Today that is a shocking $25,000 worth of entitlements. Shame on President Bush for letting this trend continue as well.

The issue at hand is the slide toward socialism that every single government entitlement program brings with it. The Obama administration is working day and night to speed up this process and create more dependent Democrat voters. Much of this is coming in the way President Obama trashes the stock market in hopes people will lose faith in capitalism and continue looking more to his nanny-state government for their future.

Keeping this on track, here’s a little examination of President Obama’s proposed budget:

Overall, the budget projects an unprecedented $1.75 trillion deficit for this year – and suggests no comprehensive plan for reducing the estimated $12.7 trillion national debt.

It does, however, call for several huge new initiatives that will deepen the debt, next year and for the long haul. Worse, these initiatives would greatly expand American’s dependence on government.

A prime example: Obama’s call to create a $624 billion fund to expand government health care. This is just a down payment on his universal-coverage initiative, which is expected to cost the taxpayers an estimated $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

He would fund it by: 1) squeezing provider payments for Medicare and Medicaid (e.g., reducing payments for the popular Medicare Advantage program), and 2) hiking taxes by some $318 billion.

So here we see more examples of how Obama plans to continue dependence on his government instead of dependence on individuals. What is sad here is that President Obama and the modern day Democrat Party have worked tirelessly to tear people down and convince them they can never get ahead unless the government helps them.

Here’s another example proving my points. The provisions in the “stimulus” bill which basically destroy the successful welfare reforms passed in the 1990s:

A major public policy success, welfare reform in the mid-1990s led to a dramatic reduction in welfare dependency and child poverty. This successful reform, however is now in jeopardy: Little-noted provisions in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate stimulus bills actually abolish this historic reform. In addition, the stimulus bills will add nearly $800 billion in new means-tested welfare spending over the next decade. This new spending amounts to around $22,500 for every poor person in the U.S. The cost of the new welfare spending amounts, on average, to over $10,000 for each family paying income tax.

Why on earth would President Obama want to sign legislation which rolls back one of the most successful government reforms ever passed? It was passed with bipartisan support from a Republican congress and signed by Bill Clinton.

What other reason can there be other than a desire to continue expanding the welfare state and continue trying to convince people that Obama’s government will save them?

The sad truth is that President Obama is keeping a few campaign promises such as those dealing with spreading our hard-earned wealth to non-producers and working toward a more socialist model for America.

However, with all that criticism, here are some constructive solutions to budgeting which you can consider:

A responsible federal budget proposal would contain these elements.

Limit Overall Spending

A temporary recession should not lead to a permanent expansion of the federal government. Since federal spending totaled 20 percent of GDP before the recession, Obama should aim to bring spending back to that level as soon as the economy recovers, likely within two years. To do this, the budget should:

* Keep the “stimulus” temporary. The President should pledge to oppose any attempts to make permanent any stimulus provisions that are not fully offset by lower-priority spending cuts. This spending was sold to the American people as temporary, and that promise should be kept. Extending this spending would require permanently raising taxes by nearly $3,000 per household.

* Resist false promises of a free lunch in health care. Some have suggested that Obama can expand Medicare drug subsidies for seniors as well as add millions of Americans to government health care rolls without increasing the health care budget. While Washington’s health programs certainly contain large inefficiencies—a good reason not to expand government-provided health care—it is completely unrealistic to assume that simple efficiencies can immediately offset hundreds of billions of dollars in new health spending. Such government expansions are thus totally unaffordable in today’s economic and budgetary climate.[3]

* Address Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These three programs already comprise 40 percent of all spending and are growing 7 percent annually on autopilot as 77 million baby boomers begin retiring. Simply put, there is no way to bring the federal budget under control—or even close to balance—until these programs are reformed.[4] At minimum, President Obama should call on Congress to pass legislation creating a bipartisan entitlement reform commission that would write legislation for Congress to vote up-or-down.[5]

* List the unfunded obligations in the budget. President Obama should also incorporate the massive long-term unfunded obligations of programs such as Social Security and Medicare into his budget and require Congress to focus on the long-term fiscal implications of their policies. This is especially important while Congress considers a Medicare drug subsidy expansion that would likely cost future generations trillions of dollars.[6] The President should work with Congress to put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on a fixed long-term budget with periodic review and action to keep spending within the budget.

* Support spending caps. In each of the past two years, Congress has passed budgets expanding discretionary spending by 8 percent. On top of that, they enacted $333 billion in “emergency” spending in 2008 and passed a $1.1 trillion “stimulus” this year.[7] Clearly, the budget process created to help lawmakers set priorities and make trade-offs has collapsed. Even the current PAYGO rules—which apply to only a very narrow class of spending and are routinely ignored—have proven woefully insufficient to rein in the escalating budget. Enforceable spending caps can provide the structural rules necessary to make the difficult but necessary budget choices. President Obama should embrace spending caps as part of an overall budget process reform agenda.

The bottom line is that the current economic situation should not lead to a permanent expansion of government a create even more government-dependent Americans. Unfortunately that is exactly what President Obama is doing and we’re all going to pay through the nose.

Most of all, I feel for the people who have been victims of President Obama’s willingness to break their spirit about achieving success and happiness. He has convinced too many people that their success comes from the government, that is a shame.