FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Americans have become alarmingly dependent on handouts from Uncle Sam, according to a new report.
Government social welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance made up 35% of all public and private wages and salaries last year. That's more than one-third of all the money Americans earned.
These findings are contained in a study of government data done by TrimTabs Investment Research. In 2000, 21% of all wages and salaries in the United States came from social welfare programs. In 1960, it was just 10%.
One of the economists at TrimTabs says we're in for some difficult times ahead unless this country can get back to at least the 26% ratio it had before the recession started. And she says there are only two ways to do that: Either increase private sector wages and salaries by 35% or cut social welfare benefits by nearly a quarter. Neither of those things is likely to happen.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called entitlement programs, make up more than 60% of federal spending each year. As the baby boomers get older, retire and need more medical care, the costs for those programs will only go up.
While the squabbling over budget cuts continues on Capitol Hill, you can be sure no one is touching these programs. The $60 billion measure passed by the House last month didn't touch one dime of those three programs.
As the evidence continues to mount that our country is hurtling toward an economic disaster, our government refuses to respond in any meaningful way.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if social welfare benefits make up more than 1/3 of all wages and salaries paid in the U.S.?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Mike in Brooklyn:
It means that we're in a bad Recession. One so bad that it's really a Depression. What is shocking to me about how you phrase your question, Jack, is that you fail to include all the handouts to businesses (especially the large corporations), trade associations, and "development" commissions, among other entities, that get subsidies.
Sylvia in San Diego:
It means that we are a welfare nation and in order to recover from this economic disaster, it will be very painful for many.
Larry in Springfield, Ohio:
Jack, it means that those jobs that Americans refuse to do need to be done by Americans that refuse to do them. If they are able otherwise, we need to stop paying people not to work.
Welcome to reality. The middle class used to make money and pay taxes. Now the rich make the money and don't pay taxes; the poor don't make money and receive poverty credits to keep them from attacking the system with pitchforks.
Jack, I'm certainly no authority but how can Social Security be classified as a "handout" when people who draw on it are the same people who used some of their salary to pay into it? It is money earned but saved. The Government should never have borrowed on it in the first place, and technically were not supposed to. If left alone to earn interest, most likely there would be more money now.
Nancy in Tennessee:
The answer does lie in increasing wages and salaries in the private sector by 35%. It all boils down to jobs. This country needs more jobs that will provide a living wage. Americans are hurting individually and that translates into a hurting American economy.
It means that we are a socialist country, whether we like it or not. And while people may not like the label, just try taking away all that income!
It means I'm in the wrong job!