What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?
February 8th, 2012
03:50 PM ET

What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Nearly half of Americans live in a household that receives government assistance.

This stunning finding comes from a new report from a George Mason University-based research center.

More than one-in-three Americans lived in a household getting Medicaid, food stamps or other means-based government assistance in 2010.

When you add in those getting Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits, it represents almost half of the country.

More than 148,000,000 Americans.

The federal government sent a record total of $2 trillion to individuals in 2010. The stunning part is that's up 75% from a decade ago.

There's another new study from the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation that shows the public's dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two-years under President Obama.

This comes at a time when fewer Americans - less than half of us - pay income taxes.

Some say the rise in dependence under President Obama is due to the recession and high unemployment. But others say extending unemployment benefits indefinitely actually keeps unemployment rates higher because it creates an incentive not to work.

Meanwhile the country's safety net has become a hot topic in the presidential race.

Mitt Romney is under fire for saying he's not concerned about the very poor because they have an "ample" safety net. It's a comment I bet he wishes he could take back.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Pete in Georgia

    It means the Democrats have succeeded in turning America into a Socialist State.....................and the WORST is yet to come.
    God help our kids and grandkids.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  2. sarah

    It means that if we continue on this path there will not be enough funds to facilitate this, we are down a wayward, down-spiral.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. David Rand

    Cut benefits, Increase taxes on rich and let's get a real middle class. Increase import taxes and drop all income tax on mfgs and let's get this nation back to work.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Peg from NY

    It means that the Middle Class has been sucked into the vortex of poverty.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    It means that someone else besides Halliburton, the oil company, banks, etc., are getting in on "the freebies." If half of Americans are paying taxes, shouldn't they also be eligible for government assistance? That is why we pay taxes so that those in need can have a place to go. I don't want to take care of them. Let the government do it.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  6. Ed from MD

    It probably means home prices will never come down to a level they could afford, since the government subsidizing them keeps it out of reach. Robbing them of the dignity of supporting themselves.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Conor in Chicago

    It means "Trickle Down Economics" has run its course. We are now a nation of Rich and poor, with almost no middle, and in order to prevent civil unrest and civil war, the government needs to maintain the situation by making sure people arent starving. I welcome anyone else's opinion but no matter how stylish they say it, no matter what statistics they cite, and no matter what talking points they use from leftist or rightist media, that's the situation.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  8. Jk from Minnesota

    Where are all those millions of jobs for these people that those "Job Creators were going to create with the years of ridiculous tax cuts they've received. I'd say there needs to be a reassessment of those policies.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Dr. George

    When 99% of Americans need publc assisstance and only one half is getting it, it means America is still in a recession. But it shows Obama's government is trying to help low income people. Oviously capitalism is not working.Perhaps it's time for a change to a social democratic government. But we need more charity and beneficence.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  10. Brad, Portland, OR

    Republicans will claim that they're all slackers and we should cut food stamps and all government assistance so they'll be forced to find a job or starve.

    I think it means that there are a lot of poor people for whom the system isn't working.

    While the rich keep getting richer, the median salary for working people hasn't gone up in 40 years. All the benefits of a growing economy have gone to the top 1%.

    The supply-side economics we've been practicing for the last 40 years, since Reagan, is an abject failure. Giving rich people more money doesn't cause any more to trickle down to average people, and the "job creators" have mostly been creating jobs in India and China where they can get people to work for 30 cents an hour and live in crowded dorms at the factories.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  11. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Now we know why we are broke Jack.This is the result of 40 years of getting re elected at any cost.And if we do not
    stop we will be a bankrupt nanny state just like Greece.It means that we have started to lose that really special quality
    we had many years ago thanks to politicians who gave out trillions in free stuff to get re elected then gave the rest of OUR money to the rest of the world.So here we are in our semi nanny state.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  12. Loren

    It means that our system of government may be really screwed up. Whether this really means anything depends on what's considered government assistance. Tax breaks could be seen as government assistance that affects the rich, poor and everybody in between. Just goes to show that you can make statistics tell you whatever you want.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Steve

    That means it's Obama care. One promise held by Obama that he was going to help the poor, and he kept it. .

    February 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I must be missing the boat---I'm not on that side of the 50%---it is better to receive than give--

    February 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  15. Bob from Bellmore Long Island, New York

    There are plenty of people who feel that those getting government assistance are just lazy freeloaders; and I have no doubt that there are some who are taking advantage. But the majority of people and families receiving government assistance are hurting and need help. A better question would be what would happen to those families receiving government assistance if it were taken away. Oh, but wait, I'm sure private enterprise would come to their aid.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  16. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    It means that through the extensive use of lobbiests on Capital Hill, the very wealthy have recreated the glory days once enjoyed by the "Robber Barons" of old. Fortunately for the downtrodden, abused or just plain hoodwinked, starting with Teddy Roosevelt, our nation has provided them with assistance that keeps them fed and sheltered. Free market economics have created a wonderful country in the past, but unfettered, one-sided greed has been deteriorating the enjoyment of those gains for all but a priveledged greedy few.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  17. John from Alabama

    Jack: It means that the 6.5% I paid every week, two weeks, or month, and the 6.5% my employers paid every week is paying off in monthly social security checks, and along with medicare it is working. Social Security payments are not an entitlement program, but rather something we paid into years ago. Some people spent 20, 25 ,30, 35, and 40 years defending this nation against all enemies foreign or domestic, so help them God. They are now reaping the fruits of their labor from military retirement, but some military personnel were wounded lost limbs, and their minds; therefore, they recieve veterans benefits. Some of the finest men and women died for their country, but the left behind loved ones who must and will be taken care of., so help me God.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Bill of New Mexico

    As well as these families on government assistance, America is in trouble.

    One more reason that America has need to get its debt reduced.

    Increase taxes. Reduce the budget spending significantly–especially the military budget.

    Conditions will only worsen–not improve. America's strength is draining.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Gary H. Boyd

    It means that Obama's plan to turn America into a socialist society is working. That half the population now relies upon the government for support is in perfect keeping with a socialist concept. Capitalism in America is under incredible pressure from Washington and Barack Hussein Obama is the architect - clear and simple.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    It means we're in trouble, as if we didn't already know this. But hey, let's give more tax breaks to billionaires and cut off all funding for health care for the elderly, veterans, and the poor. According to the GOP it's our best way out of this mess. Good grief, I never thought I'd see my country go to hell in a hand basket, as it were, for the sake of taking care of the rich and the corporations, but that's exactly what we're seeing. Shared sacrifice my behind. More like sacrifice the needy at the altar of greed.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  21. Joe Ft Walton Bch Fl

    It means that the government is doing their job of taking care of the needy.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  22. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    It means that corporate America, along with an eager and willing Congress, has sucessfully raped the American economy. This is the result of the Reaganomics that kicked off the fleecing of the middle class. NAFTA, and similar criminal level trade policies, have brought this country to its knees, and Republicans appear to be not only un-remorseful, they are delighted, and seek more wealth transfer to the super rich. In the near future, our citizens will be the source of cheap labor, working for pennies to assemble Communist Chinese goods. What goes around, comes around.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  23. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    It means we are a society that for the most part cares about it's people. It also means we are a society still on the mend from what the Bush Administration's deregulation did to the country.

    Republicans not withstanding, when people who have had opprtunity and livilihoods snatched away from them by greedy corporations and financiers abetted by a lobbyist government society as a whole has an obligation to assist those people, through the government, until opportunities for them return to the job market.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  24. Andre R. Newcomb

    Plenty of feed money for the country club and plenty of patsies who are quick to be bought off.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  25. Mel - Houston

    Jack, are you thinking like a Republican today. I hate to be like Bill Clinton; but, what is your definition of government assistance. I exist on the early Social Security payments which I paid into all my life. I personally don't call that government assistance. That was my money at work with the US Government. If you live with a relative and utilize your Veteran Benefits one can exist at a comfortable level.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  26. Jenna Roseville CA

    What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?

    It means that 30 years later Reaganomics turned out to be a complete and utter failure. If I was a member of the GOP I would back away from these failed policies and work with Democrats to fix the mess we find ourselves in.. But then again that would be logical and well let's face it that is not one of the GOP's strong suits.

    Roseville CA

    February 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

    Because times are hard.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

    tampa, fl then things can still get worse, huh.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  29. Charles, Lansing, Michigan

    It is much more than half receiving government assistance. If you hold stock in corporations such as General Electric and Haliburton, which pay no Federal Income Tax, you are also getting government assistance.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  30. Terry

    Pretty simple Jack...Most of us haven't returned to work due to our age, new technology, and when your out more than 6 months no one wants to even take you on. We have to eat, pay what bills we can and if it weren't for programs that provide assistance who knows where we'd be. A horrible way to live your life and most of us our not to proud of it.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  31. bonnie from NJ

    You have asked this before in different words and it still sounds derogatory. I realize, of course, there is fraud involved in some of these cases. But so many of these cases are from losing jobs. The politicians let the corporations (the job creators) keep massive profits by letting them take all the jobs overseas, and act like we are stealing when we need some assistance to get through the rough times. Maybe at this point there are a few jobs coming back, but there are still massive amounts of people out of work and/or underemployed. I literally see people at the grocery store trying to conceal their assistance cards because they are embarassed and then have to listen to these mega rich policiticians calling Obama the "food stamp president." Anyone getting assistance better stock up becuase if a Republican wins there will still be no jobs and there will no assistance either.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  32. Russ in PA

    It means that politicians have managed to buy off Americans, and buried the Republic. Now we're just another European country with less history, and less style. It's just great what politicians and the Federal Reserve have been able to do in such a short period of time, isn't it?

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    February 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  33. Pat, Twin Falls, Idaho

    Where did you get those statistics?

    February 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  34. Richard Texas

    It means that those people might get to eat a meal tonight when without that government assistance they might not. Being on government assistance is not a bad thing. Some people can not help the situation they are in. Others can but refuse to. What ever the reason these are people we are talking about. You know human beings, just trying to survive from day to day in most cases. What they do with their situation is up to them.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  35. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Jack, it means we are fastly becoming a nation of rich and poor with no middle class. We need to stop getting involved in nationbuilding and wars and start using that money here at home to fix the holes in the net Romney refers to. Just think how much of that money we could have used to fix our infrastructure and put a lot of these people back to work.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  36. wayne, va beach, va

    In hard times such as now it says alot about our country, that we care about our citizens. But when the percentage
    stays the same during BOOM times, it says that we have a lot of lazy citizens who dont care a lot for their country.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  37. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    It means that the people that are so strongly supportive of initiatives for smaller government are the half of American families not receiving any Government assistance or benefiting from any Government programs, and don't really understand or appreciate just how vital and necessary some Government programs are to many Americans during this global recession recovery. It's nice to have a Government there to help support American families when they most need it.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  38. Phyllis G. Williams

    What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?

    It means that hundreds of us have spent our youth sweating for the Government
    that is now saying thanks from our savings for retirement.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  39. Rick McDaniel

    It means we have a lot of people in this country, without jobs. A whole lot, and tens of thousands of them, aren't even in the statistics of the unemployed.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  40. David in Tampa

    It means shame on our business community for holding not only our politician and the political process hostage but the welfare of the populace hostage as well. It also means shame on our politicians for letting them and putting the well being of our country far behind ideology, partisanship, and political games. It means that safety net for the poor Romney harps about is about to collapse around that increasing segment of the economy. Hopefully, it means that we have reached an economic bottom and will begin the long slow painful process of crawling toward prosperity.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  41. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, it means our republic is doomed... and liberals, progressives, leftists, communists, and marxists among others will be to blame

    February 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  42. Ed from California

    And why do they seem to vote republican? I guess the "trickle down" has gotten to them yet. Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs???

    February 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  43. Mr D

    It means that we will all probably meet in the "breadline" sometime in the future. I cringe when I hear a politician blab: "our greatest days are yet to come."

    February 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  44. Nancy

    it means the this country is still recoverying from the disaster that is known as bush #43. and until our president gets rid of the party of NO this is continue to get worse.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  45. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    It means that if Republican's win the White House they will be cut off and become homeless since their mantra is "Every person for themselves" The rich get ice in summer, the poor get it in the winter.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  46. Larry in Houston

    What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?
    Answer : It means that a lot of Jobs that Are out there, are Professional Jobs, such as Doctors / Lawyers / CEO's / and Indian Chiefs, and Less Indians, to do the actual work.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  47. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it means the Middle Class has become "The Working Poor" and what used to be the working poor is now in the unemployment line.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  48. RickFromDetroit

    It means that 30 years of the Reagan Era of privatization and capitalism has not worked and the only thing we lead the world in today day is, we have more millionaires and billionaires than any country on the planet, and we also have more debt than any country on the planet. The unequal distribution of wealth has destroyed our tax base, consumer spending, and our middle class, and left many Americans with entitlements as a source of income.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  49. Russ in LA

    I suppose if Business's are households since corporations are people... Yeah, that's about half.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  50. tom bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Every household gets assistance. The Romneys are on the gravy train at half price, while hundreds of millionaires pay nothing at all. Corporate leeches like Big Oil have gotten billions in subsidies and grants. That is how the rich get rich.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  51. Bert from L.A.

    Hi Jack, when half of us live in a household on government assistance it means 30 years of Reaganomics has failed. It means the Big Lie that our nation’s wealth will “trickle down” if left in the grip of speculators who play the world’s stock markets, which have no allegiance to us, has resulted in our middle-class wealth being siphoned off to a global corporate economy. It means we must tax and regulate Big Business.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  52. Jared Schwartz

    I means that trickle down economics (tax breaks for the rich and bug business) still does not work. Every thing has gone up, health care, food prices, gas prices, CORPORATE PROFITS, housing costseverything except, Wages. Minimum wage to me is the least amount of money you can live on per hour based on a 40 hour work week, do the math and you will see why the number is so high. The death of labor unions has caused this along with some of their unreasonable demand.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  53. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    It means the American Dream is dead and that the United States is becoming a welfare state and losing its' place as leader of the free world. Very sad.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  54. Pete from Florida

    First, we need to clarify something – dependence on the government didn't "shoot up under Obama", it shot up as a result of George W. Bush. Remember Bush? Recession, massive layoffs, financial crises, all starting well BEFORE Obama took office??? Massive problems take a LONG time to fix, and things ARE improving under Obama. SO, what itr mea

    February 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  55. Jim, Denver CO

    It means that Washington needs to come out of the bubble and start working for common people instead of the corporate and 1% special interests. It means that Citizens United needs to be overturned. It means unless somebody in power starts making compromises and working for the common good that there may be a second American Revolution coming.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  56. Tom

    Jack, when half of the country is on the dole, it pretty well shows us on the way to a socialist state. Wanting to tax the producers to support the moochers, is the next indicator. Then there is Obama's "spread the wealth around". Sounds like Marxism to me.

    Tom, Florida

    February 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  57. Pete from Florida

    First, we need to clarify something – dependence on the government didn't "shoot up under Obama", it shot up AS A RESULT OF George W. Bush. Remember Bush? The Great Recession, massive layoffs, jobs shipped overseas, financial crises, all starting well BEFORE Obama took office??? These massive problems will take a LONG time to fix, and things ARE improving under Obama. SO, what it means is that Bush hurt the economy so badly that it's gonna take Obama more than just a couple of years to repair the damge, especailly since Republicans fight and block him every step of the way.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  58. rex in portland, oregon

    It means, Jack, that the economic policies of the last thirty years or so were not good - yeah, those SAME policies that are STILL being touted as the end to all problems. We Americans seem to never learn from history.

    We still do not accept that trickle-down has failed – and any attempt to expose the fraud is beat down by millions of dollars of propaganda.

    It is no wonder to me that half the popuation in this country need help. The ice cold fact is that it has been the government's (the people, the masses, the middle class, if you will) sole job is to enrich the strong and gifted. That has already been accomplished, Jack. Now it is time to reassess our economic stupidity. Now it is time for the people (the government) to gain control from the enriched. Now is the time for us to look at the lessons of history.



    February 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  59. JB from Nashville

    It means that this administration has destroyed America! And, President Obama has the nerve to say he deserves another term? He should resign effective immediately before he does any more damage to this country and it's people.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  60. chris

    it means we created a system that makes it too easy go get taxpayeras to pay for your living expenses yes some are justified but many are to l;lazy to and keep on the taxpayers tab wait till it will get worse

    February 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  61. Mark

    It means we have a lot of "free loaders" in this country who've made some bad decisons in life. Oh that's right, you liberals don't know the meaning of "personal responsibility". Look it up in a dictionary some day.
    Mark in BC NV

    February 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  62. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Your figures are bogus. When is everyone going to get it through their thick skulls that Social Security is NOT a government hand out? It is OUR money that the government forced us to save for our old age, nothing more nothing less. Medicare is health insurance that we were forced to pay for most of our lives and we still have to pay premiums every month plus a co-pay. And that still leaves 20% of the bill that we have to cover ourselves.

    As for the more realistic figure of about a third of the population actually getting handouts from the government (that the rest of us also pay for), they are people who are unable to find work because of the previous administration’s criminal policies and the current administration’s incompetence (or worse). I will also bet that there is a large proportion of children in that demographic. But it all means that we are on our way to Hell in a shopping cart and we will endure a ton of hurt on the way.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  63. Ken - Kingsport, TN

    Jack, this tells you that the two-party Plutocracy has won. One side wants to enslave you through subsidized dependence, and the other just wants to enslave you. Either way, most of the American people are now enslaved in a Plutocracy to the ruling elite. Rome is now burning. At some point, there is going to be another American Revolution.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  64. Mr. Saltar

    It means than unemployment is high and all the government assistance social programs need to be updated and some of them need to be completely removed; especially the free cell phone program.
    There is saying that goes "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" and that's exactly what the government needs to do, and stop what they are doing which is only creating parasites. Extending unemployment’s benefits doesn’t help anybody. Teach those men and women new skills, and they will figure out how to come up on top of the situation. Because that’s what we do as Americans! We are not a socialist-communist country; therefore we shouldn’t try to act as one. So wake up America…. It’s half time!

    Laurel, MD

    February 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  65. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    What does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance?
    1st America is in a 'sad' state of affairs
    2nd "WE" (the middle class) can't suppor "both"t government and welfare recipients, which means get rid of half of each
    3rd Pee Test would probably help matters considerably-in both
    4th Consider them illigeals and ship them to Egypt or Seria-show'm what poverity is really like
    'i' know you don't want me to go on so 'i' won't, Jack

    February 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  66. Karl in Flint

    It means the other half need to start creating jobs for them.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  67. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    It shows entitlement spending is out of control and we're paying the price for outsourcing American jobs to Communist China and others for the past 30+ years.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  68. Steve Paul

    Let's play fair Jack. If you include SS and Medicare I resent the implication. I draw SS and I paid for it for a very long long time. Since I was 15 I paid into this. The Gov. and Media buy into calling SS a Gov. susbsistance/ program. Take us retirees out of the equation or give us our money back (with interest). To your actual question it means there are no jobs and the welfare state has been growing due to gov. policies and World change. We need help, not socialism.
    Nashville, In

    February 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  69. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, it means that 30 years of Republican economic policies have ripped the bottom out of the economy. We trusted Ronald Reagan when he sold us that bill of goods about benefits trickling down if we gave the wealthy a breake. The great communicator turned out to be the great swindler.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  70. Doug Ericson

    The question doesn't even include all the jobs that are essentialy welfare for politically connected individuals. It tells me we aren't very good at making things anymore. Look at Apple, arguably our best company, and they have most of their products made overseas. Maybe we ought to rethink the policies, that makes it so desirable for companies to hire workers outside this country, from both sides of the equation. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  71. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Didn't you ask this question before??? It means all the Big Liberal Programs that were supposed to fix all the Ills in the country have failed. Sorry but i'm a Hard Right Wing Conservitave that thinks I need to carry my own water, before I ask someone else to do it. Maybe i will make it yet.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  72. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    I suspect that some of this assistance includes tax benefits for children and child care. Even then, it takes an army of IRS and social service workers to pay out all this cash, along with the private tax preparers – all of whom get a cut. What all this means is that we are better off with a simplified tax system where employers get a credit on a VAT-like net business receipts tax that they pass on to employees with wages, the bigger the better, without the army of tax preparers, IRS agents and social workers we currently employ. If you make the child credit high enough, people will have enough money to spend and not so many people will need government based assistance.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  73. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    It means the GOP is giving way too much to their rich friends.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  74. John Lake Charles, LA

    What it means Jack, is that the super rich elite in this country better start paying a lot more in taxes then their misely 15%. We need to back to the 50's when the top tax rate was around 90% because government assistance is not going away any time soon unless Washington wants to start finding a lot of dead bodies lying around every lower class and every middle class neighborhood.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  75. LLW, Austin, Texas

    It means that the Republican stragegy to starve the beast by destroying US Jobs is being effective. It means that the Democrats support of FTAs and Chapter 11 which nullify American Sovereign immunity is also just as effective at destroying US jobs. What you are witnessing is the complete de-leveraging of Constitutional representation by both parties. This is being done with the full support and sanction of the media. You no longer live in a Constitutional Republic, but a Plutarchy. You have been sold out by both parties and yet Americans seem strangely disconnected from this fact. I suppose this is what you get when people refuse to think critically about the big picture and are content to be distracted with political noise.

    You get the government you vote for, if people continue to tolerate the destruction of the Republic for another form of Government, then they have no one but themselves to blame.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  76. stevegee


    It means our country is at a tipping point, and our future hangs in the balance. Do we want to be a Socialist Welfare state, controlled by Obama. Or, do we want a constitutional republic where freedom and liberty reign, where individual opportunity is nurtured and prosperity celebrated. We'll get our answer in November; I pray its the Right one.

    Steve in Philadelphia

    February 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  77. Greg Turman


    The meaning : the president should have invested tax payer money into stuff that people actually buy & use. $31,000 home solar panels & $43,000 electric Volt cars were loosers from the get go. If there is no demand there are no jobs.
    Yours Truly,
    Gregory Turman

    February 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  78. Bob Schroder Piedmont Quebec Canada

    It means,if elected, President Newt will send them a trampoline.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  79. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Socialism is alive and well in America. I hope the people that have said for years that outsourcing jobs is good for the American economy sleep well in their million dollar homes, driving their foreign cars and eating fish eggs every night. These people and the American CEO's are un-American and should live overseas in North Korea.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  80. Sylvia from San Diego

    It means that this President is a TOTAL FAILURE and needs to be booted out of Washington!

    February 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  81. Ruth from Indianapolis

    Social security is NOT government assistance. I am 75 years old. I paid into social security for 46 years. I thought (and still think of it) as an investment. I have never taken anything that I did not pay for. What are you telling me? That I should never have been born?

    February 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  82. Martha Brooks

    It means that for the last decade the economy has driven the majority of us into borderline poverty or true poverty. The reasons are obvious: wars, the Wolves of Wall Street, outsourcing, and self-serving oblivious politicians. And the 99% of us will remember next November, and we sure as heck won't vote for a Romney or Santorum.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  83. Chris from Florida

    it means that Government policies and wall street complicity have created an economy where opporunity is stifled and wealth distribution is getting to be a real social issue. This country was founded through hard work and sweat and sacrifice. The residue of hard work ought to be economic secuirty, and a large percentage of Americans have no security.IIt also means that soon the Occupy Wall Street movement will turn its theme to the ouster of all incumbants, and just perhaps, some sort of revolution. Recall what Senator Alan Simpson told Fareed Zakaria: "...something is going to happen. I don't know what, but something is going to happen...."

    February 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  84. David in Mississippi

    It means those of us working are about to fall out. Enployeers are shelling out the overtime like halloween candy. I like the extra money but it is taking a toll on my health and ability to work into my eighties so I can draw government assistance one day.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  85. Mitoosense

    Sadly, whats always overlooked is the government can only return what they have siezed, Hood Robin stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  86. Randy

    The same thing it means when 400 people own more wealth than 150 million people. It means that the rich are far too wealthy to sustain this countries economy much less anything resembling a democracy. You have to admit that the rich seem to always magically profit from everything from war to terrorism to the housing crisis to taxes to hopscotch. I think if you look a little closer you would find that we spend trillions more protecting and fortifying the wealthiest people's wealth than we do feeding a family of four ramen noodles and bologna.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  87. Cy Gardner

    It raises a very important question: WHERE'S MINE????? cy from arlington, va

    February 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  88. Pat in Michigan

    There is not enough room to tell you the whole story but when securing soc.sec. benefits for my dying 65 yr old sister I watched a parade of able bodied punks appling for disability and laughing about it in the parking lot.This is what is burying us.
    The cure ?3 independent physicians with real credentials in their field must agree on a diagnosis of permenent disability to secure benefits. no more freeloaders. we are drowning here!

    February 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  89. ken from connecticut

    It means that the antichrist is getting closer to revealing himself . He's getting closer to getting the control over this country he needs . We just seem to want to give it to him. Some people are awake and can see. Too bad most in this country are fooled so easily.. They are asleep. Wake up people. Ask the Lord to open your eyes before it is too late!!

    February 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  90. lisa, N.J.

    If the unemployment rate is only 9.3%. How can we have 50% of our citizens on Government assistance.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  91. Dan in Albuquerque

    Jack, contrary to the GOP propaganda, many if those people ae retired or disabled, drawing social security. The unemployed alsoay taxes on their checks.I paid for 43 years to draw my Social Security, and I deserveit. It is mine, not the GOP's.. The GOP would have you believe they are all drugged-out kids, too lazy to work. That is so they can destroy Medicaid, privatize Social Security, putting all of us at risk of losing everything. Like Romney, they don't really care about the poor, only the rich corporations that might benefit from their ultimate destruction of the safety net for Americans.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  92. Dennis in Florida

    It probably means that the incumbents responsible for the handouts will be reelected!


    February 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  93. Cy Gardner

    TV used to be free. Now it's not. Once hardly anyone had a home computer. Now if you're not connected you probably can't apply for most jobs. The housing bubble drastically drove up real estate prices and rents. The crash did not bring rents back down. Insurance is more costly and less trusted than it used to be. Speculators drive up the price of fuel and food to the detriment of the greater good. And my salary has been frozen for four years. When prices go up and salaries go down more people become poor. Why is that such a surprise to you know it alls in the media bubble? This is the natural result of our system of Darwinistic Capitalism: the rich take everything and the rest of us get food stamps. Pass the government cheese, Jack. cy from arlington,va

    February 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  94. Sean, Roseville, California

    It means too many jobs have moved to China.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  95. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    It means that, while it could be much worse, and in fact under George W. Bush, was worse...that Obama is at least paying more attention to the homefront and now throwing money into a foreign war which we had no business in to start with, again referring to Bush and the Iraq War. Romney's comment that he's not concerned about the very poor sums up the entirety of the GOP when it comes to the lower-class American. They just don't care.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  96. Lisa in GA

    Jack, It means that some are living beyond their means. I have 5 people in my household and I make 28,000 a year. I don't get government assistance and still manage to put away some money in a 401 k... it's not much.. but I don't have to have the lastest and greatest...and it gives me the opportunity to make sure my kids EARN what they get and not expect smeone to just give them something. not being hungry is enough to keep me on track!

    February 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  97. Ben from Boston

    It means that Mr. Romney is not concerned with half the Americans, and Mr. Obama is not concerned enough with keeping jobs in America – he should have gotten behind the pipeline deal and he should be pushing expanded production of natural gas in the US. You need cheap energy to make more good jobs and you need a lot more good jobs to get folks off assistance. I would like to see the President come around to this position, but if he doesn't maybe Mr. Santorum comes closest. I wish Hillary had won,

    February 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  98. Fred from Oshawa

    It means more trouble in the future as the middle class the main taxpayers are slowly losing their good earning jobs and getting low paying temp or contract jobs. This then leads to more working poor with less people paying taxes and more people needing assistance. It will not end unless Americans stop the greed and stop sending their livelihood and their jobs to overseas companies. Make America great once again.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  99. Terry in Virginia

    This means the job creators along with the Republicans and Democrats have failed America. It's time for real change in our country and it starts by voting out all incumbents this November.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  100. raisingseven

    When I was in my 20's it was embarrassing to be on government assistance. Now people seem to think they are entitled and there is no shame anymore. It's sad.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  101. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    What people fail to look at is unemployment benefits, social security, and medicare are all insurance programs that the government decided to get into and collect premiums. None of the deductions from our pay was optional. We all were forced to carry these guarantees. Now the government needs to honor them.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  102. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Ontario)

    It means to me that corporate America's thirst for shipping good jobs offshore to "maximize shareholder value" has just about destroyed Main Street America. People can't make ends meet with part-time minimum wage jobs. Unless politicians find a way to force those good jobs back home, America is doomed financially. What makes me think they're not up to the task?

    February 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  103. becky, Las Vegas

    It means that there isn't enough scrutiny going into those who are receiving aid. There should be a litmus test, Jack. If you go on aid, you must take routine drug tests and sign contracts that a woman will bear no more children while on aid to get a check. Just those two provisions alone would reduce the number of people receiving aid. With regard to food aid, fewer choices should be allowed. Since when does a Gatorade or soda fit into a healthy food plan?

    February 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  104. lorraine tartaglio

    it means we have a failed demcoratic party that would rather see amercia and its people be under and dependant on the gov . rather then , vote for jobs in this country, that are available like the pipe line, it means 1/3 of ppl on welfare really do need it and 1/3 are just lazy and want a free ride on amercians back, and the other 1/3 we give to those who are in jail and think they deserve it, you have to be kidding me amercia needs to wake up , we need a good economy , and we need a great gov. in washington who can do this and fix our country because we are in trouble and if any one thinks were not , there kidding them selves or they really dont care about this country god hep us all

    February 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  105. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    It means government is relevant in a lot of people's lives. Especially to children in poverty trying to survive a recession.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  106. Emma in Baltimore

    It means there's a lag between between economic recovery and prosperity. The recession was so bad that the effects are still being felt as the recovery progresses. As jobs become more available, it should get better. However, it may get worse before it gets better as pre-recession household resources continue to dry up.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  107. Robert Moses

    In recent months it was reported that the top 400 income earners in the U.S. collectively make more money than approximately 155 million Americans combined. When less than 1% of the population make that much more than the other 99% what other outcome could you reasonably expect? By the way, I am one of those on Social Security and Medicare, and if I remember correctly, Social Securty Tax, and every other tax imaginable was extracted from every single paycheck I ever made. So from my standpoint this is not "Entitlement", it is the Government living up to their end of the bargain.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  108. Al

    What do you expect with all these job killing trade agreements, resulting a loss of 8 million+ jobs .

    February 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  109. Ed in California

    It means that half of the 90 percenters are government subsidized.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  110. Renee Peoria,Ill

    It means all of those sheep buying into the socialist state talk better hope the Republicans don't send their jobs overseas or they'll find themselves singing a different tune. And by the way, I've been on unemployment before, a real paycheck brings in a lot more money. A fact the sheep don't seem to be aware of. Beware of who you vote for when you don't have the facts. That's what really got us into this mess in the first place.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  111. Ed in California

    Meant 99 percenters.....blame my keyboard

    February 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  112. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It means the greed of the private sector over many years has caught up with us.

    It is the private sector who are the job providers that need to step up and begin to bring jobs home, then people can get off of assistance.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  113. John C from Long Island

    Fear mongering politicos will scream that this is proof that President Obama has succeeded in turning America into a Socialist state. They will wail about the overwhelming corruption of welfare recipients, the lazy, the slothful, immigrants, people of color. Their unyielding, insistent message will be one of Fear, Division, Resentment and Anger.

    Those that are slightly more pragmatic and compassionate will recognize the obvious truth: Our American Society is crumbling because for many, there are no jobs; for those lucky enough to be working, those earned wages no longer make ends meet.

    Without governmental assistance we would condemn a generation of our most vulnerable citizens to lives of hunger, sickness and despair.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  114. andy Lynn, MA

    It means that the uper rich have succeeded in creating a class of serfs and vassals.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  115. Gigi Oregon

    I would rather see my tax dollars going to care for the People of my country, than giving money to countries we pay to do things the American way. I was taught to take care of the poor, widow, the orphan and the stranger in a strange land. I resent paying rich companies money, Representatives that sit on their hands and not cooperating with a president. not of their choice, and calling the shrinking middle class the poor lazy. It means Capitalism has let its ugly face be seen in the light of day. And according to the good book it is not Biblical...

    February 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  116. Susan from Idaho

    It says what I have been saying for years " half of us are taking care of the other half ". That concept is only palatable by the half being cared for.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  117. Rose, London Texas

    When I earned a BBA decades ago, one primary business principle learned was to educate and elevate the underclass and keep a strong middleclass for a secure country. Another principle was to maintain a solid manufacturing base. Unfortunately, our politicians never learned these principles or their self-serving greed blinded them. Rose of Texas

    February 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

    It means that 1/4 of those people rightfully need it and use it strictly for basic needs.

    It also means the other 1/4 of those people are leeches and do not need it, obtain the charity money illegally, and use it for gambling, drugs or alcohol.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  119. Jeff in Minnesota

    Gee, and Congress thinks things are getting better. Oops!

    February 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  120. Chris from Mississippi

    First of all let me say that people receiving Social Security and Medicare should not be a part of the conversation, considering that they paid for it while working.

    Now on to the point of governmental assistance, most people who receive it would much rather have a nice and secure job. But if someone has the choice between working at a fast food restaurant part-time or getting more money for doing nothing, along with Healthcare insurance. Any person in their right mind would choose the latter option. I had a friend who died due to the fact that she could not get an operation done because she did not have any insurance. She worked part time at her job and was not offered Health insurance by her employer, and would not have been able to afford it if they did offer it to her. At the same time, she made too much money to receive Medicaid, and just to put it in perspective, she was making less than $500/month.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  121. Bones

    It means the top couple % have been successful in removing what used to be the middle class.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  122. Tom from Alabama

    I have been unemployed for almost 2 years and never once settled for just living off of unemployment. I have applied for several different jobs, but no offer has come my way. Anyone who thinks someone enjoys living off unemployment is insane. Because everybody has their own standard of living and when you move to receiving unemployment, you have to dramatically change that standard. But with the way companies are discriminating against the long-term unemployed, you might as well act like you are happy to just live off of unemployment. Because stressing does not change anything.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  123. C Longman ( Bconlong) Turks & Caicos

    Jack it only shows that money dosent come down we need to tell that to the republicans.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  124. MICK -- Wolf Creek Montana

    It means we must cut spending big time. Starting with unemployment, social security, SSI, medicare, medicaid and Pell grants and other assorted feel good programs. Our spending this going to turn this country into Greece. Time to pay the bills and balance the check book.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  125. Brad, Portland, OR

    You have to be careful about mixing up food stamps with Social Security and Medicare.

    I've paid in advance for Social Security and Medicare my whole working life. It's not welfare or an "entitlement," like food stamps.

    It's basically an annuity that I've bought and paid for.

    And Unemployment is also an insurance program paid for by me and my employer while I was working. Also not an entitlement or welfare program. I'm just getting what I paid for.

    So at worst, Jack, you can complain about 1/3 of the households, not 1/2.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  126. Larry Bauder

    From Vancouver BC Canada

    So much for trickle down economics. Send the 1% back to the drawing board.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  127. kay turner

    It means that is what happens when a nation goes through a Depression. And, that is exactly what we've experienced. If not for the safety nets put in place by FDR and the democrats during the last republican depression, americans would really know what it means when you follow the conservative doctrine.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  128. Michael from Texas

    It means that our government of the people and by the people is actually for the people.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  129. Anthony K.

    It means that our social safety nets do a good job of keep people afloat, but we arent doing a good job of giving them the tools needed to move up the ladder and no longer need assistance. It means that while it's important to give assistance to "stay alive", it's equally important to invest in areas like infrastructure and eduction so these people have the tools necessary to move up the ladder. If for no other reason than to make sure the amount of people on these programs stays at sustainable levels.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  130. Martha Campbell

    It means that more Baby Boomers are taking early retirement because their jobs are being done away with so employers can hire younger, less expensive workers. It means that we need to bring our jobs back from Mexico and China to put those on unemployment back to work. And it means that we need to help those on welfare and food stamps find jobs and make welfare only a subsidy and not their entire income. We need to do away with generational welfare.

    Jamestown, PA

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  131. Linda O'Brien, Youngstown, Ohio

    Before we jump to any conclusions that President Obama increased the number of people who are dependent on government assistance, consider the number of people who are underemployed. Middle class jobs have left our country. People may be employed, but still unable to financially pay their obligations. Where are the jobs going? Are they overseas where a bigger profit margin can be made?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  132. Dina

    Jack, it means the rich republicans had better learn quickly how to deal with, address the needs of, and humbly & fairly serve those who are not as prosperous as they are and do it genuinely...okay maybe I'm overreaching on the genuine part.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  133. Terry, Portland, OR

    Looks like George W. did a bang up job with his handling of the economy – he left the legacy of the most successful distribution of wealth chiefly through government subsidies. A major component of Economics and GDP is how government re-distributes wealth throughout society – Used to be most Americans relied on jobs and receiving wages for years of service – seems all we can look forward to to get back some of what the 1% have amassed over the past decade is in this form......go figure.....This is what happens when the Republicans get the reigns.....We ALL suffer.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  134. Sandy, Greensboro nc

    It brings "going to hell in a hand basket" a whole new meaning.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  135. Profgeorge

    It means Bush's pathetic legacy has had a devastating impact on millions. It means Pres. Obama has a huge hill ahead of him that he is doing his best to tackle and this do-nothing Congress isn't helping. It also means that more than 50% of the American population, are the people Romney says he doesn't "care" about because of the so called safety net. And Cafferty, why don't you try SMILING. It won't kill you...might even add years to your life.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  136. Sara in Denver

    It means that those working to pay taxes better add a zero to their withholding taxes. Sara

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  137. David

    What do people expect when both house of congrerss LET the economy go south.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  138. Leslie in Canada

    The study forgets to mention the government assistance given to households through the mortgage interest deduction from income taxes. And of course the more expensive the house the greater the benefit. Seems another example of the system being mostly for the benefit of the wealthiest.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  139. Dominick Ferranti

    It means 8 years under Geoge Bush and a war we did not fund and a declining manufacturing base due to the rise of China has finally caught up to us and we are now unable to support the growing homeless and jobless....what a surprise!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  140. Gerald Boyette

    It means Republicans using Supply Side Economics were in power for eight years. Unemployment does not mean you are lazy, our Veterans have a higher unemployment rate than non Veterans. Does that mean they are lazier? I think not, and I don't believe the number of unemployed means people are looking for a handout, that's absurd.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  141. Max in Atlanta

    This means our economy is below ground! The economy has been on a long spiral downwards since the 1990's. The dotcom bust was a huge factor fed by greed of investment firms who went all in with companies that had no real worth (hint:Enron) Overbuilding of homes, giving people mortgages who could not pay them and the cigar puffing cronies in the last decade who overlooked moral and ethical standards. Finally, prices for all goods and services skyrocketed without any appreciable boost in workers incomes. In other words, we are stuck at the top of an icy mountain trying not to fall off.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  142. Joel

    Jack, what you are failing to point out on this issue is that all this money that the government is "giving out" is money that we have already paid to the government in the form of social security, unemployment taxes and the like. People like my grandmother have paid into the system for over 60 years and you cannot count that in the figure that you're quoting. In fact, citing The Heritage Foundation (a notoriously conservative group) as your source is grossly inaccurate to say the least when trying to make your point.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  143. Brooks

    It means reality...what would people want any president to do? Romney or Obama? How soon we forget 2008! I don't. We all thought it was the end of the world. Are people expecting for rioting in the streets? Wake up will you. Thank or friend Mr. Bush and all of his Republican friends during most of the last decade.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  144. Sandstone.

    "Your government are Socialists. I guess you don't like the word? How long (if it isn't already happening) will it be before those same people, are picking over your Garbage-Dump's as they do in Third-World countries outside such as Nairobi??"

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  145. Larry Chapman

    It meens that 1 out of 3 Americans do not have an adequate income-thanks Walmart 1

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  146. Kate from Phoenix

    I'm 64 years old, made over $100,000 a year for 20 years or more. I lost my job as a marketing director due to the economy and spent two years looking for a fulltime job. No luck. There are very few jobs in AZ for someone with my qualifications and none for people my age. I've had to resort to Social Security, and discounts from my electric and gas companies due to low income. I would have preferred to hold off on SS, and didn't want unemployment, but what's a girl to do?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  147. chrystal055

    We are a Nation of Moochers,that is why I Lone Obama!!!!!!!More Free Food,and Free Health Care!!!!Hurray for Obama!!!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  148. Jeff in Denver, CO


    If 100% of the people get government assistance, that's called Marxism. Looks like we're half-way there.

    Jeff, Boulder, CO

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  149. Vince Hugh in Atlanta

    Jack, many people who get 'government assistance' get it from Medicare and Social Security. Many of these people are retired and own their homes and now get both medicare and Social Security to help with their retirement, which they paid into all their lives. So your question may give the impression that everyone getting gov't money is a 'taker' or loser who just lives off the gov't dole. And that number will increase every year as the hard working baby boomers retire and start collecting SS and Medicare. Vince Hugh, Atlanta

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  150. Earnestine Colbert

    Republicans gave Americans the American dream of homes, cars, credit knowing that we could not afford it. Now when the reality of all the stuff that Americans wanted and could not afford has come to "pay day" the only thing that is available is government assistance. But please don't include the ones on Social Security because they paid in to be able to receive that assistance. We need to just stop the blaming and face the truth.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  151. stefan christian

    It means that the American economy is in desperately sick condition because the rich have captured assets,income and wealth that used to be divided among members of the middle class. A state that is bound to exist when greed takes over a society and the business model is that of Apple who employees around 700K Chinese workers in terrible conditions and at poverty level wages so that Tim Cook can walk home with $374 million dollars this year alone for his compensation package. If anything the government should be creating a structure to stop that from happening and restore some balance and a more humane culture to this country.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  152. John

    I work full time and go to school. The sad thing is that I could make more money if I was on unemployment and did nothing. Its pathetic what wages are compared to the cost of living nowadays.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  153. Sara

    I resent the statement that people on social security are on public assistance! Have you forgotten we paid into this fund?

    Lynchburg, VA

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  154. Bob, Newburgh, Indiana

    It means, Jack, that for half the people in the United States, and much to the chagrin of Republicans, socialism actually works.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  155. Bob, in Florida

    It means, Jack, that half of the country is AT OR NEAR THE POVERTY LEVEL. One must met certain criteria to receive goverment help. Why does the news media NOT ask corporations why THEY do not pay higher wages??? The media has been reporting the middle class has been in negative wage growth for thirty years..........50% RECEIVING GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. IT ""HAD"" TO SHOW UP SOMETIME, Jack.......WELLL....this is the result of all those wages lost!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  156. NoGr8rH8r

    If half of Americans are receiving assistance, we're either in the First Depression of the 21st century or it's not America anymore. What do you think? Duh.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  157. Kallen

    Yes, many Americans are given government assistance because they are out of work. But assistance is also given to those with disabilities, to those with high medical bills, for food assistance, and even to help students pay for college. What this study shows is that life in general is costly, and the government needs to be there to help.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  158. Greg in Miami

    It simply means the 50% on assitance can NOT all be Democrats. If they were, Democrats would win elections in landslides and they don't. So a lot of Republicans must be taking their slice of the assistance pie, as well all while speaking about "others" who are living off the government. Talk about having your cake and eating it too. How typical.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  159. jatovi

    First jack why are you quoting from a conservative think tank? doesn't that skew the question. I guess we forget that we were in an economic free fall when President Obama took office so millions of people were falling in to that safety net within that first year. So it's not as if people were quitting there jobs for the glamorous food stamp lifestyle, they were forced into it by the poor economic choices that the previous administration had made.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  160. David in Ottawa

    It means the super rich are finally taking over the country.

    It's all well and good to dream and try to be the best you can, but people have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone can make it to the top, and that it's high time the 1% paid their fair share in taxes.

    Furthermore, paying people proper wages would do wonders for a consumption-based economy – something Henry Ford understood all too well. Of course he got a lot of flak for it at the time, but the man understood that if he paid his employees well, they could then afford the cars they were making, and everybody wins. And he wasn't a "socialist" either.

    There is simply too much wealth inequality in the U.S. and people are finally waking up to reality.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  161. Marty - Savannah, Georgia

    It's just proof that the middle class is disappearing! As statistics reflect, the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and all the rest of us is continuing to grow! If John McCain had been elected, don't you think we'd be in the same situation??

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  162. Justine

    Is this really a fair statistic? "Government assistance" is a huge umbrella that (some might say wrongly) encompasses benefits that many of us have paid into for our entire working life. Social Security and Medicare aren't entitlements like unemployment benefits. Please better define that statistic as I feel its very reactionary and not very accurate.

    It is all of our responsibilities to look out for our neighbors, especially those who are much less fortunate. The safety net in the U.S. is extremely important, but we should concentrate a little more on education- especially early education. This could help with individuals who live in generational poverty and help keep at-risk youths from ending up with a lifetime toeing or living in the poverty line.

    We should have invested when times were good, but instead we spent valuable dollars on lots of things that were unnecessary (this is very true of ALL levels of government). So now we have to over-leverage ourselves to be sure that this country doesn't fall further.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  163. Donn

    The question itself is mis-leading since Social Security and Medicaid are not government asssistance but entitlements so you should be asking what does it mean when nearly a third of Americans receive government assistance. To that I say it means besides still trying to pull out of a recession the drop in real inflation adjusted income of the majority of Americans over the last 10 years just goes to show that the middle class is rapidly disappearing.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  164. christine

    It means that corporate america has succeeded in severely depressing wages for workers thereby pushing millions of americans out of the middle class and into poverty and devastating the US consumer base in the process. It means we have a minimum wage that is far below that required to survive, much less thrive, in current times. It means the level of inequity we have descended into has to be reversed by smarter, fairer policies which benefit workers and not wall street, the oil industry and huge corporations.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  165. JD BROCK

    It's my opinion that the current administration is pushing the US towards a Socialist State. I think it's been their agenda from day one in office. The more people have to rely on the government, the power they have.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  166. Ruth, Peshtigo, Wi.

    It means we need the jobs back that companies moved to foreign countries to get cheaper labor

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  167. Bill Melching

    Greece in in the news everyday. Now we see this new report on the US population's dependence on the gov't. Yet you don't report on the direct correlation of our two paths. Whistling our way towards the cliff... -Bill Harrison Twp MI

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  168. chris

    It means that people are depending more and more on the government. But who is actually needing it? The government shouldn't allow longterm unemployment benefits, they should put a limit into act. If people need Medicare or Medicaid then they should get it, but if people don't NEED food stamps, well they don't get it.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  169. Tony in Connecticut

    Jack, you're kidding right? For the last 30 years the "right" has waged a war on labor and the working classes. Yes, it was assisted by those poor working sods who were recruited by Ronald Reagan. This is what we get. How anyone could expect to pay the bills on unemployment compensation is beyond me. It's the same garbage promoted by those who can't stand to see a dollar go anywhere except to their own pocket. Like Mellon said: "liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate… it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people."

    God Bless us all. We're gonna need it.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  170. Jim Stanton

    It means that the Free Enterprise System does not meet the needs of our citizens. And it never will because it only will always only benefit the top 20%.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  171. Lamar Dale

    Can you say "Greece"?
    What international catastrophe would occur if a waiter dropped a platter on Thanksgiving?
    The downfall of Turkey, the overthrow of Greece and the destruction of China. Sorry, learned that one when I was 8.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  172. scott g......california


    You have overstated the case. Social Security and Medicare are not assistance programs. People have paid into these programs overtime whereas food stamps, Medicaid, etc. are true assistance programs. The notion that someone would be incentivised by a couple of hundred dollars per weak not to seek work is insulting to them and shows a callousness on the part of those who say so

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  173. Adele

    It means that Trickle Down Economics is great so long as one is close to the trickle.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  174. Steve M

    Jack It means that The top 1% have pocket 28 cents of every $1.** earned in the USA, It means that The top 1/10 of 1% took in More $$$ in the last 8 yrs the then the bottom 50%, It means that Cost of living have gone up so high as wages have been frozen or slashed that 50% of American can NOT MAKE ENDS MEET! It means that America has gone back to the days of the Robber Barons and It is time for another REVOLUTION!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  175. Kevin in CA

    It means that decrease in the standard of living for the average American is not some mythical, liberal, contrivance. It's real, measurable and palpable.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  176. Elizabeth, GA

    Jack, our county has all their priorities screwed up. As long as there is no incentive to get off assistance, why would anyone want to abandon the comfort of an automatic paycheck every single week?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  177. DeGuyz in Mississippi

    States submit "projected" figures to the federal government to receive their annual allowance. Projected means what? What they want you to believe. Many fall short. States can't survive without the mother ship and the people can't survive without work. Obama didn't create this problem but without the federal government stepping in, it could be much worse.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  178. elizabeth

    Thousands of families have had a culture of government dependency for decades, even when the economy was booming. They are now joined by those who legitimately need assistance due to job loss. We should have done more to get the chronic moochers off the dole in the first place so government could be the stop-gap its supposed to be, not a way of life!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  179. BJ Barrett

    I do not consider my SS gov't assistance. I worked and paid into that system, also paid into a retirement system and had a 401 K that is more than 50% less than before everything hit the basement. That so many are getting assistance says more about the state of our ecomony and nation than all news people combined. Me I am still waiting for any Dem or Repl to acknowledge that they (or party) had a huge hand in what has happened. Oh Yea and they could give us a real plan, not political garbage.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  180. aawritings

    It means that the government has stepped out of its role and is taking on functions which are not to be taken on by any government. There is no difference between forcibly taking money from one group of people to help another group (e.g. taxation) and forcing someone to worship a certain god (or worship one at all). Both acts coercively impose values on people that they do not already hold. One just has to do with money and the other with beliefs.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  181. Ray, Sun City, Arizona

    Jack, Thanks for continually exposing this, but remember that there are some of us like Brad in the previous post that in some form or another have paid into Social Security, medicare. I also get Veterans benefits from the Veterans
    Administration, that I paid dearly for. Keep on exposing, but you might want to mention the fact that some of these "entitlements" either were earned or paid for. The solution would be for our government to stop spending in the future without plans to pay for it in the future.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  182. Wayne from Houston

    It means NAFTA should have never been approved written as is. Perot was right. It means Glass-Steagall should have never been repealed and replaced. The level to which subprimes and derivatives were brought to were all illegal under Glass-Steagall and the players could have ALL been put into jail. What followed instead is what the players did was legally ok, just morally wrong. Both were written by the republicans but a huge shame on Clinton for signing both of these into law. Most likely a recession would have happened anyway. Recessions are part of the economic cycle. But instead of the great recession, we would have experienced a typical recession. Add to that the Bush tax cuts should have never happened and we would not have anywhere near the mess we are in now.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  183. Greg in Cincinnati

    1st of all. Social Security and Medicare are NOT government assistance. We paid for it, just like if we bought an insurance policy. Government assistance are things like Housing, Food Stamps, etc. in which people are supported using someone else's money.

    Anyway it means for government to stop funding illegals and the like.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  184. Dicky Neely

    It means that a lot of people collect Social Security and Medicare. This business about all of the people who supposedly pay no taxes is a load of rubbish. Most workers have payroll tax deducted. They may get all or most of that back as a tax refund but it amounts to an interest free loan to the government. That is paying taxes.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  185. Fran Fruit

    It means we are a country that cares about its citizens. It means that it will take more than a few years to turn around the damage the Bush administration caused. It means that anyone who claims he wants "less government" has a 50% chance of speaking against his own interests. And if you think anyone who's getting by (or more likely not getting by) on unemployment thinks that's an incentive not to work should try it sometime

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  186. Jose

    Jack: As long as the government continues issuing assistance without control, the problem will not be resolve. Food Stamps (SNAP) are being used by recipients to purchase items, such as lobsters, etc. as often as they wish and, as proven, they sell those items. Why is it necessary that needy families use their benefits to purchase lobsters every time. As long as uncle Sam doesn't play "Big Brother" as they should, the problem will remain.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  187. Chris

    All It means all the baby boomers have gotten old enough to get social security. It's funny that most of the older conservative republicans are the ones getting this "government assistance". If republicans are so anti government, would they be willing to give up all their social security checks?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  188. Frank W

    It means the chickens have come home to roost. While American Corporations continue to ship jobs overseas, if they are paying attention, they may finally realize they are losing their customer base here at home. We are a Super Bowl society. While some were buying thousand dollar entrance tickets to the stadium, they were likely coming home on Monday to credit card interest payments and underwater mortgage payments. We are a country of reaction, not proaction. We are in this mess together both the rich and poor and some of us who are hanging on to our middle class status.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  189. Steve M

    It means that we needed Obama in the white house back in 2000 Before Bush gave our economy over to the top 1%

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  190. Pam Maas-Maciak

    It means...does any person in Washinton really give a rats fanny about the rest of us. I think not. It means Obama is doing a great job furthering his agenda to create a socialist government and there are so many lazy, ignorant people out there that happily collect their unemployment check. It means we have lost our edge.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  191. Ron Kansas City

    Jack, we have 5 generations under one roof mainly for saving money. Fortunetly, we have a large house, 2 retired SS receiptints, 1 disabled with 4 others working. We get by most issues because of neccessity.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  192. Kory

    It means that the jobs available do not pay enough to get people to apply for them....Cost of living is going up, and the cost of labor is going down. Nobody wants to go to a job, that doesnt pay for the cost of going to the job....

    February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  193. John

    Let's see. Add up households receiving unemployment compensation, food stamps, social security, and SSI. It means that our economy is in deep doodoo and we have a large population of seniors. Would you like to trade places with them? I doubt it. You would be happier working for the defense industry or corporations sucking off the government and getting rich but not counted as receiving government benefits. John in Annapolis, MD

    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  194. travis mckinney

    as a recipient of social security, i resent the idea of being lumped in with the other social programs. i paid my way to obtain social security benefits and now you are making me feel ashamed.

    thanks jack!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  195. Lisa in Stillman Valley

    It means we need to see some detailed reports on causes of unemployment. "At Will" employment law (employer can release someone from their job without explanation, justification or cause) was the worst idea this country ever came up with. Break down the unemployment numbers into high level categories of reasons at first – and see what you find: Terminated due to 1) Resignation, 2) No Reason (At Will), 3) Poor Performance and 4) Downsizing. I'm tired of hearing the government being blamed for what BAD COMPANY MANAGEMENT IS DOING!!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  196. Phil Scott-Smith

    Jack, it means that our population is way out of control. I am appalled how liittle attention the world-wide population explosion receives, and yet it is the taproot of every political and social problem we face!

    Politicians and clerics will dance around the issue unti there are no resources left, and the planet will die from the toxic environment we are causing.

    Birth control is not a "dirty subject". It is our one lifeline out of the mess we have made.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  197. RICK-Roanoke,VA

    It's obvious. WE ARE BROKE! Why is this important now? I'm 33 and never seen this country care about the poor. Give us programs that we need then want to take them away? The real question should be how did the rich get rich and the poor get poorer?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  198. Bob Klein, Fort Pierce, FL.

    It makes perfect sense to me that O'Bama has allowed the Government hand out to go to sooooooooooooo many new people!
    The more he can get on the rolls, the more votes are in his pocket.
    Would you vote against the man that is allowing you to live without working for it? He is going to try to make it as easy as possible,
    but soon, the 50% that work are going to get tired of supporting the lazy and our system will fail.
    My suggestion: Make every person that is getting any type of welfare take a urine test!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  199. Rick

    It means the Republican Party along with it's nut cakes for brains Tea Party doesn't care and would like to see more in order to full fill their "I Hate Obama Wish" and see him lose the next election. Funny though... their proposals are even more radical now than their policies for the wealthy and privileged were during the Bush era that got us into this mess in the first place so if the GOP wins in November expect that number to increase from 1/2 to 2/3'rd.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  200. Raj Goyal

    A government cannot by run like a company such as Halliburton. A government has to look at every side and everybody in the country. The CEO of a company is only interested in making money for the shareholders, never mind how many employees have to be laid off. The President of a country cannot. The government is there to help those who cannot look after themselves. The recent downturn in the economy isn't Obama's making. Instead he has managed to turn the negatives into positives. Stock market is back to where it was three years ago, The two wars launched by bthe Republicans are mainly to blame. The benefits paid out to the poor and unemployed alwasys go up during times of economic uncertainty.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  201. Doug

    The claim extended unemployment keeps someone from getting a job is bogus and bigoted. The person(s) making the claim has obviously never tried to pay their bills while collecting unemployment.

    A majority of those funds go to medicaid, fix the broken, mercenary healthcare system and you reduce spending.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  202. ellemeesh

    It means that people can't afford to live without it, for example, my dad was unemployed for years, which begain way before Obama was in office, and despite his best efforts was forced to retire and live on social secuirty, I am disabled and get disabilty, We wish we were not relying on the goverment for for income but sometimes you do what you have to do. Michelle, Williamsburg, va.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  203. Tom-Cleveland

    The the private sector is not doing it's job! When costs have increased and wages have not changed in 10 years the corporate 1% folks have driven the US standard of living to match the labor markets of China, India, Brazil...As long as they private sector continues to blame the government for all it's problems then dumps all the low wage workers, the retired, children and disabled to the tax payers this is the result. American corporations have never been so profitable, never has there been so much "cash on hand" and never has the American worker been so productive. Never have they whined so loudly!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  204. Tony

    Jack, as someone who works for a government needs based agency, I've found that a good majority of my clients want to work, but cannot find employment that won't find them kicked out of their homes anyway. Sure, unemployment benefits encourage people to stay on the system, bur can you blame someone for taking $405 a week in unemployment able to keep a roof over their head vs. $125 from working? I can't. In addition, my employer refuses to allow me to pay for health insurance for my brother, but they have no problem with him having Medicaid and paying nothing. Yes Jack, you read that correctly, my government job passed off my parents responsibility (they passed away) to the taxpayer though I was willing to pay. Blame your congress, not the President.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  205. Leon

    I contributed my whole career to social security. To call my receipt of social security benefits "government assistance" is an insult to proceeds I paid for and on which I continue to pay taxes. This just shows the grossly misleading things you can do with statistics.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  206. Steve M

    It means that G-W Bush needs to go to PRISON!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  207. Chris Bylander

    It simply means that we have a lot of taxpayers. Nothing else. Good for us! But \if Government Aid to citizens is up 75% from a decade ago, since Bush, why blame Obama for 23% in just two years? Please, we are working our way through the worst recession in 80 years. Besides, did we not collectively decide in 2008 that we needed a "reset" of our economy and expectations? Are our memories that short? A reset means hardship for all. Or should mean hardship for all. Or?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  208. Dale N.M.

    It is one giant game there are third and fourth generation government assistance and state assistance gamers, on top of the ones who really need it because of the recession,the gamers who work for cash only qualify, and most generally it is large families working together.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  209. beverly

    it means the economy is really bad and we haven't been told enough. therefore the government is trying to support the 50% and is sinking into dept. it is a shameful thing to not be able to work and support your own family. when you still have the ability to still do it and can't. my husband and i are still making it for now and we do not receive any government assistance. may i state that we are still considered lower class. paying our bills on around 37,000.00 dollars a year.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  210. Greg

    Thomas Jefferson said "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
    Enough said!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  211. Layne Alleman

    Jack, It means half of us are nothing more than suckers for the other half. Sure, there are those among us who genuinely need help, but then there is a very large(and growing by the minute) group who are simply "gaming the system". What's even sadder is the fact that when confronted, they yell back: "I deserve this, and if your not doing it, it's your own fault!". When so many of us cling to this kind of attitude, it can lead to nowhere but ruin. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  212. Gerald Donahue

    I don't know what it means to get Gov't. assistance, I live on $1500.00 a month mil. pension. After my utility bills, property taxes, homeowners insurance here in Merritt Island, Fl., I have $200.00 a month for food. I'm lucky, I guess, to have paid off my mortgage, but I can only afford 6 hrs of A/C in summer and I don't use heat in winter, I just put on more clothes. I looked into gov't. asst. and was told I make too much money! oh well, tough shoe! next case.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  213. Craig

    What does it mean?
    Can you say tipping point?
    As a hardworking middle class family i can only be scared about what it means when over 1/2 our pop is asking for taxpayer money(gov support)
    I do not know the root cause of the reasons but this is really scary stuff and it makes me feel worried about my sons future
    is this what we trust our elected officials to fix to ensure our future? i thought so

    February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  214. charlie in dc


    You can pump up the number if count the number of Armed Force Members (especially in War Zones) as getting Federal Money, let also count Federal Employee who are paid for their work, let count Federal Retirements, VA Benefits, etc. Maybe you should also count people for work for Defense Contractors, etc.

    Remember there are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. Not all statistics mean anything. In this case, the statistic has no meany.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  215. Mike

    As the Baby Boomers "attempt" to retire, the number of people collecting social security will continue to skyrocket. That aside, elect a republican as president......well, let's just say that 99% of us will need government assistance!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  216. Larry mn

    It shows that they top earners have succeeded into turning the US into a third world country. They have reaped huge increases while the working poor has come to a majority.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  217. Cappy from Florida

    Jack,,,do those numbers include all the of the state houses and senates and those of the Federal Government? They sure as hell are living off the taxpayers and don't do much to earn it., I know, i'm jealous that I don't have all the money to apply and run for a senator's or represantative's job, My fault, i paid into Socail Security all my life and an now getting some of it back. I am what's wrong with this country.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  218. potato

    What does it mean from whose perspective? That we suffer from lethargy from a work ethic stand point? That the gap between the rich and poor is widening from a working woman's stand point? That no matter how fast and far we run, we are slaves to the bank from big business's stand point? That we are becoming a socialist country from a political stand point?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  219. Jim Jones

    Maybe we should have listen to Ross Perot back in the 90's when he said we were going to hear a giant sucking sound when good jobs leave this country. We all played into the hands of Bush and Clinton, and also did we concider all the goverment jobs that also suck money out of the budget? But it is to late now we will never recover and it is a matter of time before we sign Bankruptcy papers .

    February 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  220. Magie

    Since when is Social Security considered "government assistance?" I thought I was just getting back some of what I contributed all those years. Imagine that, after working 50ish years, I am now considered on the public dole!!! Give me a break, Jack!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  221. dave erom michigan

    what seems to be the problem with figuring out the answer to this question Jack. their is a limited amount of money to go around in this country just like the rest of the worlds economy. money is used to buy the things that you need to live on. the percentage of increase in the general population on goverment for help has increased at the same pace or at a lesser level than the pay increases for CEOs and the incomes of the wealthy. a better question is does the percentage increase in the incomes of the wealthy have a direct effect on the on the declining incomes of the general populations and its abilty to buy the things they need for living.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  222. Ezio for New Jersey

    What this means is that Americans are complacent and it has to do with the distrust for our government. I for one have stopped looking for work because I'm afraid of America's next move. It looks like we are about to get into another war that will bleed the economy but more important is a bigger threat than 9/11, Afghanastan and Iraq put together....another Cold War seems to be on the horizon so we'll just let the government that took from us in the beginning take care us in the end. What's the point of trying to help yourself when the world is the way it is? Oppressed

    February 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  223. Bill from Maine

    It means we let too many jobs go over seas either through outsourcing,oh ya and NAFTA & CAFTA, oh ya and that swinging door we call our borders! And lets not forget the regular Joe's wage that is still in the 80's somewhere! Unh
    I wonder why we're in the mess we're in?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  224. Karl in Flint

    I means when we go broke, there will be alot o people breaking into the homes and businesses of the other half of the equation to live.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  225. BenC. from Phoenix,AZ

    Any comparison between today and pre-2008 and now? Why was this done in one of the worst parts of this economy. Of course there are lots of people on government assistance. Have you seen any jobs? HELLOOOO

    February 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  226. Steven, Tucson Arizona

    Well, if the government is going to offer it, people will take advantage of it. The general population shouldn't be held responsible for government abuse, mismanagement, corruption of, or poor planning of entitlement programs. Also, to say that unemployment compensation is an incentive to remain unemployed is, to me, nothing more than empty political rhetoric as I don't know of any household that could survive on it. I've been unemployed for over two years and have applied to hundreds of jobs. At 62, it's unlikely that I'll ever have another job. Thank heavens for SS, or I might be on the street.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  227. Phil Scott-Smith

    Jack, it means that our population is way out of control. I am appalled how liittle attention the world-wide population explosion receives, and yet it is the taproot of every political and social problem we face!

    Politicians and clerics will dance around the issue unti there are no resources left, and the planet will die from the toxic environment we are causing.

    Birth control is not a "dirty subject". It is our one lifeline out of the mess we have made.

    I live in the village of Mangilao ("man-EE-lau"), Guam.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  228. Jeff

    It means we elected the wrong president.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  229. Joe Young

    From Slippery Rock, PA

    It means that the disparity of wealth and poverty has become serious. You know, that "Let them eat cake" thing. I forget, how did that work out for the French aristocracy?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  230. Sharon Bernstein Peyton

    It means two things, one good and one bad. First, it is good that we have some kind of safety net to help our people who are in need. The second bad thing, is that it means our country has failed to provide the support our people need to be more healthy, better educated and economically independent so that they would not need the safety net.

    For instance, we seem to be much more willing to pay $30,000 a years to house each of our prisoners, rather than spend much less money preventing them from becoming criminals in the first place. Further, we have allowed our crony capitalism to destroy our economy and our jobs.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  231. Christine from New Jersey

    It means that we Americans had better come together and take back control of our own country....before it's too late. Financial dependence leads to sacrifices of freedoms and submission to the power and will of others. Is that where you want to be? Currently, Republicans and Democrats in the political system are both wings of the the same vulture – it's time for more choices!!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  232. Pat McGehee

    It means the the rich and powerfull have taken the cream out of the dream and want even more. They just don't want to invest in America, only their amazing greed. Get use to it until changes are made in the way wall street, corporations and our so called polical leaders treat the hardworking amrericans. Greed is the reason.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  233. Nancy from MN

    The Question stated half of all "Americans" received public assistance in 2010? this is a false statement it is not half of Americans or not even close to that number. As American taxpayers we are mandated to pay for millions and millions of illegals flooding into are states, receiving public assistance, and to make matters worst they are taking our jobs, not paying taxes and sending their wages back home to their country.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  234. Thinkforyourself, OK

    It means that the president is succeeding at getting more and more people on the government dole.

    HOW long will it last? Check out the Cloward-Piven Strategy for destroying a Capitalist Society. The Progressive Left has been following it since the late 60's.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  235. RICK-Roanoke,VA

    If we were all rich we would not need programs? We are the only country who's history and how this country was founded by terrorist? And created to the likes of white people. Only country who televise our leaders of this country and talk about them on a daily basis as if know one's listening. Why cant we have 1 leader who leads us for 30 yrs??? why is it every 4yrs we put our country to the test? Critizize everyone who runs for president i have not seen in my 33yrs 1 president we didn't talk about badly!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  236. Jim


    It means that America is still a nation that cares about its needy citizens. Of course, the conservatives would love to just let all these people starve, claiming that their lack of means is their own fault and getting tossed in the deep end of the pool to sink or swim will be good for them. Those are the same conservatives that will wonder why the poverty and crime rates are skyrocketing a generation later.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |