How long can we go on with almost half of Americans living in households that get government assistance?
October 6th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

How long can we go on with almost half of Americans living in households that get government assistance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yet another sign of our very troubled times:

Almost half of Americans - 48.5% - live in a household that gets some kind of government aid.

That's a record high according to census data for the first quarter of 2010. It's up from about 44% of the population in 2008... and from less than 30% in 1983.

Here's how it breaks down:

More than 34% of Americans live in a household that gets either food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid. Applications for these programs are up nearly 50% in the past decade.

More than 14% live in homes where someone is on Medicare.

16% live in homes getting Social Security.

But that's only half the story.

As unemployment hovers above 9%, more than 46 million Americans live below the poverty line. And as more people turn to government assistance, there are fewer people actually paying taxes to support all these programs.

It's estimated that more than 46% of households will pay no federal income tax this year. In 2010, 45% of households paid no federal income tax.

It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that this is unsustainable.

With fewer than half of Americans paying federal taxes - and just about half living in a family that gets government aid - this country is headed down the drain. And fast.

It's no wonder the crowds protesting around the country keep growing with every passing day.

Here’s my question to you: How long can we go on with almost half of Americans living in households that get government assistance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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Filed under: Food • Food Prices • Government • Population • Social Issues • Unemployment • Unemployment / Economy
March 30th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

What does it mean that the Census Bureau can't be ready for 2010 count?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This Thursday, April 1 is National Census Day, the day the once-a-decade U.S. headcount officially begins.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/30/art.census.jpg caption="The Census form is required to be returned by April 1. The first Census was taken in 1790, when the U.S. population was less than the current population of Los Angeles - around four million."]

It may not be a coincidence that April Fool's Day is the same day. But the joke here is more sad than it is funny.

You see, even though the agency has had 10 years to work out the kinks in this cumbersome process of counting every American man, woman and child, it hasn't.

Information technology problems are a top concern, in particular two software programs that manage the maps and workloads for census takers making those door-to-door follow up visits. An estimated 50 million households out of a total of 120 million will likely require a follow-up visit. The Census Bureau says there is still time to fix the problems - they've had 10 years to get ready for this - but they say time is running out. No kidding.

The Census Bureau has already shelled out an extra $88 million for a technology glitch last fall that paid $300 to a reported 15,000 temporary hires who did little or no work updating the Bureau's maps.

The entire Census process is expected to cost taxpayers more than $14 billion, but that number will likely be higher and who knows how reliable the results will be. This is our government at work. Now they want to manage health care.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Census Bureau can't be ready for 2010 count?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Population
June 26th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Good idea to pay young girls not to get pregnant?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After 14-years of decline, the nation's teen birth rate has risen over the last two years. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the current rate is more than seven pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls.

So here's an idea out of North Carolina to cut that number: Pay young girls not to get pregnant.

A program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro called College Bound Sisters gives girls aged 12-to-18 $1 a day if they avoid pregnancy.

Participants may not have ever been pregnant. They must be enrolled in school, have a desire to attend college, and have a sister who had a child before age 18.

Girls in the program attend 90-minute meetings every week where they learn about abstinence and the use of birth control. In return, they receive $7 for every week they do not get pregnant.

The money is put into a college fund. Any participant who becomes pregnant or leaves the program loses her savings and they are split among remaining members. The program is funded through a four-year state grant.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea to pay young girls not to get pregnant?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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.

Filed under: Population
April 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Answer to world's exploding population?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Water shortages threaten two of the world's largest cities and could soon become a reality for many more of us. Mexico City has turned off a main water pipeline, shutting off water to at least 5 million of the area's 20 million residents.

The world's population has tripled over the past eight decades.

Water reserves there have reached historic lows of less than 50 percent thanks to low rainfall totals last year and a leaky infrastructure system. This is the third time just this year the city has temporarily turned off the tap to conserve water.

Then there's Los Angles - where the city council unanimously rejected a plan to ration water. This came despite a drought emergency directive by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cut water use 20 percent this year. If the city fails to take action, the agency that supplies most of the water could impose rationing.

And as a UPI piece points out - this problem reaches much further than just Mexico City or Los Angeles... Beijing has a serious water shortage; the Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over control of key aquifers; and many U.S. cities could face water shortages in the next five to 10 years because one key aquifer in the Midwest has been hugely depleted.

There's no question that water shortages can also be traced to the world's exploding population which is now at six-point-eight billion people - more than three times what it was 80 years ago. This rapidly increasing growth seems to be putting an unsustainable demand on resources like water and the environment, and will eventually begin to create shortages of food.

Here's my question to you: What's the answer to the world's exploding population?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters • Population