Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits

Phil Izzo
The Wall Street Journal

49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011. Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008…

…The more people who receive benefits, the harder it’s going to be to make cuts, and it’s never popular to raise taxes. In some respects that argues for letting a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that is set to automatically hit in 2013 take effect. There’s just one problem: the Congressional Budget Office says it would sink the economy into recession

Read the complete article at The Wall Street Journal.

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