By Marta Mossburg
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:59 PM EST
Taking government handouts is as American as reality TV.
As political economist and demographer Nicholas Eberstadt writes in his new book, A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic, "The United States is at the verge of a symbolic threshold: the point at which more than half of all American households receive, and accept, transfer benefits from the government."
Even worse, he writes, "it will only be a matter of time before a majority of Americans are seeking and obtaining 'anti-poverty' benefits - regardless of their wealth or their employment prospects."
Think about that. People who don't actually meet any poverty threshold will claim benefits because they can. Old America, meet the brave new America where meritocracy is traded in for a new smart phone.
We're already there by some measures. According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, 62 percent of households making less than $20,000 per year own between two and four televisions. Sixty-eight percent of those who earn $120,000 or more have the same number.
For a nation whose identity is rooted in hard work and personal industriousness, this is a staggering turn toward the crumbling Old World social democratic compact.
And it happened before most people even noticed.
In 1960, the welfare state was less than one third of total federal spending, according to Eberstadt. By 2010 it was two-thirds of federal spending. "Thus, in a very real sense, American governance has literally been turned upside-down by entitlements - and within living memory," he writes.
The cost is staggering. He notes that in 2010, entitlements equaled about $7,200 per person or about $29,000 for an average family of four.
And it is all being fueled by debt. As Eberstadt writes, "For the sake of pure short-term expedience, the U.S. democracy has decided to mortgage its tomorrow for a more comfortable today."
August 18, 2014
August 14, 2014
July 30, 2014
July 12, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 7, 2014
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.
August 20, 2014
© 2014 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. ·
CNHI Classified Advertising Network ·
CNHI News Service
Associated Press content © 2014. All rights reserved. AP content may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Our site is powered by Zope. Some parts of our site may require
you to download the Flash Player Plugin.
Terms and Conditions
Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN
8109 Kingston St., Suite 500