AEI scholar Nick Eberstadt’s latest book, A Nation of Takers, provides a sobering analysis of the entitlements explosion and its effect on the American economy and culture.
It’s a reminder that without significant, Reagan-style growth and/or massive spending cuts, our entitlement system threatens to sink the American economy.
1. Although Social Security already existed, the Great Society launched the ever-expanding modern American welfare state:
2. The rate of entitlement growth per capita has been nearly twice as fast as per capita income growth for the last fifty years
3. In the 1960s, the federal government spent $2 on governing for each $1 it spent on entitlement transfers. Today that ratio has completely flipped:
4. It took only two generations for transfers to displace everything else the federal government does.
5. Here’s where the money goes:
6. In 1969, government benefits accounted for 7.8% of Americans’ personal income.
7. In 2009, government benefits accounted for nearly 18% of Americans’ income. And the regions which relied most on benefits in 1969 have become even more dependent.
8. Nearly 50% of the U.S. population lives in a household that receives some government benefits.
9. 31% of US households are receiving means-tested public benefits.
11. As the Welfare State has expanded, Americans are working less.
For more detail–and plenty more charts!–on America’s entitlement crisis, read Nick Eberstadt’s A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic.