Is the United States of America becoming a European welfare state?

Rep. Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan, writing at Real Clear Politics.

Excerpt:

…an eye-opening study by the Tax Foundation, a reliable and non-partisan research group, tells us that in 2004, 20 percent of US households were getting about 75 percent of their income from the federal government. In other words, one out of five families in America is already government dependent. Another 20 percent were receiving almost 40 percent of their income from federal programs, so another one in five has become government reliant for their livelihood.

All told, 60 percent – three out of five households in America – were receiving more government benefits and services (in dollar value) than they were paying back in taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that President Obama’s budget last year will raise this “net government inflow” from 60 to 70 percent. Look at it this way: three out of ten American families are supporting themselves plus – through government – supplying or supplementing the incomes of seven other households. As a permanent arrangement, this is individually unfair, politically inequitable, and economically dangerous.

[…]Just to return to where we were at the end of 2007, 8.4 million jobs have to be created. To reduce unemployment to its pre-crisis level of 5 per cent by the end of President Obama’s term, our economy needs to create 247,000 new jobs per month. But we are headed in the wrong direction … except in one field: the government is growing at breakneck pace in expanding federal payrolls.

Although millions of private sector jobs have been lost since the recession began, Washington is on track to add about 275,000 more people to the public payrolls – a whopping 15 percent increase. And we aren’t talking minimum wages here. More federal workers make over $100,000 than those earning $40,000 or less. The average government worker’s salary in 2009 was 21 percent higher than private sector salaries. The average federal worker’s compensation package, including benefits, was nearly $120,000 in 2008, twice the private sector at $60,000. One study shows the private sector benefit package averages $9,900 while the federal package averages almost $41,000. Now the Administration wants Congress to privilege federal workers by writing off their unpaid student loans after ten years. People in productive private sector jobs would keep paying for twenty years. Progressivists would really like everyone to work for the government.

Once you start to pay 50-60 percent of your income to your neighbors who are not working, you don’t try to have a family any more. What is the point? Working harder to provide for them doesn’t get you anything.

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