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Dependence on Federal Government Hits Record High

According to USA Today’s analysis of federal data, which was released on April 26, 2011, the year 2010 saw more Americans dependent on the federal government than at any other time in the history of our nation. And according to the trend, it doesn’t look like there will be much change any time soon.

Some of the most commonly used federal government programs include unemployment, food stamps, Social Security and Medicare. A record percentage of personal income, 18.3%, is gained from these types of programs.

I find it interesting that just this week I received kind of a nasty email that was challenging me on the differences between liberals and conservatives. The author of this email made a lot of presumptions about my personal beliefs and went on to list all the reasons liberals are right and conservatives are wrong.

This person also made an underlying accusation that I am against helping the needy. I guess because I want a smaller government, that means I don’t care about the less fortunate. Funny, I happen to be doing some volunteer work this upcoming Saturday that is giving to those in need.

I think the timing of the email is perfect with this new data, considering we are at an all time high of providing income through federal government programs.

While dependence on the government rises, wages are going down. In fact we hit a historic low of 50.5% of personal income for the month of February.

Would you like to know the top 10 states that depend on the federal government? These are listed in order, starting with the number one dependent state:

• New York
• West Virginia
• Rhode Island
• Maine
• Pennsylvania
• Massachusetts
• Vermont
• Kentucky
• Michigan
• Connecticut

For fun, here are the 10 states that are least dependent on federal government, starting with the very least dependent:

• Utah
• Colorado
• Virginia
• Nevada
• Texas
• Georgia
• Idaho
• Wyoming
• Nebraska
• South Dakota

The rest of the states fall in between. So we have New York leading the pack and Utah least dependent on federal government programs.

Now to get an idea of how significant this is, 18.3% dependence is in comparison to the years 1980 to 2000, where the amount of income from the federal government averaged about 12.5%. It was in 2008 when the percentage began to go up and now we are seeing record highs of federal government dependence.

One economist from the University of Michigan stated that this is a frightening prospect since we haven’t even seen the retirement yet of Baby Boomers. We are facing an explosion in Medicare with the newest round of Americans turning 65 this year.

Perhaps this will get you thinking about government spending, some of our programs and the state of our economy. Let this sink in as we prepare for a new election around the corner.

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