Great news: Record number of Americans on public dole

posted at 7:35 pm on August 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

For some, this will just prove how prescient Congress has been to create a vast network of social programs that combat poverty.  Others may wonder what the endgame looks like when one in six Americans now receive public subsidies through Medicaid, unemployment, or other welfare programs.  That ratio is a new record, according to USA Today:

Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.

More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That’s up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007.

Think the Medicaid growth comes from the passage of ObamaCare in March?  Think again.  The expansion comes from the Great Recession and the loss of millions of jobs.  The ObamaCare expansion will come on top of the additions to the enrollments over the last two years, and that has major implications for health care providers and customers alike:

The program has grown even before the new health care law adds about 16 million people, beginning in 2014. That has strained doctors. “Private physicians are already indicating that they’re at their limit,” says Dan Hawkins of the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Some of those 16 million to be added may be part of the expanded enrollment now, of course.  However, even if the number left to be added is just half of the original 16 million estimate, it will drop like a bomb on provider networks.  Medicaid already pays below Medicare in reimbursements, for instance, and far below private-sector health insurance.  That’s why many providers won’t take Medicaid patients at all anymore, which pushes Medicaid patients into emergency rooms at a far higher pace than the uninsured.  We can expect to see even greater pressure on clinics and hospitals as a result.

But even outside of ObamaCare, the sudden growth calls into question the sustainability of the welfare state in the US.  Having one in six on some form of public subsistence perhaps underscores the real nature of unemployment and underemployment in the US, but voters have to also wonder at what point we can afford to keep going.  We already have entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare about to sink into a sea of red ink because the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has dropped too low for the programs to remain on their current trajectories.  If every American has to support one-sixth of another outside of family through taxation, then either taxes will have to get hiked substantially or benefits and means tests have to be rethought.


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Obama’s America

Inanemergencydial on August 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

O/T: Looks like Palin might be going to Iowa.

http://theiowarepublican.com/home/2010/08/30/sarah-palin-to-headline-iowa-gop-dinner-in-september/

WisRich on August 30, 2010 at 7:39 PM

This is the goal, isn’t it? To create a dependent class to ensure their votes, the modern version of bread and circuses.

Dhuka on August 30, 2010 at 7:39 PM

….if you think it’s bad now?

HA…….he’s got a minimum of 2 1/2 more years to work his magic through mandates and regulations. THAT is why he doesn’t give a rats rear about who controls Congress.

OBAMANOMICS 2010

PappyD61 on August 30, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Saw the totals on Foxnews. Right now there are more people on unemployment than there is on welfare. 10 million on unemployment and 4.4 million on welfare. When the unemployment runs out those numbers will flip flop.

milwife88 on August 30, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Ed,

You miss something huge at the end. Not every American pays income taxes so really it is only the top 50% of income earners who are supporting 1 out of every 6 people.

taney71 on August 30, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Here’s the link from USA Today.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-08-30-1Asafetynet30_ST_N.htm

The unemployment numbers are down from 12 million in January to the current 10 million.

milwife88 on August 30, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Unsustainable.

rbj on August 30, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Others may wonder what the endgame looks like when one in six Americans now receive public subsidies through Medicaid, unemployment, or other welfare programs.

Honestly I am wondering how do I enter the public dole? It is something I have never done before however it appears to be something I should know how to do and be required to do in a couple of years and therefore good info to know.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Kensyian Utopia.

Obama: I am your Father. And you are my children.

portlandon on August 30, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Cloward Pivin — Sign up for every benefit you can. Crash the system.

It’s working.

GnuBreed on August 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Barry’s America.

BHO Jonestown on August 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM

For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country??

blatantblue on August 30, 2010 at 7:48 PM

I’ve had to go to Contracting to get work. In the last year, I’ve been unemployed 3 times for a couple months each time.

It blows. But I know others that have been unemployed for as long as Obooboo has been in office.

44Magnum on August 30, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Voter farms baby. That’s what you are looking at, voter farms. People tend to vote their checkbook and that is what the Democrats are hoping for.

sharrukin on August 30, 2010 at 7:49 PM

If government dependency has been the goal of Pelosi, Reid, and Obmama, then it’s “mission accomplished”.

Rovin on August 30, 2010 at 7:51 PM

I should also add that my parents nor my grandparents or my great-grandparents never entered the public dole so that is a life leasson that my family never passed down to me.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 7:51 PM

That’s due to the increase in unemployment, of course.

AnninCA on August 30, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Two records in one week:

Highest percentage of Americans on dole.

Biggest generic ballot advantage of GOP over Dems evah.

Gee. Think there’s a connection?

J.E. Dyer on August 30, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Record number of Americans on public dole

Lefty agenda marches on.

petefrt on August 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Just heartbreaking — I know people who desperately want to work, but can’t find any.

The kicker? Some of these friends, acquaintances really, voted for Obama.

Richard Romano on August 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

well THAT was clearly UNEXPECTED!

SDarchitect on August 30, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Just heartbreaking — I know people who desperately want to work, but can’t find any.

The kicker? Some of these friends, acquaintances really, voted for Obama.

Richard Romano on August 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

What you said. Every word of it.

Mary in LA on August 30, 2010 at 7:57 PM

I should also add that my parents nor my grandparents or my great-grandparents never entered the public dole so that is a life leasson that my family never passed down to me.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 7:51 PM

My Grandpa’s job was handing out food stamps in his very rural county. He sat me on his lap when I was very young and told me how you take care of your own and you don’t count on the government to do it.

It’s the most memorable conversation I’ve ever had with my Grandpa and I live those words to this day.

gophergirl on August 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Richard Romano on August 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Honesty I don’t have any sympathy for Obama voters. Their children yes but adult voters no non at all.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Gee. Think there’s a connection?

J.E. Dyer on August 30, 2010 at 7:53 PM

SSSShh. I’m hoping the libs don’t notice until 2012.

Tommy_G on August 30, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Hooked on phonics Government worked for me!

portlandon on August 30, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Anyone but me care to harken back to an America when families looked out for families?

Oh, that’s right. We now have one in every eight babies born to illegals and I don’t know how many babies born to single, incompetent parents.

Break down the family? This is what you get. Thanks, liberals.

Grace_is_sufficient on August 30, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Only 1/6? I thought the new metric was to define “poverty” as the bottom quintile, which means it should be 1/5.

malclave on August 30, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Just heartbreaking — I know people who desperately want to work, but can’t find any.

The kicker? Some of these friends, acquaintances really, voted for Obama.

Richard Romano on August 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

How desperate? I’m lucky enough to have a job and I called my local Chinese restaurant last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights for a delivery. I’m a regular customer who spends an average of $50 per order, and tip at least $8 to $10 an order.

Every night I was told the driver didn’t show up.

Jaynie59 on August 30, 2010 at 8:03 PM

gophergirl on August 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

That has been my dads/family outlook as while. He packed us up and moved halfway across the country to take care of his mother when his dad passed away.

I am looking to do the oposite fairly shortly because that is how things are done.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Long road ahead after November 3rd and then the work really starts Jan 21, 2012. We all have to keep after these politicians all the time to roll these programs back.

bluemarlin on August 30, 2010 at 8:06 PM

A family of five with a median family income qualifies for WIC.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/howtoapply/incomeguidelines.htm

CWforFreedom on August 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Kay,

Here’s an essay I wrote (FWIW) to no one in particular earlier today…didn’t know why I wrote it, or who it was directed toward, but it seems pretty apropos to this topic:

I didn’t get to Glenn Beck’s 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally.

I wanted to go, but it just wasn’t in the finances, or so I thought. I wish I had raised the cash in whatever way I could have to be part of this historic event, but I didn’t. Water under the proverbial bridge.

But I have been doing a lot of thinking about the event in its aftermath. Now, this is in addition to the down-on-my knees praying, the sleepless nights wondering if my family—which three years ago seemed to be set for a pretty cushy retirement for hubby and I, and a pretty nice little legacy to our boys—would end up living in a culvert.

I’ve never been a huge Beck fan, but neither have I been a foaming at the mouth hater. My feeling has always been that he’s a bit too much of the drama queen for me, but I must be fair and say that, in hindsight, a lot of the melodrama has been, unfortunately, spot-on.

I can only take Beck in small doses. If I listen too long, I want to crawl under the covers, curl myself into the fetal position, and start whimpering in earnest. That’s not exactly the kind of uplifting experience you want when you are already contemplating hanging an embroidered, “Mi culvert es su culvert” sampler in your, well, culvert!

But, anyway, back to my post-rally contemplation. Seems like everyone, on both sides of the aisle, has an opinion on the event, it’s message, whether it was helpful, hurtful, healing or hyperbolic. It made me just, pensive.

Without getting too long winded, here is one kernal:

(This one probably struck me the hardest.) Beck emphasized, and I mean really hit this hard in a very evangelicalistic, good ole’ fashioned revival meetin’ fashion: THE IMPORTANCE OF TITHING.

He almost lost me at “hello” with this one! I consider myself a devote Christian, but fought tooth and nail joining any specific church for years because it seemed very incongruous to me that the “Love thy neighbor” message was always followed up directly with, “Open thy checkbook.” I found it very distasteful that one’s devotion was measured by the amount of one’s monetary contribution.

But, in the aftermath of Beck’s rally—and his call to tithe—I began thinking that if I weren’t TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY, I’d happily give 10% to the church. In fact, it used to be that what I donated to charity was a direct tax deduction, but not any more. A president, who declares himself a Christian, cut the tax credit for charitable contributions in half almost as soon as he took the oath of office.

Our culture, our country has always been defined by our charity. It used to be, we took care of our own. The social safety nets that have been put in place by social programs (medicaid, social security, WIC, etal), have all helped to absolve the individual of their responsibility to attend to their fellow man. That doesn’t mean they don’t have altruistic purposes…but it does underscore the point that there are always unintended consequences to altruistic motives.

I don’t see the train turning around, but I really, really think we need to have a discussion about it. At the very least, can’t we at least put the brakes on?

Things we can turn back: Defund (if not repeal)Obamacare ASAP! Support any candidate, regardless of party who openly agrees to do this and who promises to fight any future attempt to increase government’s involvement in our lives (card check, cap’n trade [Cap’n Crunch, but with a peg leg and an eye patch], any additional stimulus spending on cash-for-anything-at-all).

Chewy the Lab on August 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

I run a workforce development organization in the Twin Cities.

So many people have given up hope of finding a job it’s downright medieval scary.

Nobody is changing jobs, everyone is hunkering down and tightening their belts.

And this is happening in Donk Mecca…

Bruno Strozek on August 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

I am afraid that all of this is going to end very, very badly.

CyberCipher on August 30, 2010 at 8:13 PM

“…either taxes will have to get hiked substantially or benefits and means tests have to be rethought.”

Knowing Obummer & the Dims, likely both.

KS Rex on August 30, 2010 at 8:15 PM

We need to give Barry and Nancy time. Figure about 80 years, just like the Russians gave their communist masters. They were promised things would get better. Someday.

Barry and Nancy figure they’ll get socialism right this time. After all, they are of the elite intelligentsia. They know what’s good for everyone else. You can trust them.

So far they’ve managed to do wonders. Who else could triple the deficit in only one year.

GarandFan on August 30, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Great news! When we reach 3 in 6, we’ll certainly be thanking those Dems who were smart enough to remove any incentives for the “rich” to hire people and put them to work.

unclesmrgol on August 30, 2010 at 8:21 PM

I don’t see the train turning around, but I really, really think we need to have a discussion about it. At the very least, can’t we at least put the brakes on?

I hate quoting myself, but I want to clarify…I’m all for standing on the tracks, myownself and turning the train around. I’m just saying if “brakes is all we got…”, um, then I’m a giant brake proponent.

Chewy the Lab on August 30, 2010 at 8:26 PM

I am a paramedic and a Registered Nurse and I can tell you that easily 80 to 90 percent of patients I see that are on programs such as social security disbility have no true disability that I can discern. I see many many young people living on food stamps, Medicaid etc. while laying around their apartments watching their cable T.V. and smoking their cigarettes. I have had some even boast that they don’t have to get up in the morning to go to work. Means testing? We absolutely need much stricter means testing requirements. Trust me, We hard working tax payers are being played for suckers!

paraff on August 30, 2010 at 8:26 PM

May explain Gallup’s numbers today.

chickasaw42 on August 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM

How desperate? I’m lucky enough to have a job and I called my local Chinese restaurant last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights for a delivery. I’m a regular customer who spends an average of $50 per order, and tip at least $8 to $10 an order.

Every night I was told the driver didn’t show up.

Jaynie59 on August 30, 2010 at 8:03 PM

I think alot of that depends on the area in which you live.

My brother lost his job but was lucky enough to find one in a month. My brother-in-law is working 2 jobs (one of them beneath him) the 2nd one is questionable just to provide for his family. I stayed employed the entire time.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM

gophergirl on August 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Just in case I was not clear. I could not agree more and was being sarcastic. No family member has ever entered the public dole and I would not know where to begin.

In 1995 I went from 18k a year to today making 125k+. All with no college education. The only taxpayer handout I took was my military paycheck.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 8:49 PM

As InstaGlenn says: This looks more like a feature than a bug.

When I was living in post-communist Eastern Europe, I was struck by the fact that everybody – except for the aparachiks – had been reduced to poverty.

Poverty is a government industry, of sorts.

SWLiP on August 30, 2010 at 8:51 PM

For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country??

blatantblue on August 30, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Thread winner.

Caiwyn on August 30, 2010 at 8:58 PM

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM

I’m not saying delivering Chinese food is a career aspiration, but I have a hard time understanding how this restaurant not only can’t get a driver to show up, but doesn’t seem to care that their driver doesn’t show up.

Thursday? OK, I can understand that. But Friday? OK, maybe they couldn’t find anybody. But by Saturday night?

I live in a working class town and I find it hard to believe they can’t find a couple of people looking for easy work. But I guess they can’t or don’t bother looking. Maybe they can’t because of regulations. I’d rather believe that than think they just don’t give a crap how much money they may be losing. I’d rather believe insurance is just too expensive and so restaurants can’t deliver anymore. That I’d believe.

Jaynie59 on August 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Obama’s Civilian Army.

Ready and waiting to take their orders.

BowHuntingTexas on August 30, 2010 at 9:14 PM

1 out of 6? Mission accomplished.

We all have a moocher in our families now; your family plus Moochy the Mooch.

Mojave Mark on August 30, 2010 at 9:55 PM

How many illegals are on the public dole?

TN Mom on August 30, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Jaynie59 on August 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM

There seams to be a communication breakdown.

I am not placing blame on anyone that lost work or is doing what it takes to make ends meet. In fact my hats of to them.

What I meant to say is that is what you do whatever it takes in order to take care of a family (it is a male thing). The fact that the Chinese restaurant did not have a driver for take out suggests to me that they must be doing something wrong.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 10:42 PM

I’d rather believe insurance is just too expensive and so restaurants can’t deliver anymore. That I’d believe.

Jaynie59 on August 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM

I assume insurance is cheaper in my area (Why would insurance in NOVA be cheaper then say DC)?

Just food for thought.

F15Mech on August 30, 2010 at 10:46 PM

This is going according to Obama and the democrats plan and agenda. Look what they accomplished in less than two years.
They love socialism and communism but as Margaret Thatcher said ‘” The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money.”
In November- the GOP needs to win and win big. If it is just a few seats in the House and Senate- the democrats and Obama will continue their agenda of destroying the Country.

flintstone on August 31, 2010 at 12:55 AM

Yeah, it is tough out there and a lot of people are not too proud to ask for help. When it comes to medicaid, it is getting harder to even have a choice. If you need help and end up stuck in a hospital or something they will enroll you themselves if they have to get their money. I work for an agency that does home visits and we do private pay, insurance, medicaid and medicare…and I have had clients who did not know they were on medicaid until after the fact.

I know some people think the Democrats want this, they want to make people dependent, but it can also work against them. A lot of people would rather have a job than food stamps.

Terrye on August 31, 2010 at 6:05 AM

This just proves that Obama really is a success! He’s accomplishing his goals of creating a dependent majority and destroying the America of our forefathers.

uncalheels on August 31, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Rugged individualism, self reliance, and peronal responsibility is what made Americans great and prosperus.

This Obama fellow is the opposite of that, and doing everything he can to undermine it. How stupid.

saiga on August 31, 2010 at 3:47 PM

How many illegals are on the public dole?

TN Mom on August 30, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Every single one of them one way or another. I want them to go home and spend their attention on cleaning up the trainwreck governments they have now and leave us alone.

saiga on August 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM