The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 on Welfare

Capture

By Terence P. Jeffrey

109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau has not yet reported how many were on welfare in 2013 or the first two quarters of 2014.

But the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.

When those receiving benefits from non-means-tested federal programs — such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and veterans benefits — were added to those taking welfare benefits, it turned out that 153,323,000 people were getting federal benefits of some type at the end of 2012.

Subtract the 3,297,000 who were receiving veterans’ benefits from the total, and that leaves 150,026,000 people receiving non-veterans’ benefits.

The 153,323,000 total benefit-takers at the end of 2012, said the Census Bureau, equaled 49.5 percent of the population. The 150,026,000 taking benefits other than veterans’ benefits equaled about 48.5 percent of the population.

When America re-elected President Barack Obama in 2012, we had not quite reached the point where more than half the country was taking benefits from the federal government.

It is a reasonable bet, however, that with the implementation of Obamacare — with its provisions expanding Medicaid and providing health-insurance subsidies to people earning up to 400 percent of poverty — that if we have not already surpassed that point (not counting those getting veterans benefits) we soon will.

What did taxpayers give to the 109,631,000 — the 35.4 percent of the nation — getting welfare benefits at the end of 2012?

82,679,000 of the welfare-takers lived in households where people were on Medicaid, said the Census Bureau. 51,471,000 were in households on food stamps. 22,526,000 were in the Women, Infants and Children program. 20,355,000 were in household on Supplemental Security Income. 13,267,000 lived in public housing or got housing subsidies. 5,442,000 got Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. 4,517,000 received other forms of federal cash assistance.

How do you put in perspective the 109,631,000 people taking welfare, or the 150,026,000 getting some type of federal benefit other than veterans’ benefits?

Well, the CIA World Factbook says there are 142,470,272 people in Russia. So, the 150,026,000 people getting non-veterans federal benefits in the United States at the end of 2012 outnumbered all the people in Russia.

63,742,977 people live in the United Kingdom and 44,291,413 live in the Ukraine, says the CIA. So, the combined 108,034,390 people in these two nations was about 1,596,610 less than 109,631,000 collecting welfare in the United States.

It may be more telling, however, to compare the 109,631,000 Americans taking federal welfare benefits at the end of 2012 to Americans categorized by other characteristics.

In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, there were 103,087,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States (including 16,606,000 full-time year-round government workers). Thus, the welfare-takers outnumbered full-time year-round workers by 6,544,000.

California, the nation’s most-populated state, contained an estimated 38,332,521 people in 2013, says the Census Bureau. Texas had 26,448,193 people, New York had 19,651,127, and Florida had 19,552,860. But the combined 103,984,701 people in these four massive states still fell about 5,646,299 short of the 109,631,000 people on welfare.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, when President Obama was elected, there were 96,197,000 people living in households taking benefits from one or more federal welfare programs. After four years, by the fourth quarter of 2012, that had grown by 13,434,000.

Those 13,434,000 additional people on welfare outnumbered the 12,882,135 people the Census Bureau estimated lived in Obama’s home state of Illinois in 2013.

The “Obama Recovery” Leads To More Americans On Food Stamps

Capture

By Joseph R. Carducci
August 4, 2014

I know, I know. Ask any good liberal Democrat and they will talk your ear off about how the whole economic recession and downturn was entirely the fault of George Bush. No blame can be laid for any of this at the feet of Obama. Even if you agree with that theory (and I decidedly do not), then certainly much of the post economic downturn effects can and should be laid on the doorstep of the White House and our glorious community organizer in chief who now occupies that address.

One of the major problems with this so-called ‘Obama Recovery’ is how this has affected the number and percentage of food stamp recipients. Certainly, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, for short) has seen huge increases over the past 15 years. Most of that has come due to the recession in 2008. The thing that seems crazy about all this is the fact that normally during economic recovery, the number of people on food stamps actually begins to decrease, generally significantly.

Having these high numbers continue is a problem for the economy and the country as a whole. In fact, during the four-year period after the end of the downturn in 2009, SNAP recipients increased by 7.3 million. Not only that, but the percentage of people receiving food stamps increased from 13 to 15 percent. This is unprecedented. In fact, if we adjust for population differences, the four years following the 1981-82 recession (which was actually very similar in duration and unemployment levels) saw a 12.5 percent decrease in recipients. During the four years following our last recession, SNAP recipients increased by 15.6 percent! If this recovery had been more ‘typical,’ we would have expected to see around 11.5 percent of the national population receiving such benefits. That would have been 36 million compared to the current 47.6 million.

This problem is also highlighted very well by Robert Doar, an American Enterprise Institute scholar. He has testified recently before the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss this very issue:

“By itself, SNAP benefits may not be enough to reduce the incentive for a recipient to go to work, or to move from part-time to full-time regular employment, but when combined with unreported earnings or other assistance programs—perhaps most notably unemployment insurance benefits—the program does appear to allow a significant number of adult recipients to remain out of work longer than they might otherwise. Without some effort to require these SNAP recipients to participate in programs such as those offered under TANF, I fear that the number of non-working, nonelderly, nondisabled SNAP recipients will remain high.”

In other words, the Obama Recovery does not appear to be much of a recovery at all. At least not in terms of the amount and types of assistance being offered. The whole idea of programs like SNAP and TANF and unemployment benefits were that they would only be temporary in nature. Sadly, these assistance programs now seem to be more and more a way of life for low-income Americans.

Obama has made these changes so that more and more people become more and more dependent on the government. Of course, this also has they effect of tying such people to the hip of the Democratic party. After all, if you think that you need your TANF and SNAP and even unemployment benefits in order to live and get by, why on earth will you ever even think of voting for a politician who insists you begin taking responsibility and wants to eliminate…or at least cut…these aid programs?

What do YOU think? Is the ‘Obama Recovery’ becoming more of a way of life? Why are so many more people dependent on food stamps today? What does this say about Obama’s economic policies?

‘Welcome to Aerospace’: NASA lacks funds for deep-space rocket

Capture

Capture

Budget shortfalls rather than technical challenges may prevent NASA from launching its new $12 billion deep-space rocket by the end of 2017 as planned, federal auditors said.

Just three-and-a-half years away from the initial launch date, NASA’s “flat funding profile” put its Space Launch System (SLS) “at high risk of missing the planned December 2017 launch date for the EM-1 initial test flight,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned in a report on Wednesday.

According to the GAO, SLS represents not only a “significant portion” of NASA’s planned budget for major projects during that period, but “also a significant portion of government wide launch-related research and development funding.”

The GAO estimates that the current shortfall stands at $400 million, with NASA’s launch system officials telling the auditors there is a 90 percent chance of not hitting the launch date on time.

Despite the funding shortfall, the auditors say that the highly technical challenges associated with those SLS “appear manageable” and that NASA is “making solid progress” on the rocket program design.

NASA is working on the problems the GAO highlighted, but argues delaying launch or siphoning money from other programs would harm taxpayers, NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier wrote in the agency’s response.

“Welcome to aerospace,” Pace said, adding that large space projects often over run initial budgets by up to 50 percent. He said that “is why you shouldn’t believe initial cost estimates.”

SLS is NASA’s, the agency’s first exploration-class heavy lift launch vehicle in over 40 years, will expand NASA’s exploration capability to include crewed flights beyond Earth’s orbit. It is designed to launch the agency’s Orion capsule, which could carry astronauts to the moon, asteroids and other deep-space locales.

Image from nasa.govImage from nasa.gov

The first version of SLS will stand at 321 feet, have a diameter of 27.6 feet, and carry a payload of up to 70 metric tons. A nevolved version of SLS will be capable of blasting 130 metric tons into space, making it the most powerful rocket ever build, officials say.