December 27th, 2012
Michael Snyder: America is rapidly becoming a nation of takers. An increasing number of Americans expect the government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave, and they expect the government to dig into the pockets of others in order to pay for it all. This philosophy can be very seductive, but what happens when the number of takers eventually outnumbers the number of producers? In 11 different U.S. states, the number of government dependents exceeds the number of private sector workers. This list of states includes some of the biggest states in the country: California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico and Hawaii. It is interesting to note that seven of those states were won by Barack Obama on election night. In California, there are 139 "takers" for every 100 private sector workers. That is crazy! The American people have become absolutely addicted to government money, and it gets worse with each passing year. If you can believe it, entitlements accounted for 62 percent of all federal spending in fiscal year 2012. It would be one thing if we could afford all of this spending, but unfortunately we simply cannot. We are drowning in debt, and we are stealing more than a hundred million more dollars from future generations with each passing hour. No bank robber in history can match that kind of theft.
Yes, we will always need a safety net. There are many people out there that simply cannot take care of themselves. We certainly don't want to see anyone sleeping in the streets or starving to death.
But if the number of people jumping on to the safety net continues to grow at the current pace, the net will break and it will not be available for any of us.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps grew from about 17 million in 2000 to more than 47 million today. It nearly tripled in just 12 years.
What will happen if it nearly triples again over the next 12 years?
The federal government even has a website (benefits.gov) that guides people through the process of figuring out what welfare programs they can take advantage of.
Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different "means-tested welfare programs" and more than 100 million Americans are already enrolled in at least one of those programs.
Yes, I realize that figure is very hard to believe. I had a hard time believing it when I first came across it.
And it is even more shocking when you realize that the figure of 100 million Americans does not even include those who only receive Social Security or Medicare.
Today, there are 56.76 million Americans on Social Security.
To support all of those Americans on Social Security, there are only about 94.75 million full-time private sector workers.
So there are just 1.67 full-time private sector workers to support each American that is on Social Security.
How much farther can we push things before the entire system collapses?
In order to support this exploding entitlement system, we need a lot more Americans to be working good paying jobs.
Unfortunately, millions of good paying jobs continue to be shipped overseas and they aren't coming back.
We are even losing good jobs to our own prisoners. The United States has the largest prison population in the world by far, and the exploitation of that low wage labor pool has become a boom industry in America. Even Microsoft and Boeing are using prison labor now. Just check outthis video.
Meanwhile, there are millions upon millions of law-abiding Americans that cannot find jobs and that cannot take care of their families.
So poverty and dependence on the government are absolutely exploding. We have a system that is so messed up that it is hard to even put it into words. The middle class is being viciously shredded, and most Americans just continue to applaud the politicians from both parties that are doing this to us.
Our economy is being gutted at the same time that the welfare state is experiencing unprecedented growth. Instead of giving us real answers, our "leaders" just continue to borrow, spend and print more money. We are about to hit the debt limit again, and the Obama administration is saying that we should just do away with the debt limit permanently.
Most of our politicians don't seem to understand that they are systematically destroying our economy and the bright futures that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.
But there are some politicians out there that get it. Unfortunately, many of them live in other countries. For example, Canadian MP Pierre Poilievre seems to have a firm grasp on what debt is doing to the United States. The following are some excerpts from one of his speeches…
"By 2020, the US Government will be spending more annually on debt interest than the total combined military budgets of China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel."
"Through government spending the indulgence of one is the burden of another; through government borrowing, the excess of one generation becomes the yoke of the next; through international bailouts, one nation's extravagance becomes another nation's debt"
"Everyone takes, nobody makes, work doesn't pay, indulgence doesn't cost, money is free, and money is worthless."
You can see his entire speech right here.
And if we continue down this path it is most definitely true that our money will eventually become worthless at some point. Just today I was down at the grocery store, and a can of chili that I was able to get on sale for 75 cents a couple of years ago now has a "sale price" of $1.69. If the Federal Reserve keeps recklessly printing dollars, eventually we will be fortunate to get a can of chili for 10 bucks. Things cost too much already, and the Fed seems absolutely determined to cut the legs out from under the U.S. dollar.
Unfortunately, printing money is the only way that we are going to be able to service the gigantic amounts of debt that we are accumulating.
According to Chris Cox and Bill Archer, two men who served on Bill Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, there is no way in the world that we could raise taxes high enough to pay for all of the obligations that we are currently taking on. They say that even if we taxed all corporations and all individuals at a 100% tax rate on all income over $66,193, "it wouldn't be nearly enough to fund the over $8 trillion per year in the growth of U.S. liabilities."
Are you starting to get an idea of how much trouble we are in?
We don't have enough money to pay for all of this.
We are broke.
Our current economy is a debt-induced illusion, and we will soon be waking up to a tremendous amount of pain.
Are you ready?
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Michael has an undergraduate degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Florida law school. He also has an LLM from the University of Florida law school. Michael has worked for some of the largest law firms in Washington D.C., but now is mostly focused on trying to make a difference in the world
For myself: I am long TECS and RSW