One in Six Americans Receives Government Assistance

Rachel Sheffield /

One in six Americans now receives some form of government assistance, reported last week’s U.S.A Today.

Fifty million are on Medicaid, a record high and a whopping 17 percent increase since December 2007. Food stamp enrollment has climbed nearly 50 percent since 2008 and now stands at 40 million, or one in seven people. Ten million Americans receive unemployment benefits, and 4.4 million get direct cash assistance, an 18 percent increase from two years ago.

And these are the numbers from only four of the more than 70 welfare programs funded by the federal government.

While some of the growth in welfare can be attributed to the current recession, government-assistance programs were growing far before the economy began to decline in December 2007. In fact, welfare spending has been climbing since the 1960s, when Lyndon B. Johnson declared his “War on Poverty.”

However, President Obama’s increases have been the most dramatic of any President in the nation’s history. As he completes two years in office, he will have added roughly $260 billion to government welfare spending, a jump two-and-a-half times greater than any previous welfare increase in the nation’s history. (more…)