Americans depend more on Federal aid than ever. This was the title of a recent article in USAToday by Dennis Cauchon. In it, Cauchon shared some enlightening, even shocking, information about just how much Americans depend on the largess of the government.
Increased Federal Assistance
There have been sharp increases to the amount of federal money given to the citizenry. Since 2008, the expansion of healthcare and other federal programs combined with the lingering economic woes have pushed the amount given to Americans to record levels. According to Cauchon:
A record 18.3% of the nation’s total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010. Wages accounted for the lowest share of income — 51.0% — since the government began keeping track in 1929.
Simply astounding, isn’t it? Almost $1 out of every $5 received as “personal income” was from the government.
And there’s more. According to a Wall Street Journal article last November, over 42,000,000 American’s receive food stamps, that’s almost one in seven. That figure is up 58.5% since 2007. In the District of Columbia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, the ratio is over one in five residents.
In September 2010 more than 590 million lunches were served in America’s school systems. Nearly 64% were free or at a reduced price.
What Can You Do?
While some people may argue that a large number of the 42,000,000 recipients are have chosen the lifestyle and are perpetually on the government’s dole, many were good, hard-working men and women who have lost their jobs and are now unemployed or underemployed. The U.S. economy has been hit hard and few people are taking it harder than those who have been laid off.
Nevertheless, this trend is not sustainable. It’s not good for the nation. It’s not good for its citizens; it’s not good for those who receive the money nor is it good for those whose money is “redistributed”.
So what can you do? In a word: prepare. More specifically:
- Develop a prepper’s mindset. Do be lulled into complacency by those who are adamant that the recovery is well underway, or that the future is looking bright. America, and the world for that matter, may not be out of this economic downturn. A TEOTWAWKI event may be in your future. Prepare for it now. Buy food at today’s dollars. Buy supplies to have on hand just in case you need it.
- Create a plan. There is no certainty in the future. Any day may bring wealth or disaster. It’s important to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Itemize what you have and what you need. Then prioritize how you’ll close the gap. If you were laid off tomorrow, could you support yourself or family for 3 months? For 6 months? For a year? If not, plan for that possibility.
- Work your plan. Once you’ve planned for the uncertain future, it’s time to work your plan. Begin stocking up on food. Save some extra money in a rainy-day fund. Stick to your plan. A plan without action is just a wish. Get started and follow through with it.
- Put away enough to be charitable. We have an obligation to help the less fortune as best we can. Plan to help the less fortunate. Be prepared to help family members, friends, neighbors, and others should they find themselves out of work or struck by a natural disaster.