American Reliance On Government At All-Time High
By Patrice Hill
The so-called "Great Recession" has left Americans depending on the government dole like never before.
Without record levels of welfare, unemployment and other government benefits as well as tax cuts last year, the income of U.S. households would have plunged by an astonishing $723 billion — more than four times the record $167 billion drop reported last month by the Commerce Department.
Moreover, for the first time since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government than they paid in taxes.
The figures show the devastating results of the massive job losses last year and indicate that the economic recovery that began last summer is tenuous and has a long way to go before many Americans resume life as normal, analysts said.
Economic growth typically depends on consumer spending, which is fed by wages, rents, interest and other forms of income. But the tentative revival of consumer spending in the second half of last year appears to have been fed largely by an extraordinary flood of government spending, as growth in other kinds of income has disappeared.