Thursday, October 6, 2011

Portion of households receiving government benefits?

According to Census data, nearly half of households received some form of government benefits in 2010.  Specifically, 48.5% received benefits in 2010 compared to 44.4% in 2008.  On the flip side, 46.4% of households did not pay income taxes in 2010 compared to 39.9% in 2007.  Many households that did not pay income taxes still paid payroll taxes (social security and medicare); 18.1% did not pay either income or payroll taxes.  Given nearly half of households don't owe income taxes and nearly half receive government benefits, it will prove quite difficult to reduce the growth of government benefits or raise income taxes in order to cut the budget deficit.  People are likely to think that they deserve the benefits they receive and only benefits received by others should be reduced.  Difficult decisions need to be made, but with such a high proportion of households receiving benefits, will the government (and voters) have the political courage to make the tough choices?