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Who is Pulling, and Who is Riding in, the Wagon?

According to Monday’s Christian Science Monitor, “Slightly over half of all Americans – 52.6 percent – now receive significant income from government programs . . . That’s up from 49.4 percent in 2000 and far above the 28.3 percent of Americans in 1950. If the trend continues, the percentage could rise within ten years to pass 55 percent, where it stood in 1980 on the eve of President Reagan’s move to scale back the size of government.”

The Monitor’s reporting is based upon an analysis by economist Gary Shilling who found “about 1 in 5 Americans hold a government job or a job reliant on federal spending. A similar number receive Social Security or a government pension. About 19 million others get food stamps, 2 million get subsidized housing, and 5 million get education grants.”

According to the 2005 Congressional Budget Office report (requires Adobe), which the Monitor cites:

“As the U.S. tax system is now configured, federal revenues will grow faster than the overall economy. Under current law, taxpayers will face higher rates, with detrimental consequences for work, saving, and economic growth.”

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute blogs that the situation is akin to “having a nation where the people riding in the wagon out-number (and maybe out-vote) the people pulling the wagon.”

When does the revolt begin?

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