The Truth about Federal Personal Assistance

It is common knowledge that millions of Americans are receiving some type(s) of federal financial assistance. But just who, how many, and how much is being paid out? I have some numbers for you. Unfortunately, the latest exact statistics that have been compiled, authenticated and released are through 2013-14. But I am certain after digesting the following, you will shudder to think how much this gov’t assistance has increased since then. (You might want to keep a barf bag handy when reading this)

Federal Assistance Statistics

109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released by the Census Bureau. The 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.

When those receiving benefits from non-means-tested federal programs — such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and veterans benefits — were added to those taking welfare benefits, it turned out that 153,323,000 people were getting federal benefits of some type at the end of 2012.

Subtract the 3,297,000 who were receiving veterans’ benefits from the total, and that leaves 150,026,000 people receiving non-veterans’ benefits.

The 153,323,000 total benefit-takers at the end of 2012, said the Census Bureau, equaled 49.5 percent of the population. The 150,026,000 taking benefits other than veterans’ benefits equaled about 48.5 percent of the population.

When America re-elected President Barack Obama in 2012, we had not quite reached the point where more than half the country was taking benefits from the federal government.

 With the implementation of Obamacare — with its provisions expanding Medicaid and providing health-insurance subsidies to people earning up to 400 percent of poverty — we certainly have surpassed that point (not counting those getting veterans benefits).

What did taxpayers give to the 109,631,000 — the 35.4 percent of the nation — getting welfare benefits at the end of 2012? 

82,679,000 of the welfare-takers lived in households where people were on Medicaid. 51,471,000 were in households on food stamps. 22,526,000 were in the Women, Infants and Children program. 20,355,000 were in households on Supplemental Security Income. 13,267,000 lived in public housing or got housing subsidies. 5,442,000 got Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. 4,517,000 received other forms of federal cash assistance.

How do you put in perspective the 109,631,000 people taking welfare, or the 150,026,000 getting some type of federal benefit other than veterans’ benefits?

 The CIA World Factbook says there are 142,470,272 people in Russia. So, the 150,026,000 people getting non-veterans federal benefits in the United States at the end of 2012 outnumbered all the people in Russia. 

63,742,977 people live in the United Kingdom and 44,291,413 live in the Ukraine, according to that CIA report. So, the combined 108,034,390 people in these two nations was about 1,596,610 less than 109,631,000 collecting welfare in the United States.

It may be more telling to compare the 109,631,000 Americans taking federal welfare benefits at the end of 2012 to Americans categorized by other characteristics. 

In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, there were 103,087,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States (including 16,606,000 full-time year-round government workers). Thus, the welfare-takers outnumbered full-time year-round workers by 6,544,000.

California — the nation’s most-populated state — contained an estimated 38,332,521 people in 2013 according to the Census Bureau. Texas had 26,448,193 people, New York had 19,651,127, and Florida had 19,552,860. But the combined total of 103,984,701 people in these four massive states still fell about 5,646,299 short of the 109,631,000 people in the United States on welfare.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, when President Obama was elected to his first term, there were 96,197,000 people living in households taking benefits from one or more federal welfare programs. After four years, by the fourth quarter of 2012, that had grown by 13,434,000.

Those 13,434,000 additional people on welfare outnumbered the 12,882,135 people the Census Bureau estimated lived in Obama’s home state of Illinois in 2013.

What did the Founders think about Federal Aid: Welfare?

Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed government has an obligation to help the poor. Both thought welfare policies should support children, the disabled, widows and others who could not work. But any aid policy, they insisted, would include work-requirements for the able-bodied. Rather than making welfare a generational inheritance, Franklin thought it should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible: “I am for doing good to the poor.…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

Moreover, local, rather than federal, officials administered this welfare, since they were more likely to know the particular needs of recipients and could distinguish between the deserving poor (the disabled and involuntarily unemployed) and the undeserving poor (those capable of work but preferring not to). The Founders sought to provide aid in a way that would help the deserving poor but minimize incentives for recipients to act irresponsibly. They wanted to protect the rights of taxpayers by preventing corruption and abuses in welfare aid.

Above all, the Founders saw the family and life-long marriage as the primary means of support for everyone, rich and poor alike.

Entitlement “Renovation”

There are reportedly $100 Trillion owed by our government in “unfunded liabilities.” These are comprised of Social Security, government employee retirement obligations, and Union pension and retirement guarantees. Let’s make one thing clear: Social Security and Medicare are NOT entitlements. American employees have had a percentage of every paycheck deducted for Social Security and Medicare, matched by their employer, and paid into a Trust Fund. Those dollars (even though Congress has robbed all those funds from the Trust Fund to operate the government) are owed to the Americans who paid them. Entitlements that are at the center of this discussion are the other dollars in obligations owed by the government, although the $100 Trillion unfunded number DOES include Social Security and Medicare.


When President Trump and Congress decide to tackle the task of “renovation” of entitlements, they will run head-on into the largest public relations war ever created by Democrats. Remember in the Romney-Obama race in 2012 that famous Democrat add with VP Candidate Paul Ryan pushing Grannie and her wheelchair over a cliff? That was the lie perpetrated by Democrats to illustrate the alleged massive reductions Dems threatened Republicans would make in Social Security and Medicare benefits for the elderly. Those threats were lies then and will be lies once more. Surely Democrats will ratchet up the rhetoric to scare seniors when the Entitlement conversations begin.

Seriously, America MUST remodel and revise the method that has not and is not working to take care of the “real” poor in the Nation. I do not have an panacea to eliminate any of the heartburn that will certainly accompany these conversations. But please understand this when those discussions begin: No one in Congress or the White House is going to take money away from anyone in the U.S. who is unable to work or has reached the age of qualification for Social Security and Medicare or who is a veteran — this includes ALL veterans benefits. Make a note of this because you will be blown away by television, radio, and print ads claiming that exact thing will happen.

Folks, this is the point at which I have often loudly proclaimed the necessity for all Americans to arm themselves with facts about these and other applicable issues. There will come a time — and it may be in the 2018 mid-term elections — to pull a lever for someone who has offered the entitlement plan that best aligns with your convictions on the subject. It is imperative that all pull that lever based on facts they have proven through personal research rather than from hearing or reading the blather of any talking heads who speak from only the seed of their politically correct perspective and not from what is right for America. Arm yourself with facts.

Who has the answer? I have mine. I demonstratively implore you to begin research now so you can know beyond even a reasonable doubt what is best for you and others in your life this will directly impact. “Knowledge is Freedom” — especially when it comes to the financial necessities to live and thrive in the greatest nation on Earth.

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