Yesterday, we exposed how the conservative media has been hyping a study from the Heritage Foundation purporting to show America's growing "dependence" on the federal government. The report, however, was little more than a thinly-veiled attack on government programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Today, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released important research shedding light on just how important the government programs that conservatives attack actually are. The CBPP analyzed budget and Census data and found that more than 90 percent of the funding for programs such as Social Security and Medicare benefit people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households.
From the analysis:
Some conservative critics of federal social programs, including leading presidential candidates, are sounding an alarm that the United States is rapidly becoming an "entitlement society" in which social programs are undermining the work ethic and creating a large class of Americans who prefer to depend on government benefits rather than work. A new CBPP analysis of budget and Census data, however, shows that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households -- not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. (See Figure 1.) This figure has changed little in the past few years.
The report also details that government programs are administered so that the middle class households receive a proportionate share of benefits:
The data in this analysis also dispel other common misperceptions, such as a belief (sometimes fanned by political figures) that entitlement programs shift substantial resources from the middle class to the poor. The data show that the middle class receives approximately its proportionate share of benefits: in 2010, the middle 60 percent of the population received 58 percent of the entitlement benefits. (The top 20 percent of the population received 10 percent of the benefits; the bottom 20 percent received 32 percent of the benefits. See Figure 2)