Political dysfunction is often blamed for Congress’s inability to curb the U.S. budget deficit. An even bigger obstacle may be the American public.
A record 49 percent of Americans live in a household where someone receives at least one type of government benefit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And 63 percent of all federal spending this year will consist of checks written to individuals for which the government receives currently no services, the White House budget office estimates. That’s up from 46 percent in 1975 and 18 percent in 1940.
Those figures will climb in coming years. The 75 million baby boomers have only begun their long march into retirement, while President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul will extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million additional people.
“The more households that are benefiting from the programs, the more difficult it is to rein in their costs,” said Bob Bixby, head of the Concord Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia- based group that promotes balanced budgets. “It’s a troubling phenomenon” and “it explains why it’s politically difficult to deal with these things.”
There are not many options for getting rich in that climate. Trend following is one.