SCREWED: Welfare, Not Full-Time Work, Is Now America’s No. 1 Occupation

Dependency: “Is Welfare The New Normal?” we wondered in an editorial last Thursday, and we didn’t have long to wait for an answer. On Friday an answer came back in depressing new data from the Census Bureau.’s indefatigable data hound, Terence P. Jeffrey, dug into a few routine Census releases recently and discovered something shocking: More people in America today are on welfare than have full-time jobs.

No, that’s not a misprint. At the end of 2011, the last year for which data are available, some 108.6 million people received one or more means-tested government benefit programs — bureaucratese for welfare.

Meanwhile, there were just 101.7 million people with full-time jobs, the Census data show, including both the private and government sectors.

This is a real danger for the U.S. — the danger of dependency. Anytime more people are being paid not to work than to work, it imperils our democracy. No one votes to cut his own welfare benefits. So welfare grows.


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