Out of Control Policy Blog

What Have You Done With Your $17,000 from Uncle Sam?

The government spends an average of $17,000 per American household on benefit programs, how have you spent your money? Unless you haven't received the thousands and are instead funding the benefit programs:

The recession is driving the safety net of government benefits to a historic high, as one of every six dollars of Americans' income is now coming in the form of a federal or state check or voucher.

Benefits, such as Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance and health care, accounted for 16.2% of personal income in the first quarter of 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That's the highest percentage since the government began compiling records in 1929.

In all, government spending on benefits will top $2 trillion in 2009 — an average of $17,000 provided to each U.S. household, federal data show. Benefits rose at a 19% annual rate in the first quarter compared to the last three months of 2008.

Anthony Randazzo is Director of Economic Research


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