The Wall Street Journal released a troubling report this week finding that 49.1 percent of Americans live in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quater of 2011. That’s up nearly 5 precent from 2008 and nearly 20 percent from the early 1980s.
With the rise of government benefits comes the need to pay for that dependency– a problem that does not point to very many easy solutions. Voters don’t like the idea of government spending but according to WSJ, when asked what programs they would cut, there was little consensus among Americans for what they would be willing axe. WSJ notes that some argue for a steady combination of tax increases and spending that is set to automatically take effect in 2013, but the CBO has already predicted that this will lead to sinking the economy into recession.
Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute joined "Real News" Thursday to discuss possible solutions for weaning the capable off government dependency in due time, without spiraling the nation off a fiscal cliff.
"The problem is not so much in Washington," Schweizer commented Thursday, pushing the blame to those out across this country who no longer approach government benefits as the programs were originally intended. "I'm not saying that there aren't people who have legitimate needs, and should have those needs met. But that embarrassment factor is gone, and that's a cultural shift."
Schweizer explained this expression in that, when these programs were designed, they were meant to be used by those who had hit rock bottom and had no other means to lift themselves back up. Once on their own two feet, beneficiaries would walk away from these benefits for being dependent on the government was something to be ashamed of. That attitude has since changed. Watch a clip from Schweizer's appearance on "Real News" Thursday: