New Report Debunks Myth of the “Entitlement Society”
It’s a staple of conservative orthodoxy that government is punishing the “job creators” with high taxes on the rich and redistributing their wealth to the undeserving, lazy “moochers.” This ideological illusion is the basis for irresponsible policies that cut safety net programs for the poor while giving tax breaks to the rich.
A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities strikes a blow straight through the heart of this offensive worldview:
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. This figure has changed little in the past few years.
The report also points out that, contrary to stereotypes, the share of benefits non-Hispanic white Americans receive slightly exceeds their percentage of the population.
Read the whole thing here.