Originally published July 29 2015
One in five Americans now on welfare as country collapses into economic desperation
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) By any measure, President Obama's economic and governing policies have been a failure, most recently demonstrated by one statistic: Today, one in five Americans needs government, at some level, to survive – the highest number, proportionately, since the Great Depression.
"Approximately 52.2 million (or 21.3 percent) people in the U.S. participated in major means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012," according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau report.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, means-tested programs include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as "food stamps"), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Assistance (GA).
The Census Bureau notes that the number of Americans needing some sort of government (taxpayer) assistance has grown dramatically over the past decade. The agency said that, in 2004, there were nearly 42 million benefactors of these programs, but by 2012 participation had grown by nearly 25 percent. Today, more than 52.2 million Americans are receiving assistance.
From the report:
The average monthly participation rate in major means-tested programs increased from 18.6 percent in 2009 to 20.9 percent in 2011. However, from 2011 to 2012, there was no statistically significant change in the percentage of people who participated. From 2009 to 2012, the average monthly participation rates for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and SNAP increased, while the rate decreased for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/General Assistance.
Context is important when gauging U.S. 'economic health'
Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to brag about how well the economy is supposedly doing. Just recently the president claimed that, by any measure, the economy during his watch has improved.
However, let's examine that in context. Sure, the stock market has risen and corporate bank accounts have grown fatter, but are these factors true measurements of how well the economy is actually doing?
Median incomes for practically all American workers, for example, have not improved; in fact, they have fallen or remained stagnant, despite corporate earnings and a higher rate of return on Wall Street.
The housing market is finally rebounding somewhat, but wouldn't that have eventually happened anyway? And how much more quickly would the market have improved were it not for Obama's "intervention?"
What about unemployment? Yes, the unemployment number has fallen, but not for the reason the president regularly touts – job growth. There has been some job growth, obviously, but how much more robust would job creation have been were it not for Obama policies and laws like Obamacare?
Also, there is this: A big reason why the official unemployment rate is dropping is because about one-in-three Americans are no longer in the workforce. Also, the manner in which the government measures unemployment is misleading, if not outright bogus.
The truth is always different than the propaganda
While experts note that benefit participation rates are generally dynamic, with people moving in and out of programs, if Barack Obama was really the opportunity president, wouldn't the participation rates in these programs be falling, even as the population grows? Shouldn't the overall participation rate, if the jobs for Americans are really out there, remain about the same, percentage-wise? That, after all, was the norm before the Obama years, as noted by The Wall Street Journal's August 2014 evaluation of economic indicators during the Obama presidency.
"Another measure that does not point to an improving economy is enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. Even though the recession officially ended in mid-2009, the number of people collecting food stamps continued to climb until recent months, and participation in the program remains far higher than any other point over the past 30 years," the WSJ noted.
The measure of U.S. economic health is based on a number of factors, but topical statements like "the stock market is rising" and "corporations' bottom lines have improved" say nothing of whether wealth and opportunity is actually filtering down to the general public.
Because the employment and economic picture was abysmal at the time of Obama's election, you'd expect economic indicators to rise over the course of six years. But that is because the U.S. economy is a massive beast and much more unyielding than many people think.
Yet policies and laws and regulations do have an effect on how dynamic growth really is, and how quickly recoveries happen. To this, Obama – who has authorized or approved more regulations than the vast majority of his predecessors - has hampered growth, not enabled it.
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