Contrary to "Entitlement Society" Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Households


By Arloc Sherman, Robert Greenstein, and Kathy Ruffing
February 10, 2012
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3677


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[1] 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. (See Figure 1.) This figure has changed little in the past few years.

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