Open Thread: Food Stamp Nation?

Today's topic: The growing number of people dependent on federal largesse is becoming a problem for the nation's budget. A new study by the Heritage Foundation shows that the number of people who receive cash payments from the federal government is at all-time highs:

Skyrocketing food-stamp enrollments over the last few years have played a notable role in this year’s presidential race, but it’s not just food stamps that have exploded — it’s entitlements, generally: housing subsidies, Medicaid rolls, college loans and much, much more.

And the trend is threatening to chip away at the very pillars that keep America’s civil society functioning.

Today, one in five Americans — 67 million of us, all told — rely on federal aid in obtaining housing, food, income, health care or education.

The dependent population has been growing for years, of course. But the “Index of Dependence on Government,” published annually by The Heritage Foundation, shows remarkably sharp spikes in dependence in the years since President Obama entered the Oval Office.

Over the two-year period 2009-2010, the number of people receiving aid from the feds grew 7.5 percent. And the payments got much more generous, too. In 2010, the average recipient of federal assistance collected benefits worth $32,750. That’s more than the average per-capita disposable income in America.

Dependency-related programs now cost $2.5 trillion annually. That’s roughly 70 percent of the federal budget.

What measures do you think are best to stop this explosion of spending? How aware do you think many on the left are of the increase in dependency?

Open Thread