Who benefits from government programs?

Interesting post today on the New York Times Bucks blog.  Posted by Anna Carrns, asks readers to figure out how many government programs each has benefited from.  She writes

Mitt Romney stirred up a hornet’s nest with his comments about the 47 percent of Americans who he thinks are dependent on the government.

It turns out, according to 2008 data from the Cornell Survey Research Institute reported Monday in a Times opinion piece, that 96 percent of Americans have taken part in government benefit programs in one form or another.

Listed below are 21 programs referenced by the researchers. Numbers 1 through 13 are “direct,” meaning that the aid comes directly from the government; the remainder are considered “submerged,” in that they come indirectly, through government tax policies. (For instance, the money you put in your workplace 401(k) plan grows tax-deferred).

  1. Head Start
  2. Social Security Disability
  3. Social Security Retirement and Survivors Benefits
  4. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  5. Medicaid
  6. Medicare
  7. Welfare (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or T.A.N.F.)
  8. G.I. Bill
  9. Veterans’ benefits
  10. Pell Grants
  11. Unemployment Insurance
  12. Food Stamps
  13. Government Subsidized Housing
  14. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
  15. Hope and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits
  16. Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
  17. 529 accounts (qualified tuition programs) or Coverdell education savings account (Education I.R.A.’s)
  18. Earned-income tax credit
  19. Employer subsidized health insurance
  20. Employer subsidized retirement benefits
  21. Federal student loans

I count 8 for myself:  Social Security, Medicare, Pell Grants, Home Mortgage Deduction, Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, Federal student loans, and employer subsidized health insurance and retirement.  Not only that but I spent almost the entirety of my working life administering various government programs or being paid by government grants.  I guess I really am dependent!  How about you?

2011 10 06 - 1237 - Washington DC - Occupy DC

2011 10 06 – 1237 – Washington DC – Occupy DC (Photo credit: thisisbossi)

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