THE GATHERING FISCAL STORM CLOUDS

February 10, 2012

The greatest and most calamitous fiscal trend of our time is dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population. Couple that with a soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in the last two years, the United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse.

Yet policymakers made little progress on either front since the Heritage Foundation published the 2010 Index of Dependence on Government was published.

Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions.

The United States reached another milestone in 2010: For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes. Related to these disturbing trends, publicly held debt continued its amazing ascent without any plan by the government to pay it back.

As if those circumstances were not dire enough, the country is about to witness the largest generational retirement in world history by a population that will depend on currently bankrupted pension and health programs.

The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government highlights the gathering fiscal storm clouds. Unsustainable increases in dependent populations predate the recent recession—and continuing economic morass—and have continued to rise since the economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009.

Conservative Americans are haunted by the specter of enormously growing mountains of debt that suck the economic and social vitality out of this country. Only the intrepidly stagnant and jobless economic recovery garners more attention, and many are beginning to believe that even that sluggishness is tied to the nation’s growing burden of publicly held debt.

Of course, the roots of the problems produced by the great and growing debt lie in the spending behaviors of the federal government. Annual deficits far greater than the government’s revenue are fueling explosive levels of debt. One such significant area of rapid growth is those programs that create economic and social dependence on government.

The Heritage Foundation has just released its 2012 publication of the "Index of Dependence on Government" which marks the tenth time that they have flashed warning lights about Americans’ growing dependence on government programs.

The index measurements begin in 1962; since then, the Index score has grown by more than 15 times its original amount. This means that, keeping inflation neutral in the calculations, more than 15 times the resources were committed to paying for people who depend on government in 2010 than in 1962. In 2010 alone, the Index of Dependence on Government grew by 8.1 percent. The Index variables that grew the most were:

  • Housing: 13 percent
  • Health Care and Welfare: 13.1 percent
  • Retirement: 3.1 percent.

The increase from the previous Index means that the Index has now grown by 60.7 percent just since 2001. One of the most worrying trends in the Index is the coinciding growth in the non-taxpaying public. The percentage of people who do not pay federal income taxes, and who are not claimed as dependents by someone who does pay them, jumped from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009. This means that in 1984, 34.8 million tax filers paid no taxes; in 2009, 151.7 million paid nothing.

It is the conjunction of these two trends—higher spending on dependence-creating programs, and an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers who pay for these programs—that concerns those interested in the fate of the American form of government.

I have made it no secret that most of what is happening within our economy and social structure has been somewhat orchestrated by minds which are closely tied to far-left ideology intent on destroying our economy so as to build a statist controlled nation.

Back in 1966 two Columbia University political scientists proposed a plan whereby socio-economic and political change can be brought on, pushing us toward a socialist government.  Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven taught that if you flooded the welfare rolls and bankrupted the cities and ultimately the nation, it would foster economic collapse, which would lead to political turmoil so severe that socialism would be accepted as a fix to an out-of-control set of circumstances.

The idea was that if people were starving and the only way to eat was to accept government cheese, rather than starve, the masses would agree to what they would otherwise reject.  In essence, for the socialist-minded, the Cloward-Piven strategy is a simple formula that makes perfect sense; the radical husband-and-wife team had Saul Alinsky as their muse, and they went on to teach his social action principles to a cadre of socialist-leaning community organizers, one of whom was Barack Obama.

As the debt crisis continues to worsen, President Obama stands idly by an inferno with his arms crossed, shaking his head, and doing nothing other than kinking the fire hose and closing the spigot.  Spectator Obama is complaining that the structure of the American economy is engulfed in flames while accusing the Congress, which is trying desperately to douse the fire, of doing nothing about the problem.

Combine class warfare, demonizing the rich, getting as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible, and pushing the economic system to collapse and you have a flawless formula for Cloward-Piven 2.0 -- and a vehicle that ensures Obama, or more widely the Democrats, remains in power.

Although speculative, if the Cloward-Piven strategy is the basis of the left's game plan, spearheaded by Alinsky devotee Barack Obama, it certainly explains the President's inaction and detached attitude.

Given these factors, one can easily see that the "Dependent Society" will pay back its benefactors with votes and as the scales tip, the benefactors will remain in power until the nation collapses, rots or is taken over by a greater power of the magnitude of China.

Here is a horrifying fact: The Heritage Foundation predicts that the Dependent Class will become the majority by election time, 2012!


We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.