Thanks to the recession, paychecks from private companies have sunk to an all-time low, as a percentage of the nation's income, while benefits from the government have ballooned to a record high, according to USA Today. In the first three months of 2010, only 41.9 percent of the nation's personal income came from private wages and salaries, down from 44.6 percent in December 2007. Meanwhile, Americans got 17.9 percent of their income from government programs, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and food stamps, up from 14.2 percent in 2007, before the recession started. Is this just a side-effect of the government's efforts to fight the recession, or a sign of economic trouble ahead?
We're headed for disaster: The U.S. was on a path to go broke on entitlement spending before Barack Obama became president, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. But in the last 16 months, "we’ve doubled down" with new boondoggles — including those health-care subsidies that kick in in 2014. We're now going bankrupt at a "breakneck pace."
"Private wages sink to new lows"
This is what happens when you fight a recession: These figures are hardly shocking, says Frank James at NPR.org. With businesses laying off workers and delaying raises, of course private paychecks are shrinking. The right's "partisan gloss" is that this all spells disaster, but another way to look at it is that the government's economic stimulus and other programs have "counterbalanced the retreat by private businesses."
"Income from private-sector pay sinks to record low"
The recession only accelerated this disturbing trend: "Safety nets are okay during hard times," says Veronique de Rugy in National Review, but that's "not what’s going on here." The amount of our nation's wealth redistributed by the government has been increasing "even during good times," and the recession simply made it crystal clear that this "rise of dependency" is unsustainable.
"The rise of dependency in America"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week