Welfare Nation 1 In Every 3 Americans Get Paychecks From Uncle Sam

03.09.11 | Sarah Harnisch

    Call it a welfare nation: economists now say government handouts make up one-third of U.S. wages. Government payouts—including social security, medicare and unemployment insurance— make up 35 percent of wages and salaries in America this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis data. “The U.S. economy has become alarmingly dependent on government stimulus,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Macroeconomic Research at Trimtabs. The economist gives the country two stark choices. In order to get welfare back to its pre-recession ratio of 26 percent of pay, “either wages and salaries would have to increase 35 percent, to $8.8 trillion dollars, or social welfare benefits would have to decline 23 percent, to $1.7 trillion dollars."