Entitlement Transfers Have Increased 727% in Last 50 Years

Heather Ginsberg

9/2/2012 1:50:00 PM - Heather Ginsberg

As we all know entitlement reform is a big topic of conversation for this upcoming election. Will the Romney/Ryan plan break down Medicare? Will President Obama continue the constantly growing entitlement program?

In a new analysis from The Wall Street Journal we see that entitlement programs have grown at an average rate of 4% each year since 1960.

The growth of entitlement payments over the past half-century has been breathtaking. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals totaled about $24 billion in current dollars, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By 2010 that total was almost 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year.

In 2010 alone, government at all levels oversaw a transfer of over $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services. The burden of these entitlements came to slightly more than $7,200 for every person in America. Scaled against a notional family of four, the average entitlements burden for that year alone approached $29,000.

What happened to the days of limited government? Wasn’t the American government founded on the idea of governing the people, not stepping into their lives every day to provide them with handouts? Since when was the major job of the federal government to protect, manage and finance the entitlement empire?

Of course Medicare is not the only entitlement program, these statistics include Medicaid and Social Security, too. It seems with this development it is likely we will see this become a major point of discussion in the next two months of campaigning. Hopefully the debates will make it easy for both candidates to explain where they see the future of entitlement programs.

It seems that we need to make sure that this is not a trend that continues. With an exponentially growing debt, we can’t possibly continue this kind of spending. Never mind our founding fathers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not believe what these programs have become. This was never meant to be part of the federal government’s responsibility.