I'm Old! Gimme Gimme Gimme! (Repeat 77 Million Times)


Franklin Roosevelt's reach beyond the grave is longer than Ronald Reagan's.

Slightly over half of all Americans – 52.6 percent – now receive significant income from government programs, according to an analysis by Gary Shilling, an economist in Springfield, N.J. That's up from 49.4 percent in 2000 and far above the 28.3 percent of Americans in 1950. If the trend continues, the percentage could rise within ten years to pass 55 percent, where it stood in 1980 on the eve of President's Reagan's move to scale back the size of government.

That two-decade shrink-the-government trend now appears over, if for no other reason than demographics. The aging baby-boomer generation is poised to receive big payments from Social Security and government healthcare programs.

Nothing really new here, and we knew this was coming since, oh, 1964 or so. In the future, changes in the tax system will have next to no relationship to changes in the entitlement state—it will expand, regardless of who's writing the laws, to make life ever-cushier for Boomers.