The current depression has not only changed the kind of jobs that people take but is changing the American character from self-reliance to dependence on government. During the Great Depression of the 1930s when there were no entitlements, Americans didn't look to government for handouts and they grew up to become the Greatest Generation. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, entitlement payments in 1960 amounted to $24 billion (in current dollars), but by 2010 had climbed to $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services. Back in 1960, entitlement payments were well below a third of federal government expenditures. But now, entitlements amount to two-thirds of federal spending, with all other government functions reduced to one-third.
America is now a very different country from what it used to be. That enormous growth of entitlements over the last 50 years has transformed not only the purpose of government, but also the American character. Barack Obama has taken us across a landmark threshold. Many Americans seem to agree with Obama that "government is the only thing we all belong to." It doesn't seem to bother them that their handouts are financed by borrowing from Communist China, leaving a colossal debt to hang around the necks of our children and grandchildren.
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