The Atlantic catches on . . . four years too late, but at least it’s catching on: “This summer, many government officials and private investors finally seemed to realize that the crisis in the euro zone was not some passing aberration, but rather a result of deep-seated political, economic, and financial problems that will take many years to resolve. The on-again, off-again euro turmoil has already proved immensely damaging to nearly all Europeans, and its negative impact is now being felt around the world. Most likely there is worse to come—and soon.” Link. * * * * * * * The benefits of being self-employed: 1.2 million Americans were assaulted at work by a coworker in the past calendar year. Link. * * * * * * * Romney’s 47% remark was simply wrong . . . but his broader point was on target.
If Romney wanted to be more accurate, he should have cited the share of households receiving goodies from the government. That number also is approaching 50 percent and it probably is much more correlated with the group of people in the country who see the state as a means of living off their fellow citizens. But even that correlation is likely to be very imprecise since some government beneficiaries – such as Social Security recipients – spent their lives in the private sector and are taking benefits simply because they had no choice but to participate in the system.
Moreover, there are some people who pay tax and don’t receive programmatic benefits, yet are part of the proverbial moocher class. Many government bureaucrats obviously would be on that list, as would some union members, trial lawyers, etc.
However, even though Romney picked the wrong statistic and overstated the implications, he indirectly stumbled on a key issue. As seen in both BIS and OECD data, the U.S. is at risk of Greek-style fiscal chaos at some point in the not-too-distant future because of a rising burden of government spending.
I have no idea what share of the population today actually is part of the dependency class that Mitt Romney inarticulately described, but I don’t think I’m going out on limb to say that it has grown during the Bush-Obama years and it will continue to expand.
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