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Staggering Increase in Disability Claims by Working Age Americans is Fueling the Entitlements Epidemic, Says Definitive New Book, "A Nation of Takers"

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Oct. 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In his authoritative new book, A NATION OF TAKERS: America's Entitlement Epidemic (published today by Templeton Press), Nicholas Eberstadt, one of the country's most widely regarded demographers, lays out the disturbing facts and long-term financial and moral consequences created by the issue.

Perhaps most disturbing among them: despite the steady improvement in health for the American workforce, disability claims have exploded over the past generation: for every ten men and women at work, one working age person is now receiving some "disability" entitlement payment.

Eberstadt's book, which has already been widely referenced by the media during the campaign, represents a crash course as to why the United States is at the verge of a symbolic threshold: the point at which more than half of all American households receive, and accept, at least one entitlement benefit from the government.

The book doesn't represent good news for anyone, particularly the many Democrats and Republicans who have long used their own "interpretations" of reality to assign blame and demonize the other side.

Here are just some of the startling, often myth-shattering facts that Eberstadt presents:

  • Transfer payments have been growing at roughly twice the rate of personal income for the past fifty years.
  • From a purely statistical standpoint, the growth of entitlement spending over the past half century has been distinctly greater under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.
  • By 2010, the most extreme regional dependence on government transfers (including disability claims among working-age people) tended to be in rural areas rather than urban ones, and in red states rather than blue states.
  • In 2009 over 100 million Americans lived in homes accepting at least one "poverty-related" entitlement. By 2011 106 million Americans were in such households: 35 percent of our population, nearly twice the share of the early 1980s.
  • The dramatic increase in working age men who are no longer seeking jobs is fueling the problem: Between 1948 and 2011 the proportion of adult men who did not consider themselves part of the workforce steadily rose, from under 13 percent then to almost 27 percent now.
  • The days in which the national security state consumed more public resources than the welfare state are long past. America currently devotes $3 to entitlements for every $1 spent on defense.
  • By 2010, the burden of entitlement transfers came to slightly more than $7,200 for every man, woman, and child in America—or $29,000 for a family of four.

Beyond the enormous economic and cultural costs of this epidemic, Eberstadt powerfully argues that while this spending certainly drains our federal coffers, it also has a long-lasting, negative impact on the character of our citizens

Eberstadt, a political economist and a demographer by training, holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at American Enterprise Institute.

John G. Ekizian, The J.G. Ekizian Agency
917-880-9107 or jekizian@mac.com

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Source:Templeton Press