The WSJ is excellent at defining things in ways that don't call its readership out for also being at the trough.
49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.
Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.
The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.
The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.
If one accurately defines being "on the dole" as receiving a preferential benefit for which other taxpayers do not receive, then who isn't on the dole?
Are you writing off interest on your home mortgage? Non-homeowners help to pick up your slack.
Chose to have kids? Thank the childless for your tax write-off, or in some cases, your Earned Income Tax Credit.
Own a business? You're almost certainly getting at least one benefit that the business next door is not getting. I'd tell you to buy them donuts next week, but they're probably getting a benefit you're not getting too.
So long as we have politicians that are head over heels for doling out targeted benefits to constituents in order to engender loyalty and fill their campaign coffers, none of this will change. The game will simply be won by the people who spend the most money and drive the most voters to the polls - in other words, big businesses and old people.