One Nation, on the Dole

The debt-ceiling debate is a painful reminder that we are all welfare queens

Dorothea Lange / Library Of Congress / Getty Images

Accusations fly about cutting tuition grants, Medicare, veterans' benefits and food stamps. It's a litany that raises a simple question, Who isn't getting a government check?

We all know the nation's budget is huge, but nothing drives the point home like the number of Americans receiving financial support. Add Medicaid, farm payments, housing subsidies and others to the list, and roughly 47% of all Americans are receiving at least one federal benefit. Tax preferences, like the deductions for mortgage interest, retirement savings and health care, bring the number closer to 75%. The dirty little secret about America is that being on...

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