Worse, the number of people who do not pay federal income taxes and are not claimed as dependents by someone else skyrocketed from a modest 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009. Almost one-half, more than 151 million tax filers, pay no taxes. Many of those people are on the dole.
Government benefits have become increasingly generous over time. The outlay for food stamps nearly doubled from $39.3 billion to $75.3 billion between 2008 and 2010, bringing the average per capita monthly benefit to $134. This all adds up. The total amount of government support per capita jumped from $7,314 in 1962 to $32,748 in 2010 (using constant 2005 dollars). Why work when you can do better simply living off government programs?