Via Hot Air As John Merline points out, the government actually spends more time and resources cutting checks than anything else it does.
The White House budget’s Historical Tables volume shows that direct payments to individuals have increased from 2.4% at the end of World War II to 66.2% in 2010, including grants.
And whose wealth gets redistributed for the payments? Merline also sees a decades-long trend there:
In fact, according to the IRS, which collects such data, the share of income taxes paid by the richest 1 percent almost equals the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 95 percent. Today, roughly a third of those who file a tax return don’t pay any federal income tax at all, or get more in refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes. (In 1985, only 18 percent fell into this camp, according to the Tax Foundation.)
Some of the sharp increase in the last three years can be attributed to Baby Boomer retirement, and others to the influx of funds to emergency funding for unemployment. Clearly, though, this is an unsustainable rise — and a dramatic change in the redistributive efforts of the federal government. We don’t need more soak-the-rich policies; we need to start containing individual payment programs, and we need to do it.