June 13, 2005 | News Releases on Federal Budget
WASHINGTON, JUNE 13, 2005- Americans depend on the federal government more than ever for funding for their education, health care and housing, yet more Americans than ever pay nothing in federal income tax, according to a new study from The Heritage Foundation.
Federal spending has climbed 150 percent on higher education, 48 percent on health care and 27 percent on housing since 2000, the report says.
The Index of Dependency, which measures the increased dependence on government, increased by 1 percent in 2004, the smallest increase in four years. The Index jumped at least 5 percent in each of the previous three years, 27 percent since 2000 and 112 percent since 1980.
Meanwhile, The Tax Foundation reports that a record 42.5 million Americans paid no federal taxes after deductions and credits.
The Index measures the extent to which the federal government has "crowded out" not just state and local governments but churches, communities and families in delivering human services, says William Beach, director of Heritage's Center for Data Analysis. The project grew out of concerns by leaders such as Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and others that society could reach a "tipping point" at which a majority, dependent on government services yet not charged for them, could press for a vast expansion of government that could not be sustained.
"Civil society already has yielded substantial ground to the federal public sector," says Beach. "When do we reach what George Will called the triumph of the entitlement state, where the special interests band together to form a majority that votes its short-term desires at the expense of the long-term public good?"