Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Government Dependency Index...

The Heritage Foundation has taken a stab at measuring the degree to which Americans are dependant on government assistance.  Even better, they've computed this index over time, from 1962 to 2010 (the most recent year for which they have data).

The general idea is to provide an objective metric that reflects the totality of government-provided assistance of all types.  There's an old saying in the business world: “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!” – this represents the first attempt at an objective measure of something I (and many others) would dearly love to manage.

My first reaction to seeing this chart was this: that the index has increased by at least a factor of 15 within my lifetime.  That factor is assuredly substantially higher, actually – because this chart leaves off the first decade of my life, and the most recent two years.  Ouch!  And no wonder the government's meddling seems all-pervasive to me when compared with our government when I was a youth.

My second reaction was this: how did the Heritage Foundation put this together?  Fortunately for all of us, their methodology and supporting data is readily available on their web site.  The article announcing this index is chock full of interesting (though often quite depressing) compilations of information.

I would love to somehow require everyone to read and comprehend this article before voting in November...

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