Open Education Open Education

Time to Eliminate those Government Handouts!

There are a good many folks who believe (myself included) that our democracy can truly flourish only within a properly educated citizenry. That notion is deemed one of the fundamental reasons for government support for education.

We have railed time and again about the need for an educated public. We have taken the tongue in cheek approach with the likes of How Were the Apollo Astronauts Able to Walk on the Moon? And we have been downright negative about that failure in A Small-Minded, Easily-Swayed American Public.

Today we turn to a table that appeared in Keep Your Government Hands Off My Government Programs! by Catherine Rampell at the New York Times Economix blog. The table should not need any explanation but just in case, Paul Krugman provided this simple sentence in his summation, Medicare Recipients Against Handouts:

44 percent of Social Security recipients, and 40 percent of Medicare recipients, believe that they don’t benefit from any government social program.

Percentage of Program Beneficiaries Who Report They “Have Not Used a Government Social Program”
Program “No, Have Not Used a Government Social Program”
529 or Coverdell 64.3
Home Mortgage Interest Deduction 60.0
Hope or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit 59.6
Student Loans 53.3
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit 51.7
Earned Income Tax Credit 47.1
Social Security—Retirement & Survivors 44.1
Pell Grants 43.1
Unemployment Insurance 43.0
Veterans Benefits (other than G.I. Bill) 41.7
G.I. Bill 40.3
Medicare 39.8
Head Start 37.2
Social Security Disability 28.7
Supplemental Security Income 28.2
Medicaid 27.8
Welfare/Public Assistance 27.4
Government Subsidized Housing 27.4
Food Stamps 25.4
Source: Suzanne Mettler, “Reconstituting the Submerged State: The Challenge of Social Policy Reform in the Obama Era,” Perspectives on Politics (September 2010): 809.


This likely falls into the category of the “Apollo Astronauts” question and the proverbial you just can’t make this stuff up.

But it does beg a simple question – is this something else we can blame on K-12 public education?

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