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Americans Have No Idea How Much Welfare They're Getting

Maybe American protesters denouncing government welfare programs wouldn't be so conservative if they actually knew how much welfare they got.


The rise of the anti-big government Tea Party movement in America has also seen a rise in the number of citizens publicly decrying both taxes and the social welfare programs for which those taxes provide. A recent study shows, however, that many Americans actually have no idea that they're on the dole, calling into question the validity of their attacks on government handouts.

The graphic above uses information from Suzanne Mettler's newest piece in Perspectives on Politics, and the data is simple: Those numbers are the percentages of people who benefit from the specified government program while also saying in a government survey that they "have not used a government social program." Besides these numbers, more than 25 percent of people on food stamps think they don't take government assistance, and nearly 30 percent of people getting Social Security disability benefits.

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