Buried deep on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau is a number every American citizen, and especially those entrusted with public office, should know. It is 86,429,000.But then there are government workers, who work but don't produce any physical value for the economy.
That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.
Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.And then there are the ones who don't work at all.
Of course, it stands to reason that some people lived in households that received more than one welfare benefit at a time. To account for this, the Census Bureau published a neat composite statistic: There were 108,592,000 people in the fourth quarter of 2011 who lived in a household that included people on "one or more means-tested program."
Note that this is not the total number of people receiving benefits, this is the number of people receiving benefits who we can assume do not work.
Note that 108,592,000 is larger than 86,429,000.
Any bets on how long this situation lasts?