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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: Is the entitlement society strangling the U.S. economy?

By Bill O'Reilly

We are about to give you some amazing stats about America becoming a welfare state. We'll start with the overall picture. During the last two years, '09 and '10, the feds have spent more than a $1 trillion on programs to help poor Americans.

Most of that money goes to what is called "means-tested entitlements". That's direct assistance, Medicaid, food stamp, child care and nutrition, checks to needy family, things like that; the recession, of course, driving some of that assistance.

But since 1970, means-tested entitlements in America have increased... ready... an unbelievable 5,500 percent. Right now an astounding 150 million Americans live in households that receive some kind of government assistance. It's almost half the population.

Social justice, the primary reason the USA is changing into an entitlement country much like the western European nations.

Politicians in both parties understand that giving money away means votes. Also there is no question that both the feds and the states have loosened standards under which Americans receive entitlements.

Since President Obama has been in office, federal welfare spending is up about 41 percent. Food stamps up about 135 percent since 2007; from 30 billion to 72 billion a year; disability payments up 116 percent from a decade ago. More than three million American workers have signed up for disability since President Obama took office.

So you can see the President's liberal spending policies and overall belief that the feds should provide is costing the nation an enormous amount of money with no end in sight. You telling me that all of a sudden Americans need more disabilities? No. It's because claiming a disability is worth a shot in the current political climate.

Now here is the most important part of the memo. Those who advocate cutting entitlements or making it more difficult to receive them will be immediately branded as bad people. Just for telling you this, I'll be labeled a horrible guy.

But consider this... what's worse? A bad economy for all Americans, which we have; a $16 trillion debt that is damaging the dollar worldwide, which we have; or a responsible entitlement agenda that gets spending under control? Which is worse?

All sane people know safety nets are needed. Poor families must be helped. There are children involved. But when the standards for getting entitlement money are so lax that the system becomes easy to game, you know you have a problem. And we do.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfuss playing a vice president on HBO and said this in the publicity campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUSS, ACTRESS: I think that being a woman in a position of power is tricky and... but important. And crucial actually. And I think the more women we have in power, the better off our country will be. That's for sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More Sarah Palins?

LOUIS-DREYFUSS: No, not more Sarah Palins, in my opinion. I would like 100 more female Democrats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: All right. As with Ashley Judd earlier, we're not sure whether blatant partisanship helps those trying to attract a mass entertainment audience. So Julia could be a "Pinhead."

But she is entitled to her opinion, of course.