THE FIVE

America the entitled?

Census: Half of US households receive government benefits

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 25, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Well, how long can the United States survive if half the country is getting some kind of check from the government? Now, we have new stats that show 49.1 percent, almost 50 percent of the U.S. is getting government assistance in some form.

Eric, it's troubling, because this is the way that Greece went, right? Now, the question if you read the story a little bit more, it says a lot of the reason for this, is families are becoming multigenerational. A lot of people are doubling up. They're moving back home with their parents. Grandparents are moving in with them.

But they say, in the Wall Street Journal, even if it wasn't happening because of the recession, still people would be getting more check from the government.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: And, any way you slice it. Look at the chart from the lower left to the upper right. Chart is going up. President Obama presides the right side of that chart right there, things aren't getting better. No matter what you hear on TV or how many times the president takes a victory lap saying it's better now than it was when we took over, it's not.

If you look at that number, you look at food stamps up 4 percent from when he took over, $80 billion of food stamps, more Americans on food stamps. More Americans in poverty than when he took over. You can't take a victory lap for the economy and then look at charts like that.

TANTAROS: And, Dana, when you look at the numbers, Social Security is set to exhaust in 2033. Medicare set to go bankrupt in 2024. Politicians, some of them are screaming about this. Paul Ryan, as you know. And no one seems to be doing anything.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: And Americans are getting older and older, and we are not producing as many younger people in order to take over the workforce and vie for that going forward.

And you've seen societies are dealing with this, Japan is one and Russia is another. We can look at the government benefit situation at Greece and maybe learn some lessons. I'm not equating the United States economy with Greece, but there are lessons to be learned.

But I think a problem that a lot of politicians have you can find the most conservative guy on any issue, take my home state of Wyoming, but he will say you better not touch my Social Security or my Medicare. We have can't solve any of these problems if people aren't willing to come to the table and not be scared off by the scare tactics in election year.

TANTAROS: What about that, Bob? Because you talk about it a lot. Even though it might be the right thing to do, it's nuclear for anyone in politics to mention as Dana pointed out, touching Social Security. George Bush tried. Remember, he tried to make an effort. And yet, he was demonized by Democrats.

So, if congress people are running for office every two years, how do you fix the problem?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Yes. That's the problem. Ultimately, both (INAUDIBLE) come together and they're going to be forced to do it.

But can I point out here, USA Today, the headline, fewer drawing federal support. Safety net shrinks as economy rises. Three years after ended most of the nation's safety programs are given to fewer people, contrary what to my partner --

PERINO: But it's still 49 percent.

BECKEL: States face have jobless benefits the lowest since December of 2008. Caseload in welfare fell 50 percent. Food stamps have been down in the last two months. Just keep in mind --

BOLLING: What? In the last two months?

BECKEL: In the last two months. Keep in mind --

BOLLING: Hold on. Hold on.

BECKEL: Don't interrupt me arrest second, will you, commie? Will you shut up for a second? Thank you.

The fact of the matter is inherited the great recession. That is one of the reasons that it exploded. It will go down. It will continue to go down.

TANTAROS: How?

PERINO: You know, he would be better off to blame FDR than Bush, because it would be more believable.

BECKEL: Why more believable?

TANTAROS: This is why people should be furious about this, OK? Because in Detroit, they're saying now they have budget issues, they're going to downsize, no street lights.

BRIAN KILMEADE, GUEST CO-HOST: I'm going to in the inner-city without lights now.

Fantastic.

TANTAROS: California is trying to tax cigarettes. They're talking about legalizing drugs. All these regressive punitive taxes because they made decisions, we have to suffer.

KILMEADE: We have clues. Number one, (INAUDIBLE) need an intervention. The clues are Indiana, New York, under Governor Cuomo, I believe Wisconsin, and Ohio. Ohio is getting there, I'm not sure they're supposed to fall out.

They need a governor who's not going to be that concerned about his next term to go in there and say, this is the deal. You can recall me if you want, but I'm going to continue to tell you, this is a deal.

But as unemployment goes down in Wisconsin, as Indiana stands on the hind legs, and now, New York is finally getting its feet underneath them, I think people say, wow, show some courage.

BECKEL: The answer is here is overwhelming percentage of this Social Security Medicare. Everybody has known that and until these guys show courage, I give Bush credit for trying to do it. We will not resolve it. The rest of it is chump change.

TANTAROS: Are you going to give Paul Ryan credit, too?

BECKEL: No, I don't give Ryan credit --

BOLLING: Even more to the middle of Paul Ryan was Simpson-Bowles, President Obama had an opportunity to put Simpson-Bowles in play. And he chose not to, Bob. And that would have to --

BECKEL: It would have gone to automatic vote that was defeated by Republicans.

TANTAROS: To be fair, we should point out, Walker is a Republican and Cuomo is a Democrat. So, they both can do it.

KILMEADE: They're making tough decisions.

TANTAROS: That's right.

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