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Private pay shrinks to historic lows as gov’t payouts rise

Surprising numbers, e.g. "a record-low 41.9% of the nation’s personal income came from private wages and salaries in the first quarter." With Orwellian spin: "’It’s the system working as it should,’ Van de Water says. Government is stimulating growth and helping people in need, he says." Oh good, big sigh of relief. Where are the signs again that the stimulus is working? Not here.Ilene 

Private pay shrinks to historic lows as gov’t payouts rise 

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.

The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. "This is really important," Grimes says.

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