Even during the Great Depression, not all Americans benefited from a government handout or program. With 25% of the nation unemployed, this meant that 75% had paying jobs of one type or another. The WPA, CCC, and other alphabet agencies, coupled with the new social programs such as FDIC, began the course of American welfare that grew under the Johnson administration, and accelerated in the 90's and 2000's under Republican and Democratics Presidents.
That acceleration has now led the American people to be very close to 50/50 on reliance on the government dole. In a new report, nearly 49% of all Americans rely upon a government benefit in one form or another.
This is something that is very discouraging, because as the monetary systems of the global economy start to fail, and the US government neglects to address its skyrocketing national debt. Nearly half of the 310 million Americans living today will find it hard, or be unable to cope should circumstances cut off the government spigot, and will lead to a more crime and rebellion, such as was seen in the Middle East earlier this year, and in Europe over the economic riots taking place now.