American knowledge of government social programs

The Monkey Cage blog recently posted on an article by Suzanne Mettler which, in part, reports the percentage of the American public estimated to benefit from a particular government social program but say that they “have not used a government social program”. The table, in part, is reproduced here:

Home mortgage interest deduction 60.0%
Hope or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit 59.6%
Student Loans 53.3%
Child and Dependent Tax Credit 51.7%
Earned income tax credit 47.1%
Social Security – Retirement and Survivors 44.1%
Pell Grants 43.1%
Unemployment Insurance 43.0%
Medicare 39.8%
Head Start 37.2%
Medicaid 27.8%
Welfare/Public Assistance 27.4%
Food Stamps 25.4%

In other words, 60% of the American public 1) takes advantage of the mortgage interest deduction on their taxes and 2) either isn’t aware that it’s a kind of “government social program” or does not want to admit taking advantage of such a program.

Food for thought…

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