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The Self-Made Myth by Mike Lapham, Brian Miller

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CHAPTER 2Busting the Myth

Making the Invisible Visible

Americans are largely unaware of the very government benefits they personally receive. This fact was highlighted in a 2008 study by Cornell University professor Suzanne Mettler. She began her study by asking respondents if they had “ever used a government social program or not,” and then later asked about a specific list of 19 programs.

The results of her study are telling. About 60 percent of those who benefited from home mortgage interest deduction and lifetime learning tax credits said they had never used a government social program, while 53 percent of those who received student loans claimed to have never used a government social program. Even more surprising, between 40 and 44 percent ...

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