Ryan's remarks, published by The Huffington Post, came during a keynote speech at The American Spectator's 2011 Robert L Bartley Gala Dinner in November.
"Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state," Ryan said. "Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.
Ryan's comments are somewhat similar to ones made by Mitt Romney during a closed fundraiser earlier in May 2012. In those remarks, Romney said that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government handouts and would never vote for him.
Ryan, in the keynote speech, says many people who depend on the welfare state would prefer not to be in that situation.
"Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes," Ryan said. "So you could argue that we're already past that [moral] tipping point.
"The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right, 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will."