According to a new congressional report from the Congressional Research Service, total Federal and State “welfare” spending, across 82 means-tested benefit programs for low-income families, was over $1trillion last year. A nearly 30% increase, since the beginning of the Obama administration.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, released the figures Thursday. The stats show that combined Federal and State total spending on “welfare” is more than the country spends on Medicare, Social Security or non-war defense. The study included Medicaid, food stamps, cash disbursements, public housing, energy assistance and various tax breaks for low-income families. The report only looked at programs which held obligations of at least $100 million in a fiscal year. So, many of the “small-dollar” welfare assistance programs weren’t even included.
The actual number in cash would be $1,028,000,000,000.00 (one trillion, twenty eight billion dollars). Divide that figure into an American population of 311,800,000 (three hundred eleven million, eight hundred thousand) people, and you get a yearly individual tax burden of $3,296.98 for every man, woman and child in the nation.
If we simply divided all that welfare spending among the 46,200,000 people who are known to be living at or below the Poverty line, we could hand each individual, including every child, a check for $22,251.08 per year. An unemployed, uneducated, underage single mother of 2 could have $66,753.24 a year to pay for her food, housing, healthcare, education, investments and all what-have-you.
Do you believe you could manage to squeak by and raise two kids, all by yourself, on $5562.77 a month? I think I could.
“No longer should we measure compassion by how much money the government spends but by how many people we help to rise out of poverty,” Sen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Welfare assistance should be seen as temporary whenever possible, and the goal must be to help more of our fellow citizens attain gainful employment and financial independence.”
It makes you wonder what kind of employment opportunities and increased incomes would be produced if Employers and Taxpayers were allowed to KEEP all of that income, which they are forced to give the government as taxes, to spend on hiring new people or spending as they chose. One Trillion Dollars buys a lot of goods and services, the production, transportation, warehousing and sales of which, requires massive additional hiring.
The CRS study found the federal portion of all that spending rose from $563 billion in fiscal 2008 to $746 billion in fiscal 2011. A 32 percent increase over three years, all while personal incomes for employees in the Private Sector have been dropping steadily.
The number of people enrolling in these benefits program has risen, in part, due to the Obama economy and its devastating effects on employment and incomes. Record numbers of people have been forced to go on food stamps, as unemployment hovers near the 8 percent mark.
Sessions office acknowledges that “persistently weak GDP growth” is “unquestionably a factor” in the rising budget for benefits programs. Which means that the longer we allow employment and incomes to drop, the more people will be forced onto the welfare rolls. Like Greece, that ends in national economic collapse. Unlike Greece, we can take the entire globe down with us.
However –and in spite of the evidence that its policies are wreaking destruction– Sessions office claims that the Obama administration has produced a federal policy which “explicitly encouraged growth in welfare enrollment. Combined with a weakening of welfare standards and rules.”
Sessions pointed out that food stamp administrators are proactively trying to enroll people into the program, even when they might not necessarily need the assistance. The Federal “Base Line Budgeting” process guarantees that every Program and Bureaucracy receives AT LEAST as much tax money as it has spent the previous year, plus scheduled increases.
The real question therefore becomes: Why is there ANY poverty in America?
Or, perhaps even better: How much of our tax money –which is earmarked for helping our poor– is lost, wasted, stolen, misappropriated, embezzled and otherwise poured down the drain as Governmental Administrative Overhead?