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Welfare Spending of $1.03 Trillion is Up 32% in Four Years

In yesterday's Washington Times, Stephen Dinan reported, " Federal welfare spending has grown by 32 percent over the past four years, fattened by President Obama’s stimulus spending and swelled by a growing number of Americans whose recession-depleted incomes now qualify them for public assistance." He continues:

"Federal spending on more than 80 low-income assistance programs reached $746 billion in 2011, and state spending on those programs brought the total to $1.03 trillion, according to figures from the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee.

"That makes welfare the single biggest chunk of federal spending — topping Social Security and basic defense spending.

"Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee who requested the Congressional Research Service report, said the numbers underscore a fundamental shift in welfare, which he said has moved from being a Band-Aid and toward a more permanent crutch."

Here is just a short snapshot of background information about welfare spending from the CRS report, provided by "ranking member" Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) in a 3-page background fact sheet:

" . . . CRS identified 83 overlapping federal welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these 80-plus federal welfare programs amounts to roughly $1.03 trillion. Importantly, these figures solely refer to means-tested welfare benefits. They exclude entitlement programs to which people contribute (e.g., Social Security and Medicare).

< . . . >

"The exclusively federal share of spending on these federal programs is up 32 percent since 2008, and now comprises 21 percent of federal outlays (this share too is more than Social Security, Medicare, or defense).

"As a historical comparison, spending on the 10 largest of the 83 programs (which account for the bulk of federal welfare spending) has doubled as a share of the federal budget over just the last 30 years. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the amount expended on these 10 programs has increased by 378 percent over that time."

The background fact sheet contains a list of all 83 federal welfare programs examined by CRS. In addition, here is the press release from U.S. Senate Budget Committee (GOP-side).

If you're wondering what $1 trillion looks like, here is a 2 1/2-minute video I found on You Tube. Here is how Free Republic and Mint.com explain what $1 trillion look like in words and pictures, respectively.

Additional stories which comment on the Senate Budget Committee report include this blog post by the National Review Online staff; a post by blogger Heather Ginsberg at Townhall.com; Caroline May reports at the Daily Caller; and, a post at the Heritage Foundation's blog, the Foundry, by Robert Rector that includes a discussion about HSS efforts "gut the work requirements from welfare reform." In addition, at the Weekly Standard's blog, Daniel Halper has two posts, here and here, that have several charts, including the one at the bottom of this post..

Also, at the Weekly Standard blog, Jeff Anderson reports on the U.S. Treasury Department's "final monthly treasury statement of receipts and outlays" for FY 2012. Anderson highlights that " for every $7 we’ve had, we’ve spent nearly $11 (or, to be more exact, $10.95).  That’s like a family that makes $70,000 a year — and is already knee-deep in debt — blowing nearly $110,000 a year."


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