We Spend HOW MUCH On Welfare?

While researching another blog post, I came across an article that truly shocked me – which is really hard to do, given my familiarity with the Obama administration’s free-spending ways.

Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty

New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States government spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.

“According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795,” the Senate Budget Committee notes. “If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011.”  (emphasis added)

This dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household on poverty lives on per year. “If the spending on these programs were converted into cash, and distributed exclusively to the nation’s households below the poverty line, this cash amount would be over 2.5 times the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, which in 2011 was $22,350 (see table in this link),” the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note.

The article goes on to note that, “The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that almost 110 million Americans received some form of means-tested welfare in 2011.”

Now, look, as a Tea Party guy, I’m rather acutely aware of how much money Barack Obama has spent in his 4 years as President, but these numbers are just staggering – even for policy wonks and political veterans.

One would think that all this spending on welfare programs would produce an appreciable decrease in poverty rates. After all, when spending per household on welfare programs is over 300% of the poverty level, the beneficiary households should be very comfortable indeed. One would, sadly, be wrong.

According to the US Census, individuals below the poverty line have increased from just under 40 million in 2008 to over 46 million in 2010, an increase from 13.2% to 15.1% of our population. In other words, we’ve thrown WAY more money at the problem, which has paradoxically only made the problem worse.

See, that’s the problem. Government is presumed to know better how to spend your money better than you do. Reminds me of the quote from Bill Clinton:

In a post-State of the Union speech in Buffalo, NY on January 20, 1999, Bill Clinton was asked why not a tax cut if we have a surplus. Clinton’s response:

We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right… But … if you don’t spend it right, here’s what’s going to happen. In 2013 — that’s just 14 years away — taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks… I want every parent here to look at the young people here, and ask yourself, ‘Do you really want to run the risk of squandering this surplus?’ ” (emphasis added)

    Source: Washington Times, January 21, 1999

Typifying the arrogance and conceit of DC elites, this quote also reveals a mindset that couldn’t possibly conceive of waste, fraud and abuse inherent in their Rube Goldberg contraptions disguised as public assistance agencies.

As Daniel Greenfield puts it,

What the class warriors know and their critics often don’t understand is that the real welfare queens aren’t the ones shouting about voting for Obama because they’re getting free phones. They’re the ones who administer the free phone programs.

The welfare state isn’t run for the benefit of welfare recipients, it’s run for the bureaucracy that dispenses welfare and their contractors, with the welfare recipients as the pretext for the whole scam.

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