Government Welfare Payments Top $1 Trillion for the First Time

By:  Bob Adelmann
10/19/2012
       
Government Welfare Payments Top $1 Trillion for the First Time

In response to a request from the Senate Budget Committee, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that federal welfare spending reached three-quarters of a trillion dollars last year. When added to what the states spent on welfare, another $300 billion, total government welfare payments in 2011 hit $1.03 trillion.

In response to a request from the Senate Budget Committee, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that federal welfare spending reached three-quarters of a trillion dollars last year. When added to what the states spent on welfare, another $300 billion, total government welfare payments in 2011 hit $1.03 trillion. More unnerving is that the report from the CRS didn't include spending on Social Security or Medicare.

Putting it all together, federal spending on welfare greatly exceeded spending on the military ($540 billion), Social Security ($725 billion), Medicare ($480 billion) as well as the Departments of Justice ($31 billion), Transportation ($77 billion) and Education ($65 billion).

Welfare spending is likely to increase in light of the Obama administration’s determination to eviscerate the welfare reform bill passed in 1996 which contained modest work requirements to qualify. In a unilateral, unconstitutional move on July 12th, the administration essentially removed all work requirements that previously applied to the states, claiming that it had, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the power to “waive compliance” and use instead “alternative” requirements. As noted by Robert Rector, writing in The New Media Journal, “The policy will clearly waive compliance with the law’s existing work participation standard. If this is not gutting the work requirements, it is difficult to imagine what would be.”

Not only is this usurpation unconstitutional — effectively neutralizing and negating legislation passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996 — it also hastens the day of financial bankruptcy of the federal government. The fact that more than 80 percent of the American people opposed the elimination of work requirements in order to receive benefits meant nothing to the ideologues currently in charge in Washington.

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Photo: The Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington

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