America is becoming more and more a welfare state. According to new data released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee, the federal government spent approximately $1.03 trillion on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs in fiscal year 2011 alone.
According to the CRS report, which focused solely on federal spending for federal welfare programs, spending on federal welfare programs increased $563.413 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $745.84 billion in fiscal year 2011 — a 32 percent increase.
Further, spending on the 10 largest federal welfare programs has doubled as a share of the federal budget in the last 30 years: In inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Republican staff on the Senate Budget Committee, the amount spent on these programs has increased 378 percent in that 30 year time frame.
CRS reports that food assistance programs — the third largest welfare category behind health and cash assistance — experienced the greatest increase in spending, with 71 percent more spending in 2011 than in 2008. The agency explained that this spending increase was largely due to the growth in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps.
CRS further noted that the largest expenditure category, health, was 37 percent higher in fiscal year 2011 than fiscal year 2008. In that same period, cash aid increased 12 percent, education assistance increased 57 percent, housing and development assistance increased 2 percent, social services increased 3 percent, employment and training remained the same (though fluctuated in intervening years), and energy assistance was 67 percent higher in fiscal year 2011 than fiscal year 2008.
Senator Jeff Sessions, who requested the report, wrote in an email response, “These astounding figures demonstrate that the United States spends more on federal welfare than any other program in the federal budget. It is time to restore — not retreat from — the moral principles of the 1996 welfare reform. Such reforms, combined with measures to promote growth, will help both the recipient and the Treasury.”
“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,” he continued. “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. This is about more than rescuing our finances. It’s about creating a more optimistic future for millions of struggling Americans.”
“The administration ludicrously argues that every five dollars in food stamp spending results in nearly 10 dollars in economic benefit. They insist that communities ‘lose out’ when more people don’t sign up for benefits,” Sessions continued. “[The United States Department of Agriculture] even awarded a recruitment worker for overcoming people’s ‘mountain pride.’ Is this a hopeful vision for the future? Do these priorities make our country stronger and our economy more secure?”
I can answer that. No they don’t make us stronger. They make us weaker. They create entire families and communities that are dependent upon government, rather than be self-sufficient. We move closer to Communism with such entitlements, but I ask, who is actually ready to put their political career on the line in order to start dismantling the welfare state? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?