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OUT OF CONTROL. Government spent a massive $1.03 trillion on federal welfare programs in 2011

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 18th, 2012
Catholic Online (

The government's largest expenditure last year - by a long shot - was federal welfare programs. Approximately $1.03 trillion was spent on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs - alone. That figure makes welfare the government's largest expenditure for 2011.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to new data released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee, the total amount taxpayers spent on federal welfare programs was derived from a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on federal welfare spending.

This figure becomes even more astronomical considering it excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, and means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities and the means-tested veteran's pension program.

Focusing solely on federal spending for federal welfare programs, the report uncovered that spending on federal welfare programs increased $563.413 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $745.84 billion in fiscal year 2011, a whopping 32 percent increase.

Spending on the 10 largest federal welfare programs has doubled as a share of the federal budget in the last 30 years. 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.

Food assistance programs, which are the third largest welfare category behind health and cash assistance experienced the greatest increase in spending. There was 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.

In the largest expenditure category, health, was 37 percent higher in fiscal year 2011 than fiscal year 2008. 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. Energy assistance was 67 percent higher in fiscal year 2011 than fiscal year 2008.

Other federal expenditures as non-war defense ($540 billion), Social Security ($725 billion), Medicare ($480 billion), and departments such as Justice ($30.5 billion), Transportation ($77.3 billion) and Education ($65.486 billion) was dwarfed by those spent on federal welfare programs. 

"These astounding figures demonstrate that the United States spends more on federal welfare than any other program in the federal budget," Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who requested the report from CRS said in an email.

"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."


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