by Janet Rusnack, Guest Author
Comment by Jim Campbell
Janet Rusnack has provided for us an in-depth analysis of the debacle we call welfare. Quit simply she shows the reader why it isn’t working “well” and it isn’t “fare” to all involved, the taxpayer or the recipient.
Under President Obama, the government will spend more on welfare in a single year than President George W. Bush spent on the war in Iraq during his entire presidency.
Despite the fact that welfare spending was already at record levels when he took office, President Obama has increased means-tested welfare spending by a third. This is a permanent, not a temporary, increase in spending. According to the President’s budget plans, means-tested welfare will not decline as the recession ends but will continue to grow rapidly for the next decade. Obama plans to spend at least $10 trillion on means-tested welfare over the next ten years.
All we hear day in and day out is “cut entitlement spending!” Well, let’s talk, shall we? Welfare is the largest entitlement program in this country – and NO ONE is even whispering about it!!
This is from the Testimony before the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support Committee on Ways and Means United States House of Representatives April 5, 2011:
“In FY 2008, means-tested welfare assistance amounted to around $7,700 for each poor and low-income person in the U.S. population (those with non-welfare incomes below 200 percent of poverty.)
In FY 2011, total means-tested spending going to families with children will be about $470 billion. If this sum were divided equally among the lowest income one-third of families with children (around 14 million families), the result would be around $33,000 per low-income family with children.”
Means-tested spending comprises a vast, hidden welfare state. The public is almost totally unaware of the size and scope of government spending on the poor. This is because Congress and the mainstream media always discuss welfare in a fragmented, piecemeal basis. Each of the 69 programs is debated and discussed by the media and the politicians in isolation as if each one were the only program affecting the poor. This piecemeal approach to welfare spending perpetuates the myth that spending on the poor is meager and grows little, if at all.
When the current recession ends, or by 2013 at the latest, total means-tested welfare spending should be returned to pre-recession levels, adjusted for inflation. So that in subsequent years, aggregate welfare spending should grow no faster than inflation. This type of spending cap would save the taxpayers over $2 trillion dollars during its first decade. An aggregate welfare-spending cap of this sort is contained in HR 1167, The Welfare Reform Act of 2011 introduced by Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Most discussion of government spending and deficits assumes that the federal budget consists of four principal parts: entitlements (meaning Social Security and Medicare), which are NOT true entitlement programs; defense; non-defense discretionary spending; (I want someone to explain to me how Defense is an Entitlement Program) and interest. This perspective is misleading because it totally ignores the hidden welfare state: a massive complex of 69 federal means-tested anti-poverty programs.
Means-tested programs are anti-poverty programs: they are intended to increase the living standards and improve the capacity for self-support among the poor and near poor. The size of the federal means-tested aid system is particularly large because it is funded not only with federal revenue but also with state funds contributed to federal programs. Ignoring these matching state payments into the federal welfare system results in a serious underestimation of spending on behalf of the poor. Prior to the current recession, one dollar in seven in total federal, state, and local government spending went to means-tested welfare.
According to the Heritage Foundation Research: “Combined federal and state means-tested welfare spending is in fact the second largest category of overall government spending in the nation today.
The cost of means-tested welfare exceeds the costs of public education and national defense combined”
“The 69 means-tested programs operated by the federal government provide a wide variety of benefits. They include:
12 programs providing food aid; 10 housing assistance programs; 10 programs funding social services; 9 educational assistance programs; 8 programs providing cash assistance; 8 vocational training programs; 7 medical assistance programs; 3 energy and utility assistance programs; and, 2 child care and child development programs.
In FY2011, federal spending on means-tested welfare, plus state contributions to federal programs, will reach over $940 billion per year. The federal share will come to around $695 billion or 74 percent, while state spending will be around $250 billion or 26 percent.
Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent $15.9 trillion (in inflation adjusted 2008 dollars) on means-tested welfare. In comparison, the cost of all other wars in U.S. history was $6.4 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars).”
Welfare Spending Increases under the Obama Administration
In FY 2007, total government spending on means-tested welfare or aid to the poor was a record high $657 billion. By fiscal year 2011, total government spending on means-tested aid will rise to $944 billion, nearly a fifty percent increase.
It looks like this (Compliments of research provided by the Heritage Foundation):
|Federal Spending(in billions)||State Spending(in billions)||Total Spending(in billions)|
The U.S. Census Bureau, which is in charge of measuring poverty and inequality in the nation, defines a family as poor if its annual income falls below official poverty income thresholds. If total means-tested welfare spending were simply converted into cash benefits, the sum would be nearly four times the amount needed to raise the income of all poor families above the official poverty line.
Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent $15.9 trillion (in inflation- adjusted 2008 dollars) on means-tested welfare. In comparison, the cost of all other wars in U.S. history was $6.4 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars). Let that really sink in – 15.9 Trillion on Welfare, 6.4 Trillion on ALL OTHER WARS In U.S. HISTORY
President Obama’s increase in federal means-tested welfare spending during his first two years in office is two and a half times greater than any previous increase in federal welfare spending in U.S. history, after adjusting for inflation.
Under President Obama, the government will spend more on welfare in a single year than President George W. Bush spent on the war in Iraq during his entire presidency.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the cost of the Iraq war through the end of the Bush Administration was around $622 billion. By contrast, annual federal and state means-tested welfare spending will reach $888 billion in FY 2010.
While campaigning for the presidency, Obama lamented that “the war in Iraq is costing each household about $100 per month.” Well, Mr. Obama the Congressional Research Service reveals that welfare will cost each household $638 per month in 2010 and somehow the administration has not managed to disclose this annoying little fact to the American people, nor does it seem to be bothering you nearly as much as the $100/month for the Iraq war under Bush; Is there an explanation for this?
Obama Plans Permanent Increases in Welfare
Supporters of the President’s spending might counter that these spending increases are merely temporary responses to the current recession. But that is not the case; most of Obama’s spending increases are permanent expansions of the welfare state. According to the long-term spending plans set forth in Obama’s FY 2010 budget, combined federal and state spending will not drop significantly after the recession ends. In fact, by 2014, welfare spending is likely to equal $1 trillion per year.
According to President Obama’s budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018)? This spending will equal over $10,000 for each taxpaying household in the U.S.
With 69 overlapping means-tested programs serving different low-income populations, it is difficult to determine the average level of benefits received by low-income persons. One way of estimating average welfare benefits per recipient would be to divide total means-tested spending by the total number of poor persons in the United States. According to the Census Bureau, there were 39.8 million poor persons in the U.S. in 2008. An additional 1.5 million persons lived in nursing homes. (These individuals, though mostly poor, are not included in the annual Census poverty and population survey.) Total means-tested spending in 2008 was $708 billion. If this sum is divided by 41.3 million poor persons (including residents in nursing homes), the result is $17,100 in means-tested spending for each poor American.
However, this simple calculation can be misleading because many persons with incomes above the official poverty levels also receive means-tested aid. Although programs vary, most means- tested aid is targeted to persons with incomes below 200 percent of poverty. Thus, a more accurate sense of average total welfare spending per recipient can be obtained, if total welfare aid is divided among all persons within this larger group. Dividing total means-tested aid by all persons with incomes below 200 percent of poverty results in average welfare spending of $7,700 per person, or around $30,000 for a family of four.
Another way of examining spending levels is to look at welfare spending on families with children. In FY 2011, total means-tested spending will be $940 billion. About half of this spending ($470 billion) will go to families with children. (Around one-third of this spending will go to medical care.)
If the $470 billion in welfare spending were divided equally among the lowest income one third of families with children (around 14 million families), the result would be around $33,000 per low-income family with children.
In addition, most of these lower-income families have earned income. Average earnings within the whole group are typically about $16,000 per year per family, though in the midst of a recession, earnings will be lower. If average welfare aid and average earnings are combined, the total resources is likely to come to between $40,000 and $46,000 for each lower-income family with children in the U.S. It is very difficult to reconcile this level of spending with conventional claims that millions of lower-income families are chronically hungry, malnourished, or ill- housed. Seriously, I do not know how this claim could be valid.
Of course there hasn’t been a debate or a challenge to these truths, the whole of these truths are still hiding in the White House closets. These programs, which are true entitlement programs, (and which are also being given to illegal aliens**), must be exposed, challenged and cut.
Controls must be put in place, rules that must be adhered to. For example, if you are receiving any form of government assistance, you cannot grow your family, e.g.: no more children until you are supporting your family on your own: working and not receiving assistance of any kind. You cannot test positive for any drug. If you do, you get one chance: you must immediately get into a program, get clean, stay clean. Test positive again, you’re on your own – no more aid. You are not entitled to a WII, a Nintendo, a Blackberry, a new car, etc., I’m sure you get my point. I can’t speak for you, but I truly am opposed to subsidizing a drug habit and/or being forced to pay out more money for babies that were not planned for, not wanted, have no hope for a decent future, and that, if things don’t change radically (and soon), will be indoctrinated into living within a system that they, too, will perpetuate until society just implodes.
I am not attacking those receiving assistance. I am simply stating the obvious: there are plenty of problems that need to be fixed and a great deal of money being spent that should not be. I realize that this next must now be fought as it’s own separate issue, but I feel compelled to say it anyway – I am radically opposed to Illegal Aliens being given any form of Welfare, Social Security, Public housing, etc. I really have a problem with paying for benefits for anyone who prefaces their status with that word: ILLEGAL. I think millions of people really need to refer to a dictionary and get a much better understanding of what that word means.
Additionally, everyone currently receiving benefitscan absolutely contribute in some way. (Obviously, for the sake of any tissue-grabbing liberals that might happen upon this, I am not referring to those with disabilities). There are so many ways that people could contribute to their communities: clean the parks, the highways, mentor, or get mentoring to improve themselves, volunteer in a hospital, a nursing home, help out in a school. But everyone should be required to pitch in, in some capacity. It is unhealthy to do nothing. In order to foster self-respect, to give the gift of pride to their children, it is necessary to lead by example, illustrating self-sufficiency and contribution. Work does not have to be earning a dollar. It can be contributing to your community, fostering good will. In this way, showing your child/children that you care about the world you live in and want to improve it. That requires your contribution. Doing nothing is not an option.
“In the 1920s, roughly half of the population was poor by today’s standard. If the theory that “poverty” causes social problems were true, we should have had far more social problems in those earlier periods then we do today. But crime and most other social problems have increased rather than fallen since these earlier periods.
History and common sense both show that values and abilities within families, not family income, lead to children’s success. Families with higher incomes tend to have sound values concerning self-control, deferred gratification, work, education, and marriage, which they pass on to their children. It is those values, rather than the family income, that are key to the children’s attainment. Attempting to raise the family income artificially through welfare is very unlikely to do much to benefit the child, but it is likely to destroy the very values which are key to the child’s success.”
The administration is too busy ringing the bell of fear regarding Social Security and Medicare – and now attacking our Military. With that, and it’s hammering away at the sickening “class warfare” cry, the White House is feeling pretty secure that they have succeeded in keeping our focus elsewhere. After all, we are the stupid masses. So while Obama stirs the kettle of chaos and class warfare and goes on about his business, he doesn’t expect that the peasants will give him much of a problem. He just goes forward with his little agenda:
This from Fox News 11/9/11:
The president’s proposal doesn’t go into details of what kind of reform or retirement savings program would be created (for the Military). But it does propose greater contributions from military members and veterans into the federal health care program called TRICARE for Life.
“The administration is proposing to introduce modest annual fees for the TFL program, beginning with a $200 annual fee in 2013. The fee then would increase to align with the modest increase in the fees under the regular TRICARE program for individuals under age 65 that was proposed in the president’s 2012 budget. This proposal is estimated to save approximately $6.7 billion in mandatory spending over 10 years,” the president’s deficit reduction proposal reads.
Likewise, the proposal calls for retirees and active duty family members to contribute more to their prescription drug coverage, generating $20 billion in savings over 10 years, the administration says.
Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News that U.S. troops are expressing concern to him about possible changes in the retirement system.
Obama continues to abuse our Military, put fear into the hearts of the elderly and disabled, destroy our economy, while raising the welfare coffers and hammering away at his class warfare routine. When you listen to him rant about more taxes, raiding military pensions, cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I want you to look at those Welfare numbers and think about $10,000.00 coming out of the pockets of every taxpaying family in America. Then think about how much we don’t know about where all this money is actually going. Who is it benefitting? How? Why? How long is the average stay on each program?
Most Compelling: if this doesn’t get tabled, NOW, we are simply dealing with more economic illusions and cannot possibly have a true voice in making clear decisions. This administration must be made accountable for its smoke and mirrors. Demand answers. We must stop being passive. We have to demand representation from every one of our state reps as well as Congress. Call, write, call some more. Give them NO peace. Time is really running out and we cannot afford to be cordial anymore. It’s time for change. It’s time we let them know that. Burn up the phone lines and tie up their e-mail. Let them see we are NOT going away.
** GAO Government Accountability Office. The arm of Congress that investigates the performance of the federal government noted that: (1) in fiscal year (FY) 1995, about $1.1 billion in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Food Stamp benefits were provided to households with an illegal alien parent for the use of his or her citizen child; (2) this amount accounted for about 3 percent of AFDC and 2 percent of Food Stamp benefit costs; (3) a vast majority of households receiving these benefits resided in a few states–85 percent of the AFDC households were in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona; (4) 81 percent of Food Stamp households were in California, Texas, and Arizona; (5) California households alone accounted for $720 million of the combined AFDC and Food Stamp caseloads; (6) although illegal aliens also received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Department of Housing and Urban Development housing assistance for their citizen children, data to develop estimates for these two programs were not available; (7) comprehensive national statistics on any misrepresentation or fraud perpetrated by illegal aliens receiving benefits on behalf of their citizen children are not available;(8) a few California counties’ studies of AFDC households indicate that the rates and types of potential misrepresentation or fraud are similar both for households headed by illegal aliens and for the general welfare population; (9) in these studies, one of the most commonly cited types of misrepresentation or fraud was the underreporting of income; (10) income is a key factor in determining program eligibility and benefit amounts and, when underreported, can result in overpayment of benefits; and (11) the states visited by GAO had procedures in place to verify income, but officials said that verifying individuals’ income from earnings obtained through the underground economy was very difficult–for both illegal aliens and for citizens–in part because these earnings are not documented or reported to state or federal databases used to verify employment or earnings. [Emphasis Added]
This just out:
Posted on December 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM
SEATTLE — She lives in a beautiful waterfront home on Seattle’s Lake Washington. Yet, she’s on welfare assistance.
This week federal agents moved in to put a stop to it. They raided her south Lake Washington home armed with a search warrant.
KING 5 News is not naming the woman or her husband because they have not been criminally charged.
Search warrant documents unsealed Friday in federal court reveal that she received more than $1,200 a month in public housing vouchers, plus monthly cash from the federal and state government for a disability, as well as food stamps.
Property records show the woman lives in a 2,500 square-foot home, with gardens and a boat dock, that is valued at $1.2 million.
Records show she has received welfare benefits while living in the plush home since 2003. Records also show she truthfully provided her address when she applied for benefits.