Welfare Spending at All-Time High…and Growing (Cartoons)

When Governments Cut Spending

Uploaded on Sep 28, 2011

Do governments ever cut spending? According to Dr. Stephen Davies, there are historical examples of government spending cuts in Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and America. In these cases, despite popular belief, the government spending cuts did not cause economic stagnation. In fact, the spending cuts often accelerated economic growth by freeing up resources for the private sector.

In the USA we are just increasing welfare spending while a few other countries like the ones mentioned in the video above are cutting it.

Welfare Spending at All-Time High…and Growing

By and
October 22, 2012

Welfare spending has hit a stunning, all-time high. A new Congressional Research Service report confirms what research here at The Heritage Foundation has shown: The government’s means-tested welfare programs now cost taxpayers roughly $1 trillion a year. (This figure does not include either Social Security or Medicare.)

Unlike general government programs, mean-tested welfare programs provide assistance exclusively to poor and low-income individuals.  The federal government runs over 80 means-tested programs providing cash, food, housing, medical care and social services to around 100 million Americans.  That’s a third of the U.S. population.  Combined federal and state expenditures on these programs come to roughly $9,000 per recipient per year.

The size and cost of these programs largely are hidden from public view because government decision makers and the mainstream media invariably discuss welfare one program at a time.  By analyzing each of the 80-plus programs in isolation, they conceal the overall size of the welfare state.   The Congressional Research Service report is a rare departure from this piecemeal approach.

Discussing the welfare state one program at a time is misleading because most recipients will receive aid from several programs at once. Converted into cash, total welfare spending would equal five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.

Although liberals constantly lament the level of defense spending, annual means-tested welfare spending has exceeded defense spending for nearly two decades.  In the next decade, the U.S. will spend well over $2 on welfare for every $1 it spends on national defense.

Yet somehow $1 trillion a year in means-tested welfare spending isn’t enough for President Obama, on whose watch this spending already has increased by more than a third. This isn’t a temporary increase because of the recession. According to Obama’s budget plans it would continue to grow in the next decade, reaching $1.56 trillion by 2022.

Under the Obama administration’s approach, the welfare system will continue to grow and more Americans will remain dependent on government. Over the summer the administration announced it would waive work requirements in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.  This illegal move puts at risk the successes of the 1996 welfare reform–which created TANF and resulted in major declines in the welfare rolls and higher rates of employment among low-income Americans.

Gutting TANF’s work requirements also means that only two of the nation’s 80-plus welfare programs will require able-bodied recipients to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid.

For liberals, a bigger welfare state and greater dependence on government seems to equate with helping the poor. This view is contrary to President Lyndon Johnson’s original aim in launching the War on Poverty.  Johnson sought to make the poor self-sufficient, not dependent on government.  But after $19 trillion in means-tested welfare spending, our nation is further than ever from that original goal than ever.

Putting ever-greater numbers of Americans on welfare is not a mark of success. Although government spending may artificially prop up living standards, it utterly fails in the real task of building self-sufficiency. The growth of welfare is unsustainable, and is no way to promote the authentic well-being of Americans.

Promisingly, we can take steps to bring this spending under control while helping those in need. Once the unemployment rate declines, total welfare spending should be returned to pre-recession levels and then allowed to grow no faster than the rate of inflation.  This would save taxpayers over $2.5 trillion in the next decade.

In addition,  rather than weakening work requirements, policymakers should expand this crucial element of welfare to other means-tested programs such as food stamps and public housing, building on the success of the 1996 reforms. Contrary to liberal ideology, promoting self-reliance, rather than government dependence, is the way to help the poor and encourage a thriving society.

Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, is author of the recent paper “Obama’s End Run on Welfare Reform, Part Two: Dismantling Workfare.” Rachel Sheffield, research associate in Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, is co-author with Rector of the paper “Ending Work for Welfare: An Overview.”

Let me start this post by stating that George W. Bush was a bigger spender than Barack Obama (though the numbers are somewhat distorted by TARP, which caused a big increase in the burden of spending during Bush’s last fiscal year and artificially dampened outlays in Obama’s first fiscal year since repayments from the banks counted as negative spending).

So I’m not trying to make a partisan point by sharing these cartoons. I don’t like it when Democrats increase the burden of government spending and I’m equally dismayed when Republicans engage in same type of profligacy.

That being said, I was a big dumbfounded when President Obama recently claimed that there’s not a spending problem in Washington.

We know that the United States has a huge long-run problem with deficits and debt according to both the Bank for International Settlements and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

We also know that tax revenues, measured as a share of GDP, will soon be above their post-World War II average and that the tax burden is expected to increase in coming decades.

So a person would have to be in serious denial to claim that spending isn’t a problem.

Which is the point Eric Allie makes in this cartoon.

Spending Problem Cartoon 1

And the point Robert Ariail makes in this cartoon.

Spending Problem Cartoon 2

Ditto for Bob Gorrell.

Spending Problem Cartoon 3

And Gary Varvel.

Spending Problem Cartoon 4

Last but not least, the great Michael Ramirez.

Spending Problem Cartoon 5.jpg

Gee, it’s almost like we’re seeing a pattern.

And if you like this spendaholic-in-denial theme, you can click here and here for further amusement.

P.S. Oh, by the way, if anybody’s actually interested in how to solve the spending problem (you know, the one that doesn’t exist), we do know the answer.

P.P.S. Remember when Obama claimed the private sector was doing fine? Well, here’s how cartoonists mocked him for that absurd comment.

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