I’ve always been curious what programs make up the “welfare system” so I Googled it and found an interesting report by the Heritage Foundation. If you’d like to know more about where about $1 trillion a year are spent – this was the breakdown in 2011.
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.
A full list of these programs is provided at the end of this testimony. (Note: Social Security, Medicare, veterans programs, unemployment insurance, and workmen’s compensation are not considered means-tested aid and are not included in this list.)
The full report can be read here – http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/2012/06/welfare-state-69-means-tested-programs-and-940-billion-in-annual-spending
These are the topics in the report
Welfare Spending: The Fastest Growing Component of Government Spending
“Slashing” Spending on the Poor: The Perpetual Myth
Growth of the Welfare State
Welfare Spending Increases under the Obama Administration
Table 1 shows the growth in means-tested spending over recent years. 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 50 percent increase.
Table 1. Growth in Means-Tested Spending
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.