The “War On Poverty” Has Cost Three Times What All Of America’s Actual Wars Have Cost


Welfare has grown 19% under President Obama, that’s two and a half times greater than any other welfare increase in the history of the country.

But remember, Obama wears the “food stamps president” title as a badge of honor.

( – Federal and state welfare assistance has grown almost 19 percent under President Barack Obama, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

All in all, there are 79 means-tested federal welfare programs, at a cost approaching $1 trillion annually, said Heritage Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector.

Rector conducted a comprehensive analysis of spending for government assistance programs, ranging from food, education and childcare programs to housing and medical care.

Since Fiscal Year 2009, federal and state welfare spending has risen from $779.9 billion to $927.2 billion, an increase of 18.8 percent. That fiscal year includes spending from Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009.

And then there’s this:

According to Rector, the government has spent $19.8 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars) on means-tested welfare since President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty began in the 1960s.

“In comparison,” he wrote, “the cost of all military wars in U.S. history from the Revolutionary War through the current war in Afghanistan has been $6.98 trillion.”

“The War on Poverty has cost three times as much as all other wars combined,” he said.

I’d not say that there is no waste in military spending. The military could use a budget haircut not unlike every other part of the federal budget.

But the most pressing budget problem in America is run-away spending on social entitlements. We just can’t afford them any more.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

Related posts

  • Rob Hys

    People are throwing around numbers about how much we have spent on welfare and war. The best I could figure as you stated is that Robert Rectors report started all this nonsense. His numbers on spending for welfare are in today’s dollar. So no we haven’t spent anywhere near what he claims. The value of a dollar today is not any were near what it was worth 40 some years ago. He has intentionally inflated the cost of welfare and intentionally deflated the cost of war. The number he gave for our cost of war were based on what we spent in all “Shooting” wars. I have to wonder what parts of our defense industry were excluded because they were not used in a shooting wars. Was it all the ICBM’s and our nuclear arsenal, nuclear submarines. What about training, and bases in the U.S. not involved in shooting wars. Or our vast intelligence gathering.communities. I for one am so vary tired of all the misleading statement made by the so called right. We need to call ya’ll the immoral and wrong.

    • Tim Hines

      Good point on the numbers! The other bit that caught my eye was 70-some “federal welfare” programs….wow… That’s a BIG number, in my opinion, and after trying to count the ones that usually qualify as welfare on my fingers and having a few digits left over, I’m curious as to what constitutes “welfare” in this analysis from The Heritage Foundation….