Welfare Spending Exceeds Median US Income

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This is the root of many of our problems, both social and fiscal, I think:

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From the Weekly Standard:

“Based on data from the Congressional Research Service, cumulative spending on means-tested federal welfare programs, if converted into cash, would equal $167.65 per day per household living below the poverty level,” writes the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee. “By comparison, the median household income in 2011 of $50,054 equals $137.13 per day. Additionally, spending on federal welfare benefits, if converted into cash payments, equals enough to provide $30.60 per hour, 40 hours per week, to each household living below poverty. The median household hourly wage is $25.03. After accounting for federal taxes, the median hourly wage drops to between $21.50 and $23.45, depending on a household’s deductions and filing status. State and local taxes further reduce the median household’s hourly earnings. By contrast, welfare benefits are not taxed.”

We’re spending more on welfare than your average middle-class American earns through working a job.

This doesn’t mean that benefits exceed median income. This is the overall cost of the programs. But still. This is a problem.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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.

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  • SigFan

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of that is overhead consumed by the bureaucracies – both state and federal – that administer these programs. That would give a more realistic picture of how much “welfare” actually gets to the people who need it. My guess is that it’s less than half.

    • mikemc1970

      Given the extravagant ways federal and state bureaucrats enjoy wasting our tax dollars, I would have to guess closer to ten cents on the dollar, or even less.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      The old number was about 70% was consumed by the bureaucracies. But that’s probably gone up by now.

    • yy4u2

      Wasn’t it the not really affordable care act that made insurance companies use 80+% towards benefits? Good for the goose but not for the gander?

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    Well it’s expensive when you have so much free time.

  • WOOF

    The overhead of Soc Sec is about 1%.

    • Mark

      Please tell us what the total payroll for all the federal employees who work for the Social Security Administration is.

      • WOOF

        teh GOOGLE loves you.

        • Mark

          “An indicator of government efficiency.”
          “teh GOOGLE loves you.”

          Your stupidity is duly noted, again. And it’s only Thursday.

          • WOOF

            Students like you Mark, are why teachers shouldn’t be armed.

          • Mark

            I’m not a student. But once again, your stupidity is duly noted.
            On another note…had one teacher been armed in that Ct. school, how many children may have been spared? Don’t attempt to answer, your stupidity is sickening enough already.

          • WOOF

            I’m schoolin ya. “November 29, 2009, FOUR Lakewood, Washington police officers were murdered at a coffee shop…. One gunman fired at the officers as they sat working on their laptop computers “

          • Mark

            You’re not qualified to “school” anyone.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Which tells us exactly nothing.

      • WOOF

        An indicator of government efficiency.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Yes, poodle, the government is very good at writing checks.

          So what? The program is still underwater, right now, and getting worse.

          • WOOF

            You have all your bills covered till 2033 like SS does ?

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            There’s no money in Social Security. SS is living from hand to mouth.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            SS doesn’t have its bills covered until 2033. It’s in deficit, right now. And it’s pulling money from its trust fund right now, which is nothing more than treasury bonds, which means that it’s adding to the budget deficit right now.

            Sorry, Poodle, but the math is inconvenient for your politics.

  • WOOF

    DeMint’s new job in the tank, Heritage.
    “half of means-tested spending is for medical care.
    Roughly 40 percent
    goes to cash, food, and housing aid.
    The remaining 10 to 12 percent programs
    include child development,
    job training, targeted federal education aid,”
    Want to try to get rid of Medicare for the next election?
    Want to be the party of Mitt ?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Politics are one thing.

      Math, unfortunately, is quite another. And the math of these programs means the ceiling for prosperity for younger generations of Americans is getting lower.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Social Security would be more than solvent if the retirement age had been indexed to life expectancy.
    I’m not feeling too guilty about my social security check; had I invested the same money myself, the check would be much higher; but I was willing to do my part for the greatest generation… many of them went through hell and deserved social security when the time came.

  • Yogibare

    The payroll tax reuction cut the amount of money that went into the SS Funds; plus, the higher unemployment rates have reduced the money going into SSS. It’s a double whammy—the system is really running short. Congress and the President are well aware of the problem, but they will not admit to it.
    Then we have Mr. Budget Watchdog Kent Conrad who is now bailing out as he sees the $hit hitting the fan in a month or so.

    This country is out of money!!! The congress and president do not want to face the consequences of their mismanagemet; hence, Obama wants more taxes and “no cuts”.
    A POX on the bunch of them.

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