Obama’s Poverty Trap

We talk a lot about entitlement programs on our show and the escalating costs of these programs under President Obama. A new report from the Congressional Research Service shows just how out of control this spending is.

Federal spending on anti-poverty programs has increased by 33% since 2008, at which time it was less that $800 billion. When you add in state spending on these programs, the total is $1.03 trillion. When it comes down to numbers, that’s $1.03 trillion to anti-poverty programs, more than the $725 billion on social security, $480 billion on Medicare, and $540 billion on non-war defense.

Authors say most of that increase came from Obama’s stimulus program. CRS is non-partisan. In fact, this non-partisan study takes out social security, Medicare, and veterans programs.

Tracking the spending is no easy thing because there are no fewer than 83 welfare programs, many of them overlapping. It’s hard to find a government department that doesn’t run an anti-poverty program.

To be sure, a weak economy has translated into more Americans looking for assistance. This week we reported that the numbers of Americans on food stamps has hit a new high. However, there is more behind the increased spending than just the economy. More than ever, the government is advertising these programs. In fact, our government has an official partnership with the Mexican government to expand food stamp enrollment among foreign nationals.

All this welfare spending adds up to $20,610 for every poor man, woman, and child in the country. For a family of four, that’s more than $82,000. The poverty line for that family is just over $18,000. With this kind of spending, poverty should be wiped out.

Instead, it’s growing.

Today, one in seven Americans is living in poverty; the most in almost two decades.

All the while spending is soaring.

Here’s welfare spending for the last four decades in a nutshell. Adjusted for inflation, and going up, up, up. How can we spend all of this money and see so little progress?

Instead of pushing this line higher and expanding the welfare state, we should be stopping the taxes and bloated regulations. They hold back economic growth and job creation. People need work, not handouts.

Look, the point isn’t that people should not receive help when they need it. Instead more of the government’s resources should be focused on getting this economy going again so that more Americans can be self reliant. When it comes to jobs, Americans just aren’t interested in settling for less.