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$60,000 in Federal Money in 2011 for Families in Poverty

Written by Gary North on October 29, 2012

U. S. Senator Jeff Sessions has issued a press release on federal spending. He cites a Congressional Research Service report on total federal spending on poverty.

By breaking down the figures, we find that spending per poor family in 2011 was over $60,000.

But the families are still poor. Where did the money go?

I’ll tell you where. To the federal bureaucracies that administer the programs.

Here is his press release.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement today about a new report he requested from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) about federal welfare spending. The report reveals that total means-tested welfare spending is currently the single largest category of spending in the federal budget—more than Medicare, Social Security, and national defense. Including available data on state spending on federal welfare programs, the total amount spent on federal welfare stands at $1.03 trillion. Yet the Administration continues controversial promotions to expand enrollment.

Sessions’ statement follows:

“These astounding figures demonstrate that United States spends more on federal welfare than any other program in the federal budget. It is time to restore—not retreat from—the moral principles of the 1996 welfare reform. Such reforms, combined with measures to promote growth, will help both the recipient and the Treasury.

The Administration ludicrously argues that every five dollars in food stamp spending results in nearly 10 dollars in economic benefit. They insist that communities ‘lose out’ when more people don’t sign up for benefits. They even awarded a recruitment worker for overcoming people’s ‘mountain pride.’ Is this a hopeful vision for the future? Do these priorities make our country stronger and our economy more secure?

No longer should we measure compassion by how much money the government spends on poverty but by how many people we help to rise out of poverty. Welfare assistance should be seen as temporary whenever possible, and the goal must be to help more of our fellow citizens attain gainful employment and financial independence. This is about more than rescuing our finances. It’s about creating a more optimistic future for millions of struggling Americans.”


Ranking Member Sessions and the minority staff of the Senate Budget Committee requested from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) an overview of cumulative means-tested federal welfare spending in the United States in the most recent year for which data is available (fiscal year 2011). The results are staggering. CRS identified 83 overlapping federal welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these 80-plus federal welfare programs amounts to roughly $1.03 trillion. Importantly, these figures solely refer to means-tested welfare benefits. They exclude entitlement programs to which people contribute (e.g., Social Security and Medicare)… Spending on federal welfare programs is up 32 percent since 2008, and now comprises 21 percent of federal outlays.

To view additional information about the CRS report, including a list of all 83 programs and an examination of how spending has increased over time, please see a Budget Committee background document here. To read CRS’ report, please click here.

Continue Reading on budget.senate.gov

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10 thoughts on “$60,000 in Federal Money in 2011 for Families in Poverty

  1. Rabelrouser says:

    Give a kid a credit card, which that child will consider free money; and watch the debt rack up. There will be plenty of rationalzations about why the spending was nessacary, but the debt, with interest still has to be paid. But give that same child a limited amount of money to spend and the spending habits will be more cautious.
    The same is true for the Federal government; however they have an unbridled source of credit ( for the time being) from the Federal Reserve.
    By growing governmental agencies and the cost to function those agencies, they rationalize and justify the spending. By "providing for the people" under the guise of "helping" they increase the amount spent through that justification; and the debt continues to grow untill the free money is cut off.
    Limited governance can only be acheived through limited funds; limited funding can not be curtailed untill the fiat / debt /currency by the independent Federal Reserve is finally stopped and real dollars are the means of spending.
    Untill the people can grasp this simple concept the problems and spending only grows, but that is the problem, the people dont understand.

  2. Rabelrouser says:

    Limited governance can only be acheived through limited funds; limited funding can not be curtailed untill the fiat / debt /currency by the independent Federal Reserve is finally stopped and real dollars are the means of spending.
    That should read, Limited governance can only be acheived through limited funds: unlimited funding can not be curtaileduntill………..
    Sorry for not doing a better job of editing and proof reading.

    Read more: http://teapartyeconomist.com/2012/10/29/60000-in-

  3. P.J. O'Rourke, one of my favorite authors once said giving Congress the power of the purse was like handing teenaged boys liquor and the car keys!

  4. rusureuwant2know says:

    What a load of rubbish – someone obviously failed to look at the bureaucratic administration, salaries and bonuses standing between the poor and their "60,000".

  5. Isn’t that obviously Gary North’s point?

  6. Texas Chris says:

    Build a man a fire and you warm him for a night. SET a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life…

  7. Texas Chris says:

    The problem is one of accountability. Government uses force to collect its revenue, therefore they have no incentive to be accountable.

    If, however, all government programs were required to be self-sufficient, fee-based services, then their budgets would expand and contract based on use, satisfaction, and service.

    Welfare would disappear.

    Military would come home.

    Police would protect and serve.

    Mail would be delivers, and quickly.

    Roads would be toll, smooth, and safe.

    Parks would be clean and beautiful.

  8. Texas Chris says:

    I guess obvious wasn't obvious enough…?

  9. Blair Franconia, NH says:

    Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a week. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

  10. donna grant says:

    In mi they upped the guidelines 2 be able 2 get help…so someone is keeping the money most working poor do not get help in the state of MI