How much does the U.S. federal govt. really spend on welfare?

Note: I’m not looking for a debate here. I’m looking for the percentage of the annual federal budget, assuming that can be pinpointed.

Really, it all depends on what you define as “welfare”.

Do you include ‘corporate welfare’, or only benefits given to individuals?

Do you include educational assistance (student loans & grants) as welfare, or do you consider them an investment in our economic future?

Do you include medical benefits given to veterans as welfare, or do you consider them partial payment for their service in our military?

Do you include special benefits given to those well-off enough to buy homes (mortgage deduction, etc.) as welfare, or do you consider them part of encouraging economic stability?

Etc., etc. …

You will need to be a whole lot more detailed as to what you consider “welfare” to get a reasonable answer here. And I think any discussion of what government benefits are “welfare” will quickly move this topic to IMHO.

The OP asked about welfare and obviously is not looking for a debate. Relax.

Here’s a starting point:
The Congress has authorized a fully-funded amount of $17 billion for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF).

Just to be clear, the Federal Government block grants money to the states and then the states actually administer the money individually.

The OP’s question is perfectly clear as stated.

The OP is obviously using the customary and standard definition of welfare: aid given by the government to economically disadvantaged families and individuals in order to help them pay their living expenses. This would include primarily Foodstamps and Aid to Families with Dependant Children, although I’m sure there are other programs as well.

The fact that the other programs mentions involve the government giving money to people (who may or may not be deserving of the money in’s opinion) does not mean that these programs (and their budgets) are relevant to the OP’s question.

do you include social security and medicaid/medicare? if you do those 2 add close to $900 billion.

welfare in the stereotypical sense of the word is alot lower. i cant remember the exact number but its close to $60 billion.

Just a brief aside…

Often, when discussing welfare issues, those on the left-hand side of the political spectrum will make some disparaging remark about “corporate welfare” and smirk as though they have said something clever.

However, most of us on the right-hand side (at least the free marketeers among us) aren’t any fonder of handouts to corporations than we are of handouts to individuals. So we respond to this sort of statement with: “What? You want to get rid of corporate welfare? Go to it!”

We .

The Federal Government has been characterized as, “A large retirement program that happens to have an army”. Still, most people don’t think of Social Security and Medicare as “Welfare”, for whatever reason. Never mind Veteran’s benefits.

Anyway, Food Stamp expenditures were $14.9 billion in the year 2000, before the downturn. “Family Assistance” and “Other Income Maintenance” together totaled to $32.1 billion.* The preceding represented about 2.5% of total outlays during that year. (47/1788.8)

  • “Family Assistance” consisted of, “…benefits— generally known as temporary assistance for needy families— provided under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.”

“Other Income Maintenance” was, “largely of general assistance, expenditures for food under the supplemental program for women, infants, and children; refugee assistance; foster home care and adoption assistance; earned income tax credits; and energy assistance.”

I would guess that many would not consider earned income tax credits, adoption assistance or energy assistance to be welfare, but I’d thought that I’d include these anyway.
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