Total Welfare Spending Equates to $168 per Day for Every Household in Poverty

Senate Budget Committee, December 7, 2012

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. 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.

The universe of means-tested welfare spending refers to programs that provide low-income assistance in the form of direct or indirect financial support—such as food stamps, free housing, child care, etc.—and which the recipient does not pay into (in contrast to Medicare or Social Security). For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested 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 federal programs, when taken together with approximately $280 billion in state contributions, amounted to roughly $1 trillion. Nearly 95 percent of these costs come from four categories of spending: medical assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, and social / housing assistance. Under the President’s FY13 budget proposal, means-tested spending would increase an additional 30 percent over the next four years.

The diffuse and overlapping nature of federal welfare spending has led to some confusion regarding the scope and nature of benefits. For instance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has recently received a great deal of attention for adopting the “food stamp challenge” in which he spends only $30 a week on food (the average individual benefit).  The situation Booker presents, however, is not accurate: a low-income individual on food stamps may qualify for $25,000 in various forms of welfare support from the federal government on top of his or her existing income and resources—including access to 15 different food assistance programs. Further, even if one unrealistically assumes that no other welfare benefits are available, the size of the food stamp benefit increases as one’s income decreases, as the benefit is designed as a supplement to existing resources; it is explicitly not intended to be the sole source of funds for purchasing food.

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  • Puggg

    However, the end user beneficiary doesn’t receive all of this $168 a day. A large percentage of it is overhead, i.e. paying black bureaucrats to administer the program.

  • Aaron

    Many welfare recipients are the [usually black] government employees for the welfare system itself.

    • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

      You can include the military services in that number as well.

      • Sherman_McCoy

        I remember the military before it became a day-care center for the black children of single “mothers.”

        • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

          I bet it makes you sad beyond description. It’s as if the honorable past is crapped on every day while ceremonies honoring those few (and usually white men) who actually do die in combat seem like throwbacks, but almost a cynical play aimed at providing all those parasites with phony “honor.”

          • Joseph

            True enough but the majority of this noise is to maintain support for the war industry -bringing “democracy” and “women’s equality” to people who neither asked for, nor deserve our alleged help. Elevating esteem of minorities is just a side benefit.

          • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

            It goes back at least to Eisenhower’s recognition and warning in 1960 about the Military Industrial Complex. In many ways, the Vietnam War was a contest between government jobs and contracts vs how many young men were worth it in exchange. But the minority benefits came into being after that, when the military became voluntary in 1976. Then, it became a bastion and training system for “minority” rights not just in the military but in civilian life as a result.

  • You Are Now Enriched

    Any predictions on how soon we’ll see this headline?

    Collapse of the White Taxpayer Jeapordizes Progress

    • IstvanIN

      “Last white tax payer dies. Blacks and Hispanics hardest hit. Film at eleven”.


      Both my wife and I work 50 hrs a week. Why? Because the government takes almost 50% of our wages (this includes all fees, taxes, registrations, payment, etc. made to local, state, and Feds).
      Besides, having to raise our two children, the government forces us to pay to raise one additional Minority child by taking our money and giving it to failed, irresponsible people.
      Because my wife and I must work so many hrs to get enough money to raise both our own children, and the children of Mexicans, Pureto Ricians Africans, etc., we have little time with our children — i.e., they go to day care.
      If taxes were lower (if the government was not taking our money and giving it to other people), we would work less, and spend more time with our children.

  • StillModerated

    How much of that $168 is the spiff skimmed off by the HHS Department?

    • You Are Now Enriched

      None of it. You add the spiff to the $168, not subtract. The true costs of welfare are hidden. But shut up, Whitey, and keep paying your social justice tribute without asking any more racist questions.

      • StillModerated

        I guess that explains all the bantus at the helm of luxury cars these days.

        • So CAL Snowman

          Luxury car brands owned and designed by Whites! Black people, they HATE us but boy do they LOVE our stuff!

          • pcmustgo

            While screaming at us that “Whites Don’t have a Culture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. The other non-whites do that to us too, btw.

          • Blacks love luxury cars such as Cadillacs and Mercedes and BMW’s. When I worked as a personal injury paralegal, I had one black guy that was so proud of his 1979 Mercedes and that it was better than a current model Hyundae.

        • Sherman_McCoy

          It’s also how they afford to create a hip-hop “artist” Uberclass whose male members are so attractive to desirable white women. Nuke us all and let God sort us out.

        • WarLlama

          Yep, they can afford to lease just about anything on their gibs.

      • i am

        Almost all blacks are on welfare of some sort – even the super rich ones. If you ended welfare completely, there wouldn’t be any rich/successful blacks. All the Hip-Hop and cRap artists get their money from blacks on welfare. If there was no welfare, those black hair care producers and black fashion designers wouldn’t make any money. You can also add affirmative action and government jobs to the welfare list. Paying an unqualified person to do a poor job which requires hiring more unqualified people to complete the job is another form of welfare. I will even add blacks like Ken Hamblin to the list. They make their money telling guilt ridden whites what they already know but are too afraid to acknowledge it. Orca I mean Oprah would never make money if it wasn’t for the unmentionables backing her, and guilt ridden white woman supporting her.

        • i am

          I forgot to say that a lot of other “white” companies would also lose out. Nike would probably lose half or more of their revenue if black couldn’t buy overpriced god ugly shoes.

  • As long as California, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and the rest of the blue states are footing the bill, I have no problem with this. They are, after all, getting what they asked for when they supported Obama.

    • Nice dream but when these states go broke – and they are either already broke like California or soon to be they will be bailed out by the feds with your tax dollars. They are after all too big to fail. Worse they will not be made to address their extravagant and unsustainable entitlement and big government liberal programs. You have absolutely no control over the out of control federal spending. Watch as the Republicans drive the last nails into our coffin by supporting some amnesty program and betraying the Tea Party patriots.

      • When the GOP votes for amnesty, it signs its own death warrant.

        So be it.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Joke’s on you pal CA is about to go broke! Obama/Biden 2016!

    • ye ol’ swampyankee

      And one of the strange inconsistency’s in all this is that most white suburbanites and ruralites in the states you mentioned desire and do live apart demographically from non whites, especially blacks.

      Yet they pound the drum of inclusion, most often from their 95-plus percent white communities.

      And so a mindset is created. Since “they don’t bother us” let’s vote for for that abstract minority symbol Obama in the meantime.

  • Germanacus

    Given this information and the teeming masses of Third World immigrants Barry Hussein is welcoming into our country as new democrat voters and gravy train riders, we will run out of white tax payers to support all these enrichers. We can barely pay for blacks as it is.

    • StillModerated

      Vicious pets can be very expensive, and they’re even more expensive to keep caged.

      • Plus, few owners remember to have them spayed or neutered.

  • I Did It My Way

    I graduated from high school, graduated from college, have a part time job in a college and a part time government job. During one difficult three month period in my near-50 year life I received food stanps. I would have done better financially to get into welfare full time.

  • The__Bobster
  • Bobbala

    Who is John Galt?

    • Guest

      look it up dumbass

      • IstvanIN

        That was rude.

        • Michael_C_Scott

          As well as completely unnecessary.

        • Sherman_McCoy

          More than rude. It was moronic.

      • Sherman_McCoy

        Look, f-tard, that is the question asked all throughout the book, and is integral to the entire idea of Atlas shrugging. Have you ever considered slashing your wrists as a method of self-improvement?

        Dear moderator, feel free to edit my comment, but do keep the original idea, won’t you?

  • Michael_C_Scott

    This is exactly why I refuse to work a regular job.

  • Greg Thomas

    This is a fortune to the third-illegal invaders and “legal” immigrants this government is allowing to flood into this country. Most have never seen so much money before and are happy to make a life off welfare.

  • pcmustgo

    Oh, regarding Corey Booker (that super white Negro, boy does he have some Mulatto Elite ancestry in him, although I would have preferred him to Obama, I like his attitude better, and so far, I’ve heard no racial hatred out of him), he’s a vegetarian! It was too funny watching the video of him shopping on food stamps. He bought apples and kale and sweet potatoes and I was like, and all veggies, and I was like, yeah right Corey, you know the average American, yet alone the average black doesn’t eat like that…. Blacks are notorious for not eating any veggies, even their precious collard greens they don’t really squeeze into their diet enough.

    • pcmustgo

      “For instance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has recently received a great deal of attention for adopting the “food stamp challenge” in which he spends only $30 a week on food (the average individual benefit). “

      • Oil Can Harry

        If that pathetic publicity hound Corey Booker really believes welfare recipients spend $30 a week on food he should visit an actual welfare center.
        Half the people there look like they weigh 300 lbs. Maybe Booker can explain how they got that way on just $4 a day.

        • i am

          $30 a day is more like it. Most of them eat at fast food restaurants. Very few cook their own food.

        • IstvanIN

          FS were only ever supposed to be a supplemental program, not enough to buy all your food.

    • IstvanIN

      If Corey Booker is smart he’ll stay mayor of Newark for life or he’ll end up another Jim McGreevey.

      • StillModerated

        he’ll end up another Jim McGreevey

        Hahahaha! Do you know something we don’t? Like Corey is studying to become a gay Anglican preacher!

        • IstvanIN

          Everyone “knew” Jim McGreevey was gay and he almost beat Whitman in 96. Sharp James, former mayor of Newark, even threatened, publicly, to expose him if he didn’t get what he wanted. The marriage to Dina Matos was set up by her political king maker father. The fake marriage, coupled with the Mossad lover, did him in. Too bad, because at heart he was an honest, earnest politician, left office as poor as he went in, which is extremely unusual for a NJ politician.

  • A major part of the transformation into our modern welfare state was the promotion of the term ‘entitlements’. The deception in the use of such a misleading name should have been dealt with immediately. Words have meaning – as was illustrated so del by Orwell in 1984.

  • David Brims

    Churchill said in 1955 ” Our welfare state system will become a Mecca for the third world immigrant.”

    This has turned out to be true, in Britain like the rest of Europe, African immigrants get free health care, free housing, free education, free dole money

    • Ahh..Yet ANOTHER reason Obama returned the bust of Churchill given to us by the grateful British.

  • David Brims

    Seems like America is following Europe’s socialism. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, all broke . The German taxpayer has had to bail them out.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      Even as Frau “Spannferkel” postures and lies about it.

  • Flytrap

    The article makes a good point but isn’t as clear with the numbers as it could be. It just takes total expenditure and divides it by households in poverty. What about folks that are above poverty but get some kind of assistance? I agree with the idea but disagree with sleazy way the numbers were presented.

    Of course I do understand that breaking it down like I want to see would make it a section D, page 5 article no one would see so there is a tension between attention and detail. I just don’t want to be an ad hominem attacker with no principles.

  • bigone4u

    I thought Newt and Monica’s boyfriend ended “welfare as we have known it” back 15 years ago. Somebody forgot to tell the welfare office, Congress, and the gimme crowd.

    • schmenz

      Exactly right. Here in Wisconsin our idiot then-governor Tommy Thompson (aka Howdy Doody) re-vamped the whole welfare system. Right. And ducks fly backwards, too.

  • A couple weeks ago, I was standing behind a black man at the grocery store checkout. He paid with an EBT card.

    As I checking out, this guy went to the lotto vending machine, slipped in a $20, and proceeded to buy scratch offs.

    As I paid using cash, I thought of myself, “sucker”.

    • NYB

      Don’t despise the black doing what comes naturally. You wouldn’t hate a dog for being a dog. He’s taking what’s easy to get.

      The growth of the socialist welfare state benefits the wealthy who created it. They are the ones who invest in and profit from the commodities in the shopping cart which the black consumes.

      The wealthy want more blacks on EBT, because it means more money flowing back to them.

      • Joseph

        Remember- JP Morgan essentially controls the food-stamp industry. The more “underprivileged ” we have, the more money they make. Every one of these scams has somebody like them cashing in.

  • Skincognito

    My TA stipend is less than 40 bucks a day (that figure is based on the fact that I work 7 days a week). I have a family and the thought of receiving any form of welfare makes my stomach turn. Can anybody defend the Democracy or the majority of emasculated Repubs?
    I assume not. It’s time to defund and sterilize, boys. Cull the herd. Yes they will get hungry and desperate, but so are we. Evolution ain’t pretty.

    • You know, if the money stops coming, we can just let them die off naturally, like they do in the wild, as mother nature intended.

      • Joseph

        But they DON’T. There is always somebody trying to save the damned stupid beached whales, or snail-darters, or tiger beetles, or cotton rats or Indiana bats or some other misfit species destined for extinction because that too, is the result of decadent white privilege. Third-worlders are just an extension of their concern for wildlife.

        • Pat Kittle

          I’m a tree-hugger here in Santa Cruz (yes, THAT Santa Cruz) who comes to race-realist websites because I got tired of being slandered & banned by hopelessly PC eco-weenies.

          Of course I am under no illusion that (most) race-realists give a crap about nature any more than the over-breeding alien hordes do.

  • fakeemail

    Meanwhile, Jane and John White continue to drive their used Hyundai past 200,000 miles to their moderate paying jobs and agonize over when the time will be right to have their first

    child. . .

    • M. Sanger

      And just like the story line in Idiocracy, they will never have that child. Instead, those who expect someone else to subsidize their reproduction will have all the children. And this will be the America we leave to our children.

  • Maurice

    Wages in Central America are $3/day. This is for hard agricultural work.

  • You can also add those that would at Walmart and other low wage retail and fast food jobs.

  • MikeofAges

    Overhead. Decades ago, I heard that the government was spending $35,000 a year per every poor family. Back then 35K was an astounding amount of money. But little of it went to the poor. Giving people a shovel or a rake, a van ride to a work site everyday, and a minimal living wage would have been a better social investment, though at the expense of a lot of unemployment among social workers, eligibility workers and office staff.

    • WarLlama

      Reminds me of a great post I read somewhere else, possibly SBPDL. Something along the lines of “you want food, here’s the direction to the soup kitchen. You need clothes? Here’s some overalls.”

      I’m so sick of these leeches living like kings.

  • NYB

    Expanding socialism is a way for the rich to rob the middle class.

    The poor do not get to keep the money. That $168 per day trickles up into the private bank accounts of the wealthiest shareholders in the economy.

    This is why you had wealthy elites supporting socialism and contributing to Obama. They know taxes will be confiscated from the productive sector, and then delivered to them through the medium of socialist anti-poverety schemes.

    The black mammy gets her benefits, and by the time she’s spent it all on rent, utilities, food, health, communications and transportation, the money is well on it’s way to that shareholder who spends summers in New York and winters in Miami.

    • i am

      “This is why you had wealthy elites supporting socialism and contributing
      to Obama. They know taxes will be confiscated from the productive
      sector, and then delivered to them through the medium of socialist
      anti-poverety schemes.”

      Nike shoe company makes most of their money off of blacks on welfare.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    Hey those welfare recipients eating lobster and driving Escalades with 20″ wheels are just like us, they have someone else put their pants on one leg at a time.

  • ageofknowledge

    The goal of Democrats is to have everyone on welfare. Of course, the entire system will crash before that goal can be reached.

  • When/If 20 million illegal aliens are amnestied, try to imagine the billions more that will be spent for them under Earned Income Tax Credit. THAT is a huge give-away, which only encourages unwed welfare moms to have more children.

    • Greg Thomas

      Too late. Illegal invading mexicans have been cashing in on EITC on behalf fo their anchor babies since the inception. Legalizing them will mean that mommy and poppy can now cash in on the welfare gravy train.


    “Total Welfare Spending Equates to $168 per Day for Every Household in Poverty, Senate Budget Committee”

    “You can live better on welfare than on the median American wage.”

    This conclusion does not follow. How much of the money actually goes to people in poverty and how much goes into the pockets of government employees, “contractors” or the non-poor?

  • refocus

    Does the $168 per day include the bureaucracy and interest on the money?