It’s bad enough that the U.S. government is doling out a record amount of public assistance under President Obama, but now this; a new federal report reveals that it’s much worse than previously imagined because Uncle Sam is spending more than the medium national income to provide each impoverished household with welfare.
As crazy as this sounds, it’s all documented in a 15-page report released this month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which has a staff of about 900 lawyers, economists and scientists that conduct research and analysis for the United States Congress. In fiscal year 2011 the U.S. government doled out $1 trillion for welfare benefits, including $746 billion in federal funds and $254 in state matching funds. Either way, the cash comes from American taxpayers.
The astounding figure doesn’t even include Medicare and Social Security, only handouts like food stamps, cash welfare and medical insurance for the poor known as Medicaid. Here is a breakdown, according to the CRS; the government spent enough on welfare last year to cut a check for nearly $60,000 for each impoverished household it provided with benefits. If this isn’t insane, what is? The medium income in the U.S. is around $50,000! The official poverty line is an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four. Just do the math.
In 2011 about 16.8 million households qualified as living below the federal poverty level, which means that if the government’s welfare spending were equally divided between them, they would each get $59,523. That exceeds the pay of many hard-working Americans. The CRS also confirms that, under Obama, federal spending for low-income programs has skyrocketed.
Here are the figures; government spending for welfare ballooned 23%, from $563 million in 2008 to $692 million, in 2009. The administration attributes it to “recession-sensitive” programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. The reality is that the Obama Administration has been promoting food stamps like there’s no tomorrow, even offering states that sign up the most recipients cash bonuses. For example, Wisconsin got a $5 million performance bonus for its efficiency in adding food-stamp recipients to already bulging rolls.
A record number of people—46 million and growing—already get food stamps from the U.S. government and many don’t even qualify for the welfare benefit. Earlier this year a federal audit revealed that many who don’t qualify receive them under a special Obama Administration, “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements.
The government’s food stamp program has gotten so out of control under President Obama that earlier this month a U.S. senator, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, called for end to the madness, especially the administration’s aggressive promotion campaigns to recruit even more recipients. The lawmaker also questioned the U.S. government’s partnership with Mexican consulates to encourage foreign nationals, migrant workers and non-citizen immigrants to apply for food stamps and other welfare benefits.
The latest government figures reveal that an astonishing number of people are collecting public benefits such as food stamps and disability checks, revealing an alarming trend of dependence on government rather than self-sufficiency associated with the American dream.
A record 5.4 million workers have applied for federal disability checks since President Obama took office, according to a news report that cites recent government figures. This is straining already-stretched government finances while posing a long-term economic threat by creating an ever-growing pool of permanently dependent working-age Americans, the report says.
Since the recession supposedly ended in mid 2009, the number of people who have applied for disability benefits is double the job growth figure, according the report which includes an informative chart. In just the first four months of this year, 539,000 joined the disability rolls and more than 725,000 applied for the federal benefit. That means nearly 11 million people are on disability, according to the Social Security Administration.
Also this week, government figures reveal that a record number are getting food stamps and the figure will keep rising. This is not surprising since the Obama Administration has promoted the program like there’s no tomorrow in an effort to eradicate “food insecure households.” In fact, the administration has spent millions of dollars to recruit even more food-stamp recipients and has doled out hefty cash rewards to states that sign up the most people. One state even bragged about a $5 million performance bonus it got from the feds for its “swift processing of applications.”
This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reveals that 45 million people—one out of every seven U.S. residents—got food stamps in 2011, a whopping 70% increase from 2007. This represents a cost of $72 billion for U.S. taxpayers, which is a substantial increase from $30 billion four years earlier. For at least the next two years the food-stamp rolls will get even bigger, according the CBO, which studies economic and budgetary issues for Congress.
This undoubtedly leaves the out-of-control welfare program vulnerable to fraud and corruption. Just last month the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency that allocates food stamps, published a scathing report detailing how many recipients use their benefits to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. Some trade food stamps for reduced amounts of cash, according to USDA watchdog.
The Obama Administration’s manic spending spree to help “low-income” populations isn’t taking a break for the holidays, this month allocating an additional $845 million to a fraud-infested welfare program that’s already received billions from U.S. taxpayers this year.
Incredibly, this particular initiative—known as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)—is rife with corruption that’s routinely exposed in congressional probes and the media. This hasn’t stopped the Obama Administration from pouring huge sums of money into it, however.
Every year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides “needy” residents around the nation billions of dollars to pay for heating and cooling bills. That’s because the agency considers home energy a public health issue and therefore LIHEAP could help keep families safe and healthy. In fact, the agency encourages people to apply for funds by saying: “If you can’t afford to pay your home energy bill, your home may not be safe and you may be at risk of serious illness or injury,”
In late October HHS gave LIHEAP a whopping $1.7 billion to “ensure low-income families are able to meet their heating cost expenses this winter.” When that chunk of change was doled out, the agency said it was for “immediate needs” and that states could also access an “additional $136 million, if needed.”
Last week the agency distributed an additional $845 million to help low-income households with energy costs. The goal is to assure that “vulnerable families and seniors” can pay their heating bills and “stay warm during the holiday season and into early 2012,” according to an HHS assistant secretary. The same official says that, even as the economy shows signs of improvement, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
Under this welfare program the government has actually paid the air conditioning bills for thousands of dead people, convicted felons and federal employees whose salary exceeds the maximum income to qualify for the handouts. In fact, one federal employee admitted requesting “free money” after seeing the “long lines” of applicants. You can’t make this stuff up. The details are included in a congressional report documenting fraud in LIHEAP. Investigators blame lack of oversight for the problems.
As the clash over excessive federal spending keeps Congress from passing a budget, the Obama Administration continues pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a fraud-infested welfare program.Just this week, as lawmakers duke it out in hopes of preventing the first government shutdown in 15 years, the administration allocated $311 million to a scandal-plagued program that gives low-income residents money to pay heating and cooling bills. The handouts will help needy families get the “basic essentials” to sustain a “healthy and quality standard of living,” according to Obama’s Health Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.Every year her agency—the Department of Health and Human Services—allocates billions of taxpayer dollars to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), despite documented waste and corruption that’s been repeatedly exposed in congressional probes and the media. So far this fiscal year, the Obama Administration has given LIHEAP $4.2 billion.Just last summer the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), detailed many of the issues plaguing LIHEAP in a report that blames lack of oversight for the costly problems. Investigators found that a number of dead and incarcerated people receive LIHEAP aid as well as federal employees whose salary exceeds the maximum income to qualify for the handouts.Sebelius conveniently failed to mention any of that in her press release announcing the latest injection of money. Instead she focused on how the cash will help “burdened” families who are forced to make “difficult financial decisions” relating to their home energy needs.