Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Harvey was kind enough to quote and link to me last week about me pointing out how much money we waste on "helping" the poor in this country.

One of my earliest posts was to give you the data showing how much money we spend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment benefits.

Let's have a look at the numbers for 2012.  Table 1.1, if you please.

Total receipts: $2,468,599,000,000
Total outlays: $3,795,547,000,000
Total deficit: $1,326,948,000,000

Additional fun facts:

U.S. Population: 315,575,000
Total receipts per person: $7822.54
Total outlays per person: $12,027.40

If the government takes $8000 from each person and then gives each person $12,000 back, then how come we are not getting lots richer?

Table 4.1, if you don't mind.

2012 selected outlays:
Department of Health and Human Services: $871,136,000,000
Department of Housing and Urban Development: $56,788,000,000
Department of Labor: $127,157,000,000
Social Security Administration (On-budget): $188,552,000,000
Social Security Administration (Off-budget): $638,509,000,000

I think that that covers most of the helping the poor government spending.

Total of 2012 selected outlays: $1,882,142,000,000
Total receipts: $2,468,599,000

In 2012 the federal government spent [at least] $1,882,142,000,000 on helping the poor.

Apparently, poverty is defined as less than $23,000 per year.

For the total spent on poverty we could give the poorest 81,832,261 Americans (that's the poorest 26%) a check to push their income over the poverty level.

Why are there any poor Americans if we are spending enough on the poor to completely cover the income of 26% of the citizens?


The last link was to a Think Progress article.  I wanted to know the number of Americans in poverty (46.6 million).

Another though occurred to me while reading that article. 

The article attempts to show that 33.3 million Americans were prevented from going into poverty thanks to four government programs: Social Security, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Unemployment Insurance.
  • Most Americans are not in poverty.
  • 46.6 million Americans are in poverty.
  • 33.3 million Americans were saved from poverty thanks to the government.
So: $1,882,142,000,000 was spent in successfully saving 33.3 million from poverty.  That means that it takes $56,520.78 of spending on anti-poverty programs to save someone from going poor.

Why does the government need to spend twice as much as the poverty level in order to save someone from poverty? 

Wouldn't handing each of those 33.3 million a check for $23,000 cost half as much and be equally effective?

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