The American welfare state is growing at the expense of the US military

While the Congress is reducing defense spending and closing crucial equipment programs, the American welfare state is growing.

According to the HumanEvents mag and the Heritage Foundation, the total funding of all 71 federal welfare program proposed by Obama for FY2011 is $953 billion (i.e. almost $1 trillion). If the Congress agrees, that will be the total cost of federal welfare programs for just one fiscal year. The FY2010 cost of federal welfare programs was $888 bn, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. Since 1964, when the “War on Poverty” began, the federal government has spent $16 trillion on welfare programs. If the Congress approves Obama’s proposed FY2011 federal budget, welfare spending will have grown from FY2008 levels by 42%, to $953 billion. During just 3 fiscal years – if the Congress approves Obama’s FY2011 federal budget. (By comparison, it took the defense budget 9 fiscal years to grow by 41% from the Clinton-era record low level of $368 billion in FY2001 to $534 billion in FY2010.)

Entitlement spending is also high, and Congress has allowed it to grow on autopilot. Entitlement spending and debt interest payments constituted 46.53% of the FY2010 federal budget. They will constitute 100% of the total federal budget by 2052 unless entitlement programs are fundamentally reformed (i.e. their costs are significantly reduced). The total FY2010 cost of the Big Three entitlement programs was $1438 billion. Together with the cost of veterans’ benefits ($57 bn in FY2010), they constituted $1495 billion. Together with debt interest payments ($176 bn in FY2010), they amounted to $1671 billion.

Has this social spending helped the American people? No, because it doesn’t address the reasons why many Americans are poor. Those Americans who are poor are destitute because 1) they’re illegal immigrants or their descendants; or 2) they’re single parents or their children; or 3) they haven’t finished high school.

Yet, many people wrongly blame the DOD for America’s fiscal woes. The truth is that defense spending amounted to only $506 bn in FY2008, $513 bn in FY2009, and $534 bn in FY2010. The proposed (but not yet approved by the Congress) FY2011 DOD budget would amount to $549 bn. In FY2010, the defense budget constituted 14.87% of the total federal budget. The proposed FY2011 total federal budget would reduce the DOD’s share to 14.31%.

Claims that the DOD’s budget is “bloated”, or that defense spending is the cause of America’s fiscal woes, or that the defense budget is the largest (or even the second-largest) item in the federal budget are totally false.

Fortunately, the Heritage Foundation has prescribed a blueprint called “Solutions to America” that calls for real reforms of all parts of federal and state governments, significantly reducing the size and scope of the federal government, maintaining the current level of investments in defense, promoting marriage, real reforms of entitlements, and a reduction of the cost of entitlements. It is based on America’s founding principles, written into the US Constitution, and is designed to restore the US as the world’s strongest, most prosperous, most liberty-driven, country.

The US Congress should enact the proposals of the Heritage Foundation, except its “arms control proposals”.


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