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What percent of America's GDP goes to 'welfare'?

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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 12:53 PM
Original message
What percent of America's GDP goes to 'welfare'?
Edited on Sun Jan-02-05 12:57 PM by Tactical Progressive
What percent of the US Federal budget goes to 'welfare'?

I believe we have roughly a $10 trillion dollar economy and a $4 trillion dollar Federal budget.

What is the outlay for 'welfare'? Anyone know?
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carnie_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you include corporate welfare
I should imagine the percentage to be quite large, since it would include most of the "Defense" budget
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. No, not including corporate welfare
Though that figure would be nice to have too. It would probably be almost impossible to figure that one out because much of corporate welfare is hidden in 'tax cuts'.

No, I'm interested in just plain old 'welfare'. This is the single most dishonest and hateful piece of rhetoric that I believe the right bases most of their bile on - all those tens of millions of people living high on the hog off of 'their' money.

It's bullshit, and I'd like to know just how bullshit it is. I'm guessing it's less than one percent of GDP, maybe even of the Federal budget.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. Define your terms. Do you mean corporate welfare?
Edited on Sun Jan-02-05 01:09 PM by Divernan
It would be interesting to add up all the tax breaks and other benefits given to Big Lumber, Big Agriculture, Big Mining, Big Pharmaceuticals, Big Oil, Big Utilities, Big Meat Packing, etc.

It is difficult to put a Dollar value on such things as the administration's gutting of regulations, and ordering regulators to back off of enforcing remaining regulations.
What's the value to cattle ranchers of being allowed to fatten their herds on public lands? Then what is the added value of the new administrative policy of killing (by January of 2006) half of the wild mustangs and burros which live on those public lands. What is the value of firing the federal inspectors who report gross industrial worker safety violations?
What's the value to the lumber industry of having the federal government pay the cost of building logging roads in to our federal parks and wilderness areas for the sole benefit of allowing logging trucks and equipment the cheapest possible access to our old publicly owned, old growth timber. One could go on forever with examples of how the Bush administration has ripped off the public interests to the benefit of its corporate welfare clients/campaign donors.
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Yes, it would be great to get a handle on corporate welfare too
but I agree, how do you break that down when much, perhaps most of it is not in direct transfer payments, but in the absense of responsibility and tax breaks.

Plain ole 'welfare' should be alot easier to determine, and much more important in terms of throwing greedy lies back in people's faces. They really don't care about $300 billion dollars in a dishonest and unwise war. Couldn't care less. But let some woman with two kids get a hand up for a couple of hundred bucks a month, and that's an unacceptable outrage. I want to know those numbers.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
5. You need to define terms
What do you consider "welfare"?

There are the traditional programs that are considered "welfare" such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants (which replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) back in 1996 when Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act -- welfare reform -- into law). However, even counting much of that money as welfare is dubious as how TANF money is spent is up to the states and goes to fund administrative and infrastructure (building maintenance, information systems, etc.). A sociologist friend of mine says that in (at least) NY State, some TANF money goes to fund research.

Then there are people receiving assistance through Social Security Disability (SSD) and Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI). People receiving such money are either completely disabled or partially disabled and therefore unable to work. To receive SSD a person must have paid into the Social Security system for at least as much time as they would need in order to receive Social Security when they retired. This requirement is not part of SSI which is also used to help seniors who have reached retirement age but do not have enough paid into the regular Social Security system..

The freeper arguements that "welfare" (which is itself a loaded term) makes up a disproporionate chunk of the Federal budget often throw in SSD and SSI, among other things, which heavily skew the numbers. Nor do they take into account stuff such as TANF money that never makes into the hands of the poor. So it all comes down to what you mean by "welfare".
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Plain old welfare and food stamps
Money fur nuthin' into people's hands 'that don't deserve it'.

The welfare checks and food stamp outlays that must be budgeted somewhere, probably in a couple of line items in each state budget.

Separate from the bureaucracy to administer it. Separate from SS disability payments, which as you say, come from people who paid into the system. Separate from school lunch programs. Separate from meals on wheels. Those numbers would be good to have as well, but separate from "welfare".

I want Dems to be able to say 'One half of one measly percent of the US economy goes towards welfare payments and food stamps to people right here in America who are destitute.' so quit your lying bitching you greedy, selfish, dishonest piece of Republican shit.

This is an argument that absolutely must be made. As it stands now, right wing rhetoric has convinced people that their huge, so-unfair tax burden is going directly to lazy shiftless bums, with a little bit to run the military too. It's insane, and it underlies most of the rancor in this country. This isn't a little thing; it's the biggest piece of the Conservative assault and it is a lie I have no doubt. I want to see the numbers so Dems can address and refute the propaganda on an ongoing basis.

Money-for-nothing checks, into people's hands, on a percentage basis.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Great cato article on corporate welfare
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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. Here's something from the War Resisters League
it details what percentage of our taxes is used for various things

http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm


Military Personnel $109B,
Operation and Maintenance $164B, Procurement $67B, Research and Development $66B,
Construction $6B, Family Housing $4B, Retired Pay $44B, DoE Nuclear Weapons $17B, 50% NASA $8B, International Security $8B, 50% Homeland Security $16B, Ex. Off. Pres. $10B, misc. $6B
Iraq & Afghan Wars, $50B: Though the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is not included in the Presidents budget, it is included here because the Administration will request supplemental funding after the Nov. 2004 election.
Past Military, $349B: Veterans Benefits $69B; Interest on National Debt (80% estimated to be created by military spending) $280B
Human Resources, $633B:
Education, Health/Human Services, HUD, Food/Nutrition programs, Labor Department, Soc. Sec. Admin.
General Government, $244B:
Legislative, Justice Dept., State Dept., International Affairs, Treasury, Govt. Personnel, 20% interest on national debt, 50% of NASA, 25% Homeland Security
Physical Resources, $114B: Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior Dept., Transportation, Environmental Protection, Army Corps Engineers, NSF, FCC, 25% Homeland Security



T o t a lF e d e r a lF u n d s ( O u t l a y s ) :$ 1 , 9 2 6B i l l i o n

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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Human Resources aggregates a bunch of things
in that chart. Thanks for the reference, but I'm looking for a more focused number. I followed some links out from there but only got to some huge budget documents which I could make no sense of.

Anyone know where the welfare and food-stamp numbers are?
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GOPisEvil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Search the FNS website for food stamps.
Edited on Mon Jan-03-05 11:21 AM by GOPisEvil
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. that link doesn't work for me n/t
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. Forty-Nine Percent of Our Budget is Outlayed to Current & Past Military???
And the Republicans think that "Socialism" is the problem? Try, uh, "militarism." What a bunch of dumb mother fuckers. They apparently love big government, militarism, authoritarianism and everything that goes with it. What a warped sense of "freedom."
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
10. 1 and a half oreo cookies
Edited on Mon Jan-03-05 11:29 AM by proud patriot
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Nice
Not really the numbers I'm looking for, but that's a nice animation, geared towards educating even a nine year old. Possibly even a Republican, except it isn't what they already want to hear, so probably not.

I've bookmarked it. Thanks.
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Francine Frensky Donating Member (870 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Thanks for the link. I just joined.
cool stuff.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'd like to know that, too.
I bet it's less than one percent. Now corporate welfare, well, that's probably another $trillion by itself.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
13. Last I heard, and this was during Clinton's push for welfare reform
Was that eight tenths of one percent of the federal budget went to welfare, WIC and food stamps. I'm sure that number is lower now.
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
17. what welfare?
corporate or individual?
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ChairOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
18. Hmmm.......
It seems that in 1962 it was 7%, and had been dwindling for some time....

http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/branches/spc/udall/wel...

Dustbury seems to think it was around 6% in 1996....

http://www.dustbury.com/vent/vent016.html

Based on a somewhat more restrictive concept, thirdworldtraveller says that it was 2.5% in 1998...

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Economics/ShreddingSa...

Steveb says that it's no more than 1%, no earlier than 1997...

http://personalwebs.myriad.net/steveb/budget.html

But what the hell - I'm no smarter than anyone else here.... you can scour google as well as the next guy.... I'm satisfied, however, that the number is between 0% and 10%, with most of the variation coming from how loosely or restrictively one defines "welfare"....
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
19. OK, found this from 1992
http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-runawaywelfare.htm

Reagan-Bush era information.

Basically, welfare (AFDC) and food-stamps at $25 billion apiece added up to $50 billion dollars out of $2.5 trillion dollars in federal and state budgets, or 2%.

Out of a ten trillion dollar economy that's roughly 1/2 of 1% of America's GDP for welfare and food-stamps to near-destitute women with children. About what I expected.

With Clinton era economic expansion, Clinton-Gingrich welfare cuts, and now BushCo of course, it is no doubt even smaller as a percentage.

I'd like to have more up-to-date numbers. Still looking, and wondering why this topic doesn't appear to be of much interest here.
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seasat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
21. Check the US statistical abstract.
Edited on Mon Jan-03-05 08:40 PM by seasat
It has great info and is good ammunition for debating Repug trickle downers. (link) according to the 2003 figures, we spent 82.6 billion out of 2,157.6 billion in outlays on education, training, employment, and social services. (Page 4 of 2004-2005 abstract)
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