It seems as although the United States is a country that prides itself with diversity, there is nothing that divides us like our differences. Since the beginning of America we have seen discrimination with religion, race, and gender. Some of these prejudices have diminished with time and effort, but there is no denying that discrimination still exists in the United States today. One of the most common divisors in modern-day America seems to exist less on our physical attributes, and more on our social class. Every day I see fingers pointed at whom is to blame for our country’s current economic situation. Most commonly I see that our nation’s Welfare recipients are to blame. People complaining that our hard-earned tax dollars are going to taking care of these “free-loaders”. I have been hearing variations of this same idea so often that I couldn’t help but ask: How much of our taxes go into the nation Welfare pool, and are the poor to blame for the United States’ economic suffering?
How much of my hard-earned tax dollars are going to Welfare recipients?
In 2012 the government spent $3.5 trillion. Out of that money $2.5 trillion was financed with taxpayer’s money, the remaining $1 trillion was financed by borrowing.
Here is a breakdown of how the United States used federal taxes in 2012:
- · 22% ($773 billion) of all federal taxes went towards Social Security.
- · 21% ($ 732 billion) of all federal taxes went towards health insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
- · 19% ($689 billion) of all federal taxes went towards defense and international security.
- · 19% ($689 billion) of all federal taxes went towards miscellaneous public services such as health care and other benefits to veterans and retirement benefits to retired federal employees, assuring safe food and drugs, protecting the environment, and investing in education, scientific and medical research, and basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports.
- · 12% ($ 441 billion) of all federal taxes went towards welfare programs. (Welfare here includes Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, school meals, low income housing, child care assistance, assistance in paying home energy bills, and programs that help abused children.)
- · 6% ($220 billion) of all federal taxes goes to paying interest on the national debt.
- · 1% ($15 billion) of all federal taxes goes to non-security programs that operate internationally, including programs that provide humanitarian aid.
So, with that being said, 12 cents out of every tax dollar goes towards Welfare programs. Which means 88 cents out of every one of our tax dollars taken is going somewhere else other than Welfare.
So, who is receiving Welfare benefits?
Stereotypes have most of us believing that people receiving aid for programs such as WIC, Food Assistance, Cash Assistance and Housing programs are a generation of people so dependent on the government that they refuse to work. But how do statistics describe the people receiving Welfare?
“Federal budget and Census data show that, in 2010, 91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households.”
So if this is true, that means only 9% of people receiving government aid are healthy yet unemployed. And as I researched a little deeper I found that within these 9% of people are children receiving social security benefits from a deceased parent, misplaced workers receiving unemployment benefits, and those who may only receive health benefits.
Maybe these are just the type of people we should want to help.
We surely cannot blame our country’s entire economic falling on 12%. Nor can we deny that having programs available to prevent people like you and I from going into poverty in a time of crisis is a good thing. Then who can we blame the economy on, if not the poor? Maybe there is no one person to blame it on. Maybe we should look into the billions of tax dollars congress takes to pay themselves. Or maybe we should blame the billions going to aid a war that none of us fully understand. Either way, there is something going on that we don’t have the answers to. Finances are filling us with doubt and causing us to point our fingers and blame people who are just like us.
Arloc Sherman, Robert Greenstein, Kathy Ruffing. Contrary to “Entitlement Society” Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths Of Entitlement Benefits Go To Elderly, Disabled, Or Working Households. (February 10, 2012).
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go? (Copyright © 2008 – 2013) http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258