Government spends $61,194 on welfare for each household below the poverty line

From the Weekly Standard. (With a rant from me below)


New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.

“According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795,” the Senate Budget Committee notes. “If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011.”

This dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household on poverty lives on per year. “If the spending on these programs were converted into cash, and distributed exclusively to the nation’s households below the poverty line, this cash amount would be over 2.5 times the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, which in 2011 was $22,350 (see table in this link),” the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note.

To be clear, not all households living below the poverty line receive $61,194 worth of assistance per year. After all, many above the poverty line also receive benefits from social welfare programs (e.g. pell grants).

How do people become poor anyway, in a rich country like America? Is it someone else’s fault, or is it a result of their own poor decision-making? Let famous black economist Walter Williams – chair of the Department of Economics at the prestigious George Mason University –explain it for us:

Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

If you graduate from high school today with a B or C average, in most places in our country there’s a low-cost or financially assisted post-high-school education program available to increase your skills.

Most jobs start with wages higher than the minimum wage, which is currently $5.15. A man and his wife, even earning the minimum wage, would earn $21,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2003, the poverty threshold for one person was $9,393, for a two-person household it was $12,015, and for a family of four it was $18,810. Taking a minimum-wage job is no great shakes, but it produces an income higher than the Bureau of Census’ poverty threshold. Plus, having a job in the first place increases one’s prospects for a better job.

To augment what Dr. Williams said with a study:

Nearly three out of four poor families with children in America are headed by single parents. When a child’s father is married to his mother, however, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82 percent.

The collapse of marriage, along with a dramatic rise in births to single women, is the most important cause of childhood poverty but government policy doesn’t reflect that reality, according to a special report released today by The Heritage Foundation.

I had to spend all day Saturday and all day Sunday this weekend working to fix a defect so that I could get back on track on my next project. I am still 4 days behind schedule on that new project. If I can’t catch up, I’ll probably have to cancel my November vacation, and maybe even my December vacation. The massive expenditures on welfare for “the poor” is the reason why I have to come in on Saturday and Sunday to work. I have to  to work to pay for these people, and their enablers in the Democrat party.

Don’t I have a right to pursue my dreams and my marriage plans and my plans to be a public, effective Christian, with the money that I earn through my work? For example, on Saturday, I sent $125 to a young Christian scholar so that he could attend a conference and present a paper on a moral issue that we both care about. The government would never give him money, but they will tax me to pay for contraceptives for everyone else. I am a virgin – I don’t even buy contraceptives for myself! I really have better things to do with my earned income than buying “Obamaphones” for people who spend their entire lives collecting welfare. Don’t I have a right to spend what I earn on my own goals and priorities?

UPDATE: The Manhattan Institute explains how welfare waivers water down the work incentives for welfare.

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5 thoughts on “Government spends $61,194 on welfare for each household below the poverty line”

  1. C’mon Wintery, Romans 13:1, a New Testament verse, commands Christians to obey government authorities – so take the government edict and pay for all those republicans on welfare…what you say? Yes, the majority of welfare goes to red states oddly enough. This article breaks it down with plenty of nice links to go around:

    But in short, these states receive the most federal welfare dollars:

    1. New Mexico: $2.63
    2. West Virginia: $2.57
    3. Mississippi: $2.47
    4. District of Colombia: $2.41
    5. Hawaii: $2.38
    6. Alabama: $2.03
    7. Alaska: $1.93
    8. Montana: $1.92
    9. South Carolina: $1.92
    10. Maine: $1.78

    All red states, except Hawaii and Mitt’s state…I guess it’s a requirement to become a republican to get welfare. Since I’ve mostly lived in blue states, I need to get back to work to help pay for all my fellow republicans trailor parks filled with big-screen t.v.’s and premium cable so they lay around all day watching nascar and football before heading off to walmart on their scooters to get cheap twinkies…Romans 13:1…love thy welfare giving reds.


    1. A red state does not mean they are all republicans that are on welfare. It could easily be mostly non republicans. It could be those that vote democrat or those that dont vote at all.


      1. and it could mean that they’re mostly republican…your post is sounding like faux news – they ask a lot of questions, making sure to always preface “we have no proof of this, but…” – like faux news, you have no proof of anything you asked…probably, because none exists that could answer your questions in the manner you asked.

        The facts we know:
        1) We KNOW those are red states as they elect republicans a majority of the time.
        2) The majority of the people that vote in the welfare receiving states vote republican

        My post was simply that as a Strong Christian, Wintery is commanded to obey his government leaders…and, the government leaders he chooses to favor are also the leaders of the highest welfare states. So, if he doesn’t like welfare, he needs to stop favoring the policies that create so many welfare cases.

        Maybe there are just a lot of ironies in this entire situation, but even if that is the case, some things need to be reconsidered (not hand-outs, I agree those are mostly bad)


        1. Hey Jerry, Where do you get the idea that WK is not submitting to his government authorities? Do you have special revelation that he is not paying his taxes or breaking some law? It seems to me you are implying that as a Christian you should not question government policies, but that is not what is being talked about in Romans 13:1. It is talking about submitting to your government authorities by following the laws, but in a Constitutional Republic we have representation and influence in our public policies. To voice one’s opinion on public policy is not against the law, least not yet ;) and not in the least bit contrary to Christian ethics.

          I guess you didn’t take the time to analyze your article because you say only 2 are Blue states when in fact New Mexico, DC, Hawaii, and Maine are Blue. So there are 6 Red and 4 Blue out of the top 10.

          To assert that the Red states policies created the situation is showing economic nearsightedness. You are taking a single statistic and trying to say that it proves your opinion, when there are many other factors that go into why those people accept free money from the government. I suggest that you read Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell, it is a great introduction into economics.

          And please don’t give me that drivel about Fox News (faux is pronounced ‘foe’ it is a bad pun), a network that actually has less of a bias than other networks like MSNBC and CNN.


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