Thursday, July 8, 2010

Income Security

Looking at the Outlays Historical table, I see an expense group labeled "income security". This is what most people would probably (and improperly) label as "Welfare". However, there is a lot more going on in that category than just so-called "Welfare". The six major subfunctions are:
  • Federal employee retirement and disability
  • Food and nutrition assistance
  • General retirement and disability insurance (excluding social security)
  • Housing assistance
  • Other income security
  • Unemployment compensation
Of the 533 billion that the government spent on "income security" in FY2009, here is the amount the government spent on each of the 6 subfunctions.

(Click Chart for larger view. Click Here for the Numbers )

As you can see a large portion of "income security" has nothing to do with "Welfare". There are two subfunctions having only to do with pension and disability claims of federal employees and some private sector empoyees(I would like to dive in further on this in a future post). I doubt that many would call "Unemployment" as "Welfare", since you have to first work and pay into it for a certain amount of time to qualify for it. Also, it's meant to only be temporary. So, of the three remaining subfunctions, combined they come up to 284 billion in federal spending. That means that if we got rid of every single welfare program in the federal budget, the budget deficit would still be over a trillion dollars. Wow! What a mess we've gotten ourselves into... In future posts I'd like to examine each of those 3 subfunctions more carefully.
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