by Peter Ferrara
Heartland Institute
May 01, 2014
Policy Brief
America’s welfare state is a vast empire bigger than the entire budget of almost every other. That empire involves nearly 200 joint federal and state means-tested welfare programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, 27 low-income housing programs, 30 employment programs, 34 social services programs, another dozen food and nutrition programs, another 22 low-income health programs, and 24 low-income child care programs. Since the War on Poverty began, total annual inflation-adjusted welfare spending has soared by 1,200 percent while the population has grown by 50 percent. Yet, in 2012, the poverty rate was back up to 15 percent, about where it was when the War on Poverty began. Block-granting these nearly 200 welfare programs to the states would restore the original federalism and state control over welfare. It would be more efficient and effective at achieving the stated goals of welfare-state proponents, benefitting the poor through increased work and resulting increased incomes.

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