Government Spending Fails To See Results…Again

( — Despite an unprecedented increase in federal anti-poverty spending, the national poverty rate has not declined, the [Cato Institute] study finds.

“[S]ince President Obama took office [in January 2009], federal welfare spending has  increased by 41 percent, more than $193 billion per year,” the study  says.


While the study concedes that some of the increased spending under  Obama is a result of the recession and the counter-cyclical nature of  anti-poverty programs, it also finds that some of the increase is  deliberate, with the government having expanded eligibility for welfare  programs….”But the dramat­ically larger increase also suggests that part of the  program’s growth is due to conscious policy choices by this  administration to ease eligibility rules and expand caseloads,” the Cato  report says. “For example, income limits for eligibility have risen  twice as fast as inflation since 2007 and are now roughly 10 percent  higher than they were when Obama took office.”


The study faults the way poverty programs are designed, saying that  the increase in spending and largely unchanged poverty rate showed that  the issue is not a matter of money, but a matter of what the programs  aim to achieve.

“The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty  more comfortable – giv­ing poor people more food, better shelter, health  care, and so forth – rather than giving people the tools that will help  them escape poverty.”

For all the misinformation foisted on the public at large that Republicans hate the poor, this study should, but likely will not, change people’s minds on that.  Broadly speaking, Conservatives seek to help the poor climb out of poverty by ‘teaching them to fish’ (See: Fair Enough?, Equal Outcome Or Equal Opportunity, Political Hokey Pokey).  Liberals have for years pushed for more funding as the answer to America’s social woes even though this has never worked.

This failure of increased spending in an effort to lift people from poverty is seen in real-time.  President Obama has increased spending on welfare programs at mind-boggling rates.  For instance, food stamp spending is up 100% since Obama has taken office which — coupled with looser standards for qualifications — has seen an increase of 50% of participants of the program, and even spends money on advertisements promoting them.

The fact that throwing money at a problem does not influence the number of people in poverty should cause people to take second look at Liberal economic policies.  It’s time to teach people to fish.

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