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What portion of all federal spending is for social programs, such as healthcare, income security, education, housing, and recreation?

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In 2018, 62% of federal spending was for social programs. This has increased from 21% in 1960. Politicians often mislead the public about federal spending by excluding all permanently funded "mandatory" programs from their figures. This omits the majority of federal spending and major programs like Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income. Others omit Social Security while claiming it is not government "spending" because it merely "saves" people's money and returns it to them. However, SS is not a savings plan but a social program that provides benefits to the aged and disabled mainly by taxing people who are currently working. Going back to at least 1958, the Social Security Administration has categorized SS as a "social welfare program." This differs from "means-tested welfare" programs, which are commonly called "welfare."

DocumentationSocial SpendingSocial Security Finances1958 SS Publication




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