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In 2021, what portion of all federal government spending was for social programs, such as healthcare, income security, education, housing, and recreation?

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In 2021, 73% of all federal government spending was for social programs. This figure has grown from 21% in 1960, to 62% in 2019, and 73% in 2020 and 2021 (due to "Covid relief" spending). Politicians sometimes understate spending on social programs by omitting all permanently funded "mandatory" programs from their budget statements. This accounting ploy ignores the majority of federal spending, including programs like Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and Social Security. Some claim that Social Security is "not government spending" because it "saves" people's money and returns it to them. In reality, Social Security 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. These taxes have increased with every generation. Contrary to a common myth, Social Security was structured that way from the very start of the program in 1937.

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