Republican “Class Warfare”

Critics of Republican welfare cuts ignore that President Barack Obama hugely expanded these programs.

President Barack Obama points to a member of the audience at a town hall style meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, May 14, 2009
President Barack Obama points to a member of the audience at a town hall style meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, May 14, 2009 (White House/Pete Souza)

The American left has criticized Republican House speaker John Boehner’s deficit reduction plan because it would involve a form of “class warfare” in that it cuts welfare.

But they don’t seem to have noticed that welfare spending has skyrocketed under President Barack Obama.

The federal government operates dozens of means-tested assistance programs for the poor — everything from food and housing assistance to social services and job training. That is excluding Medicare and Social Security for which Americans of all incomes are eligible.

President Obama has hugely increased federal spending on these programs from $471 billion before he took office to $700 billion today — a 50-percent bump in just three years!

Total welfare spending has actually grown to over $900 billion when including state funding. That amounts to almost $10,000 for every low-income American.

Under the president’s budget, welfare spending would soon exceed $1 trillion a year, an utterly irresponsible fiscal commitment that the United States cannot afford without either raising taxes or reining in entitlement spending by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Speaker Boehner’s plan, at best, calls for modest rollbacks of these massive spending increases. It doesn’t even contain substantial reforms or spending caps that are desperately needed to control their expansion in the long term.