With the unprecedented budget explosion of means-tested, welfare-related entitlements, does Team Obama think it can buy the election?
It’s a cynical question. But I wouldn’t put it past that cynical bunch.
Remember Harry Hopkins, Franklin Roosevelt’s close aid? It was Hopkins who argued tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect. Sound familiar? And if I’m not mistaken, the high-tax, anti-rich, big-spending, redistributionist FDR is one of President Barack Obama’s idols.
So let’s take a look at some of the recent budget-explosion data points:
According to Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, means-tested welfare programs soared to over $1 trillion last year. The federal government accounted for $750 billion of that, while $250 billion came from the states, which leveraged federal payments into even larger expenses.
Between 2008 and 2011, federal welfare payments have jumped 32 percent. Food stamps have surged, with 71 percent more spending on the program in 2011 compared with 2008. Health payments, principally Medicaid, have climbed 37 percent.
By the way, it’s not just the deep recession and weak recovery that’s driving up these programs. It’s a substantial eligibility expansion, which started under George W. Bush, but has gone much further under President Obama.