Uncovering the Full Cost of
Means-Tested Welfare
or Aid to the Poor


Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent vast sums on welfare or aid to the poor; however, the aggregate cost of this assistance is largely unknown because the spending is fragmented into myriad programs.

As this report shows, means-tested welfare or aid to poor and low-income persons is now the third most expen­sive government function. Its cost ranks below support for the elderly through Social Security and Medicare and below government expenditures on education, but above spending on national defense. Prior to the current reces­sion, one dollar in seven in total federal, state, and local government spending went to means-tested welfare.  read more