From Heritage Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector’s latest analysis of Obama’s Trillion Dollar Debt Plan:
The recently passed U.S. House of Representatives stimulus bill contains $816 billion in new spending and tax cuts. Of this sum, $264 billion (32 percent) is new means-tested welfare spending. This represents about $6,700 in new welfare spending for every poor person in the U.S.
But this welfare spending is only the tip of the iceberg. The bill sets in motion another $523 billion in new welfare spending that is hidden by budgetary gimmicks. If the bill is enacted, the total 10-year extra welfare cost is likely to be $787 billion.
The claim that Congress is temporarily increasing welfare spending for Keynesian purposes (to spark the economy by boosting consumer spending) is a red herring. The real goal is a permanent expansion of the welfare system.
The notion that Congress intends to temporarily increase Pell grants and EITC benefit levels for just two years and then allow benefits to fall back to their original status is out of touch with Washington reality. Any Congressman who, two years from now, suggests that the new welfare spending be allowed to lapse to pre-stimulus levels would be pilloried for slashing welfare.
Once the hidden welfare spending in the bill is counted, the total 10-year fiscal burden (added to the national debt) will not be $816 billion, as claimed, but $1.34 trillion.