No, TANF (Welfare) Isn’t Bankrupting America

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After I published my article stating that SNAP (food stamps) don’t cost the American taxpayer as much as they think they do, a right-wing friend of mine shifted a bit to stating that welfare is the issue.  Well, this made me decide to run the data on how much TANF benefits cost the average American each year.

Based on my calculations on the previous mentioned post, Americans generate roughly $13,554,322,498,437 in income each year.  For those who are a little too lazy to look at the other post, this was calculated by taking the estimated number of Americans, subtracting the current unemployment rate, and multiplying that by the average American salary.

After a bit of searching, I was able to locate the financial data for TANF which is available publicly by the Administration for Health and Families (a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services).  According to their published document of financial spending regarding TANF, $31,649,201,568 was paid out in 2013.  Seems like a lot, right?  Not really.

Let’s now determine how much that actually costs the average American taxpayer.  Based on the previously stated figure of $13,554,322,498,437 in yearly generated income, $31,649,201,568 is %0.2 of that total.  If we now take the average American’s income of $44,888.16 per year, this leaves us with a yearly cost from each American of $89.77 (rounded up to the nearest cent).  I don’t know about you, but I spend far more than that in beer each year.

It’s also to note that the spending I have used here also includes administration and job placement/advancement assistance as well. If we solely calculate this based on the funds directly provided to those individuals, the impact to the American taxpayer is significantly lower.

 

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