No one wants to see the needy go hungry or without basic necessities like clothes and shelter. After trillions of dollars spent, however, Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty has failed to reduce the level of poverty in America. Those who are in genuine need tend to rely more on their families, communities, churches, and neighborhoods for assistance, while the federal welfare bureaucracy is characterized by cold inhumanity, fraud, and waste, and often worsens the very social problems it aims to cure.

Many billions are wasted every year, most of it consumed by bureaucracy, while the problems of poverty rage on. Despite the Clinton-era “welfare reform,” heralded by Republicans and Democrats alike, the federal government spends more than ever on its counterproductive welfare state. Meanwhile, many of the root causes of poverty are never addressed, such as labor regulations and occupational licensing laws, because they are favored by powerful special interests.

For the purposes of the MyGovCost Calculator, Welfare incorporates a number of programs that are administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including such programs as Unemployment Compensation, Housing Assistance, Food and Nutrition Assistance (food stamps), and other Income Security programs.

Learn more about Welfare problems and solutions:

“From War to Welfare: How Taxes and Entitlements Begin with Militarism”
Ivan Eland (The American Conservative) February 27, 2013

“The Great Society’s War on Poverty”
Robert Higgs (The Freeman) October 1, 2011

“Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget?”
Ivan Eland; January 27, 2010

“From Welfare State to Police State”
Stephen Baskerville (The Independent Review) Winter 2008

The Poverty of Welfare
(book review in The Independent Review) Fall 2004

“Poor Before Welfare
David T. Beito (National Review) May 6, 1996

See Also:

Independent Institute’s Archive on Welfare