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Days before welfare spending report shocker is released, IPI's Matthews warns of entitlement cliff

In the same week that IPI resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews warns that time is running out before the US takes a dive off an entitlement cliff, record welfare spending makes headlines.

A new memo released today by the Congressional Research Service report that welfare spending has jumped 32% in just four years, reaching $746 billion in 2011.

According to The Washington Times:

The steady rise in welfare spending, which covers more than 80 programs primarily designed to help low-income Americans, got a big boost from the 2009 stimulus and has grown, albeit somewhat more slowly, in 2010 and 2011. One reason is that more people are qualifying in the weak economy, but the federal government also has broadened eligibility so that more people qualify for programs.

The Daily Caller also points out that welfare spending is the federal government's single largest budget item in FY 2011, costing approximately $1.03 trillion. 

Before this report was released, IPI resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews wrote this week in Investor's Business Daily with co-author Mark Litow that entitlement spending is growing faster than the economy, and the country is about to take a dive off of a cliff created by the multitude of entitlement programs we can't afford. 

He writes:

The fiscal cliff coming at the end of the year pales vs. the entitlement cliff forced on us by a multitude of entitlement programs that we can't afford.

Most people think of entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare for seniors, Medicaid and perhaps some other means-tested welfare programs. But there are many more: veteran benefits, unemployment, the children's health insurance program, disability income, the GI bill, Head Start.

The U.S. Census Bureau says 108 million Americans live in households where at least one person participates in a means-tested program. We estimate that 80 million are the primary recipients, though millions more share those benefits. That number has been growing rapidly under President Obama. 

 Read the full piece at Investor's Business Daily.

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