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Two Reports Paint Stark Picture of Welfare in US

By    |   Wednesday, 08 August 2012 04:06 PM

Two reports released on Wednesday paint a stark picture of welfare in America.

The first, released by Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee, show that more than 100 million people in the United States are on welfare — not Social Security or Medicare.

The second report, from the Center for Immigration Studies, show that 43 percent of immigrants who have been in the country at least 20 years were on welfare — a rate that is nearly twice as high as native-born Americans and nearly 50 percent higher than recent immigrants.

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Both reports, based on U.S. Census Data, come as both President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney spar heavily over policies that would make it easier to immigrate legally, increasing the numbers of people coming to the US.

“The federal government administers nearly 80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs,” the Senate Budget Committee’s chart says, according to The Weekly Standard. “These figures include not only citizens, but non-citizens as well.”

Food stamps and Medicaid make up a large, and growing, portion of the more than 100 million recipients.

“Among the major means-tested welfare programs, since 2000 Medicaid has increased from 34 million people to 54 million in 2011 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) from 17 million to 45 million in 2011,” the committee said, according to The Standard. “Spending on food stamps alone is projected to reach $800 billion over the next decade.”
The data come “from the U.S. Census’s Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that nearly 110,000 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011,” The Standard reports.

The data exclude such benefits as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the health insurance premium subsidies included in the President’s health care law. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the premium subsidies, scheduled to begin in 2014, will cover at least 25 million individuals by the end of the decade, The Standard reports.

Meanwhile, the report by the Center for Immigration Studies, which was reported by The Washington Times, found that immigrants tend to make economic progress the longer they live in the US – but lag well behind native-born Americans on poverty, health insurance coverage, home-ownership, and other issues.

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The center’s data cover both legal and illegal immigrants – and their children who were born in the US who are under 18, The Times reported.

“There is progress over time,” Steven A. Camarota, the center's research director and author of the 96-page study, to The Times. “Every measure shows improvement over time, but still, the situation does not look like we'd like it to look, particularly for the less-educated.

“They lag well behind natives, even when they've been here for two decades – and that is very disconcerting,” he said.

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