Obama Was 1st President to Spend More on Welfare Than Defense

Photo by Johan.V.

Photo by Johan.V.

(CNSNews) Barack Obama was the first president of the United States to spend more on “means-tested entitlements”—AKA welfare—than on national defense, according to data published by his own Office of Management and Budget.

Historical tables that the OMB posted on the Obama White House website, include annual totals for both “national defense” spending and “means-tested entitlement” spending going back to fiscal 1962–which is three years before President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the Medicaid program, a means-tested entitlement that together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program enrolled 74,407,191 beneficiaries as of November 2016.

In every year from fiscal 1962 through fiscal 2014, total national defense spending exceeded means-tested entitlement spending.


In fiscal year 1962, for example, the federal government spent more than twelve times as much money on national defense ($52,345,000,000) as it did on means-test entitlements ($4,300,000,000).

However, national defense spending peaked in 2011, when it hit $705,554,000,000. By contrast, means-tested entitlement spending has increased each year since 2012.

Finally, in fiscal 2015, it exceeded national defense spending for the first time.

In fiscal 2014, according to OMB Historical Table 3.2, “total national defense” spending was $603,457,000,000. That same year, according to OMB Historical Table 8.1, “means-tested entitlement” spending was $601,700,000,000.

But in fiscal 2015, total national defense spending declined to $589,965,000,000 while means-tested entitlement spending climbed to $666,900,000,000. Thus, fiscal 2015 became the first year that means-tested entitlement spending—welfare spending–exceeded national defense spending.

The fiscal 2016 numbers published in the OMB’s Historical Tables are estimates, but they show means-tested entitlements exceeding national defense spending $709,600,000,000 to $604,452,000,000….

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