Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

The Middle Class Gets Almost Half of U.S. Safety-Net Payments

by Axios | Updated on 9.4.18

Countable asks: Is U.S. entitlement spending where it should be? If not, how should it be changed? Hit Take Action to tell your reps, then share your thoughts below. (Via: Axios)


U.S. entitlement spending is increasingly going to the middle class, according to newly released data by the Congressional Budget Office.

Data: Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: As wages have remained stagnant, more people can't afford middle-class basics, and as income inequality grows, the middle class is increasingly relying on the federal safety net, according to the new report by The Brookings Institution's Future of the Middle Class Initiative. "It is a mistake, now, to think of welfare as something just for the poor," Richard Reeves, the report's author tells Axios.


The trend is most clearly seen in the second and middle income quintiles, where the average household income was $31,087 and $54,041 in 2014, according to the Tax Policy Center.

  • One of every $7 spent on social program benefits went to families in the middle quintile of the income distribution in 2014.

Federal safety net money is also making up a greater share of lower-middle class incomes, according to the report. Meaning that not only is more money going to the middle class, some middle class families depend on it more.

One key finding: Health care is a big driver. Medicaid expansion has made more lower-middle income Americans eligible for the program, and now less than half of Medicaid spending goes to the lowest quintile.

  • Medicaid spending on elderly households (65 years or older) has tripled since 1979, and around 60% of it went to the elderly in the middle class in 2014, the study found.
  • Increased subsidies for the Affordable Care Act has also contributed to the overall trend.
  • There has also been notable growth in the share of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that have gone to those lower-middle income quintiles, according to the report.

Go deeper: With Richard Reeve's full report.

Note: The welfare spending data include Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, housing assistance programs, subsidies for Medicare Part D, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child nutrition programs, the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments, state and local assistance programs and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Axios

Written by Axios

Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts

Leave a comment
(8)
  • JTJ
    09/04/2018
    ···

    Democrats want everyone on social safety net programs. Medicare for all, free college, universal basic income, wealth redistribution. They won’t stop until we are subject to totalitarian state control.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Frances
    Voted Angry
    09/06/2018
    ···

    THE REASON THE MIDDLE CLASS IS GETTING SOCIAL SAFETY NET PAYMENTS IS THAT THE RICH ARE GETTING RICHER, EVEN MORE SO THAN BEFORE, AND THIS GREEDY REPUBLICAN CONGRESS AND THE TRAITOR-IN-CHIEF TRUMP ARE TRYING TO GET MORE AND MORE WEALTH OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE MIDDLE CLASS AND INTO THE HANDS OF THE WEALTHY, WHOSE GREED JUST KEEPS ON GROWING! WE NEED TO TAX THE WEALTHY AND BIG CORPORATE SO THAT THEY CARRY THEIR FARE SHARE OF THE BURDEN AND LIGHTEN THE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASS ONLY! BUT THE REPUBLICANS JUST LOVE THE WEALTHY SO THEY CAN FEED THEIR O0WN GREED, WHICH IS NEVER ENDING!

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Aron
    Voted Sad
    01/29/2019
    ···

    It's supposed to be a safety net, not a hammock. People above the poverty line shouldn't be receiving welfare.

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • Tooluser1
    Voted Apathetic
    09/04/2018
    ···

    Thanks to decades of Democrat's attacks on the middle class. But now you'd like to claim it as a wedge issue? Pretty sure that isn't going to work out like you think.

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • Dicr
    09/04/2018
    ···

    And we could do even better if we cut military spending and improved the ACA.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Lelandwdouglas
    Voted Angry
    09/06/2018
    ···

    It's ridiculous that this is where we've come to in this country. Safety nets should only be needed by those who are on the bottom. The fact that those in "middle income" bracket need safety net programs says that many people are no longer in the middle class.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Chickie
    09/04/2018
    ···

    Middle Class will soon be a bygone terminology. In the U.S. the rich, big corporations, are doing everything possible to keep the Middle Class, Working Class and the Working Poor underpaid, sick without available insurance, homeless for increased taxes to pay for to parades stroke ego’s, to subsidize tax break for the rich, to pay for weekly trips to a myriad of houses owned by a selfish man, without a voice as we see the First Amendment is silenced do that lies and deceit have free reign. #enough

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Chips
    09/04/2018
    ···

    I am on SSI & Medicare, how can it be an entitlement if I paid into it thru my paycheck, just a catchphrase the right cane up with, remove the SSI cap, problem solved for the program.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share