by Axios | 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.
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.
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.
Written by Axios
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