Republicans Spend More Than Democrats On Social Programs

Congressional Republicans are claiming that Democratic spending is out of control, and that cuts need to be made to a large variety of “social engineering” programs, especially entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare. 

But upon closer examination, it turns out that Republicans are actually spending just as much on social programs when they are in power — they just put their money in a different collection basket.

Via Mother Jones:

The federal government can spend money on social programs two ways: directly, via ordinary tax-funded programs (Medicare, food stamps, etc.) or indirectly, via tax expenditures (tax deductions for charitable contributions, employer health insurance, etc.). Christopher Faricy, a political science professor at Washington State, recently examined both types of spending over the past 40 years and concluded that the big spenders aren’t who you think they are:

The traditional narrative of Democratic party control of the federal government resulting in higher levels of social spending needs to be reconsidered….Social spending over the last 40 years grows on average around 5% a year regardless of which political party is sitting in the majority.

….An increase in indirect social spending has the same budgetary effect as direct social spending. For example, an increase in tax expenditures for private health care insurance that costs the Treasury $100 million dollars has the exact same effect on the budget deficit as a newly proposed public health insurance option that is projected at $100 million dollars….One major implication of these findings is that the jurisdiction of social provision, not the financial effort, shifts with changes to political party control of government.

So, if Republicans are spending just as much, if not more in some cases, on social programs, then why are they constantly cutting social programs in the guise of “balancing the budget?”

Because the programs being eliminated do not provide a form of wealth kickback to their pool of voters.  It’s better, according to the GOP, to provide a tax break to a rich person for donating to charities to help the poor or hungry than it is to ensure social security can provide for people in their old age.  It’s better, says the conservatives, to pad the pockets of faith-based agencies that can choose to discriminate in who they hire or who they serve than to have adequate health care available to all people regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation. 

Democrats may be instituting a “nanny state” by trying to mandate a safety net for all Americans, but the Republicans are the ones truly doing the social engineering as they continue their crusade to defund programs and replace them with their own charities and non-profits that can pick and choose agendas to push.

Related Stories: 

Budget Takes Aim At World Poor

GOP Budget Wars On Reproductive Health

Obama’s Proposed Budget ‘Cuts What We Can’t Afford To Pay For What We Cannot Do Without

Photo by:, via Wikimedia Commons">wikimedia commons


Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Geesh, now they want the credit while we get the blame.

Ronald N.
Ronald N6 years ago

Just goes to show you how wealthy the super rich happen to be. If they can write it off, the system was made just for that purpose. But they get to choose who to contribute the money. If they want to give it to any charitable foundation, they can do it. I am not surprised how it works. That's one way from keeping away from government hands. This is just part of the process we at the lower end of the earning spectrum see as nothing more than the inequities in life. Earnings other than simply just plain talent has taken a step into the darker side of how people become rich. Very few people see that happen, because opportunities really don't exist. Sadly, the con is that deficits exist because and the true nature of write-off were written and mandated by the very same people who created these write-offs!

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal7 years ago

It seems the deficit is used to create any social agenda for parties 'in charge.'

Mary Meijer
- M7 years ago

I don't know what to comment on this hyprocrisy

William Y.
William Y7 years ago

From the article "Because the programs being eliminated do not provide a form of wealth kickback to their pool of voters. "

That says it in a nutshell.

Mac R.
Mac R7 years ago

Good article, Robin! And good comments by a bunch of you here! I would just like to add a bit of myth-busting here about you teabaggers' hero Ronald "Who am I?" Reagan, your "government is the problem" guy. He GREW government bureaucracy bigger than anytime since the start of WWll, and W grew it even more! Facts are facts, and those facts are that since WWll Republiscum presidents have grown government bureaucracy more than ANY Democrat prez, AND, Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his presidency! Reagan is who gave us our first TRILLION dollar debt that Bush senior added to and Clinton wiped out and left office with a huge surplus which W quickly reversed into another TRILLION dollar debt. But oh the right will always keep yelling "tax and spend liberals!" while never acknowledging their tax and spend neocons who outspend them every damn time!

Ralph R Sutton
Ralph R Sutton7 years ago

What people need to realize is Clinton left a budget surplus that was quickly turned into the biggest deficit the history of the US government. Now is everyone's memory so short that they can't remember that republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives when that happened?

The only thing that needs to reset is WAR spending, more nicely referred to as 'Defense' spending. We are spending more on 'defense' now than we did during the entire Cold War and that is taking inflation into account.

Trying to reduce the deficit is a waste of time unless they are willing to CUT the defense budget BIG time.

James B.
Jay B7 years ago

Republicans subsidize the wealthy and big corporations with great big TAX CUTS. Then want the 98% of the rest of us to pay for their welfare for the rich. If ya' haven't taken the time to notice, folks, the rich get most of the perks which are often even free! Let's see, best seats everywhere, best tables everywhere, priority service everywhere, and the biggest tax cuts just to name a few perks. The least they can do is pay their fair share of taxes.

Gloria H.
Gloria H7 years ago

and do the charities deny help to homosexuals, non Christians, etc? Some missions will feed the poor, AFTER you have sat in a room hearing their sermons. Maybe that's the hoops a person who is down and out has to do for a bowl of soup. To me, that's like embeding a fish hook in the loaf of bread. To me, if you show up, you should get fed-no questions, no conversion needed.. If you are sponging off the benevolance of others, and really don't need the assistance - it's your personal karma and shame to be dealt with or make amends while one is still on the planet. kind of strange to have charity write offs while plundering the planet and openly verbally degrade those less fortunate and have differant gods and points of view.

Patricia R.
Patricia R7 years ago

Once more the Republicans come forth with their peculiar ideas of how to run a country. It's baloney and cheese, as my old mother said. They would take us back to the 14th century, when everyone knew his place and you begged a loaf of bread at the back door of the castle if you were hungry. I am for watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants. There are still some of us old farts who know how to tie a hangman's knot.