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You may remember that when President Obama last week gave his “State of the Union Address,” he had a lot of lofty talk about the role that the government and federal government play in fostering equality and social mobility: The Obama administration has put $70 million toward programs like mentoring, education and job training, as well as increased assistance to cities like New Orleans who are trying to attract businesses to their communities.
But, as the president also made clear — when it came to the federal budget — he has lots of ways in which American taxpayers are not always providing the services that these programs are meant to provide.
A new report by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) finds that, as of 2010, the Obama administration has spent only 3 percent of its 2009-2010 budget on programs that help low and moderate income people, with the rest going to programs aimed at “the richest Americans.”
The group’s findings are unsurprising given that the president’s budget — which he unveiled on Monday and which is likely to go to Congress — contains plenty of cuts for programs that help low-income households. And, as in previous years, these cuts would go directly to programs that provide health care, education and public assistance to lower income individuals and families.
The report also includes some charts that provide another look at where the Obama administration’s spending priorities lie.
The Obama administration has also been slow to make available data about the extent of its poverty funding. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, the administration awarded $3 billion in poverty-fighting assistance to households that made less than $40,000 a year. The average household receiving that money had income at only about $13,000.
But since, in 2010, the administration did publish new data about poverty, the CTF found that its data was not comprehensive enough to draw any clear conclusions about the extent of spending on low-income households in 2010.
The data released by the Obama administration showed that, in 2011, the federal government provided some $2.5 billion in welfare-to-work subsidies. The report concluded that this is “not enough” money to help families with kids and that “there is virtually no evidence” that those who receive welfare payments are less likely to fall into poverty. However, the CTF also notes that these programs are highly variable
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