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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press $4 Million Doesn't Go As Far as It Used To

$4 Million Doesn't Go As Far as It Used To

Sunday, 03 October 2010 09:25

The Post had a good article on how TANF, the main federal welfare program, has not expanded significantly in the wake of the downturn, even as the need has increased enormously. At one point the article tells readers that:

"Despite urging from the Obama administration and welfare directors around the country, lawmakers decided not to extend the emergency welfare money, which gave states more than $4 million, in part to subsidize wages to help people go to work."

Actually, the law would have provided more than $4 billion, not $4 million. However, it would have been helpful to express these sums relative to the size of the federal budget so that readers would know how large they are. The $4 million figure would be equal to 0.00011 percent of federal spending. The $4 billion number is equal to 0.11 percent of federal spending.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, October 03, 2010 11:30
" ... in part to subsidize wages to help people go to work."

Any economist knows this just crowds out higher paying wages that would have been paid by the private sector and upsets the ones who get bumped in order to hire welfare freeloaders.
written by Afthought, October 03, 2010 4:20
izzatzo makes a great leap into fairy dust economics: the reason wage subsidies might be needed is precisely because the private sector is not generating sufficient jobs & wages.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.