63% of all federal government spending – do you know what it is?

by Ryan Streeter on October 22, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

In his latest Post column, Robert Samuelson writes:

After eliminating double counting, about half of U.S. householdshave some federal benefit. Mitt Romney mentioned this last year and was hammered for seeming to disparage recipients. Still, his campaign gaffe illustrates a political dilemma. You can’t easily restrain federal spending without controlling entitlement programs. In 2012, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone represented 44 percent of spending; all entitlement programs were 63 percent. But it’s hard to control entitlement programs because their constituencies are so large.

How large? Here are our entitlement programs, by number of people enrolled:

1. Medicaid/CHIP: 63.2 million

2. Social Security: 55.8 million

3. Medicare: 49.9 million

4. Food stamps: 46.6 million

5. Child nutrition: 35 million

6. College loans: 11.3 million

7. Unemployment insurance: 8.9 million

8. Supplemental Security Income: 7.9 million

9. Veterans compensation: 3.8 million

10. Civil service retirement: 2.5 million

11. Military retirement: 2.2 million

12. Farm subsidies: 1.3 million