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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Safety net programs are those that assist people who have great difficulty in meeting basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and those who have been unable to find work. These difficulties can result from age, illness, or disability, or they can be caused by events such as economic recession or natural disasters. The scope is huge as are the dollars involved. Overall, in 2008, federal, state, and local government spending on safety net programs (other than Social Security and Medicare) amounted to almost $700 billion, which equaled nearly 5 percent of the United States' GDP. Two out of three dollars of this total were financed by the federal government, while the remaining one-third ($235 billion) was supported by state and local government revenues.

Keywords: safety net programs, Social Security, Medicare, government spending, health care, Great Recession

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