A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that non-health means-tested government programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are growing at a much slower rate than other federal benefit programs. The report analyzed both spending trends over the past decade and projections for the upcoming decade.
According to CBO, means-tested programs that provide benefits other than health care grew by 49 percent between 2007 and 2011, after adjusting for inflation. But since then, their costs have actually been falling and are projected to continue doing so over the next decade. That is despite the fact that gross domestic product is projected to grow by 37 percent between 2007 and 2027.
Non-means-tested programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, however, are projected to grow much faster than GDP. Between 2007 and 2027, the cost of these programs will double – even after adjusting for inflation.
There are two key reasons why these programs are growing faster than others in the federal budget. The first is demographic changes; while means-tested programs tend...