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Entitlements are the biggest government programs in the US.
The biggest entitlement programs benefit seniors. In FY 2016 the Social Security program cost $916 billion. In FY 2016 the Medicare health-care program cost $595 billion.
Entitlement programs also benefit the poor. In FY 2016 the Medicaid health-care program for the poor was “guesstimated” to cost $591 billion. All other welfare programs were “guesstimated” to cost $467 billion.
Entitlement spending by governments in the United States has grown from 0.4 percent GDP in 1900 to 19 percent of GDP in 2010.
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ENTITLEMENT SPENDING history.
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Spending data is from official government sources.
Detailed table of spending data sources here.
Federal spending data begins in 1792.
State and local spending data begins in 1820.
State and local spending data for individual states begins in 1957.
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> US GDP CY16
Source: CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook .