It is extremely disingenuous bordering on outright deceitful for people like Kevin Drum to claim that “welfare spending has gone up greatly since the 1970s” when his “welfare” includes the mortgage interest tax credit, greater Social Security spending due to an aging population, veterans’ benefits and the like.
Also, if welfare spending had gone up to match the actual inflation present in the categories where it’s most needed, it would have more than trebled or quadrupled — health care costs are up (all inflation-adjusted) 800% since the late 1960s. Education is up 500%. Housing is up 300-800% depending on your zip code.
So the story isn’t that welfare spending broadly defined has increased,* rather it’s that welfare even if you exclude the disastrous Clinton reforms has not nearly kept up with the areas where it is most vital — just as with wages for most people.
We really need a better Left, one less full of dissembling double-crossing neoliberal shills like Drum.
*Also, welfare has transitioned from direct cash payments to indirect transfers which is less useful to most people, and far more costly to administer.