Barack Obama was the first president of the United States to spend more on “means-tested entitlements” — AKA welfare — than on national defense, according to data published by his own Office of Management and Budget.
Historical tables that the OMB posted on the Obama White House website, include annual totals for both “national defense” spending and “means-tested entitlement” spending going back to fiscal 1962 — which is three years before President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the Medicaid program, a means-tested entitlement that together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program enrolled 74,407,191 beneficiaries as of November 2016.
In every year from fiscal 1962 through fiscal 2014, total national defense spending exceeded means-tested entitlement spending.
In fiscal year 1962, for example, the federal government spent more than twelve times as much money on national defense ($52,345,000,000) as it did on means-test entitlements ($4,300,000,000).
But in fiscal 2015, total national defense spending declined to $589,965,000,000 while means-tested entitlement spending climbed to $666,900,000,000. Thus, fiscal 2015 became the first year that means-tested entitlement spending — welfare spending — exceeded national defense spending.