Ronald Reagan won't squeeze the federal pipe to the poor and needy, but he may keep tight grip on the spigot. Some Washington liberals suggest the $315 billion Uncle Sam doles out annually to the needy won't be cut. Rather, growth will be wrestled down, beginning with now- planned hikes in social security, veteran health benefits, and job-creation. US aid to the poor -- in uninflated dollars -- has nearly tripled since 1964, most of that under two GOP presidents in the 1970s.
According to George Washington University economist Sar Levitan, Americans now spend 4.1 percent of their disposal income on programs for the needy, more than double the percentage two decades ago.m