Fox_Exp by ProgramThe Hoover Institutions’ EUREKA newsletter this month examines California’s Revenue Conundrum. Given the recent clamor for more social spending one chart in the report catches the reader’s eye.

The chart shows expenditure by program type from 1976-77 to 2015-16. While most programs have remained steady or had a modest increase, Health and Human Services towers over the other items on the chart. It even bests the second largest expenditure gain, K-12 education, by a considerable amount.

It should be noted that these figures reflect combined HHS spending: General Funds, Special Funds, Bond Funds, and Federal Funds. The Federal Funding increase includes Affordable Care Act Medicaid (MediCal) expansion, which accounts for the huge spike at the right of the chart. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade.”

During the last state budget debate, Democratic leaders wanted to raise Health and Human Services even higher than the Governor would agree. And, recently, an initiative was filed to raise property taxes $7 billion dedicating the money, the measure’s authors claim, to pull children out of poverty, an endeavor that would fall under the Health and Human Services umbrella.

California currently has the highest poverty rate among the states. Medi-Cal covers about a third of the population.

Given the dramatic rise in HHS spending over four decades and the increased and dramatic rise in poverty, it is fair to ask how well the tax dollars are being spent to alleviate poverty and provide services for those in need.

Just adding new dollars without a thorough examination of the current success or failure of HHS funding programs is a disservice to the states’ taxpayers.

(Fox and Hounds Daily will publish some of the articles contained in the EUREKA newsletter as the week goes on.)