In our nation, there is a plethora of people utilizing our government’s welfare system. This government initiative can serve to help people, but are costs of such welfare programs worth it? Although there are plenty of people who cannot work, there are also many who “leech off the system” so to speak. This leads to the government wasting valuable resources on individuals who are perfectly capable of joining the work force. As a nation, we must take steps to effectively use welfare to help those in need, while preventing perfectly healthy individuals from taking advantage of such benefits.
A problem that plagues our welfare system today, is the many able-bodied people who essentially “steal” welfare funds from those who actually need it. Perhaps one reason for this problem is the fact that in some states, welfare programs pay better than any minimum wage job. In fact, in 35 states, government aid programs pay more than minimum wage jobs (Roy). Why would one want to work if he could just sit at home and collect just as many funds, if not more, through welfare programs? This problem kills off any incentive an individual might have to work; in fact, according to reports from the Census Bureau, 108.6 million Americans were benefiting from some form of government welfare (Rousselle). At their absolute worst, welfare programs “reward people for not working” and “incentivizes people to develop habits that make it harder for them to find work in the future, miring them in permanent poverty” (Roy). Not only does this dangerous effect of welfare waste government resources, it also puts an “economic damper” on our nation. Wasteful welfare expenses increase our federal debt, while preventing healthy individuals from contributing to our economy through the workforce.
Who needs welfare anyway? There many people who actually need the assistance provided by government welfare programs. Veterans, the physically disabled, and the elderly are examples of groups that need assistance. These individuals need welfare mainly because most of them are unable to work. The handicaps of the physically disabled obviously prevents them from being employed; in addition, the elderly may find it difficult to work a job because of their age. Veterans may need assistance in order to reintegrate themselves into society. Perhaps the newly unemployed need benefits also; however, I believe the benefits should expire or be reduced after a set deadline. As you can see, not everyone who receives government aid are freeloaders.
How do we ensure that people who really need welfare benefits receive them? One idea for preventing individuals from siphoning off welfare funds is mandatory drug-tests. A person should not receive welfare benefits if he or she is going to use those funds to support a drug addiction. If an individual really needs help, he or she should cut any unnecessary expenses, such as drug, alcohol, and tobacco product purchases. Also, welfare in the form of food stamps should only be used for the bare necessities, such as bread, milk, eggs, and other essential items. They should not be used to purchase extravagant foods. The purpose of food stamps is to provide nutrition for the needy, not a potluck dinner! What if we made the states responsible for welfare? Currently, the federal government provides for the nation's welfare costs; however, if the states took responsibility for providing welfare to their citizens, they would have to be accountable for any waste or welfare abuse that occurs. This would force the states to enforce stricter application processes and budget cuts to provide for such programs (Montgomery). This action would foster accountability among our state governments. Also, up-to-date medical records should be provided at the time of welfare application. This will ensure that the potential recipient is indeed, unable to participate in the nation's workforce. As mentioned before, newly unemployed people should receive benefits if needed; however, they should attain a job before a set deadline. The state governments could set the deadline themselves. Finally, private enterprises and religious groups should take it upon themselves to handle our nation's poor and handicapped. If everyone were a little more generous, perhaps every man, woman, and child could go to sleep at night, not worrying about where tomorrow's subsistence will come from.
Promoting the effective and responsible use of government welfare can go a long way in alleviating the struggles of the impoverished, elderly, and handicapped. Welfare is an attempt to help the needy, but without proper management, it can serve to further worsen the plight of the poor. Maybe, if everyone was a little more ethical, our welfare system would be much more effective than it is today. If we, as a nation, can stand up and work together to help those in need around us, the government would be relieved of the pressures of providing for welfare. Welfare can only be effectively used if ethics, integrity, and generosity are promoted.