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  1. #1
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    The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    A work in progress....

    The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    As with many of history’s greatest disasters, the legislation passed in the 1960’s under the umbrella term “The Great Society” by President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Democratic Congress, was done so with the very best of intentions. The

    ambitious goal behind this political movement was to eliminate poverty and racial injustice in America. However, in the decades since this alleged war on poverty begun, America has increasingly trended toward a welfare state. With the

    dramatic rise in the percentage of individuals on some sort of welfare since the beginning of “The Great Society” movement, the time has come for America to reject the welfare state that has infected our society. This essay will focus on how

    the welfare state negatively affects the individuals within the system, those outside of the system, and society as a whole.



    The welfare state has several negative consequences that directly affect the individual and pose significant psychological obstacles for recipients to overcome in order to escape its grasp. One of the most damaging issues spawned from

    the welfare state is the accountability aspect of individualism that gets deluded and partially transferred to the state. In her memoir, Welfare Brat, Mary Childers does a fantastic job of demonstrating the transfer of accountability that occurs by

    the actions and mentality of her mother and sister: Sandy and Jackie respectively. Accountability is defined as, “the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable” thus being accountable for one’s life would mean to be accountable, liable, or

    answerable for the actions or decisions acted or not acted upon and how they affect an individual’s life. Upon finding out that Sandy was pregnant again, Mary lashed out at her by saying, “I care about providing for myself instead of asking

    welfare or drunken men for money” (Childers 59). Mary was accurately pointing out that Sandy was absolutely dependent on money from other sources, in this case men and government, and she was not able to provide for herself, much less her

    children. Despite this knowledge, Sandy activity and willingly engaged in activity that resulted in her getting pregnant and eventually producing another taxpayer burden. By doing this, Sandy is shifting the responsibility of her actions to

    another party, the taxpayer, and not taking accountability for her choices. The reason why this is within itself bad on an individual level is because it creates a slippery slope in which the individual is self-deluded and essentially forces the

    taxpayer to serve as an enabler for the “bad” decision making which often times is the catalyst for those that are on welfare to begin with.



    The cycle of enabling, bad decision making, and transferring accountability to society is one that is dependent upon itself. This cycle of dependency can be difficult, or as in Sandy’s case practically impossible, to break. As a result, the

    more bad decisions that are made, the more that the individual making them is reliant on the system for support. The consequence of this cycle of dependency inevitably creates someone that is solely dependent on a fickle system and never

    rises above or escapes to a better life. Mary demonstrates this in her afterword, “My mother now lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, but still sleeps in the living room. Her life continues to be defined by what she can live

    without” (Childers 256). Even though Sandy has received welfare and other forms of assistance throughout the vast majority of her life, she never elevated her status or position in the world. Instead, in the twilight of her life, she is arguably

    worst off then in the beginning of the book. Welfare enables people to get just enough to survive while demanding that the individuals stay below a certain poverty point in order to remain qualified for the assistance. Thus, they rarely have the

    incentive to progress and get out of the poverty which was the original intent of “The Great Society” and the “War on Poverty” that was championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.



    Incentives are powerful things in our lives. Imagine for a moment that you were given 1,000 dollars a month for free with the only condition of receiving this money was that you could not work or receive any money in excess of a certain

    amount, say 1,500 dollars a month. As long as you made less than 1,500 dollars, you would receive the said 1,000 dollars every single month for as long as you lived in addition to the income, you receive free health care, and other resources.

    Furthermore, due to your education and work experience you were not able to get a job that netted you much more than what you could get between the 1,500 dollars you actually earned and the amount that is usurped from the contributors

    to society. In that situation, would you give up that steady, reliable check from the taxpayers by getting a job that paid any more than 1,500 dollars a month? This is, however, the exact situation being faced by welfare recipients in our society

    and by Sandy in Welfare Brat. Instead of working full-time at a job or two to support herself and her family, Mary says that Sandy instead, “works two or three days a week to buy more than she can with a welfare check” (Childers 6). The

    incentive in Sandy’s case lays in her not working, or working very little and illegally and failing to even try to elevate her status, as well as, the lives of her children. When all three of the factors that affect the individual are taken into

    consideration with respect to welfare; transference of accountability to the state, the cycle of dependency, and the lack of incentive to improve, it is easy to see how the individual suffers, rather than profits from the welfare state. There is,

    however, another critical element to this societal plague that is adversely affected as well, those being the individuals outside of the welfare system in the middle and upper class. According to the government watchdog site,

    USGovernmentSpending.com, which gathering their statistics directly from the Office of Management and Budget, analyzes, and interprets their findings, the total monetary cost of welfare programs in the United States for 2006 were estimated

    to be 419.2 billion dollars. The total amount of income tax collected in that same year, according to Laurence M. Vance from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a group which describes itself as the “world center of the Austrian School of

    economics”, was 1.043 trillion dollars. That means that of all of the income taxes collected in the United States in 2006; just short of 41% was redistributed to the lower class in the form of welfare payments.



    The first major problem with this is when welfare acts as a negative incentive and subsidizes economic regression, as opposed to economic progress. Middle class members, starting with those that are just short of qualifying for welfare,

    must surrender 15% of their income in the form of taxes to the government. 41% of that is given to those that qualify for welfare payments, including those that barely qualify. If an individual is in the middle-class making 1,700 dollars a month,

    they end up paying 15% in taxes, and netting 1,445 dollars for 40 hours a week worth of work. That middle-class contributor then must pay for their healthcare, or go without, pay for all of their food, and all of the other expenses in their lives

    with no type of taxpayer hand out to help them. By not qualifying for welfare, the government is saying that they do not have the right to go into the pockets of other workers and take their money. However, this is not the same with those

    below the so-call poverty line. When there is a welfare recipient, like Sandy in Welfare Brat who is technically working, but only netting 1,100 dollars a month for the very same 40 hours a week worth of work, they can receive various subsidies

    from the government. If that person received a 600 dollar welfare check each month, then that welfare person, in a situation like this, is making 255 dollars a month more than the middle-class individual. To look at this in another way, the

    welfare person is making 10.63 dollars for each hour of labor whilst the worker and contributor nets only about 9.03 dollars per hour of labor. Clearly, there is something morally and socially wrong when a government creates an incentive for the

    middle-class worker to make less money, so he can qualify for welfare. This essentially punishes him while the lower-class person is encouraged to never become a contributor to society therefore staying within the welfare system long term.

    Governments have no wealth and they make no products or serves that are sold for profit. The only money that a government has is the money it has stolen from its citizens. So, when a government “redistributes” wealth, what it is really doing

    is taking that stolen money and giving it to another. Individuals that pay 15% of their earning to taxes end up losing 41% of it on welfare programs as shown above. What the government is implying is that 6.15% of income, and the time spent

    earning it, belongs to welfare recipients. So, if you are a contributor and work 40 hours a weeks, 160 hours a month, about 10 hours of that you are being forced to work for someone else to collect a check. This begs the question: is anyone

    entitled to anyone else’s money and time? After all, we only have a certain number of hours on this earth, why should it be spent in a de facto slave state where we are forced to provide and expend labor for others that refuse to provide and

    expend labor for themselves?



    Another serious consequence of the welfare state was addressed by the Democratic Senator from North Dakota, Kent Conrad, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget. His response to President Obama’s State of

    the Union address on January 25th, 2012, was that “American is currently borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar we spend. And the long-term outlook is even worst.” The Senator was talking about the debt we are accumulating, in part, by

    funding programs like welfare of which society clearly cannot afford. When the Federal Reserve prints artificial money in order to cover the debts created by the excess spending, it has the same impact on the economy as borrowing from an

    outside source. Assuming that the 40 cents per dollar estimate is accurate as the Senator suggests and has been accurate for at least the last 6 years, this means that of the 419.2 billion dollars spent on welfare in 2006, 167.68 billion of it was

    simply created out of nothing. Why is this a problem? When you create a currency out of the thin air and don’t have anything behind it, such as gold, you have two equally damaging but inexorable results: the currency gets devalued and

    inflation raises. This is commonly referred to as the “cost of inflation” and the middle class, particularly the lower-middle class, are most injured by it. For example, when the price of gas doubled under the Obama administration, it did not affect

    the amount of commuting needing to be done by Americans. If you drove 250 miles a week to work as a middle-class contributor when gas was $1.87, you still drove 250 miles a week when it jumped to $4.00. The upper-class can afford it and

    the welfare recipients, on average, do not work nearly as often as the middle-class does or simply do not work at all, therefore it is the middle-class that ends up feeling the greatest pain.



    If the idea behind welfare is to “end poverty in America” as President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, then up into this point it must be considered an abysmal failure. One might say when analyzing the amount of money spent on this “war”

    versus the measurable results, the “War on Poverty” is the greatest failure in the history of mankind. In 1964, when this initiative begun, Michael Tanner from the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization, reports that the poverty

    rate in January of 1964 was, “around 19 % and falling rapidly” whereas the poverty rate for 2012 is, “15.1 % and climbing”. In 48 years of fighting this war, the poverty rate has managed to drop only 3.9 % at a cost of, 12 trillion dollars on the

    federal level and 3 trillion dollars on the state and local level, says Mr. Tanner who also notes that the poverty rate has never fallen below 10.5% during this time period and as a result, are over 15 trillion dollars in debt as a nation. Based on

    these statistics, it would not be unreasonable to infer that the United States is progressing towards becoming a dependent and entitlement society where people feel that they are owed these monies just for living in this country and that the

    government is the most ineffective, inefficient, and possibly corrupt organization imaginable. Consequently, the initiative is having the reverse intended effect.



    The welfare state that exists in our society has many drawbacks and despite is well-intended origin, it has now mutated into a welfare state that absolutely must be rejected in order for the country to endure and individuals who are in

    situations like Sandy Childress to become self-sustaining, accountable, and responsible for their own lives. If we continue on this path, it will eventually lead to the complete collapse of the middle-class and likely regress our society back into a

    fiefdom state where everything is ruled and owned by an elite few. Therefore, it is imperative that we aggressively address this welfare state socially and most importantly, reject it morally.




    Works Cited
    Chantrill, Christopher. “U.S Welfare Spending.” US Government Spending. n.d. Web. 26 Jun
    2012. .

    Childers, Mary. Welfare Brat. New York: Bloomsbury, 2005. Print.

    Conrad, Kent. “We're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend.” Politifact. 23 January 2011.
    Web 26 June 2012. .

    Tanner, Michael. “The American Welfare State: How We Spend Nearly $1 Trillion a Year
    Fighting Poverty—and Fail.” 11 April 2012 Web. 26 June 2012. .

    Vance, Laurence. “Real Tax Reform.” 16 April 2007. Web. 26 June 2012. .
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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  3. #2
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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Great Post. Yep, the Welfare State and its State of Mind are eating away (by design) this nation's soul. Young, healthy people see nothing wrong with others being required to pay for their Cheetos, Alcohol and Cigarettes. Yes, EBT holders CAN AND DO BUY ALCOHOL AND CIGS WITH THEIR CARD!

    Don't believe the above? Look up California S.B. 417. The bill ONLY said the following: EBT Recipients cannot directly purchase Alcohol and Cigarettes with their card. Makes sense it does. Well, to all except Democrats who voted along party lines to defeat SB 417 in committee.

    There is the problem.

  4. #3
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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Quote Originally Posted by AndThatsFinal View Post
    Yes, EBT holders CAN AND DO BUY ALCOHOL AND CIGS WITH THEIR CARD!
    Please explain...I am very interested as to how they can do this...
    "As long as I have a voice, I will speak for those who have none".

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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Not alcohol or cigs, but this should be enlightening.

    Kimball Clark, 45, was locked up Friday on drug-dealing charges — again — when he was overheard using his one phone call to ask the person on the other end of the line to “get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, get me outa here tonight,” according to a Boston police report.
    http://gillreport.com/2012/04/video-...-his-ebt-card/

    ---------- Post added at 03:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:20 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlett44 View Post
    Please explain...I am very interested as to how they can do this...
    After four years on the job, a New Hampshire woman was fired because she refused to sell cigarettes to a customer who tried to pay with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card (the debit card equivalent of food stamps), according to the Sentinel Source.

    Jackie R. Whiton said that a 20-something-year-old male came into her Big Apple convenience store on May 29 and handed her an EBT card while trying to purchase two packs of cigarettes.
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/this...tamp-customer/

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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Quote Originally Posted by Broodstar87 View Post
    Not alcohol or cigs, but this should be enlightening.
    Hmmm, yes... very interesting that some states would allow people to get cash off an EBT card--a bad idea in my opinion.

    However, I do know a few people here in my area (state of Virginia) who have an EBT card, and they cannot use the card to get cash, or purchase non-food items....All they can do with the card is purchase food.
    "As long as I have a voice, I will speak for those who have none".

  7. #6
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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlett44 View Post
    Please explain...I am very interested as to how they can do this...
    You buy food for someone else with it or sell it to them and they give you cash.

    When I was in college we had a food stamp recipient in the house and I'd buy his food stamps 50 cents on the dollar and he bought Cigs with the money. (he didn't booze or use drugs so far as I could tell). He got his food at the food bank where he volunteered. (and generally brought home left overs for the house which had a bunch of college kids living in it)

    ---------- Post added at 09:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:40 AM ----------

    PS: The formatting is pretty bad, makes it hard to read.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    You buy food for someone else with it or sell it to them and they give you cash.

    When I was in college we had a food stamp recipient in the house and I'd buy his food stamps 50 cents on the dollar and he bought Cigs with the money. (he didn't booze or use drugs so far as I could tell). He got his food at the food bank where he volunteered. (and generally brought home left overs for the house which had a bunch of college kids living in it)

    ---------- Post added at 09:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:40 AM ----------

    PS: The formatting is pretty bad, makes it hard to read.
    So you commit fraud then compain about your accomplice?

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    FYI, this is not a debate forum, it's a holding forum for member articles for when we add a better CMS to the site.

    If articles are intended to be discussed/debated, then they should also be copy/pasted into a debate forum and a link offered to that new debate thread from the article itself.
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  11. #9
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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    So you commit fraud then compain about your accomplice?
    No, I'm just explaining how it works, not making value judgement's.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State

    Great article. I just want to provide you a chart that explains visually what you spend a good deal of time describing verbally in your article. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/defau...re%20cliff.jpg

    Of course, this is only for Pennsylvania, but I checked and Pennsylvania ranks 23rd in per capita spending on welfare, which makes it typical of the situation nationally.

    On the negative side of my criticism, you have several spelling errors and awkward grammatical constructions that detract from the overall excellence of your article (plus the unusual formatting already noted by another poster). Correcting these problems would make a very good article even better.

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