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  1. #1
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    Jan 2013
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    In Defense of Welfare....to an extent

    {This essay was inspired by the essay posted in this forum entitled, The Cycle of Dependency in America: The Welfare State}

    We often hear the claim that welfare is bad because it encourages people to become dependent and not to work hard, why work when you can get paid to do nothing? However I disagree with that view. Take Australia, the unemployment benefit is estimated to be over $400 per fortnight and you get it indefinitely, even if that means for a decade or more. The minimum wage in Australia is currently about $16.10 per hour. So a person working 20 hours a week would earn around the same as someone on welfare. So, why would anyone bother to work part-time at 40 hours a fortnight when they could just go onto welfare. Yet, Australia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. So, welfare does not automatically mean everyone is going to decide not to work.

    In Nordic countries, they have some of the most generous welfare programs in the world and yet some of the lowest child poverty rates in the world. UNCIEF, in their 2005 report about Child Poverty in Rich Countries notes that it is in fact mainly because of the welfare programs that these countries have such a low poverty rate. So, far from welfare pushing people into poverty and keeping them there, it can help lift them out of it like it does in Nordic countries, if done right.

    People often complain about how much of their taxes go to helping poor people. In fact, in the Essay, the Cycle of Dependence in America, it is noted that, USSpending.com claims in 2006, that about 41% of income taxes in the USA was allocated to welfare. Now, {I am not an expert on finance} but I would dispute those numbers. Especially given that the same group states in 2013, the USA, under the pro-welfare president, welfare is to account for only 10% of government spending and even factoring in the 18% for pensions, it does not even come to 30%.

    What does one refer to as welfare anyway? It is not just people receiving unemployment benefits. Do they have an issue with the redistribution policy known as the Earned Income Tax Credit that actually helps working class people? Does it refer to the child rebates to enable mothers to afford childcare and thus enter the workforce helping females gain work and helping the economy in the process? For this would seem like what the critics of welfare want, more people {and rightly so} entering the workforce.

    It should also be noted, that In Australia for example, the 2005 Senate Inquiry into poverty found that the poorest people actually access government benefits less than people in the next two highest income brackets. It should also be noted that many poor people in America far from living it up on tax payer money do not always access the benefits they are eligible for, such as food stamps.

    The War on Poverty is often cited as a complete failure, as the percentage of people living in poverty now is high after decades and trillions of dollars. I do agree that it has failed, but what is often overlooked is how many people are being kept out of poverty because of the programs which is estimated to be in the tens of millions of Americans. Another number that is often overlooked when people talk about the cost of welfare is how much poverty itself is costing financially. The Center for American Progress for example, estimates that just childhood poverty and the health costs and crime costs directly linked to poverty, costs the USA 500,000 billion dollars a year. At that rate it would cost much more than the trillions spent on the war on poverty. In fact, to end poverty, it would cost a lot less than we are already paying because of poverty.

    So, the next time someone puts up a graph about how much welfare is costing to help people, consider the graph of how much the existence of poverty is costing us now. There is an economic and as well as a moral case to end poverty.

    Welfare payments can even help the poor make better decisions, such as those needed to help them climb out of poverty. Studies have shown that will power to resist bad decisions and make good ones is impaired when living in poverty. So, providing a safety net enables better not worse decision making.

    Finally, the title of this essay was not just, In Defense of Welfare but…{to an extent}. Of course it needs improvement, people are still living in poverty and we need programs that actually work. Although this essay came out against those arguments put forward by critics of welfare. I don’t view critics as the enemy; I think we are on the same page. We both want poverty to end and I do believe that for the most part the solutions are not going to come from government welfare programs, but other areas, like within the private sector. The essay that inspired me to write this one, although I disagree with much of it, please read to get the otherside of the argument.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: In Defense of Welfare....to an extent

    There can be no doubt that the distribution of weath is absolutly crazy but it has always been that way and is down to human nature.
    The ebola crisis was caused by neglect and now 30,000 die each day of starvation.
    The structure is like a pyramid with the very elite at the top and each layer struggling to climb up onto the next shelf.Darwin called it survival of the fittest and it operates as it has always done.
    Religion is a failed attempt to rectify the world while politics perpetuates the situation.
    The moral conscience in mankind is largely swamped by ambition.



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