How To Talk About…
WELFARE

CYCLE OF DEPENDENCE


  • Since the beginning of the War on Poverty in the 1960s, the federal welfare system has grown dramatically, yet the poverty rate has remained nearly unchanged.
  • Welfare tries to treat the symptoms of poverty but fails to address the root causes. Instead, today’s welfare system traps people in a cycle of growing dependence.

ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENCE


  • Able-bodied adults who receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance would be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.

ELIMINATE MARRIAGE PENALTIES


  • Lawmakers should look for responsible ways to reduce disincentives for marriage–one of the top predictors of childhood poverty–in today’s welfare programs.

POLICY PROPOSALS


  1. Require welfare programs to have a work requirement component.
  2. Require states to gradually assume greater revenue responsibility for welfare programs such as public housing and food stamps.
  3. Make welfare spending as transparent as discretionary spending by requiring the President to include it in his annual budget submission to Congress.

QUICK FACTS


  1. The U.S. spends 16 times as much on welfare as it spent in the 1960s–yet the federal poverty rate remains nearly unchanged.
  2. Welfare spending programs total around $1 trillion annually.
  3. Welfare is the fastest-growing part of government spending. Between 1989 and fiscal year 2008, means-tested welfare spending increased by 292 percent.
  4. Today, children in single-parent homes are more than five times as likely to be poor compared to their peers in married-parent homes.

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