Government Welfare Essay

Government Welfare
Throughout the world there is an ongoing debate whether or not all forms of government welfare should be abolished. Welfare is a government program that provides money, medical care, food, housing, and other things that people need in order to survive. People who can receive help from these welfare programs are children, elders, the disabled, and others who cannot support their families on their current income (1). There are several reasons why welfare should be eliminated; however, there are also a number of reasons why welfare should be retained.

Over 4.1% of the American population is on government welfare. Almost 13 million people are on welfare, 47 million on food stamps, and 6 million on unemployment insurance (2). A lot of these people commit welfare fraud every year and some of them rarely get caught. The welfare system is way too easy to cheat. “It is very easy,” agreed Kate Hogan, Warren County District Attorney. According to law enforcement it’s been spiraling out of control and it’s costing you money. A lot of it. The amount counties spend each year on social services is staggering. In Warren County, the annual budget is roughly 150-million dollars. 44 percent of that or more than $65 million pays for public assistance programs like welfare and food stamps. And police say, a big chunk of that goes to people who aren’t eligible (3). I personally know people who cheat the welfare system. They say that there job caused them an injury and now they can’t work because of it. They are reaping the benefits of the welfare system they don’t deserve yet no one catches them.

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Now taxpayer are no longer helping the poor but also subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at a better rate than their own. The Senate Budget Committee has released a report showing households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments are raking in the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits which come in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more. The median house hold income in 2011 was $50,054, totaling $137.13 per day. Welfare payments are equivalent to making $30 per hour for 40 hours a week. The median wage for non-welfare recipients is $25 per hour but because they pay taxes, unlike welfare recipients, the wage is bumped down to $21 per hour(4). Firms maximize profits when they minimize costs. Yet, this analysis leaves out one important issue: The costs that the private sector’s actions impose on society.

The states are well aware of the costs that low wages impose on them. For example, in 2008, an Ohio policy group reported that Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Yum! Brands YUM +0.86%, and Wendy’s were the top employers with the largest number of employees using Medicaid, food stamps and Ohio’s cash assistance programs. Nearly 28,000 employees at these four companies applied for food stamps in 2008. By covering these costs through various programs that help low-income people, the government picks up where the private sector leaves off. For example, a single mother making $15,000 a year is entitled to various means-tested benefits that are targeted toward people with low earnings — the earned income tax credit, the child care credit, Medicaid, food stamps — that help her provide food, shelter and clothing for her family. Raising the minimum wage would start to solve this poverty problem.