The Conservative Position on Welfare

Written by Matthew Jones

America’s welfare system is broken as it stands now. Conservatives object to all or almost all forms of government intervention in the free-market. This does not mean that conservatives believe in letting the poor and homeless suffer and die in the streets. We, as a society, have an obligation to provide aid to those who cannot fend for themselves. However, we aren’t interested in lining the pockets of bureaucrats and people who refuse to work for themselves.

According to The Economist

America’s last big welfare reform was in 1996, when Bill Clinton and a Republican-led Congress put time limits on cash benefits and tightened the requirement that able-bodied claimants must seek work for the benefits provided. The results have been outstanding. The number of people receiving cash benefits under what is now called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program fell drastically from 12.3 people a month in 1996 to 4.1m in 2012 as well as causing employment  among single mothers to rise sharply.

While this is not a defining data point, it is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of “Workfare,” a much promoted conservative Welfare reform.

Welfare is Wasteful

Currently the US spends more than $200 million a year on income security. (Not Social Security)

Income security is defined as Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Credits, Unemployment Compensation, Nutrition Assistance, Family Support, Child Nutrition, Foster Care and Making Work Pay. Over 42,000 people are living in poverty according to the US census. Of those in poverty, all but 336,000 of them are on food stamps.

According to Unbiased America, a total of “1 Trillion dollars is spent on anti-poverty programs each year, or $40,000 per household in poverty. Yet for some reason there are still 43 million people in poverty.”  There, they cite the fact that the Federal  Government spent 927 billion dollars on Welfare in 2011, and yet, take for example,

Los Angeles county, CA; out of that near trillion dollars spent on Welfare, 63 billion dollars was spent on housing aid. et, from 2011 to 2015, homeownership rates declined from 50.86% to 48.64%, in spite of the fortune spent on housing aid, that more likely lines the pockets of the bureaucrats at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Often times, workfare has been referred to as “slavery.” That is a ridiculous position, created to fear-monger the public and the poor by the Left. Workfare is not only reasonable and theoretically possible, but it has been proven effective in the state of Kansas. The Sunflower State restored work requirements for able-bodied adults, while time-limiting food stamps. The law reduced the numbers by 13,000 in a few months, half of former food stamp recipients went back to work immediately, three-fifths in the next year, and income rose by an average of 127% during the first year.

Therefore, Conservatives put forward that Welfare, as we know it, is broken, but, not beyond repair; all it takes is a couple of principled politicians with a little backbone, and workfare can revitalize the American spirit of industry.

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