This week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling for reform to America’s welfare system. He wants to see a welfare system that actually encourages people to work and one that will strengthen marriage.
For years I’ve been writing that America’s welfare system is severely flawed. I agree that many people need help but the help they receive from today’s welfare system doesn’t really help them at all. It only serves to make them lazy plus it entraps many who want to want help themselves but find they have too much to lose if they try. The current system actually penalizes many poor people who are legally married.
I’ve known several people on some form of welfare who wanted to get a job and provide for themselves and their family but when they tried to get a job, they found out that it would cost them more than what they were getting on welfare and various assistance programs. They were trapped into remaining on welfare and financially prevented from rising out of the system.
This is nothing new. Over 250-years ago, venerable Benjamin Franklin warned about an out-of-control welfare system in regards to the passage of a welfare law:
“In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries that the more the public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provision are established for them (as in England); so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many almshouses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful? And do they use their best endeavors to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burden? On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, but giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness.” [The Real Benjamin Franklin: Part II: Timeless Treasures from Benjamin Franklin, Prepared by W. Cleon Skousen and M. Richard Maxfield. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2008, Pp 453-4.]
One source suggests 4 ways in which the welfare system should be improved:
1- Provide contract funding based on successful outcomes.
The current systems pays millions in grant money to organizations and agencies for services instead of for the outcome of their service. In other words, those agencies that actually help and have positive outcomes get taxpayer money and those who just spend it without any real accomplishments, don’t get federal money.
2- Accurately account for welfare spending.
Currently, the federal government spends $1.1 trillion for some form of aid to the poor. This encompasses cash money, housing assistance, food, medical care and a number of social services, yet 97% of that money is not counted as income purposes by the Census Bureau, giving false figures for poverty levels. The best way to gauge the welfare system is accurately assess where the money is being spent and for what benefits.
3- Strengthen work requirements.
The goal of any type of welfare system is get people working and providing for themselves. The current system makes that nearly impossible for many. In the past, it’s been proven that moving people to work is one of the greatest means of getting them to become self-sufficient. There are millions of people on welfare that are capable of working but don’t because they have too much to lose by working. The system needs to be revamped so as to force those who can work to work. Help train them for a career and help them get a job. It will save billions of dollars in the long run.
4- Stop penalizing marriage.
Marriage has always been one of the strongest and most important institutions in any society. Turn the system around so as to reward marriage instead of penalizing it. Fix the system to not only encourage marriage but to help marriages last to stay strong. Did you know:
“Children raised in single-parent homes are almost five times more likely to experience physical abuse and seven times more likely to suffer childhood sexual abuse when compared to those raised by married biological parents. Children raised without a father in the home are three times more likely to engage in crime and end up in jail.”
I’m sure that many of you can think of other ways to help reform the welfare system, but if the government just fixed these four things, not only would it save billions of taxpayer dollars, but will help strengthen the core fabric of American society, reduce crime, give millions of people some self-respect and it would help improve the American economy. Face it, it’s a win-win-win-win situation.