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Author Topic:   Welfare - what is it and who benefits
Posts: 19485
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 1 of 2 (797098)
01-11-2017 2:14 PM

I saw this article on my facebook feed and thought it would make a good discussion topic.

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

First of all, many people would be surprised to discover that there is no one program called “welfare.”

The word “welfare” refers to a number of different government assistance programs that provide help to Americans struggling with poverty in distinct ways. SNAP/food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), tax credits for working families, and Social Security are just a few programs under the welfare umbrella.

In fact, many people who complain the most about the “evils” of welfare are actually receiving it themselves—in some form or another. They just don’t realize it, because they don’t know what welfare really entails.

Myth #1: Welfare Payments Are Too High

Myth #2: Welfare Recipients Are Lazy

Myth #3: Undocumented Immigrants Are All on Welfare

Myth #4: People Use Welfare to Support Their Drug Habits

Myth #5: The ‘Welfare Queen Is Hoodwinking Us All

Myth #6: Welfare Is Not Effective

Myth #7: You’ll Never Need Welfare

Providing a safety net through government assistance makes our country stronger—and it’s time for Americans to stop spreading untrue and damaging rumors decrying the very programs that are creating a brighter future for our nation’s most vulnerable. It’s time for politicians to stop trying to cut meager benefits to struggling families.

Because there are millions of people out there who truly need these programs to help them get back on their feet. And you never know—someday, you might be one of them.

Read the article for how these are false myths if you disagree and reply with the myth as a subtitle.

There are many people who benefited from these standard types of low-income welfare early in life and ended up being successful.

Now, we can also argue that any benefit you get for a government source is social welfare, and in the broadest sense this would include (but not be limited to):

  1. Military protection
  2. Police protection
  3. Fire protection and rescue
  4. Natural disaster protection and assistance
  5. Public infrastructure works and maintenance (roads, bridges, tunnels, water and sewage treatment, etc)
  6. Tax credits and tax cuts (including IRA's, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), etc. )
  7. Public school education
  8. Government loans at reduced rates (mortgages, school loans, etc) and grants
  9. Government regulations that ensure breathable air, drinkable water, unpolluted lakes and streams, safe working conditions, etc. etc. etc.

General welfare would include standard low income welfare and social welfare, and thus in this broader sense we are all receiving general welfare.

So the question becomes not so much who is getting benefits, but what is the best way for society to invest the welfare dollars for the good of the people:

U.S. Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

... to promote the general welfare for ourselves and our posterity ...

IIRC (if not correct let me know) several studies have shown that giving a poor person a dollar returns ~$1.40 or more to the economy (trickle up works) while giving a rich person a dollar returns ~$0.90 or less to the economy (trickle down doesn't work).

Additional information to aid the discussion, from WELFARE-TO-WORK PROGRAM BENEFITS AND COSTS

This synthesis also reports estimates of the return on investment (ROI) per net dollar invested by the government. ROIs were calculated for each program from all three perspectives. ROIs are popular with analysts and program operators because they facilitate comparisons of the cost-effectiveness of programs per net dollar invested. ROIs, which are often called “benefit-cost ratios,” are computed by dividing program benefits by program operating costs.

  • The participant ROI ratio measures the change in participant income per net dollar invested in the program by the government, not by the participants themselves. If participant income increases as a result of a program, then the participant ROI will be positive. If the participants gained more than a dollar in income for each dollar invested by the government (implying that the income transfer process is quite efficient), the participant ROI will be not only positive but greater than one.
  • A government budget ROI ratio in excess of one implies that the government’s return on its investment, from a budgetary perspective, was in excess of its cost.
  • A social ROI ratio of greater than one implies that society has received more than a dollar in increased resources for each public dollar invested in the program. Because the social perspective in this synthesis is usually defined as the sum of the participant and the government budget perspectives, the social ROI is usually the sum of the participant and the government budget ROIs. ...

Table ES.2
Five-Year Summary Statistics of Net Value and ROI per Program Group Member, by Program Type (in 2006 dollars)

Program TypeMeanMedianMinimumMaximum
Earnings supplement
a Participant perspective$5,396$5,602$239$10,141
Government budget perspective-$3,532-$1,472-$10,958-$228
Social perspective$1,865$1,132-$815$6,009

Note that this study only covered the "standard" low income welfare programs and not tax cuts and credits, etc. ... and that I have only included one example from the data. This one example shows that for a $1 investment that the return was a net loss of $0.16 from the government and a net gain of $4.06 for the economy.

This paper discusses "standard" welfare benefit by age: Return on Investment: Cost vs. Benefits and there is a graph on page 2 showing the most return is during the younger years.

Likewise studies on raising the minimum wage results in economic growth, and as that is a means to provide Earnings supplement the above excerpt from the table is applicable in showing why this occurs.

All the standard welfare programs are efforts to provide a minimum living income, so the next logical step is for societies to move towards a guaranteed living income, because Earnings supplements show a positive gain for the economy and society in general.


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Posts: 1857
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004

Message 2 of 2 (797103)
01-11-2017 3:04 PM

Thread Copied to Coffee House Forum
Thread copied to the Welfare - what is it and who benefits thread in the Coffee House forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.
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