This is a frustrating statistic to read. When so many rely upon the state for their well being, when getting taxpayer funded aid means the difference between having a full stomach and having an empty one, it is very hard to make the case to someone that government must be smaller even if that person can see plainly that it should be.
Think about this. There were more people on welfare (109,631,00) in this country in 2012 than there were workers in the American workforce (103,087,000 full-time year-round workers.) Please tell me how this isn’t a recipe for disaster.
Of course dependence is the goal of many who seek to expand the state. Get people used to a benefit. Get people to the point where they make economic decisions based on a government check and good luck getting rid of that program (and the army of well paid bureaucrats which administer the program). Politicians can also scare voters every election by telling them that program X or program Y might go away if so-and-so is elected. Fear is a very powerful political tool. Some might say the most powerful.
One could even argue (I would anyway) that some people even become addicted to welfare and that politicians are the dealers.
There is no reason why any child in the United States should go to bed hungry. There is no reason why the truly disabled shouldn’t be helped, even if in the short term it must be via the government. The truly needy, the down and out, deserve help.
But 1/3 of the American population isn’t a hungry child or truly disabled. Many just consider welfare benefits part of what one gets if one lives in the United States. For many there are no moral qualms with getting taxpayer funded benefits and that fundamentally is wrong. The money which flows to these programs comes from other people.
People fall on hard times. Sometimes people need help. Life can be horribly difficult. But when 1 out of 3 people are on welfare we have a serious societal problem. I mean deep down, to the core, big time problem. Though many people will insist that government dependence isn’t a problem at all, that it’s all part of a more humane society. That “it takes a village.” It is in fact a huge problem if we value a free society.*
Historically government has been a cruel master.
82,679,000 of the welfare-takers lived in households where people were on Medicaid, said the Census Bureau. 51,471,000 were in households on food stamps. 22,526,000 were in the Women, Infants and Children program. 20,355,000 were in household on Supplemental Security Income. 13,267,000 lived in public housing or got housing subsidies. 5,442,000 got Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. 4,517,000 received other forms of federal cash assistance.
*Sadly some of us just don’t.