Author Topic: Intelligent Debate: Welfare  (Read 6441 times)

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Offline Lapis Lazuli

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Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« on: September 29, 2008, 12:42:47 am »
"Welfare, healthcare, and related programs.

Do we have an obligation to help the less fortunate? Is this the best and most efficient way to do it?"

This is a thread for intelligent, civilized debate over the aforementioned topic: Welfare (general financial aid).

The rules for this debate are as follows:

1. Any and all quotes must be referenced, including statistics.
2. Posting "just because you feel like it", posting to state that you have no opinion, or otherwise making a post that doesn't contribute will get you a warning. The same applies for spam, posts which violate the swear filter, and other unintelligible posts. No exceptions.
3. Keep the debate polite and civil. It is okay to feel strongly one way or another - direct that energy into making a strong and well-researched reply, rather than degrading the thread into insults and vicious-circle debates.
4. Common sense must be exercised at all times.

Alright. Let's get this debate started with my view on welfare.

I feel that welfare, as a whole, is acceptable in cases where the individual has been medically diagnosed to be unable to work. In these cases, I can accept welfare, provided that the financial aid is also used to potentially find that person a way to be a productive member of society instead of a flabby burden.

I can also understand the need for general financial aid to provide for those who have been the victims of natural disasters, unfavorable circumstances and the like.

However, welfare provided to idiots (people with a low level of education), unskilled laborers and drug abusers is a waste of tax payer money. It is ironic to me, when you step into a supermarket and see an african american gentleman in a black business suit buying lobster and high-dollar foods using his welfare card.

It is unfortunate that welfare is so rarely policed. There are many who are able (and very willing) to scam the system, using not only their own personal information but also that of others - it is not unheard of for someone to utilize someone else's access to these benefits for their own use. This angers me because a good portion of each paycheck goes to these government benefits - most of which I may never use.

How do you feel about welfare and its various uses?
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Offline ElephantHunter

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2008, 01:23:31 am »
The government is an insurance policy for the people. They have a responsibility to help when people simply can not help themselves using the provided resources. Natural and economic disasters, as with injury and old age, would undoubtedly place these expected resources out of the citizen's reach.

Lucky for those of us not dying of old age or caught in a disaster area, there are many resources. Smart use of insurance covers unexpected catastrophes. Personal savings can keep you afloat until your next job. In lieu of grocery money there are often family, friends, and credit agencies willing to loan you cash. Every city has employers looking for a good worker. Common knowledge!

The question shouldn't be "Do we have an obligation?" (as we undoubtedly have some sort of obligation), but rather "Where do we draw the line?"
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 01:44:16 am by ElephantHunter »
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Offline iDante

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2008, 01:53:46 am »
Welfare has helped many many people get through tough times in the past, and it is a necessary part of a government. The people need a way to get money when they can't themselves, if only to feed themselves while they find work (collecting unemployment may be a better example of that). Universal health care is also an almost necessary part of governments, which puts the USA behind other countries... (only 85% of USA peoples have health care)[1]

While welfare fraud is a major issue, it does not somehow make welfare worse. Instead, it makes the government using it check up on the people it is giving welfare to. When they don't do this, they see their money get spent on "welfare queens."[2]

In essence, it has been around since the roman empire and is an extremely important part of major governments, and will always be. I agree totally and completely with everything said before me, and the only people that I can think of that deny welfare's goodness are anti-socialist people or people who have been turned down for it.

Offline SDFilm

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2008, 03:03:06 am »
It's indeed a good thing, since sometimes you really need that extra help from the government. Education Maintenance Allowance and Adult Learning Grant are good since it acnologes that you're 'comming to that age' when getting a job is more important, yet it's harder to get one since alot of your time is taken up by college. I'm not sure what benefits you get for University (which is after college, in the UK) though; there are student loans availible, though I think they're more just 'student friendly' loans rather than a true form of welfare. Plus there's also the more 'serious' welfare grants for when you're looking for work but can't get any.

But Welfare shows its ugly side in cases that was shown in an episode of wife-swap where a farmer who works 70 hours a week earns less than a couple who just sits around at home living on welfare benifits, with apparently little or no insentive to get a job.

Though hopefully those kind of cases are relativey rare; and I do think that welfare systems generally help society more than they leech from it.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 03:13:08 am by SDFilm »

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Offline Shadow G-Unit

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 07:08:04 am »
I'm surprised Mangled didn't create this thread.


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Offline Graham

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2008, 07:34:47 am »
Welfare is for a nannystate not a capitalist state. It's a drain on the economy and gives people no reason to actually try to better themselves.


There was a contest in (Florida I think) high schools for what should be the next law. The winner was one that, well when I heard it literally screamed "This kid is a genius." Some of you may have heard it: Drug testing for welfare checks. I can't remember if it was random or every person looking to get one has to be tested. Can't find anything about this on the web, but from the looks of my search this law will sadly never be passed.
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Offline STM1993

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2008, 09:34:17 am »
(Sorry if I am unintelligent, since the knowledge I have only comes from a school text book...)

Well, welfare is basically giving healthcare for free to the people, with the government paying every cent of it (or taking the money from the tax collected). Every person deserves a right to at least basic healthcare, even the poor, and welfare has helped in the sense that no one needs to worry about paying their medical bills and everyone can receive free treatment, regardless of his financial level. Even better for the disabled or senior citizens ; they're bound to be ill easily or have many health problems.

But the thing is, is everybody going to use the welfare system wisely by receiving the minimal healthcare that they need rather than abuse it? Definitely not, especially when the country is not so poor, there's bound to be some who'd not do that and waste government spending on healthcare, when the money could have been used for other purposes.

Think psychology: When you don't have something, you'd work for it and appreciate it. When you have it, you kinda forget about it. If you did not go through the hardship to get it, you'd not appreciate that something as well. Same thing for welfare, in relation to how rich the people are.



I'd say that a welfare system would only work when the people of the country is poor and the government is financially able enough. Once the people have become rich enough, the welfare system would have to go, or the system would be abused even more sooner or later, unless you can somehow moderate and police the situation, but I don't think that'd be effective enough.

A poorer society needs money, and with welfare, the people can focus on earning money without worrying about healthcare. They can get rich sooner. Then the future generation comes along and abuse it because they did not go through the hardship. Before this happens the welfare system has to be changed immediately. Look what happened to some places with a welfare system. The people want to have a welfare system, but no matter how efficient the healthcare system were to become, the government is still going to be forced to spend a lot of money because of the people who could abuse it. The people would only demand more and more until it is too much of a demand. Then the system has collapsed and failed, the country is going to be in a dangerous state.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 09:42:08 am by STM1993 »

Offline Pie

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2008, 10:24:38 am »
In regards to Lapis first post concerning "idiots" on welfare.



However, welfare provided to idiots (people with a low level of education), unskilled laborers and drug abusers is a waste of tax payer money. It is ironic to me, when you step into a supermarket and see an african american gentleman in a black business suit buying lobster and high-dollar foods using his welfare card.

It is unfortunate that welfare is so rarely policed. There are many who are able (and very willing) to scam the system, using not only their own personal information but also that of others - it is not unheard of for someone to utilize someone else's access to these benefits for their own use. This angers me because a good portion of each paycheck goes to these government benefits - most of which I may never use.
Let me first say that the only view I can make is on the Australian welfare system, and even then that is limited.

It is something that while being a waste of money is a necessary contribution from society to society. For instance; You might hate the fact that welfare is so easily obtained, but would you hate it as much if you suddenly were unable or unfit to work, say you lost both your legs or something that prevented you from working. Welfare is supposed to help people in such a predicament. You can't say welfare is inherently bad because genuine disabled people depend on it in some cases.

While some people take unfair advantage from it, it can't really be helped. The Australian welfare program doesn't seem as direct as yours, Centerlink tries to get people to get up and working and with the way current prices are, i doubt you could live on a centerlink payment alone.

I don't really know which side to take on it all, on one hand you've got people who depend on the payments, and on the other you've got people that are just lazy.

You can't cut the payments back or make them harder to get into because the people that are genuinely unable to work might not fall under the welfare payment, but you can;t really leave it as it is...

Sorry for contributing very little, The Australian system is probably a lot different from the American one (Assuming it's American.)
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Offline Lapis Lazuli

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2008, 10:40:02 am »
Quote
I'd say that a welfare system would only work when the people of the country is poor and the government is financially able enough. Once the people have become rich enough, the welfare system would have to go, or the system would be abused even more sooner or later, unless you can somehow moderate and police the situation, but I don't think that'd be effective enough.

I completely agree with this statement. Welfare has its place and its uses, unfortunately, you can sap money from the government in any of a hundred ways these days.

Quote
Welfare is for a nannystate not a capitalist state. It's a drain on the economy and gives people no reason to actually try to better themselves.


There was a contest in (Florida I think) high schools for what should be the next law. The winner was one that, well when I heard it literally screamed "This kid is a genius." Some of you may have heard it: Drug testing for welfare checks. I can't remember if it was random or every person looking to get one has to be tested. Can't find anything about this on the web, but from the looks of my search this law will sadly never be passed.

Despite my best efforts I've been unable to find anything either. It is interesting to note that the welfare reform act actually authorizes (but does not mandate any kind of requirement) drug testing. Unfortunately, any time a state attempts to implement it they are often sued for "violating the 4th amendment" which seems pretty rediculous to me.

If you're on welfare, you're a burden to society as a whole, and you should be doing your best to get off of welfare. In my opinion, this means accepting randomized drug tests and background/application checks in order to ensure that the money you receive is being used in an entirely legal manner.

And, in response to Pie:

Quote from: Lapis Lazuli
I feel that welfare, as a whole, is acceptable in cases where the individual has been medically diagnosed to be unable to work.

It is interesting, however, to have some insight into the Australian welfare model. It honestly seems like it is more effecient to help get someone "up and running" as opposed to just slipping them a check on a monthly basis. Or giving them a piece of plastic with access to their welfare account. Especially when you consider how loose we Americans are with our money.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 10:43:51 am by Lapis Lazuli »
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Offline Smegma

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2008, 12:26:10 pm »
Quote
I'd say that a welfare system would only work when the people of the country is poor and the government is financially able enough. Once the people have become rich enough, the welfare system would have to go, or the system would be abused even more sooner or later, unless you can somehow moderate and police the situation, but I don't think that'd be effective enough.

What do you consider poor? With what are you referencing it?

Quote
If you're on welfare, you're a burden to society as a whole, and you should be doing your best to get off of welfare. In my opinion, this means accepting randomized drug tests and background/application checks in order to ensure that the money you receive is being used in an entirely legal manner.

Not necessarily. You're assuming if your on welfare and aren't spending your time finding a way off welfare then that time being spent has no potential gain whatsoever. This may not always be true.

A welfare system, which is set up to only help the poor, could still be inaction without any clients.

Offline {LAW} Gamer_2k4

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2008, 01:40:03 pm »
I think that welfare only really works in an ideal society, but unfortunately, those don't exist.  Ideally the only welfare should be in the form of altruism; if I don't want to help the less fortunate, no one should force me to.  However, there's definitely not enough altruism to go around, and that's a problem for the people who legitimately cannot support themselves.

There's a similar problem with capitalism: it only works well as an ideal.  Sure, it's all well and good to say that hard work will make you successful, but that's rarely true.  It helps, sure, but there are a lot of uncontrollable factors like location, family, and so on.  That's why we have homeless people, and that's why we have billionaires.

Do I think that the less fortunate should be cared for? Of course.  But I don't think that people who legitimately earned their own money should be forced by the government to provide for those people against their will, especially when it's so easy for people to abuse welfare (as some of the other posters have mentioned).
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Offline LtKillroy

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2008, 02:47:25 pm »
I don't understand welfare. If being poor is an endless money party, where's the incentive to get rich?

First off it's too easy to abuse. In the US, in 2006 (I think) 30% of medicare claims were fraudulent. 30%! Billions were wasted. *Edit* Found the link This no-questions-asked policy led to an astonishing 31.5 percent error rate for medical-equipment reimbursements in 2006, and a $2.8 billion loss in that category alone.

In most cases, welfare doesn't have to happen. It has a lot of just lazy people who don't want to work. There are some legitimate, but way to much is wasted.
And then you have plans like Obama's. Tax the businesses, give it to the poor. Sounds good. But that just creates inflation; if you tax a business they don't think "Oh I see my erronous ways and will not be so greedy." They say "Hrm it costs more to be in this business, I better raise prices." If you couldn't tell, I think laisser fair is the best choice. For example, this bailout. If these huge companies are too stupid to not fail, that is their fault. Someone else will take up the banner. Hence the business cycle.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 03:59:53 pm by LtKillroy »
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Offline nub

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2008, 03:36:14 pm »
If welfare is abused that much, it doesn't necessarily mean that welfare is bad. You just need more control mechanisms. In Germany the money is just cut, if someone is too lazy to find a job. He has to attend trainings and write job applications to justify further funding. There are still people who try to abuse the system but this doesn't mean that you should cut money for everyone. There are a lot of people who need welfare in areas with high unemployment rates and low income (companies just drop the salaries because if you don't do it, someone else will). Families with a lot of children can't work 24/7 just for their existence.

If taxes are reasonably high then they do not always create inflation, since in a healthy economy there is always competition which drops the prices.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 03:41:06 pm by nub »
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Offline Smegma

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2008, 07:52:23 pm »
Quote
I don't understand welfare. If being poor is an endless money party, where's the incentive to get rich?

Quote
It has a lot of just lazy people who don't want to work. There are some legitimate, but way to much is wasted.

If you could be comfortable with a lifestyle of such income and not do anything to achieve it, wouldn't you?

Offline excruciator

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2008, 09:11:24 pm »
Quote
I don't understand welfare. If being poor is an endless money party, where's the incentive to get rich?

Quote
It has a lot of just lazy people who don't want to work. There are some legitimate, but way to much is wasted.

If you could be comfortable with a lifestyle of such income and not do anything to achieve it, wouldn't you?
The thing is, there are people that did not go to school when they are young, and are now subject to bad job with low pay and very demanding physical labor. In that case, it is better to turn to a welfare check while doing nothing than to work your ass off for a similar sized check.

Its not that welfare is bad, but it's that the government does not give any better alternatives, better position for people that are less skilled.
So people have less incentive to get an actual job.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 09:14:39 pm by excruciator »
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Offline VijchtiDoodah

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 09:25:26 pm »
Welfare is for a nannystate not a capitalist state. It's a drain on the economy and gives people no reason to actually try to better themselves.

Properly balanced, the welfare system provides just a little less than is necessary to survive. Then recipients will have to work for the rest. The problem with the US welfare system isn't that we should never help out our citizens, even if they are incapacitated or financially unable to feed, clothe, and house themselves, but that it is improperly balanced in favor of more handouts and allows too much room for fraud.

The solution is better investigation into fraud (from LtKillroy's link, "For years they have turned down requests from Medicare for more money to fight fraud. The [welfare] program's administrator says every dollar invested [towards fraud] returns at least $7 in savings") and better research into the amount of money people in specific lifestyles really require.

...welfare provided to idiots (people with a low level of education), unskilled laborers and drug abusers is a waste of tax payer money.

Welfare was instituted specifically to help these kinds of people because they cannot help themselves. Would you deny aid to a mentally challenged man because he has a low level of education? Or someone who never had the opportunity to learn the language and cannot function in a job environment in which he cannot speak to anyone? Would you refuse welfare to someone who made the unfortunate mistake of abusing addictive drugs when they were younger and now is ill with addiction?

These people are our citizens, even if they have fallen on hard times. You give the government your dues so that if you were ever in their situation, you would be helped. Those citizens are under the same contract and have every right to proper insurance against extreme poverty and the starvation and exposure that can ensue.

It is unfortunate that welfare is so rarely policed.

And here I agree. Many of welfare’s criticisms could be done away with more funding.

Unfortunately, any time a state attempts to implement [mandatory drug testing] they are often sued for "violating the 4th amendment" which seems pretty rediculous to me.

I presume you would have people banned from welfare because they are addicted to drugs, which is a terrible policy. Drug addiction is a disease that, like heart disease from a lifetime of unhealthy eating, can often be avoided, but it is too late to turn around once the effects are felt. These people need aid more than most because their particular disease is often a jailable offense and usually incapacitates a person to the point at which they cannot hold a job.

I don't think that people who legitimately earned their own money should be forced by the government to provide for those people against their will.

Your government is the same as theirs and it is the duty of the government to protect its citizens from all threats without itself threatening the citizen. Any person living in these states deserves to have their government look out for their safety, even if it means that some people may contribute more to the wealth of the nation than others.

The welfare system in any country is not perfect but we should constantly strive to make it better, if not because we are bound to contracts with our governments in the knowledge that our contributions will be pooled with others for the greater good, then because we have a civic responsibility to help those who are less unfortunate than we.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 09:29:43 pm by VijchtiDoodah »

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Offline LtKillroy

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2008, 02:41:09 pm »
Smeg the first line was a joke :/

In my opinion, it is much better for the government to provide jobs instead. For example, when that bridge collapsed (what was it, about a year back) people were talking about how our entire infastructure was out of date but we just didn't have the money could fix it. If only there was a thing that gave money to people without jobs we could transfer to giving people jobs and actually be useful and fix this stuff...
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Offline {LAW} Gamer_2k4

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2008, 04:31:17 pm »
I don't think that people who legitimately earned their own money should be forced by the government to provide for those people against their will.

Your government is the same as theirs and it is the duty of the government to protect its citizens from all threats without itself threatening the citizen. Any person living in these states deserves to have their government look out for their safety, even if it means that some people may contribute more to the wealth of the nation than others.

So poverty is a threat now? Does that mean that the government is threatening its citizens by taxing them? Sure, you could argue that the people being taxed are at no real risk, but where do you draw the line? Where CAN you draw the line? It's not the government's place to say "Someone else needs the money more than you do."  Maybe the richer family was going to use the money for a retirement fund! Maybe they were going to pay for their children's education! It's their money, and it's their right to choose what they want to do with it.

Ideally, the government should stay out of the lives of people as much as possible.  If it wants to provide for the less fortunate, it should do so in a way that doesn't negatively affect those who DO have money.  If you're going to subsidize farmers, see to it that some of that food gets to the homeless.  If you're going to be rebuilding roads and the like, offer poor people the unskilled positions.  But don't degrade the quality of life for some people just to improve the lives of others.  The people who worked for their money deserve to do whatever they want with it, just as the people who can't support themselves deserve a helping hand.  However, introducing socialism is not the answer.
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Offline Horve

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2008, 04:43:38 pm »
I once had a similar topic for debate concerning the reinitiation of death penalty in prisons since people there live off tax-payers' earnings. They don't really do anything, contribute to the society, in fact, are isolated from it - but do they deserve to die? They all say the lawyers screwed them, wouldn't you? So if you suddenly stop this "welfare" thing, you could either doom convicts to death OR make a liberation towards using new kind of labour.

In the country I reside in, welfare concerns only second level disabled people. Those that have physical impairment or terminal diseases. Mental one's do not count, they are covered by parents, paid workers or nobody. Cruel but true. There are no problems with negroids not working since there aren't many. Welfare also paid for the temporarily unemployed but that ends after a few months.

So actually, welfare should exist but only to a certain extent

Offline VijchtiDoodah

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Re: Intelligent Debate: Welfare
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2008, 08:42:27 pm »
So poverty is a threat now? Does that mean that the government is threatening its citizens by taxing them?

Poverty itself is not a threat, however the starvation, disease, or exposure that may follow often is. Food becomes difficult to obtain and the cheapest food for the highest amount of calories is often unhealthy and can lead to malnutrition and disease caused by a poor diet. The homeless, by definition, do not have homes to retreat into to escape poor weather and can die from exposure to cold or heat, especially when they do not have proper clothing. Diseases often cost quite a bit of money to treat properly and even small health problems are exacerbated when combined with poor nutrition, exposure, and unsanitary conditions.

These people can't simply work their way out of their problems because their problems are often caused by an inability to work or at least an inability to find a job and the only opportunity to turn their lives around comes from financial aid, medical aid, shelters, and food handouts.

Furthermore, taxes levied properly (that is, taxes according to your ability to contribute) are no threat to anyone and would never lead to poverty. In fact, you can live fairly comfortably below the poverty line (tax free) in certain counties even without welfare.

Again, it is the government's responsibility to protect all citizens, even the members of our community who can't support themselves. If you want a government that ignores the welfare of certain portions of society, you're more than welcome to change it to reflect your values. However, I enjoy a government that I can trust with my safety if I find myself in that position.

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