Though liberals will never admit it, it is no secret that an overabundance of welfare benefits leads people to abuse the system. Evidence of the point is currently on display in England, Scotland and Wales, where government announcements that unemployment benefits would soon be capped led more than 12,000 people to successfully seek gainful employment.
Officials in the regions announced that non-working people aged 16 to 64 in about 40,000 households would be seeing smaller checks from the government as early as September. According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), 12,000 claimants found jobs over the last year following the news.
Couples and lone parents will now not receive more than £500 a week, while a £350 limit applies to single people.
But critics say the changes will hit parts of the country unfairly, and will not tackle underlying problems.
Those in work who also claim benefits, are not affected by the cap.
“What the job centre staff have told us is that they’ve seen a genuine increase [in people looking for work] since they’ve alerted people that they’re likely to be in the cap,” said the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who has spearheaded these changes.
He argues the current level of benefit discourages people from looking for work.
“We will always be there to support those who need help but the days of blank cheque benefits are over,” he said.
Perhaps it’s time to consider that taking away the incentive to not work is a viable way to combat poverty stateside. Currently, more than 20 percent of Americans are on the Federal dole in one way or another.
Here are some disturbing facts from the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government about easy money in America:
One in five Americans—the highest in the nation’s history—relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington.
Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.
The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans. The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).
At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.
In the next 25 years, more than 77 million baby boomers will retire. They will begin collecting checks from Social Security, drawing benefits from Medicare, and relying on Medicaid for long-term care.
As of now, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years. However, research shows that private, community, and charitable aid helps individuals rise from their difficulties with better success than federal government handouts. Plus, local and private aid is often more effectively distributed.
Unfortunately, the American welfare state isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Increasing handouts, such as so-called “Obama phones” and welfare, is a much easier way for American politicians to get votes than advocating for policies that nudge people into paying jobs.