The New Normal: Welfare is Now America’s Most Popular Occupation
New data has revealed what is perhaps themost depressing economic statistic of the year: More people in America are on welfare than have full-time jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. Welfare is now America’s most popular occupation.
From the U.S. Census Bureau, reported by Investor’s Business Daily:
At the end of 2011, the last year for which data are available, some 108.6 million people received one or more means-tested government benefit programs — bureaucratese for welfare.
Meanwhile, there were just 101.7 million people with full-time jobs, the Census data show, including both the private and government sectors.
After President Obama took office, U.S. welfare spending nearly doubled. The government hasspent over $3.7 trillion to support more than 80 means-tested welfare programs over the past five years. And for the most part, it’s not helping people get back on their feet. Take SNAP, the federal food stamp program: 56 percent of participants stay on SNAP for more than five years.
Welfare programs are meant to help those who can’t help themselves, as well as help those who are in a tough spot get out of it. There are certainly people who truly need help, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near 108.6 million people. So why are so many Americans who don’t need welfare receiving it? BECAUSE NO ONE IS STOPPING THEM:
- It pays well. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states and more than $15 an hour in 13 of those states. Why find a job when you can make that much for not working?
- It doesn’t enforce work requirements. After the bipartisan welfare reforms of 1996 stipulated that recipients of certain programs must work, look for work, or take job-training classes, the total number of people on welfare decreased by 63%. Last year, the Obama administration directed that states could waive the federal work requirement.
- It’s not just for poor folk. Government data states that 46.5 million people live in poverty in the U.S. That means that only 43% of all those on welfare are officially considered poor.
The problem lies in how the country views welfare – whether it is the norm or an exception. It has become the norm. Though welfare is certainly good for helping those who truly need it, our nation cannot afford to help those people if it is giving everybody else a paycheck as well.
However, as long as people who are able to work keep receiving a paycheck from the government, they will be happy keeping their “occupation” as a welfare recipient, and they will keep voting for leaders who support a bigger welfare system. Until the government runs out of money and they stop receiving their paychecks, anyway.
By that point, it’s too late to find a job because the government has neglected to support small businesses and economic growth. We will have a real FUBAR on our hands, and I for one don’t want to see that day.
A swollen welfare system cannot take the place of a stable job market, and it cannot last. Welfare as the norm is an unhealthy lifestyle for this country; we simply can’t afford it.