Welfare is a program that tries to help individuals who are in need. Generally welfare is considered a socialistic institution because it takes money from people who are earning it and gives it to those who are not or cannot earn it. Often times the recipients of welfare are individuals with very poor financial literacy who have trouble making good money management decisions.
Benefits of Welfare
Welfare does help keep people from running into bankruptcy from unexpected crises. For example an uninsured person who has a baby with medical complications, may use welfare to help pay for some their medical bills while they get back on their feet financially.
Welfare does offer a way for people to get back on their feet when faced with difficult financial and health situations.
Criticism of Welfare
Critics of welfare say that the system encourages irresponsibility. In many cases, mothers get more money for each kid they are caring for so their is incentive to have many children.
People on welfare may not suffer from their own poor financial decisions which makes it difficult to learn how to manage money. Once an individual becomes dependent on the government for their needs, they may lose any desire or ability to support themselves through a normal job.
Other critics feel that the standard of living provided to people on welfare is far to high and encourages laziness. They argue that a lower standard of living might encourage more welfare recipients to go out and seek jobs on their own in order to have a better standard of living. These critics point to the large number of cable subscribers in low income housing developments.
Much of the criticism of the welfare system is directed toward situations where people make a career out of receiving welfare assistance. This goes beyond merely helping someone get back on their feet when they have a medical complication or lose their job and starts becoming a lifestyle where they understand how to work the system to maximize their the benefits they receive. For example, there are situations where women have many children because of the increased payments from the government. There are other situations where someone could get a job, but doesn't because the job would pay less than what they are getting paid to do nothing. Other people who have jobs work a reduced number of hours because their welfare payments or housing assistance will drop if they go over a certain number of hours each week.
Originally welfare programs were designed to give people jobs. Back during the Great Depression people were able to work for the government building bridges, dams, parks, etc. in order to get income. These type of programs used tax money for the good of society. People were given real jobs and they didn't get paid unless they showed up and worked just like any other type of job.
In more recent years there has been a shift to giving people money without requiring them to work.