Hot Topic #7: Welfare

Image Credit: Lars Larson

Image Credit: Lars Larson

“We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” ~Ronald Reagan


That photo above?

Originally posted May 30th

At last count:

  • 70,000+ likes
  • 492,500 shares, and counting
  • Literally countless comments

I received quite an education when I found this and shared it on Facebook about two weeks ago.

It inspired me to take the comments that were posted on Facebook, and research welfare on my own.


First, the basic definition of welfare:

  • Welfare is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens, sometimes referred to as public aid.

This link gives information about the U.S. welfare system.

The Heritage Foundation is another interesting resource about welfare, welfare spending, and welfare reform.


Back in 2012, The Weekly Standard published an article titled “Over 100 Million Now Receiving Federal Welfare.”

Note – This count of Americans did not include those receiving Social Security or Medicare.

In my opinion, because this chart was released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee, it’s slightly biased.

However, in any case, the numbers are striking. The chart started in the first quarter of 2009, where over 97 million Americans were receiving means-tested welfare. The chart ends in the second quarter of 2011, where over 107 million Americans were receiving the same kind of welfare. Keep in mind, this chart encompasses all of 2009, all of 2010, and the first half of 2011, when the country was plunged deep into the “Great Recession.”

The article goes on to indicate that food stamps and Medicaid were the two highest programs of enrollment.

Unfortunately, I don’t think those numbers have changed for the better.


As for the picture in the beginning of this post, I was glad to get both sides of the story.

Arguing in favor of making drug testing mandatory in all 50 states when applying for welfare, it makes sense, in a way. Most employers nowadays require hired employees to complete a drug test before starting work, to comply with employees being alcohol- and drug-free in the workplace.

Applying it to welfare candidates makes sense – ALMOST.

The comments I got on this photo were how mandating drug tests could jeopardize these people greatly. I get that, I really do. If you’re applying for welfare and you’re required to get a drug test, that adds pressure. And if you’re already on drugs, that added pressure doesn’t help at all.

Another point that was made was about the money involved. Apparently those states – Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri – have LOST money because of mandating these drug tests. If a person applying for welfare passes the drug test, then the state gives them the money for the drug test, along with starting their welfare benefits.

It was fascinating to read the comments – It certainly humbled this writer!


Welfare has helped many in this country, no doubt, for many years. Food stamps keep adults and children from going completely hungry. Medicaid gives struggling parents and children the access to the healthcare facilities that they simply can’t access without assistance. And there are other programs too.

But what we always hear about is those who use and abuse the system, such as women or parents who keep having children because they know that their welfare benefits will increase with each child. That kind of thing. Apparently these women have been dubbed “Welfare Queens.”

That makes me sick.


My argument, when originally sharing this photo, was that there needed to be more regulations to the welfare system. More crackdowns. More restrictions. Because of the comments that were made, I now know that’s not the case.

These numbers should certainly be tracked and analyzed, and I think that can be improved and publicized better. Investigations should be done into suspected cases of abuse, and it should be consistent.

However, welfare is keeping many afloat.

I just wish these people could/would eventually get off welfare and make their lives even better … But that’s another story.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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One thought on “Hot Topic #7: Welfare

  1. Pingback: Hot Shot Headlines | Commentary #8: “Quiverfull of Shit: A Guide to the Duggar’s Scary Brand of Christianity”

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