1 in 6 Americans Receive Government Aid

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I was reading a USA Today article detailing that one is six Americans receive some sort of state or federal government assistance to meet their everyday needs. Here's a few of the highlights:

  • More than 50 million on Medicade, up 17% since December 2007
  • More than 40 million receive Food Stamps, up 50% from 3 years ago
  • Close to 10 million receive unemployment insurance, up four times
  • More than 4.4 million on welfare, up 18%

I will concede that due to the economic conditions of our nation have dramatically impacted these programs, which have caused most of the increase; and I also concede that there are some people in the nation that desperately need these programs. With that being said, there are some who abuse it intentionally. I'd like to focus on the Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance programs.

Food Stamps - the program needs reform in a major way. I personally know a family who is on food stamps and have known other families/individuals to use the program. This family, we'll call them the Smith's, receive $500 a month in food stamps. When they first started on the program this amount was excessive and wasn't needed for their small family. Mrs. Smith only used $200-$300 that first month. The government told her that she needed to use all of the $500 each month or they wouldn't get any of it. So the Smith's now use $500 a month in food stamps and use the excess to build up food storage and have even bought food for others (illegal btw) because if they don't it's gone and they need it.

For me and my family, I work 40+ hours a week, my wife works 20 hours a week, and we budget $400 a month for food. Here I am working my butt off trying to keep myself afloat when there's this other family getting more than me a month who work less than 20 hours a week. I'm not condemning the Smith's, but how about evaluating each family/individual and giving them an amount they need...and only for necessities. Let's go a step further, let's put a limit on how long you can stay on the program. It goes back to the story of if you give a man a fish he eats for a day, but teach him how to fish he eats for a lifetime...or something like that. The more often one receives a handout the more they get used to it and expect it. Some will keep their poverty at a level to continue to receive the aid.

For me personally, and probably others, would do everything in my power NOT to receive government aid. Take personal responsibility and improve your situation...have a sense of pride!

Unemployment Insurance - originally this program was only 26 weeks and for individuals who have lost their job and receive compensastion while they find another job. This program and the benefits have been extended several times in Congress, and is now good for 99 weeks!

Again, I personally know a couple of individuals who use this benefit. "Bob" has told me he has no motivation to find a full-time job because the unemployment benefit he receives and the income from a part-time job is enough. He is not actively seeking for full-time employment because he will no longer get the unemployment benefit. This, in my opionion is wrong. By Congress extending these benefits, I think is making the economy worse. In most cases it prevents people from improving their life or finding a job because they like receiving a handout or are so used to it they look it as their paycheck or income. The following quote says it all:

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." - Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005), Former Pastor of the Bellvieu Baptist Church in Memphis, TN as quoted on
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