So, I overheard an eigth-grade student make this comment (paraphrased):
My brother is going to grow up to be a male prostitute living on disability having sex with fat women.
To some of you there may be some obvious questions about the above statement. As for me, I have my own reaction, but please, let me know your thoughts and comments.
My first response is: something is dreadfully wrong with our culture if a 13- or 14-year-old already knows how to game the welfare system in our country (the good news here is that the student was talking about his brother disapprovingly while he was planning to blaze a much better path for himself). For any advocates of welfare out there, is this the kind of culture you really want to promote with the current system? It may not be what you want but this is what you’re getting.
Our national and state welfare systems may have the best of intentions, but intentions are not results. I suspect almost anyone familiar with welfare recipients will tell you that no matter what the intention of the program, the results are far from pretty. I realize my eighth-grade student story is anecdotal, but it speaks volumes about the culture of welfare recipients that exists.
One important consequence to consider when creating government sponsored welfare systems is what kind of incentives does the system create for people to improve their lot. Not having an intimate knowledge of welfare and armed with only anecdotal stories like this one, I have to conclude that there are no such incentives.