Myth: Americans believe welfare is a huge part of the budget, and estimate that we spend four times the actual price tag.
Fact: Welfare is less than 15% of discretionary spending.
Myth: Americans believe welfare mostly goes to lazy people.
Fact: Welfare goes mostly goes to working people, children, the elderly and the disabled.
Americans have always respected the concept of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, but we also believe in helping those who are less fortunate. Most Americans insist that government dispense public aid following the principle of giving a hand up, not a handout. But somehow we’ve become convinced that welfare programs are bankrupting the nation because they are riddled with waste, fraud and abuse and consume an undue and ever-larger percentage of the budget. Many of us think that welfare programs are also counterproductive, hurting the very people they are supposed to help by creating a culture of dependency. Nowadays, we believe poor people are poor because they don’t work, or don’t work hard enough, and providing them a living enables, and thus encourages, laziness.
At Civics Nation, we believe that welfare and social safety nets are not only necessary, but they are a critical function of government. Despite occasional failures, government aid regularly provides benefits that outweigh costs.