Welfare abuse is a severe problem across the country. Each year, millions of Americans receive government benefits such as housing assistance, food stamps, telephone service, and other funds. Rather than supporting themselves, many of these citizens feel the taxpayers should foot their bills. Time and time again, there have been gross examples of people taking advantage of the system. Initially, this sparks some discussion; and for a while, people really seem dedicated to welfare reform. However, lasting change never comes, and taxpayers continue to be robbed of their hard-earned dollars.

This past fall, a radio show gave concrete, indisputable evidence that welfare abuse is taking place every day. Two men on the KLBJ radio station in Austin, Texas were having a discussion about welfare. They were saying that as a result of federal programs, people were coming to expect free money from the government. Then, something they probably didn’t expect happened. A woman called in, explained that she lived off welfare, and said she found no reason to stop. Furthermore, she claimed it wasn’t fair for them to antagonize her because she lived off welfare.

Let’s Not Forget About Lucy

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The woman introduced herself as Lucy, a 32-year-old mother and wife with no desire to work. She personally receives over $1,200 a month in federal assistance. Her husband, who works odd jobs, also receives family benefits. She does not work but is able to–and says she has no desire to ever work or contribute to society. She doesn’t see why she should work, when with welfare, she can stay home all day, hang out with friends, and smoke marijuana–and still get paid. As if this wasn’t audacious enough, Lucy said she’s disgusted by people who think she’s a bad person for living off tax dollars. She views working class people as idiots, even, because they work only to receive what she already has. She asked the radio hosts why she should work when she receives everything she needs for free. Lucy expects to be on welfare for the rest of her life, just like her parents.

Unsurprisingly, Lucy’s speech was met with disgust and outrage. People were furious that our government allows people to live in such an entitled manner. A video of the radio segment went viral on YouTube:

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The response it sparked made hardworking people everywhere hopeful that welfare might finally be reformed.

Social Assistance Is Damaging

It goes without saying that people like Lucy should not and cannot be allowed to continue living the way they do. Our country was built by hardworking and dedicated people; that’s what the American dream is all about. Part of what people need, though, is an incentive to work. If we took away Lucy’s welfare benefits, you can bet she’d be out there filling out job applications just like the rest of us.

Right now, welfare and other assistance programs are a self-perpetuating burden on taxpayers. As Lucy mentioned in the segment, people learn about welfare at a young age because they see their parents receiving it. She said you’d be stupid not to take free money when it was offered. Furthermore, she mentioned it can be difficult to get off welfare once you’re receiving full benefits.

We Have Solutions to the Problem

Welfare reform is necessary for the financial and social security of our country. When welfare was created, it was meant to be a temporary measure to help people get back on their feet. For example, children whose father was the victim of a wrongful death case involving a motorcycle accident would receive welfare only while the mother was looking for a job. However, the system is clearly not working like it should.

There are a number of ways we could solve the welfare problem. In March, Mississippi enacted a bill that required drug testing for all welfare recipients. Georgia said it would do the same at the end of April. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has also proposed a massive reform to the system. He recently published a 204-page criticism of the government’s anti-poverty programs. He covered around 100 federal programs and found they often trapped people in poverty instead of helping them out of it in the long run. Ryan has proposed drastic cuts to these programs.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.