The federal government operates over 70 welfare programs at a cost edging toward $1 trillion a year, or roughly 13 times the cost of what it spent in the 1960s when the War on Poverty began. In the time since then, the poverty level has remained nearly the same and government spending continues to climb. During Wednesday's Twitter Townhall, the President admitted that the welfare system needs to be reexamined.
"I think we should acknowledge that some welfare programs in the past were not well designed and in some cases did encourage dependency.… As somebody who worked in low-income neighborhoods, I’ve seen it where people weren’t encouraged to work, weren’t encouraged to upgrade their skills, were just getting a check, and over time their motivation started to diminish. And I think even if you’re progressive you’ve got to acknowledge that some of these things have not been well designed."
Heritage Foundation's Rachel Sheffield makes the point that the President is right in saying welfare programs encourage dependency, wrong in that the problem is only "some welfare programs in the past."
"Of the more than 70 welfare programs in operation today, only one requires able-bodied recipients to work or look for work. The President’s suggestion that today 'there are work obligations attached to welfare' is vastly out of touch with what is really taking place.
Furthermore, that he has attempted to slash funding for the program that seeks to promote the one thing that has the greatest effect on reducing poverty—marriage—further evidences his misunderstanding of poverty in the United States.
Children in single-parent homes are five times more likely to be poor, and 80 percent of all long-term poverty occurs in single-parent homes. Little wonder, then, that nearly three-quarters of all families with children on welfare are headed by single parents. "
People can't understand self-reliance before personal responsibly. If the President wants to break the cycle he must take a stand in redesigning Welfare programs to aid those on the path to self sustainability, rather than rewarding those content with poverty.