Poll: Most Americans Blame Welfare For Persistent Poverty


You have to wonder, if this poll is accurate, where were these people in November when the number of people on food stamps and other social programs were a major part of the campaign?

Two decades after President Bill Clinton promised to “end welfare as we know it,” Americans blame government handouts for persistent poverty in the United States more than any other single factor, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday.

Given a list of eight factors and asked to choose the one most responsible for the continuing problem of poverty, 24 percent of respondents in the poll chose “too much government welfare that prevents initiative.”

There’s an absolute correlation between the size of the welfare programs and things like unemployment. Put simply, there’s less impetus to return to work when a person can lean on a government program instead.

This is particularly true of unemployment programs. The more longer a worker can stay on unemployment benefits, and the richer those benefits are, the longer that worker will take before returning to work. The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany concluded in a study in 2008:

The evidence suggests that benefit generosity increases unemployment. We view this evidence as fairly robust since the estimates are similar across alternative specifications. The magnitudes involved are rather substantial and appear to be relatively high compared to estimates available elsewhere in the literature.

This isn’t true of all citizens, of course. Many would rather return to work, and self-sufficiency, than become dependent on government programs. But many other citizens will happily take advantage of government programs for as long as possible, diminishing their productiveness and increasing their burden on society.

What’s truly problematic is that we tend to use enrollment in these programs as evidence of the need for these programs. As if enrollment were always the result of need, and not opportunity. It creates a vicious cycle whereby social programs and their cost to the taxpayers grow endlessly.

What’s also problematic is that these programs create a vicious cycle for poverty, wherein citizens are given less incentive to gain work experience and education necessary to lifting themselves out of poverty, and setting up their children for more prosperous lives.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • mikemc1970

    Poverty, it’s no longer just a condition, it’s become a career choice.

  • borborygmi45

    Rob makes valid points. But In his fantasy world 24% is most Americans. Really Rob you can do better then that.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Some people live to vote and others vote to live

  • mickey_moussaoui

    The introduction of welfare reform laws is what reduced welfare dependency. Clinton didn’t come up with the idea. He took it from Gov Tommy Thompson (R). After “workfare” was introduced welfare dependency went down. Obama has dropped that program because he needs freeloaders to vote Democrat. It’s what he does, he buys votes. Same as giving benefits to unions like he did with the stimulus. 74% of the stimulus that went to Wisconsin was given to union school teachers for salaries. Just like the takeover of GM and giving ownership to the union, taking away the rights of the shareholder. Obama is as corrupt as they come.

  • mickey_moussaoui


    Before Wisconsin cleaned up welfare with workfare the system was all screwed up.Once a month, Blacks from Chicago would hop on a bus and ride up to Milwaukee and get their welfare, double dipping the system by collecting in both Chicago and Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Blacks did the same thing in reverse. I don’t doubt this was going on all over the nation.

    Now obama wants to allow 12 million ilegals the privilige of welfare in exchange for the Democrat vote. We are getting sold down the river by this corrupt rat bastard.

    • Yukon

      Can’t disagree!

  • John

    I am very gracious for your work posting on this blog.Those who want to learn more on this topic, visit – https://www.constant-content.com/

  • WOOF

    Failure of the top 1% of wealthy Americans to pay their fair share of taxes.
    Lack of IRS examiners
    Corrupt government in collusion with the wealthiest legitimate frauds..
    Unreformable, criminal banking and financial systems.
    Answers Not included in poll.

    When did unemployment benefits become welfare ?
    How bout Medicare, disability, Veterans Benefits , FHA mortgages,
    crop insurance, crop subsidies oil depletion allowance?

    What is welfare ? Couldn’t be anything you ever got.

    • zdavid53

      1% of wealthy Americans to pay 37% of all income taxes. The top 1% get 10% of all audits. Learn facts and don’t just throw rocks.

  • borborygmi45

    if this poll is accurate, where were these people in November……..I know I Know….That solid 24% voted Republican

  • fredlave

    Actually, a study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve blames high taxes for the poor economy and the slow, almost nonexistent, recovery.

    • WOOF

      It does not. Read it.

  • WOOF

    You,you, you, jl. will pay more and more more more more protecting the wealthiest. Every road you drive will be a toll.Your food will be taxed, sales tax will increase, and your car registration,If you have a pension it will disappear, your 401 stolen with no recourse. Disabled at work and you;ll be in the street with a bowl. The Soc Sec your parents lived on will be dust to you.

    • jl

      Is that supposed to be some kind of rebuttal to the top 1% paying 40% of all income taxes? Because all it does it make you sound like an idiot. But anyway, back here on earth food, sales tax and car registration are all state taxes, not federal. And how am I “protecting the wealthy”? if they have to pay above their fair share of the income tax burden? Of course this, along with the rest of the stuff you said, you offer no proof of why this would happen, but you do win the S.A. drama queen post of the week award.

      • WOOF

        “40% of all INCOME taxes.” There you have it. There are other taxes Who pays the blood taxes?
        “When all taxes paid to local, state, and federal government are included, low, middle, and high income groups pay a similar share of their income to government.”

        • zdavid53

          You have no understanding of just how much of the stick it to the rich is practiced in all parts of government.

      • WOOF

        The less from the Feds , the more you pay more or give up services.

        • JoeMN

          And the Feds pay for these services in one of three ways.

          Can you name them ?

          • WOOF

            They sell bonds to people who consider them investments and savings . Which is why you shouldn’t worry about the deficit.

          • JoeMN

            They borrow

            That’s one way

    • zdavid53

      Get rid of the top 10% of wage earners and this country would fall apart. It’s time to quit doing class envy and class warfare.

  • banjo kid

    Most people paid in advance for the medicare so watch what you say about it being welfare I have paid into it since 1965 and still have to pay over a thousand a year to get it.

    • jl

      Please read. I never said anything about medicare being welfare.

      • banjo kid

        I thought I was replying to Woof not you and again I apologize for the mistake. I tried to find the woof statement on welfare but it seems to have left. He had a list of welfare entities and he listed medicare but I can not find it on this page .

  • mickey_moussaoui

    He’s crazy. that’s how