Time to dial welfare benefits back at home and abroad

Welfare reform in the mid-1990s was highly-successful both in getting people off of welfare, but also in pushing them to enter the workforce. While the primary tangible benefit of work is in the actual economic output of the activity that thus benefits society, there is no doubt that having a job leads to societal involvement, self-esteem, and pride that simply cannot be achieved by getting a monthly check from the government.

Is it any coincidence or surprise that the Tsarnaev family (Boston Marathon bombers) received $100,000 in welfare benefits over a ten-year span? It’s not that welfare creates terrorism (thank goodness), but that idle hands are indeed the “devil’s workshop.” After all, if you aren’t working, gaining new skills, and developing some kind of a relationship to the society around you, alienation and a lack of respect are more likely to follow, plus you’ll have plenty of time on your hands for mischief.

And, as if the Tsarnaev’s aren’t enough of a reason to reconsider our welfare policies, check out this story on Denmark where the population and government officials are re-thinking their nation’s hyper-generous welfare benefits. Increasing the number of “makers” relative to the number of “takers” may be the single greatest problem of our age, especially in light of the aging population and depressed work-force participation rates.

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