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Why Do People Go On Welfare?

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Why Do People Go On Welfare?

Why Do People Go On Welfare?

There are lots of people hurting in America, some of whom end up, unfortunately, on welfare. What's the single biggest reason this happens?

Much of the political talk in Washington, D.C., and here in Ohio, centers around welfare reform these days. That's understandable since the cost of welfare and Medicaid is skyrocketing.

In 1960, for example, roughly 2.5 million people received welfare benefits. Today that number nationally is over 14 million. On average, each state will spend over 20 percent of their annual budget on welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. And those numbers are growing.

Is there a reason, a way of discerning what is causing this rise in dependency upon government for our daily bread? The answer is yes.

Statistics prove that 75 percent of the people on welfare are women who cross the poverty line, due to divorce or having a child out-of-wedlock. And, by the way, those numbers split pretty equally - 40 percent of those women are white, 40 percent are black, and 20 percent are Hispanic, Asian or Indian.

The message is staggering in its simplicity: Marriage, as an institution, and the practice of marital fidelity remains the single biggest preventative agent to poverty. No matter how hard government tries, it will never succeed in replacing the stability and prosperity that flow from marriage in two-parent families.

Perhaps after 30 years of trying and failing, it's time that public policy begin to reflect the words of the writer of the Book of Hebrews, who says, "Marriage should be honored by all."

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