If welfare benefits were negligible this would not be much of an issue. But the collective welfare programs of the federal government have benefits high enough to raise the income of individuals and families to above the poverty threshold. State and non-profit programs can provide even more. So if a person desires to live off the government they can make ends meet. It isn’t a robust living by any means, but it is also a life free from the responsibilities and effort of daily jobs.
Today the number of people in poverty represents 15% of the population of the nation. So the poll tells us that up to one-third of them, or 5% of the population, may have no intention of getting a job and leaving poverty and the government benefits that follow it. Most Americans know there are people gaming the system. After all, the 5% live amongst us. The poll just provides the evidence that most of us surmise to be true.
The problem with our welfare system is it doesn’t try and distinguish between the 5% of the population gaming the system and the 10% of the population that would rather work. That is why the work standard in welfare gets so much attention nationally and is a contentious issue in the presidential race. Americans know work is important and want to point our welfare programs toward it. Most Americans want to help the 10%, but don’t have much patience for the 5%. Too bad our welfare system doesn’t reflect that attitude.