In the summer of 2016 the American Enterprise Institute along with the Los Angeles times conducted a survey of 1,202 adults whereby 235 were in poverty at the time of the survey. Here are is what the poor themselves think of our welfare system:
- 55% believe that the main purpose behind welfare is to help poor people get back on their feet again. 39% believe it is to provide for the needs of poor people while they are poor and the balance had no opinion.
- 40% believe that government efforts to fight poverty have made things worse for the poor and 12% believe the government efforts have had no impact. 34% believe government efforts have had some impact and only 8 believe government has had a big impact.
- 42% believe that when poverty programs failed it was primarily because they were not well designed. 23% believe it was because the benefits did not get to the poor and only 29% believe it was because not enough money was spent to make them successful.
So the majority of the poor in our nation believe we should “teach a man to fish instead of just giving them fish”. They believe our government programs have been ineffective at this job and that the programs are poorly designed and don’t get enough of the benefits to the poor. I agree and so do most American’s surveyed by AEI/Los Angeles Times (see Welfare Opinion Page).
This website is filled with analysis of our welfare programs and comes to the same conclusion (see Poverty and Spending Over the Years and the Welfare Issues Page). To figure out welfare, we can study until we are blue in the face or we can just ask the poor. Perhaps that’s easier.