Welfare is killing the American dream
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America’s welfare system is broken.

In the wake of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE’s decision to toughen work requirements for food stamp recipients last week, Democrats and mainstream media elites are outraged at the thought of nearly 700,000 people breaking free from the shackles of government dependency.

Make no mistake: Americans should feel relieved to see a glimmer of common sense in the midst of the Democrats’s crusade to plunge the nation into socialism. Rather than celebrate this as an opportunity to end America’s chronic addiction to welfare, however, left-wing talking heads are once again terrifying the American people with more doomsday prophecies of social and economic collapse.

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Following the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA), many Democrats predicted catastrophe then just as they are now. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) claimed it would “leave many welfare recipients unemployable” and “children ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-housed." Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said streets would "look like the streets of the cities in Brazil" with children "begging for money, begging for food [and] engaging in prostitution." A July 1996 study released by the Urban Institute even estimated that over a million children would soon go into poverty.

Of course, none of these apocalyptic visions came true. The following years saw a decline in overall poverty rates, and the number of families receiving cash welfare fell to its lowest level in three decades. Furthermore, according to a 2006 report from the Brookings Institution, the number of employed single mothers rose from 58 percent in 1993 to 75 percent in 2000, while employment among never-married mothers rose from 44 percent to 66 percent.

Now, with job openings outnumbering unemployed workers by the largest margins ever, no excuse remains as to why able-bodied Americans cannot work. The incentive to take a job regardless of the wage must replace the attitude that the government can take care of us “from the cradle to the grave.”

America is a generous nation, perhaps the most generous in world history. According to The Giving Institute, Americans gave a record-breaking 427.71 billion dollars in charity in 2018 (even more than the record-setting amounts of 2017). The idea that America lacks the charitable spirit to take care of our neighbors who truly need it, is an insult to the kindness and goodwill of the American people.

We have allowed political correctness to stop us from exposing the welfare state for what it really is: politicians stealing money from some in order to buy votes from others.

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Americans understand that prosperity originates from the people, not politicians. The ability of everyday people to create and innovate as they wish is a key aspect of the advancement of a society. Rather than encourage industry, imagination, and innovation, out-of-control welfare spending disincentivizes these values, allowing a crippling cycle of idleness, reliance on government, and poverty to take their place.

While we cannot rely on executive orders alone (nor should we), this move should spark a discussion across the country about how to end America’s addiction to corporate and domestic welfare spending. For those who say cutting welfare lacks compassion, ask yourselves this: Is it really compassionate to force hardworking Americans to support others who can work yet choose not to?

Real charity means helping a neighbor in need, not using the power of government against them.

Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).