Welfare Dependence

Welfare, or public assistance—the cash income provided to low-income families—has never been popular. Especially in a market-centered society such as the United States, welfare historically has been provided most often reluctantly and always with great suspicion. The dominant cultural bias has been that the people receiving aid do not really need it, or will become accustomed to receiving it to the point that they will lose motivation to seek work, which in the United States has always been prized as the primary way that families should support themselves.

Roots of U.S. Attitudes

The historical roots against what came to be called welfare dependence stretch back to Europe and prohibitions in the early modern period against parishioners of the church giving alms for fear of encouraging indolence (as ...

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