"Government's job is to provide safety nets for it's citizens to provide basic human needs when misfortune or bad judgement would otherwise put them at risk. These needs include food, housing, health care, education, infrastructure etc." --Smasharoo
I have no problem with this-- up to a point. When misfortune is the result of determined and intentional bad judgement and bad judgement is no longer an isolated occurance, but a willful lifestyle, then no, government's role is not to step in, but to allow nature to take its' course.
As John Smith so famously said (based from 2 Thes 3:10), "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." Everyone needs a hand (or handout) once in a while. However, as his quote implies, even in dire circumstances, such as famine in the face of a struggling colony, there were thouse who either thought themselves too good to labor or were too lazy to join in the group effort towards success.
And so it is with today's welfare recipients. There should be three choices after a reasonable amount of time: you should either become gainfully employed, do community service work to pay your debt to society, or go off the dole.
It would be nice if our societal choices could be boiled down to three options. Unfortunately things have gotten a bit more complicated.
The reality is, there will be peoples and families that are always dependent on the system - in fact, we all are to some extent. Fortunately our country is advanced enough and our humanity evolved to the point where we will never have to knowingly allow someone to simply starve on the street - regardless of how lazy you think they are. However, simply because someone is on food stamps indefinitely or is being treated for a chronic illness that is paid for by medicaid, doesn't mean they're not contributing to society. Nor can you even factually state that any particular indigent person is costing the federal government more to support that it pays to support you or I (gainfully employed peoples).
Further our welfare system has steadily moved towards one in which the goal is self-sufficiency. Note how welfare is called Temporary Aid for Needy Families now versus Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
Healthcare (medicaid/medicare) is the money sink now. A single-payer system or socialized medicine would go a long way in reducing the amount of money we pay via our federal/state taxes, in our workplace premiums, and straight out our pockets.
edit - When will be the new signature unveiling ceremony? Edited, Nov 9th 2012 3:59pm by Elinda