The issue of not eating if you don't work is less about whether we can pay for such niceities-- which is marginally an issue in these financial times-- so much as it is to prevent a culture of dependancy and entitlement from growing and being the norm for these individuals.
To earn their bread by some measure of labor, be that physical, mental, or social, this at the very least bestows on the recipient of government largesse a sense of dignity of having earned their way however small in the larger picture of community service.
Where does this fear of "a culture of dependency" come from, exactly? No one seems to have an issue with the "culture of dependency" around military service, or education, or law enforcement services. That's apparently all fine for people to benefit from without contributing. Food and shelter though, hold the fuck on!
That doesn't strike you as a little backward?