The Instigator
Doughlino
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Oromagi
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

People on welfare and who have any financial government support should have to work for their money

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Oromagi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/20/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 874 times Debate No: 40967
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Doughlino

Pro

All Citizens on Welfare, besides disability, should have to work to receive their checks. Everyone has heard stories of people exploiting the welfare system, or lazy people lounging around all day collecting checks. These people should have to work for this money. If they are on welfare, they cannot support themselves financial. This is most likely accounted for by the fact that they can't get jobs, or they have some sort of disability. If they are able to work, they should have to work for their money. They aren't doing anything important with their time, and taxpayer's money should not be given to an unjustifiable cause. If they can work picking up trash, or just doing simple jobs to improve communities, it would benefit the country substantially. Asking people on welfare to pick up trash is much more acceptable than asking criminals to pick it up!
Oromagi

Con

I'll accept that debate and thank Pro for the opportunity.

Pro's thesis is predicated on the assumption that welfare recipients are "lazy" or disinterested in work to a degree sufficient to require a change to current welfare standards. Although I am confident that such individuals exist, the data demonstrates that this characterization does not represent the majority of welfare recipients or even a minority of sufficient size to warrant policy change.

$91 out of ever $100 spent on welfare goes to the elderly, disabled, or working households.


<a href=http://www.cbpp.org...; />


Of that final $9, 50% goes to Medicaid or $4.50. Only 20% or $1.80 goes to cash programs like Earned Income Tax Credits and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Out of that $1.80, 60% or $1.20 goes to children under the age of 18. Of that final .60 cents, 90% or .55 cents goes to single mothers, the majority of which have children under 6 years and a third of whom have a child under 3. Most cash programs already have some work requirements and/or expiration dates. TANF, for example, expires after 5 years and in 2010, only 1.3% of TANF recipients left the program because of expiration, so only a tiny minority of recipients rode out that program to the end.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

"In FY 2010, work participation was mandatory for three of every five adult recipients. Overall, 41.6 percent of all TANF adult recipients participated in some type of work activity during the reporting month. Eleven percent of TANF adult recipients met work activity requirements by either being a teen parent attending school or being a single parent with a child under 6 participating for 20 hours per week (parents with children ages 6 and over are required to participate for 30 hours per week). Additionally, ten percent of adult recipients were disregarded from work participation because they were single custodial parents with a child less than 12 months old. 1.6 percent were exempt because of a sanction, 12.6 percent were exempt because of a good cause exception (e.g., disabled, in poor health, or other), and two percent of adult recipients were exempt from the work participation requirements because they were single custodial parents with a child under age six who did not have access to child care."

http://www.acf.hhs.gov...

Under present benefits, then, roughly 1/20th of 1% of entitlements go to non-elderly, non-children, non-disabled, non-unwed mothers. There don't seem to be good statistics on what portion of that last scrap are too mentally-ill and/or drug-addicted and/or homeless to be readily employed, but my expectation is that would account for sizable majority.

So, my first argument is that the amount of money going to actual "moochers," while ultimately an unknown statistic, is demonstrably such a small percentage of welfare money paid out that any government program instituted to track down and force employment would almost certainly be more expensive to taxpayers than the cost of status quo. Further, I would guess that most of the population we would characterize as "moochers" would be generally undesirable as employees for most work, including community jobs like picking up trash, as well as expensive to supervise.

Pro's argument is also predicated on the notion that there is always a need for labor, but this is not always so and proves less and less true as technology replaces many labor demands.

As Jaron Lanier puts it in "Who Owns the Future?"

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face: at the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”

Google's current expectation is that privately owned driverless cars will be available in the U.S. by 2017 and commonplace by 2025. When a self-driving 18-wheeler can be operated for $30,000/year without ever having an accident or needing to sleep is available, what jobs will available to the 2 million truck and taxi drivers in the U.S.?

Worse, robotics typically replace the jobs of the least skilled and least educated portions of the work force.

Thomas Frey predicts that half of all the current jobs in the world (that's 2 billion) will be replaced by technology by 2030.

http://jobs.aol.com...

So my second argument is that there is not enough need for labor to employ every citizen now and the problem is about to get dramatically worse. In the next 20 years, the U.S. is going to have to figure out how to provide basic substinance for huge sectors of the population who may never have a chance at a job. Absent some kind of massive increase in the current welfare program, the U.S. is going to have a sizable, hungry, desperate core of citizens that could destabilize the basic guarantees and comforts of American society.

The burden of proof on Pro will be to show that the current incidence of "lazy" welfare recipients represents a significant social problem, that increasing the already significant work requirements for welfare recipients will do more good than harm, and that increasing work requirements is realistic in the face of oncoming labor shortages anticipated by technological advancements.

Debate Round No. 1
Doughlino

Pro

Kudos to you. Excellent argument. Let me just say that I posted this as an idea, and hoped that someone would respond with a intelligent argument providing the flaws and drawbacks of such an idea. What you are saying is most certainly correct. I was not talking directly about the "moochers" although I did mention them, I was really talking about the working household. I feel like there are way too many people on welfare, no matter if they are disabled, old, have children, etc. It is not entirely our responsibility to provide for these people. I'm going to pinpoint on the elderly, because based on the picture you posted, 54% (More than half!) of all people on welfare are elderly. Are you talking about social security? If that is what you are considering welfare(which it is), I was not really including that, because all elderly have social security. What welfare programs are there for the elderly, and why. My problem is, by the time you reach 65, you should have accumulated a sizable amount of money to sustain you for the rest of your life, which would range on average from 10-20 years. If these people could not save money when they were younger, surely they were getting help by the government. If we provide for people in their middle ages, they will never acquire enough money to sustain them for when they grow old. They'll be on government support for the rest of their lives.
We need to dramatically change our welfare system. People have the wrong impression. Even food stamps, government intervention has reached an all time high. Cut welfare, food stamps, government help, and force those people to work for their money. IF they really need the extra money, surely they can work for like 50$ an hour for it. They definitely aren't working so hard and long that they don't have time to do this work. If they are, then they must have an AWFUL job. Please explain the elderly percentage of welfare. Maybe they could work towards doing something that will benefit the city, one day a month. Put them to good work.
Oromagi

Con

Thanks, Pro. In round 1, Pro argued that folks receiving welfare checks aren't doing anything important with their time and should be forced to work for the receipt of welfare. I countered that only 1/20th of 1% of welfare money goes to non-elderly, non-working, non-children, non-disabled, non-single mothers. The argument being that the elderly, children, disabled, and mothers with young children generally make less desirable employees because they are busy with the challenges of school, infirmity, child-care, etc. People who are already working are less desirable employees because second jobs often create conflicts and over-stress the employees.

I also proposed that the problems of unemployment and underemployment will increase exponentially in the next 20 years as technological advancements make perhaps 50% of the workforce redundant. Unless we are prepared to lose half the population to starvation, we are going to have to get used to the idea of providing basic, subsistence level income to a large number of Americans who will never even have a shot at a job. I should point out that Pro has side-stepped this point entirely in the second round.

Let's break down Pro's second round arguments a bit.


Doughlino

Pro

I'm going to pinpoint on the elderly, because based on the picture you posted, 54% (More than half!) of all people on welfare are elderly. Are you talking about social security? If that is what you are considering welfare(which it is), I was not really including that, because all elderly have social security.

Oromagi

Con

A big chunk of that 54% is Social Security, yes.


Doughlino

Pro

What welfare programs are there for the elderly, and why?

Oromagi

Con

Well, I'm not sure we've got the capacity in this forum to break down all the programs and numbers. As the Wikipedia page puts it: "The large number of programs that have resulted has led to many overlapping programs that are a veritable hodgepodge that is of unknown efficacy."

http://en.wikipedia.org...


We spend about $61 billion/yr on Social Security and Old Age assistance. $574 billion/yr on Medicare. Roughly a quarter of people on food stamps are over 65, so roughly $21 billion there, plus additional billions for nutrition programs that make sure elderly aren't starving and emergency food programs for the elderly after hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. We spend $56 billion on housing and housing subsidies and $6 billion on energy and phone subsidies which benefit to the elderly to a large degree. There are all kinds of little programs for elderly community centers, elderly jobs programs, programs where the elderly can foster or educate orphan children. There are also all kinds of regional development programs, mostly in the economically vacated farming regions that disproportionately assist the elderly. That's not much detail, but hopefully it gives us some sense of the programs.


Doughlino

Pro

My problem is, by the time you reach 65, you should have accumulated a sizable amount of money to sustain you for the rest of your life, which would range on average from 10-20 years.



Oromagi

Con

Well, that was the American dream, wasn't it? For the majority of Americans in any time period, that dream has never been achievable. From Roosevelt to Reagan, an increasing number of Americans were able to achieve that dream: mostly due to very high taxes on the very wealthy. Since Reagan, those numbers have been declining fast. The median National cost of living for a two-parent family with 3 kids in 2011 was $58,627/year. The median household income in 2011 was $50,054. So, wages simply aren't covering current costs for the majority of Americans, much less saving for the future. 2011 was the first up tick for household incomes since 2007, but when we adjust for inflation the number has been essentially stagnant since the early '80s (keeping in mind that the average household had one income in 1980 and the average household now has two, smaller incomes).

http://en.wikipedia.org...

TWO PARENTS, THREE CHILDREN BUDGET
Monthly Housing
$965
Monthly Food
$776
Monthly Taxes
$482
Monthly Healthcare
$431
Monthly Childcare
$1,353
Monthly Transportation
$460
Monthly Other Necessities
$418


Consequently, 76% of American households don't have savings to last more than 6 months.

http://money.cnn.com...

Which is not to suggest that America has not grown wealthier since 1980. In inflation adjusted terms, annual GDP has doubled since 1980. That means we Americans generate twice as much wealth as we did 30 years ago & work twice as hard, we're just not allowed to share in any of the increased profits. The wealthiest 10% has absorbed almost all of the increased profits over the past generation. Currently, the top 25% (households making $85,000/yr or more) of Americans retain 87% of all American wealth. The top 5% (households making $185,000/yr or more) retain 71% of all American wealth (up from 62% in 2007; the U.S. financial crisis has been very, very good news for the richest citizens).






In short, the majority of Americans have never been able to realize that American Dream and their numbers are expanding quickly. The number of Americans who live on less than $2/day without government help doubled over the past decade, most of them are people who worked all of their lives, are now too old to work, and have nothing.

Doughlino

Pro

Cut welfare, food stamps, government help, and force those people to work for their money. They definitely aren't working so hard and long that they don't have time to do this work.


Oromagi

Con

I've shown that "those people" are essentially our elderly, our disabled, our children, and our unwed mothers. I think it would be a damn shame if the wealthiest nation the world has ever known was too cheap to take care of "those people". In most nations and throughout most of human history, the able-bodied felt a responsibility to share the wealth and take care of these folks. The difference was that those groups were people we knew: children and elderly who shared our homes or our little towns. If we didn't clothe and house "those people" or tried to force them to work for food, our mothers came to our houses and told us to stop being such an a-hole. Now, we live in nuclear families and we are distanced from those communities that used to remind us of our responsibilities. We use terms like "welfare system" and "big government" to pretend that "those people" aren't just the same dependent portion of citizens as always in our now much larger (and richer) communities. To an important degree, our humanity is defined by how we take of "those people." We can step up to our responsibilities or we can get greedy and choke. Either way, history will remember.
Debate Round No. 2
Doughlino

Pro

Doughlino forfeited this round.
Oromagi

Con

Pro forfeits, so continue my arguments.

Please VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by nimue25 3 years ago
nimue25
Oromagi, just wanted to say thanks for your break down of the welfare system and the increasing difficulties of unemployment and underemployment. I've heard too many proposals of oversimplified solutions to a very complex problem. Hope you were able to enlighten some people. I would have voted for you, but I'm too new to DDO.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Grantmac18 3 years ago
Grantmac18
DoughlinoOromagiTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by pro, sources not used, and arguments lacking objectivity and clarity. Clear victory for con