The Instigator
Con (against)
12 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

The US government should end welfare

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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 15,744 times Debate No: 12372
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)




The question is whether welfare should be ended. I will argue against getting rid of it.

Welfare: TANF
End: Repeal the law and stop making payments to beneficiaries

How the debate will work:
Round 1 - Opponent accepts definitions and rules of debate.
Round 2 - We explain our positions. Why it should be ended, and why it should not be.
Round 3 - We try to refute the others arguments.
Round 4 - Same as Round 3


I will accept this argument and look forward to an interesting debate
Quick question are we allowed to reiterate out arguments in round 3 or just refute our opponent
Also could you please elaborate by what exactly you mean by TANF and maybe explain the program in layman's terms please
I look forward to an exciting debate
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the challenge Strikeeagle84015. I look forward to an interesting debate. Good luck!

Feel free to reiterate your argument in the last two rounds. The important point is that no refutation is allowed in the second round.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the assistance program commonly known as welfare. This program provides cash payments to low-income families with children.[1] The goal of welfare is to reduce child poverty and help their parents in becoming self-sufficient.

I believe that the government should not end welfare. I believe this for three different reasons.

1. Welfare is designed to help children. Child poverty has a large number of negative effects on children. Studies have shown that kids who grow up in poverty experience a much higher risk of health problems, a greater chance of educational difficulties, and have a tendency to develop poor social skills.[2] These problems will haunt them all the way into adulthood, and will frequently prevent them from achieving their full potential in life.[3] Furthermore, children have no control over the circumstances of their birth, and they can do very little to influence the behavior of their parents. They are born into poverty through no fault of their own. So, they have no moral obligation to suffer through it. Why should kids have to live in poverty just because they were born to the wrong parents? I don't believe they should. Ending welfare would put innocent children through unnecessary suffering, so it should not be done. That's the first reason.

2. Welfare embodies the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence[4] and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[5] Both of these documents are partly based on the idea that all people have equal worth. Businesses already receive more aid[6] than poor people do. What kind of message would it send if the government got rid of welfare, while continuing to subsidize business? What would it say about us if created a country where some people had no money to buy food and clothes, while others had more than they could ever spend? It sends the message that people are not equal. That some lives, the lives of the rich and powerful, are more valuable than the lives of the poor. Ending welfare would violate the equality principles that the Declaration of Independence and Universal Declaration of Human Rights are based on. This is the second reason why welfare should not be ended.

3. Welfare helps to stop crime. Studies have shown[7] that crime increases at the end of the month when welfare recipients tend to run out of money. Imagine that welfare was ended. Currently, there 5.5 applicants competing for each job[8] so not everyone will be able to get one. What will people do if they can't find a job, and they can't get any welfare payments? They will probably begin selling drugs, robbing pedestrians and stealing from stores. For this reason, it's reasonable to assume that abolishing welfare would lead to a dramatic increase in crime rates. So, not only does welfare help poor children and families, it also protects communities from crime. That's the last reason why I believe welfare should not be ended.



I would like to thank my opponennt for this chance to debate this topic however I feel that the resolution would be better renamed The US government should end TANF since TANF does not cover all welfare but my three arguments in favor of ending welfare are as follows

C1:The Proper Role of Government
My entire first contention is basically espoused in this document by Ezra Taft Benson USDA secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower
It can be summarized as follows
Governments are created by the people
All governmental authority must be delegated to it by the people
People cannot delegate authority they do not posses
Welfare takes money from people who do not have it and gives it to someone else
If a private citizen did this he would be imprisoned for robbery, so it follows that an individual does not have the power to take from one person.
If a citizen does not have this power he cannot delegate it to the government
Therefore my first contention is that government is unjust and basically baldfaced robbery that forces people to be charitable whether they want to or not

The Federal government alone spent 360 Billion dollars on welfare as we have defined it[1] This is not including Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security just for starters. This is no small amount and will continue to grow the Federal Deficit and debt to an unsustainable point, if you want to see what happens when a government has a debt that is to large or spends way more than they make just take a look at what is happening in Greece or Spain right now.
The other problem with welfare has previously been alluded to it is the simple fact that people are getting paid for nothing. They do nothing and yet get paid, how do they get paid by the taxes of hardworking Americans eventually we are going to get realize that we can get a free ride and we will quit our jobs and stop paying taxes eventually there will come a permanent welfare class that subsists primarily on government support

These being the primary reasons I believe the United States should end welfare
Debate Round No. 2


Yes, maybe the title should be different. I would change it, but I don't believe that's possible, so it will have to stay how it is. Just so it's clear, we are talking about TANF, not all social welfare programs.

C1: Pro contends that welfare is morally equivalent to robbery, and because people do not have a right to rob each other, they do not have a right to create welfare programs through their representatives. I disagree. There is a very big difference between welfare and robbery. One is consensual and the other is not. When someone robs another person, they are taking from that person without that persons consent. When a government taxes and provides welfare, it does so with the consent of its citizens. For this reason, Pro's first contention is false. Welfare and robbery are not morally equal. One is based on consent and the other is not. As I've explained, I don't agree that welfare and theft are morally equal, but even if they were, it is not a good reason to get rid of welfare. In my opinion, it's also unjust to let people go without food, clothing and shelter because they have less wealth than others. That, I believe, is much more unjust than taking a few dollars from someone who already has more than they need to survive. This is another reason why pro's first contention is false. Even if we believe that welfare is unjust, it does not follow that it should be ended. Ending it could be more unjust than continuing it.

C2a: Pro contends that welfare is expensive, and that it contributes to the budget deficit. He claims that we need to get rid of it, because countries which have large deficits and debts end up like Greece. I disagree that welfare is the cause of our budget problems. Spending on welfare has actually been decreasing while the deficit has been getting larger. There were more than 12 million welfare recipients in 1996. By 2007, that number had declined to less than 4 million.[1] TANF was created in 1996 under the Clinton Administration.[2] If you look at a chart of the national debt, you'll see that it actually decreases in the first four years of TANF's existence, from 1996 to 2000. It was not until 2000, when George Bush came into power, that the deficit and debt began to grow again.[3] This happened because Bush and republicans repeatedly cut taxes without also cutting spending.[4] So, the problem is a lack of tax revenue. Not too much spending on welfare.

C2b: Pro contends that welfare reduces the incentive to work, so he fears that it could create a permanent welfare class which lives off government support. This fear is unfounded for a number of different reasons. The first reason is that welfare payments are extremely small. The average payment is about $300 a month for one person.[5] That is far below minimum wage. A person with a full time minimum wage job earns about $1000 a month. No one would quit their job to receive welfare. Not even someone on minimum wage. The payments are just too small for people to want to do that. The second reason is that people are limited to 60 months of benefits in a lifetime.[1] After 60 months, they are kicked off welfare and it's illegal for them to receive any more. The third reason is that people have to be looking for work to be on welfare.[1] If they do not find work after two years, their benefits will be cut off. These are the reasons why welfare does not reduce the incentive to work, and the reasons why there is no danger of a permanent welfare class.



I will begin by rebutting my opponent's arguments and then move on to defend my own (if I have enough characters left)

I believe my opponents argument can be summarized as thus
"Welfare is designed to help children and eliminating it would put children through unnecessary suffering"
I would agree with this if my opponent could tell me what this money goes towards.
Is it going to food?
No, there are already food stamp programs in place that have almost all of the costs of food borne by the government . In addition schools will provide free breakfast and lunch to students whose parent's qualify, so the only meal they need to worry about is dinner to which I refer you to the food stamps [1]
Is it going to housing?
No, The federal government already has programs in place that help people with housing assistance in fact the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) their stated mission is "HUD's mission is to create ....and quality affordable homes for all." So this money is not going to helping house the people in need[2][3]
Is it going to pay bills?
No, Various agency already have programs in place to help people in paying their bills one example is this website it lists a multitude of different programs for paying the heating bills alone.
Is it helping pay medical Care for Children?
No, there is already a program in place to help pay for the medical care of children State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP also known as CHIP) provides medical coverage for children in need. In addition our lovely President Barack Hussein Obama recently passed his wonderfully wonderful universal health care program that will end all of our health care ills by making sure everyone has insurance, so it isn't going to health care.[4]
So where does this welfare money go, we are already covering Food, Housing, Bills, and Health Care so where does this money go? What else is needed in order to continue to live, or is our money just going for them to have fun with? If it is then that makes me a little bit upset that I am being forced to give money, that I earned and wanted to use, to other people simply so they can have fun.

R2: I will be rebutting my opponent's second contention in two parts the first part here and the second part in defense of my first point.
Now most of the space of con's second contention seems to be that it is wrong to subsidize businesses and that we shouldn't end welfare if we continue to have subsidized business. First off this is a red herring fallacy[6] it is completely irrelevant and government subsidies of business is completely irrelevant and off topic it has nothing to do with the debate. Secondly I think we should end business subsidies as well in fact my first point says so. In conclusion most of this argument is completely irrelevant.

Con's third argument seems to be able to be summarized thus "Abolishing welfare would lead to a dramatic increase in crime rates." I say that although it may cause a slight increase in crime my opponent must prove it will cause a dramatic rise in crime. Also I have several statistics that say otherwise, for example if you compare the Crime Index in California (the highest level of welfare) to that of Utah the California crime index was significantly higher than that of Utah's. In addition in 1993 when 5.5% of the US population received TANF benefits there was a higher crime rate (14,144,800 total crimes) than in 1997 when only 3.9% received TANF benefits (13,194,571 total crimes in 97)
If my opponent would like to start a statistics war then let us start a statistics war that will avail neither side anything for figures can lie and liars can figure[7][8]

D1 I have broken Con's attack on my first contention in to 2 parts a)It is not the equivalent of robbery and part b)Even if it is it is worse to end welfare then rob. I will address each of these separately but before I do I would like to clear a few things up
Justice is the quality of conforming to the law in this cause natural law and natural rights.
Morality is a set of beliefs about right and wrong.
Most of the time when my opponent says something is unjust it is not unjust but immoral. I would agree it is immoral to allow some people to live like kings well others starve to death, however it is just for people to keep what they have worked to earn and it is unjust to take it from them.
With that in mind let us continue
a)Now during the first part of Con's contention (hehe) he shows his ignorance of the significance of the American Revolution. The American revolution was not significant because it established a representative government, those had been established before in Greece and Rome,it was the fact that the United States was the first country to recognize that government's are created to protect the rights of individuals. These rights are Life, Liberty, and Property* for a fuller explanation of these and a reiteration of my first contention.

Con claims that the governments have a right to take from one person and give to another this is untrue this would violate another's property and as such would violate people's natural rights which causes the government to violate natural law making it unjust and tyrannical and Tyranny = Bad
b)Secondly br17 states that even if welfare and robbery are morally equivalent that it is more unjust to allow certain people to be poor then it is to rob from someone who already has money. Now as we have stated before it is not unjust but immoral. Following that line of thought, if we accept that the government has the job of ensuring that all people behave morally whose morality shall we use. Should we use the 9/11 hijackers morality because according to them it is okay to fly planes into buildings, or maybe DACTMO's morality that would sure make this site a lot more interesting, or should we use my morality that says anyone who votes against me shall be sent to Nebraska and must become corn farmers. The problem's of allowing the government to regulate morality quickly become apparent.
In conclusion my opponent has failed to effectively refute my argument

a)My opponent's response to my argument that welfare is driving up the deficit and debt seems to be that, there are other places we could cut spending and the problem is that we aren't making enough money. Now first off I would like to point out that just the type of welfare we are discussing (not including things like Medicaid or Social Security) alone costs almost a 6th of all taxes that are collected federally and as such represent a significant portion of the budget. Also yes I would agree that we don't have enough money right now but first we need to cut spending before raising taxes because government will always find a way to spend what they make.[9]
b)In this attack my opponent marginalizes how much welfare helps people saying it only provides 300 dollars a month and says it is for a limited time this directly contradicts his 1st and 3rd contentions which say that it provides enough assistance to help a child throughout all childhood and keep them from sinking in to poverty and that it dramatically reduces the crime rate. So this means that he must drop his first and third points in order for this to be effective

In Finality
My opponent's claims have been successfully rejected, or proved to be off topic, whereas I have successfully defended mine from his accusations

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you Strikeeagle84015, for making this a challenging debate. Now, on to your arguments...

R1: Pro claims that welfare money is being spent on having fun, because there are other programs which pay for things like food and healthcare. This is not necessarily true. First of all, owning a car is very expensive, and in most states, there are no programs to aid people in paying for gasoline, car insurance, and maintenance costs. Second, food stamps only pay for food. They are not allowed to be spent on things like soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, diapers and other miscellaneous items.[1]

R2: Pro dismisses my second argument as a red herring. He says that subsidies to business are irrelevant. This is a strawman argument. It's a distortion of my true meaning. The only reason I mentioned subsidies to business was to strengthen my point about equality, which was: "Ending welfare would violate the equality principles that the Declaration of Independence and Universal Declaration of Human Rights are based on."

R3: Pro compares the crime rates and percentages of people on welfare in California and Utah. This is comparing apples and oranges. Utah and California are culturally different, have different rates of gang membership, one is more urban, one is more rural, etc.[2] They are not comparable. California has higher crime rates for reasons besides welfare.

D1: Pro begins by trying to separate justice from morality. He contends that "Justice is the quality of conforming to the law". This is unconvincing to me for two reasons. First, there are many ideas about what justice means. His interpretation is not the only one. There is also an idea that justice is fairness.[3] So, I was not wrong to say that ending welfare could be more unjust than continuing it. Second, I believe laws are just a set of rules based on our collective morality. We believe it's morally wrong to murder, so we make laws against it. It's impossible to separate laws and justice from morality.
D1a: Pro continues to insist that welfare is equal to theft. I've already explained that they are different. People do not consent when they are robbed. They do consent (as a collective) to taxes and welfare spending. Pro also says that welfare violates peoples' property rights. Again, he is ignoring the role of consent. If I give someone a gift, have my property rights been violated? No, of course not.
D1b: Pro asks whose morality the government should use when writing laws. As I've explained above, law is based on morality. There is no way to separate the two. Throughout his whole debate, you have been saying that your version of morality is the one that should control what the government does. You have a belief that it's always morally wrong to violate property rights. I don't share that belief. If a starving person stole some food from a store I owned, I wouldn't have a big problem with it. In my opinion, that person's right to live is more important than my property rights.

D2a: Pro says that welfare is a large part of the budget, so it contributes to the deficit. Again, I disagree that welfare is the main cause of our budget deficit. The main causes are: 1. Low tax revenue. 2. Mismanagement of social security funds. 3. Constantly increasing healthcare costs, which make Medicare and Medicaid more expensive. 4. An extremely bloated military budget. 5. Bailouts to banks. [4]
D2b: Touch´┐Ż. But the point was that there is no danger of a permanent welfare class developing. The checks are just not big enough for people to want to do that.



I would just like to again thank my opponent for this lovely Debate

My opponent is has only managed to come up with 2 other things that this welfare money goes too cars and hygiene.
On this issue of a car, walking is lovely, also I don't have a car, I work hard, and I use mass transit or walk everywhere. So a car is not an essential there is also carpools and taxis, basically at one point when both my parents were working we didn't have a car and we managed to survive. So why should the American taxpayers pay for someone else car and gas when we struggle to pay for our own

On the issue of hygiene, why in the world would you need 300 dollars to spend on hygiene, I have 5 brothers and sisters and my mother feeds our entire family for a month on about 200 dollars, so why in the world would you spend 300 dollars solely on soap and toothpaste that seems a little ridiculous to me

I argue this contention on the fact that my entire first argument derives from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and as the resolution says "The US government" it means that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence supersede the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because in the US the Constitution is the supreme law of the land

First, my Opponent has failed to prove his point that abolishing welfare would dramatically increase the crime rate, and has failed you say he doesn't need to, meaning that he accepts the idea he must prove abolishing welfare would dramatically increase crime, and he has failed to do so so this contention falls however if that is not sufficient.
I would like to point out my Con has said nothing about about my source that there was higher crime in years where there was higher TANF benefits and less when fewer people received TANF, and he tries to dismiss my Utah/California statistic as irrelevant. So Utah has less crime than 11 out of the top 15 welfare states in the nation, and as my opponent pointed out the other 4 states can be attributed to things besides welfares[1][2]

D1: I will answer this more fully in my D1b response but I would just like to point something out
Con said
"There is also an idea that justice is fairness."
Let me ask this is it fair to take from one who has worked and earned and then give it to one who has not worked and earned it?

"They do consent (as a collective) to taxes and welfare spending."
I never consented to welfare spending, however my opponent seems to be trying to say that the collective will overrides the rights of the majority.
This cannot be considered a valid argument as the resolution says the US. The US was founded by the Declaration of Independence and is governed by the Constitution, the founders of this nation which wrote both documents believed that all men had inalienable rights, to life liberty and property*,
the definition of inalienable is:
incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another; "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights"[3]
This means no person but you can choose to forfeit this rights you do not have the right to take these from others. So regardless of how unjust or how inequivalent to robbery it may seem to my opponent welfare is the same as robbery (at least within the confines of this debate) and therefore my point still stands.
br17 seems to be saying that collective consensus is what creates morality and that the government should legislate morality. If this is true then everything Hitler did was completely right and moral for he had over a 90% approval rating with most of the German people, thus by br17's definition of morality all things that people think are right are right, so killing millions of people is okay, robbing is okay, killing your daughter because she back talked you is a okay according to the morality of my opponent

My opponent says that welfare is not a large part of the budget and says there are other things we could cut. I agree there are other things we could cut however welfare should also be cut as 1/6 of all money the government makes goes to just TANF, that seems to me maybe scaling that back a bit would help the deficit
My opponent says nothing against what I said in this point, he only says that is not what he was trying to prove. Regardless of what you were trying to prove you still did prove or more accurately disprove your first and third contentions

So in summary what has happened in this debate is:
CC1(Con's Contention 1) :It helps children
TANF has been proven not to aid children as much as thought and that all necessities of life are provided by other programs
CC2:It is in accordance with the Declaration of Independence and Universal Decree of Human Rights
My second contention proved that it is contrary to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which supersedes the authority of the Universal Decree of Human Rights
CC3:It would dramatically increase crime
My opponent has dropped this contention and been unable to prove it would dramatically increase crime and I have provided many facts to indicate otherwise

PC1: It is unjust and illegal
My opponent has tried to prove this point by using moralities and justices outside the resolution and debate
PC2a:It is expensive
Con has said that there are other areas that could be cut but has failed to effectively prove that it is not a large part of the income of the federal government
In my opponent's rebuttal to this point he basically admitted that his first and third contention are invalid

So in summary
My opponent has dropped his 1st and 3rd contentions
He has provided little defense of his 2nd
My important contentions have persevered through and proven his to be incorrect


Thank you again for this excellent debate *virtual handshake*
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Trew 6 years ago
I would like to say that this is one of the best debates Ive read on this website. Unfortunately I have to disagree with the 4 votes... Strikeeagle84015 by far had the better argument. I would say that br17 did have the harder side to argue (that welfare is good), but Strikeeagle84015 was the definite winner. There was nothing that br17 said that absolutely convinced me.

I do come into this debate with a bias, though, but I still believe Strikeeagle84015 won.

Good debate everyone :)
Posted by br17 7 years ago
That should say: No, you can't get welfare, but you can get other forms of assistance, like unemployment benefits.
Posted by br17 7 years ago
"Blimey. I wouldn't like to live in America if I was single and unemployed. Is it right that if you don't have kids you don't get any financial assistance from the Government?"

No, you can't get welfare, you can other forms of assistance, like unemployment benefits.
Posted by br17 7 years ago
Yes, I did read it. But I didn't find it very convincing.

First of all, I'm an agnostic. So, I don't believe in natural rights.

Second, I do think there is doubt about whether someone is justified in using force to defend their property. It talks about how pioneers spent a lot of time defending their property in the "lawless west." Where did they get that property from anyways? They stole it from Indians! So, they take things from Indians and then shoot the Indians when they take it back. I do think there are plenty of reasons to doubt that that's justified. If someone steals something from you, and then you steal it back, is it really theft at all? I don't think so.

I think if you really want to know whether people have a right to defend their property with force, and whether they have a right to the property in the first place, you have to know how people got control of it. And a lot of the time, people do that by exploiting others who are less powerful than them. So I don't think it's wrong to take it back.
Posted by Strikeeagle84015 7 years ago
@br17 just out of curiosity did you happen to follow my link that I provided on my first contention?
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
Do Mexicans know this and still clamber under the border fence?
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
Blimey. I wouldn't like to live in America if I was single and unemployed. Is it right that if you don't have kids you don't get any financial assistance from the Government?

What? Even if you were made redundant after years of paying tax and there are no jobs to be had due to the recession?
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
Hmm...should I attempt to argue Devil's Advocate? Probably not. I'm way too con on this issue... I'll leave it for somebody who actually believes in ending welfare.
Posted by br17 7 years ago
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Commonly called welfare.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
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