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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,033 times Debate No: 58763
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
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First round is to accept and arguments. Second round is rebuttals and conclusion.

Here's my stand, all you have to do is argue against it:

I believe that the current welfare system should be abolished. It's not helping anyone, not the poor, not the taxpayers and not society. The taxpayers are stuck picking up the tab for a flawed system. Society's suffers in that our churches, schools, parks, and other programs are shoved to the side and ignored. Instead of the money to improve these things, it's tossed to the welfare system so more and more people can be supported. And the poor are trapped because the system pays them more than they can get working a forty (or more) week at minimum wage.

Basically the American welfare system is a complete failure. It provides free money to the poor and gives absolutely no incentive to be free of it. Worse yet, it seeds future generations to live this way as well.

The current welfare system is set up so that its paying those on it more than that of someone working. Thirty-five states pay above the current minimum wage. Thirteen states pay over what would average out to $15 an hour. That's nearly $8 over minimum wage. There are even a few states that pay nearly $44,000, which is equal to a teachers salary.

Where's the incentive to get off the system? There isn't one. Worse yet, this system is teaching the children that furthering their education, getting a job and working hard isn't necessary, not when they can not work and get paid. Why work when you don't have to? That's the mind set of the children growing up on welfare have begun to adapt.

Currently there are about 110,000,000 Americans on welfare. That's about 36% of the population and doesn't include those that are receiving food stamps or unemployment. If these are added the total percentage comes up to about 49. That's half (or close enough) of the American people.

Around 131 billion dollars is given to the welfare system annually and again, this amount doesn't include food stamps or unemployment. Imagine what could be accomplished with that amount of money.

Here are a few more numbers:
The average time spent on AFCD (Aid to Families w/ Dependent Children)
Less than 7mth - 19%
7mth - 12mth - 15.2%
1 - 2 years - 19.3%
2 - 5 years - 26.9%
Over 5 years - 19.6

True the stats state that families do eventually get off welfare is there but what isn't in the above numbers are the numbers of those that return. 22% of those who get off welfare return and of that number, about 13% are not returning because of a loss of a job but only because they complied with the rules and are back to receiving the benefits.

What does this say about America? My opinion, the people of this country have become lazy and expectant. There's no reason to earn money when the government is willing to give it away as long as you meet the guidelines they set forth. Guidelines that help the non-working members of society and not those that work hard and could actually use a little extra assistance. What's worse is that people are learning to expect the welfare system to give them money.

Let's get America back to the hardworking, dreams come true country it's known for and do away with a system that keeps the poor, poor.


I would like to thank my opponent for the debate and for stating their position, however I respectfully disagree with it.

Firstly I have a few rebuttals to make. I include them in the first round (with the exception of the third rebuttal) because they lead up to, later arguments, or stand alone as arguments. The latter case applies especially to the first second and 3

Rebuttal 1: My opponent states in the second sentence of their argument that welfare isn’t helping anyone. This point is made from a stance that the people who are on welfare, could just go to work and get off it if they so chose. I’ll say more about that later, but right now I would just like to point out the obvious fallacy here. Clearly my opponent has not seen the studies on the distribution of welfare, because if she had, she would know that “91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households” [1.] Nearly all of the people on welfare either can’t work or are already in working households, and truly are being helped by it. This doesn’t even get to cases like single mothers.

Rebuttal 2: For the “taxpayers picking up the tab for a flawed system,” to be a valid argument, I think it is fairly clear that you have to prove that the system is flawed, which my first rebuttal and later points will address. Additionally, welfare is only 11% of government spending; taxpayers pay more for government pensions (25%.) The only reason that we are discussing the welfare spending is that it has been extensively demonized by the right wing media [2.]

Rebuttal 3: money shouldn’t be going to churches because of separation of church and state, and the percent of GDP being spent on welfare is currently decreasing. Money isn’t being taken away from schools and parks by welfare, but by things that are on the rise such as defense spending.

Rebuttal 4: Many people on welfare who are able-bodied are working part time or looking for work. In fact only 27 % of women on welfare were idle. “The rest, nearly three-fourths, combined welfare with low earnings (20 percent), worked some of the time and were on welfare between jobs (23 percent), worked limited hours and looked for work (7 percent), or looked for work the entire time they received welfare (23 percent).” [3]

Rebuttal 5: Children of parents on welfare are not encouraged to stay on it, given that most of those who are able-bodied and on welfare (as your source so rightly mentions) get off it. As empirical evidence, welfare spending is going down, but if children were to be incentivized this way you would see a cascade effect resulting in greater and greater numbers of people on welfare. Clearly this isn’t the case because “The 2011 survey [of the number of people on welfare] had 5.8 million. For 2013, we found 3.7 million [people on welfare].” [1]

As a last comment (before I start my own case) your numbers of the amount of people on welfare are completely skewed. The census (where these numbers come from) double counts, including all members of households in which one person receives welfare. Additionally other types of benefits are included in the census study. Welfare recipients make up only 1.1% of the population, and the numbers of people on benefits are lower than you state as well. [4]

Now I will present my own arguments.

Contention 1: Welfare helps those who can’t work.

Welfare is essential for the elderly and disabled. It would be extremely cruel to propose that we discontinue a program that helps those who can’t help themselves. As a civilized society, one measure of our merit must naturally be how we help our week, and care for our old. Furthermore, abolishing welfare would make poverty worse (I’ll state more reasons for this later,) because those who are elderly and disabled who are on welfare would now have to be supported by their families, increasing the strain on them. In many cases, these families are also impoverished (otherwise they wouldn’t have relatives in need of welfare,) and could not support their relatives; many would become homeless and many would suffer greatly. This is a massive impact because elderly and disabled persons who are at a far greater risk of death due to exposure etc. resulting from homelessness. If my opponent wishes to talk about those on subsidized housing and food stamps (which are not directly under the TANF welfare system,) the problem clearly becomes far worse.

Contention 2: The problem isn’t that people are lazy; there just aren’t enough jobs to go around.

My opponent claims that welfare allows for people to be lazy, however, as one of my rebuttals stated, this is simply not the case. Most people who can work that are on welfare look for work. If they are looking for work, one must ask what the real problem is. The problem is a lack of job vacancies. One example comes from Milwaukee; “Job vacancy surveys in the Milwaukee metropolitan area have found that even with an unemployment rate in the 4-5 percent range, there are three to five persons needing work for every available job.” [3] To put that in perspective, in the last year, unemployment in America has wavered between 6.1 and 7.5 percent. People who are on welfare and are able-bodied aren’t lazy; it is literally impossible for all of them to have jobs. [5]

Contention 3: People on welfare find it difficult to get jobs.

Even most entry-level jobs require job experience and education. For those who had to drop out to help their impoverished families or stayed in high school instead of looking for work to aid their families have one or other of two problems. Either they don’t have the education or the work experience to apply for most jobs. Probably the most blatant example of this is a study done at McDonald's. The study, conducted in 1993, found that 14 people had applied for every job opening. The 13 out of 14 of them that were rejected found it immensely difficult to find work; so much so that 73% of them didn’t have work a full year after initial research was conducted. Additionally, young applicants had the most difficulty, because most people needed extensive experience to get a job at McDonald's. [6]

To help the impoverished, disabled and elderly, and to sustain those who are unable to or find it difficult to acquire a job, lets keep and reinforce a system that brought us out of two depressions. Removing welfare would be cruel, rash and would put more stress on an already broken country. Instead of fighting welfare, lets look to the real causes of problems in America.

Thank you, I look forward to your rebuttal.






[6] Katherine S. Newman and Chauncy Lennon, Finding Work in the Inner City; How Hard is it Now? How Hard Will it be for AFDC Recipients? (New York, Columbia University, 1995. (via the 3rd source)

Debate Round No. 1


I, too, would like to thank my opponent for the debate.

Right, first let me clarify that I don"t disagree with the fact that welfare assist the elderly and disabled. Nor am I denying that single parents aren"t helped. What I"m opposed to is the way the system is set up. Let"s split it down the middle, shall we? Welfare can stay in place for those who are elderly, who can prove they"re disabled and those who are working but are unable to get by without a little extra assistance. But for those that are not working (rather it"s because they can"t find work or choose not to work is moot) let"s implement a better system, one where those receiving help "donate" their time, therefore those people are, in essence, "working" for their monthly welfare benefits.

Proving a system is fair or unfair like asking a bottlenose dolphin to live in my bathtub. In other words, impossible. Any program or assistance system is going to have flaws. Whether welfare is helping isn"t in dispute, or not entirely. What I"m arguing is that the way its set up now is flawed and gives the applicants no incentive to gain freedom from its clutches. The system doesn"t demand you actually get a job only that you look for one. Employment availability might be thin but as I stated above, if a person is unable to obtain gainful employment then let them earn the benefits they are getting by volunteering at charities or other programs that could use a little "volunteer" time given to them.

Welfare may be only 11% of what the government spends but 11% of a hundred billion is still 11 billion dollars. In 2011 the government gave $1.03 trillion to welfare programs. 11% of that is $114,400,000,000. Put that way 11% isn"t so small after all.

Money shouldn"t go to churches, that"s correct and I apologize for saying different in my earlier argument. However, I will argue that at least a part of the money being spent on welfare (see above statement for just how much) would be better spent on our schools, our parks, our community programs, etc. Defense spending may be part of the problem but it is not the only issue at hand.

You write "only 27 % of women on welfare were idle." There are an estimated 12 million people on welfare and of those 80% are single women with children. 80% of 12 million is 9.6 million and 27% of that is 2,592,000. Why are only women mentioned? What about idle men or idle couples?

Even without adding them, the number of people on the welfare is significant and growing every year. The increase in elderly each year and the number of soldiers who are declared disabled annually are on the rise, which means the numbers are also on the rise despite my opponent"s claim to the contrary. Unemployment has also accounts for a large portion of those receiving welfare. But as I"ve already addressed these issues above I won"t be repetitive and do so again here.

Perhaps my statement that children of parents receiving welfare are encouraged to stay on welfare once they reach adulthood is an exaggeration but only to an extent. Studies have proven that children learn by example. They will learn from us, our good and our bad habits, traits and words. If the parent of a child does nothing to encourage that child to do more, to become more then he/she is less likely to strive for higher ground. This, of course doesn"t apply every to parent or to every child but it"s a fair statement to say that a child who witnesses his/her parent(s) doing nothing and yet earning a monthly income will more likely learn the same behavior.

As I (and I do apologize for this) forgot to list my sources I am unsure how you can possibly state that the census I used double counts and so forth. I"m willing to concede that the numbers I previously stated may be slightly higher as the source I used at the time (I double checked after reading Pro"s argument) couldn"t be verified. A more reliable source puts the numbers of people on welfare around 4.1% of the population but that isn"t including those on unemployment and/or food stamps. As of July 2012 the American population was estimated to be around 953 million people. 4.1% of 953 million is 39,073,000. Let"s say that number"s a bit high and use Pro"s 1.1%. 1.1 percent of 953 million is still 10,483,000 people on welfare. Pretty high numbers either way.

Okay, now that I"ve refuted Pro"s arguments to my arguments I"ll move on to doing the same to Pro.

Contention 1: Welfare helps those who can"t work.
My reply:
As I"ve stated above I don"t argue that welfare can and does help the elderly and disabled but it"s a fact that it does not help all the elderly and disabled. Only those making less than the government"s ideal monthly income may obtain these services. As I am running short on time (I"m due somewhere shortly) I will offer up a personal example. My grandfather, who worked 2-3 jobs his entire life and who is now struggling to make the monthly bill receives too much in Social Security and is not eligible for so much as a single food stamp. His total monthly income for a single male in his 80"s is less than 1,200 and yet the system won"t help him. As I"ve said, the system is flawed (with or without the asked for proof) and needs a face lift.

Contention 2: The problem isn"t that people are lazy; there just aren"t enough jobs to go around.
My reply:
I"ve also addressed this in my above statements. I"m not (and if I did I sincerely apologize) saying that the people on welfare are lazy. I know a number of people, one very close to me, who are working very hard and yet needs a little help. As for employment, please refer to my above statement regarding this issue so I am not boring and repetitive.

Contention 3: People on welfare find it difficult to get jobs.
My reply:
Now here is my opinion on this - there isn"t a viable excuse on this planet or the next for someone not completing their education and dropping out. There is no such thing as "had to drop out." I myself not only worked full time but attended high school (I was one of those drop outs that decided that a GED wasn"t good enough, I wanted my high school diploma so returned to school at the age of twenty-one) and cared for my one year old son. Doing anything less than your best is just an excuse and prove me different with studies, articles and more and I"ll still contend that no excuse is valid enough to quite school.

Now, for the McDonald"s study - First, it was conducted 20 years ago. Second, you don"t mention why the 13 out 14 didn"t get the position at McDonald"s. Was it because they lacked experience or education. Were the applicants under 18 as you do mention that is the young who are having a harder time finding employment? (I"m asking as I was unable to locate the article you used as a source and by no means am I saying that the article doesn"t exist only that my search skills are (ha, ha) lacking)

My conclusion:
Keep a system that brought us out of 2 depressions? I"m only aware of one, though welfare in some form has been around since colonial times I believe it is during the Great Depression that the current welfare system, with some amendments, was first established. However, I could be wrong about that so please don"t think poorly of me if I am. And since this isn"t a history lesson I"ll move things along.

I fail to see how updating and revamping a system that is in desperate need of it is cruel, rash and more stressful than that of what is already in place. I"m not saying there aren"t those who are in need only that the system as it is now isn"t working well. Abolishing the old and welcoming the new isn"t anything America should reject. Aren"t we the country where dreams can come true, where the hard working can improve their lives, where the brave can live free? I believe we are so let"s update how we view the poor and instead of pitying them, help them improve their lives and not by handing them money.

As you get older and wiser you realize that when people are given anything without having to earn it (unless they are physically or mentally incapable of earning anything), they become ungrateful and lazy. They also become less happy. - Dennis Prager.

Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time. - Brian Tracy

The second quote we could change up a little so it would read;

America"s greatest asset is Her people and their potential earning ability. Our greatest resource is Her people"s time.

Thank you and I look forward to your response.


Before we begin I would like to point out that my opponent has already lost this debate. They have lost this debate because they have taken the Con on welfare, and both the resolution and the first speech seem to suggest that the burden is to prove that welfare should be abolished. In fact, in my opponent’s first sentence she states “I believe that the current welfare system should be abolished.” This is the burden my opponent has chosen, which they completely relinquished in their second speech. In the first paragraph of her second speech, my opponent says “What I"m opposed to is the way the system is set up.” Earlier, she basically admits that I am right stating “first let me clarify that I don"t disagree with the fact that welfare assist the elderly and disabled. Nor am I denying that single parents aren"t helped.” My opponent has already dropped her burden, and therefore loosed the debate. That being said, her next speech promotes something even worse.

I would also like to point out that nowhere has my opponent provided sources that are actually verifiable. I say this for three reasons. Firstly in her first round she provided no sources. Secondly in her second round, she listed sources but not the specific pages, meaning that there is no way of knowing the exact article, chart, page etc. that the information came from. Thirdly the sites aren’t linked to specific parts of the argument, so I have no way of knowing which source verifies which agrument so that I could look up her claims to verify them. At this point my opponent immediately forfeits sources.

As far as my opponent’s defense of the census, it is completely unverified. In my opening argument, I brought up a source (specifically my ____) which showed that the census over counts in relation to welfare. My opponent’s response was “I am unsure how you can possibly state that the census I used double counts and so forth.” This was not followed by a citation.

Next my opponent also states completely erroneous numbers for the US population. She states that “As of July 2012 the American population was estimated to be around 953 million people.” Not only is this statement not sourced, it is also plain wrong. The actual US population is closer to 318,444,000, barely a third of the number my opponent states [1.] Maybe they were referring to the total population of the Americas (North, South and Central,) but that is completely irrelevant to the debate.

As far as my source on McDonalds, it is cited in my 3rd source from the first round, and I have only found pieces of it. My opponent’s objection is irrelevant, in that she brings up why they couldn’t get the job. It doesn’t matter why, because my opponent’s whole argument centers around their being able to.

On to rebuttals and extensions.

Firstly, my opponent tries to rebut some of my arguments, lets go through those.

Response #1: Welfare actually costs a lot. My opponent uses the fact that it comes out to 110 billion a year, which most people think of as a lot of money. But it is actually only about 2.7% of government spending. That is like saying we can’t increase money for education because we are spending a lot on it, and then, when someone tells you it isn’t enough and is only 3% of the gov. budget, saying, but it is 110 billion, it is too much.

Response #2: Money spent on welfare should still go to other stuff. Again, take from the 820 billion in defense spending, which is less necessary than welfare. Additionally, adjusting requirements (adding workfare) for the small amount of people who are able-bodied and idle (9%) won’t significantly increase money to education, it would be a drop in the bucket.

Response #3: Your response is simply, but there are still a lot of idle women and there must be idle men. Your response admits single mothers make up most of the welfare recipients. (80%) Your rebuttal is just numbers, it doesn’t tell me why I am wrong.

Response #4: the number of people on welfare is growing each year. I don’t know where she gets this from but it just isn’t true, and are directly refuted by my first source.

Response #5: I may have exaggerated about children’s encouragement to be on welfare, but it is still true b/c they learn by example. Firstly there is no evidence provided for the second generation stuff and secondly your argument states that most families work hard and get off of welfare (only 19% are on it for more than 5 years,) invalidating your point entirely.

Response #6 has already been talked about, it once again doesn’t disprove my point and the numbers it is derived from are incorrect.

On to defenses of my case

Contention 1:

You say “the system needs a facelift” this is a forfeit of your burden, and the thing about your grandfather helps me, welfare needs to have more money so that parameters can be loosened, not to be abolished.

Contention 2:

You say “I didn’t say people on welfare are lazy, but I addressed your contention above.” I don’t know where or how, and you actually did say that “the people of this country have become lazy and expectant.”

Contention 3: “You don’t have to drop out.” I’m sorry you had such a hard experience, but the fact that you did it doesn’t mean that everyone can or that everyone will. Your response is everyone can do everything that I can. By that logic, everyone can be a star athlete savant physics professor who dabbles in philosophy all while being president for two terms. I applaud your persistence but it isn’t a valid response, as many people aren’t able to do what you did. 7% of people in the US don’t finish high school [7]

Lastly on to my rebuttal of my opponent’s new case.

What my opponent is talking about in her second speech is “welfare reform” also known as workfare. Workfare has a myriad of problems. Firstly it creates more unemployment and need for welfare. By filling jobs with workfare participants, the government pushes out other people who would work for more, creating more unemployment, which the govt. can’t pay for, leaving more people unemployed and without benefits than before. Next, being on workfare makes it more difficult to find a job. I know that a lot of people think that you can magically find work without a degree, but in reality it takes a lot of effort. People need time and energy to do this, which workfare prevents. Even if it does incentivize finding a job, it makes it harder to do so, both by increasing the amount of unemployed persons (as stated earlier) and by taking away time. Additionally, the unemployed are used as an inflation buffer by the government, they should at least be compensated.

In conclusion, we need welfare, and if anything we need more of it. My opponent seems in two minds about this (uncle story) but it is evident that what we need is an expansion, not an abolition. An expansion would hurt millions, and wouldn’t help her uncle. It is unethical to abolish welfare, or to institute welfare.

On my arguments, on the burden, my conduct and my sources, I urge a con ballot.


Almost all my sources were stated last round.

Thank you

Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Stormiest 7 years ago
I was not referring that it was immigrants fault for welfare. I'm suggesting that had the GOvernment, would have kept a handle on them coming here to do the work that a welfare person could have been doing, then we wouldn't have had so many people sitting on there dead buttsdrawing welfare,Theywould have been working. I had people working that wanted to better them selfs. And not sit on welfare. Then I had people work for me that just didn't care if they had anything or not. They just wanted it handed to them. The welfare system does have a better handle on it now. But with out enough jobs out there do to the growing demand placed on us from illegals It's a Little to late.
Posted by Mojique 7 years ago
There is one part where it says my _____ source (I was rushing because I have a lot on my plate right now including 3 debates.) That is referring to a source that i thought I had cited but forgot to, I therefore apologize about my retort to her doublecounting remark, as this is the source that came from.
the source is here ( it is also the source for the 3.7 million on welfare thing)
I also meant to cite a population source, that is blow
Posted by IndianaFrank 7 years ago
You know the government loves this type of argument. The purpose of this argument is to divert the publics attention from what they are doing. 14 million people lost there jobs because of the economy.

I lost mine at age 61. I have a young daughter I'm raising by myself. I went to family services and they told me all that was available for me was $ 199 per month in food stamps. That comes to $ 6.63 cents per day to feed two people. You are not permitted to buy body soap, or laundry soap so your required to stink.

The rotten deadbeat employee at Family Services attempted to make me feel bad for drawing food stamps. Her suggestion was that I was a deadbeat, until I advised her that I paid taxes into the welfare system for 45 working years... so I was entitled...
Posted by Jelera 7 years ago
Saying that it's the immigrants who have ruined this country is only excusing American behavior but that's another debate.
Here's the equivalent of what some states pay those on welfare compared to minimum wage.
Washington, D.C.$13.99
New York$13.13
New Jersey$12.55
Rhode Island$12.55

I agree that a few of these still aren't enough to live on but the fact that those who aren't working are making more than those who are is disturbing.
Posted by Stormiest 7 years ago
I don't know what state you live in, but no way does welfare pay enough to live on. In California for a mother and one child you receive &506.00 a month , &325.00 a month food stamps, and limited medical care. I total agree that welfare hurt this country. But it was all do to the fact that instead of the government giving to people out of work, jobs, which there were, they brought the illegals here to do the jobs such as. Picking pears or working in chicken farms,they just said come on down all you lazy Americans we'll pay you to sit home on your butts. With all that is given to people that are poor.will never be enough to live on. These people hardly make ends meet. And now that there are so many illegals out there that want to work, and can't get welfare even if they wanted it, there is limited job sources out there. Even ( and I know it's against the law to work under the table), even thos jobs are limited. We are the great country of America, And it's sad that we have such a poor country, shouldn't we have a chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage , what a lie that has become. So now we the tax payers, must pay the piper and buck up to reality that we have a monster at hand, and to live with it.
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