U. S. Department of Agriculture statistics show nearly one-third of Americans received government-funded food aid in 2012. With roughly a dozen federal food assistance programs operating today, 59 percent of American households participate in one of the four largest food assistance programs – food stamps, school breakfasts, school lunches, and WIC – and end up receiving benefits from two or more programs.
In general, the federal government funds roughly 80 welfare programs including 12 educational assistance programs and 11 housing assistance programs at a cost of nearly $1 trillion a year.
For decades, the federal government has been pouring taxpayer dollars into an increasing number of welfare programs in an attempt to tackle poverty. Yet this system has proven ineffective at helping individuals and families reach self-sufficiency.
The size of today’s welfare system clearly demonstrates the need for both opportunity-based economic policies and critical positive reforms to promote self-sufficiency through work, personal responsibility and human dignity.