Government Provided Welfare

For Version 6 of the quiz, I had a question on overall government spending, and one on retirement. This time around I want to be more specific. Federal spending includes welfare, military, entitlements, law enforcement, farm subsidies, and more. Cannot cover all the bases in reasonable length quiz, but I think hitting the biggies individually is in order. Welfare is a biggie. It is so big that it deserves to split into multiple categories, at least:

  1. Retirement/Social Security. Already in V6, but I think it should stay in for V7. It is both a middle class entitlement and welfare for the working poor.
  2. Public Education. The upper middle class would probably save money if it were privatized, but what would happen to the children of the working poor? So I declare it a welfare program.
  3. Health care. The big issue of the day. Medicaid is considered welfare, but given that we are debating healthcare in general as a nation, and Medicaid changes are part of Obamacare, healthcare related welfare deserves its own question.
  4. Other welfare: food stamps, monetary aid, earned income credit, childcare, public housing, etc.

Not sure if we should have a separate question relating to government care of the severely handicapped, but I think the welfare question should not address this topic. The issue is welfare for those who could theoretically work.

So how about:


Work is not always available, or the pay is not enough to live on. Bad decisions and bad luck happen. Without some time of safety net (either public or private) people suffer even in a wealthy society. On the other hand the existing welfare programs are accused of encouraging sloth, fornication, and other unproductive habits. And government welfare as a whole is bankrupting the nation. Finally, many people are falling through the cracks of the existing system. Though the government spends billions, many poor people still suffer today.

Should we change or eliminate our government welfare system? (For the purposes of this question, don’t consider Social Security, healthcare programs, or public education, as we cover those elsewhere. Also, do not consider government aid for the truly handicapped as part of this question; let’s just consider those who don’t need a caregiver or be institutionalized.)

  • Keep the current programs of food stamps, monetary supplements, public housing and child care as is more or less.
  • We need more welfare. Repeal the welfare reforms of the Clinton era.
  • Even pre-Clinton welfare was too stingy. Expand and/or add to existing programs and promote them more aggressively.
  • Trim existing programs.
  • Block grant the programs and pass responsibility to the states.
  • Pass responsibility to the states without block grants. (Cut federal taxes and let the states raise taxes as they see fit.)
  • Replace federal welfare and tax deductions with a basic income guarantee (unconditional free money for all adult citizens). Let the states and/or charities handle the outliers.
  • Eliminate all government funded welfare. Let private charities care for the needy.



What have I missed? Is this too long-winded? As a rule I do intend to be a bit more long-winded as I want to include more options, including some creative options not currently in the public policy debate.

Note that in the ordering above, I didn’t go from most government to least government monotonically. Instead, I started with the status quo and then grouped similar answers. I’m thinking of alternating between ending with the extreme libertarian answer and the extreme authoritarian answer to reduce bias. This does require more careful reading than the original quiz, but this is going to be a web only quiz. The original quiz was designed for booth deployment, where the test takers are impatient.

What think ye? Please comment below.