Government benefits provided to people with little or no income are referred to colloquially as welfare benefits. The term "welfare" can refer to a number of different programs in the United States, but often refer to cash assistance. In some cases, this money may be used however the recipient wishes. In others, the money can only be used for specific uses, such as food stamps that can only be used to buy groceries.
A primary advantages of welfare benefits is promoting the health of the people receiving the benefits. According to economist Roger Arnold, author of the book "Economics," this is because there is a general correlation between income and health. People who have no income and no health care will, statistically, live shorter and less healthy lives than people who have enough income to buy proper food and to pay for medical care.
Support for Children
While many adults are able to make choices about how much income they choose to earn, children do not have this same luxury. Children must generally rely on the money that their parents are able to make. Welfare payments, particularly those that are directed for the care of children, allow children to grow up with better nutrition, medical care and possessions that make for a more comfortable standard of living.
The provision of welfare has been shown to lower crime. Although some may argue that welfare constitutes a bribe, providing people with some income takes away an incentive to commit property crimes designed to provide the person with money or property. Welfare alleviates some of an individual's economic need, thereby lowering crime and increasing the general stability of society as a whole.
Another advantage of welfare benefits is that it more evenly distributes a society's wealth. Some many consider this a benefit in itself. However, others may consider providing money to people who did not earn it to be unfair. There is, according to Arnold, a demonstrated correlation between income distribution in a society and that society's stability. Societies with greater inequities in wealth generally suffer more social and political turmoil.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Welfare; Thomas MaCurdy and Jeffrey Jones
- "Economics"; Roger A. Arnold; 2008
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