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  • Welfare Reform: British Style

    According to British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the United Kingdom will put into place “a radical new welfare state where it always pays to work.” Newly elected British Prime Minister David Cameron has set forth plans that, according to analysts, will result in the nation’s most dramatic welfare reform since World War II.

    Wracked with debt, the U.K. is attempting to whittle down their government’s largest expense—welfare—which today stands at approximately $350 billion, or 15 percent of the nation’s GDP. Currently, 5 million British citizens receive welfare, and approximately1.4 million of those have been on welfare for over nine years.

    While reining in government spending is certainly a major impetus behind the reform, it’s not the only reason. Similar to the United States’ 1996 reforms, Britain is attempting to promote the philosophy that, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg put it, welfare should “not … compensate the poor for their predicament” but instead “act as an engine of mobility.” Britain’s reforms consist of several elements:

    • Consolidating dozens of welfare payments into a single tax credit,
    • Capping the amount (roughly $40,000) a family can receive in welfare benefits each year,
    • Promoting work by gradually phasing out welfare benefits,
    • Cutting off benefits to recipients who turn down three job offers, and
    • Cutting back on other tax credits available to all citizens regardless of income.

    Announcements of the reforms, along with the recent introduction of other government spending cuts, have incited protests among certain crowds across the U.K. Yet the truth of the matter is that the nation is broke, and the only way to return to fiscal solvency is by beginning to eliminate government dependence.

    Unfortunately, Britain’s situation is not unique. The 1996 U.S. welfare reforms successfully cut state welfare rolls, but those reforms have been significantly watered down over the years and most recently dealt all but a death blow by the stimulus bill. Today the U.S. spends nearly $1 trillion a year on welfare programs, despite spiraling debt. But there are steps the U.S. can take to get welfare spending under control, including implementing work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients as a requirement to receive assistance, such as food stamps and housing aid. Another step is to cap federal welfare spending at 2008—pre-stimulus—levels. Also, marriage must be promoted, considering that 80 percent of long-term poverty occurs in single-parent households and the United States out-of-wedlock birth rate continues to climb.

    Britain should be applauded for its welfare reform efforts. Policy that promotes personal responsibility is the only policy that will keep citizens free from the burdens of heavy-handed government.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Welfare Reform: British Style

    1. Chuck Marean, Jr in says:

      I was taught that slavery is wrong. Also, the government coins the money, so it is not in my opinion broke. Fiat money is worth the price the government gives it. For exampe, one coin with a face value of one billion dollars is worth one billion dollars and can be deposited in the government's bank account. It is obvious there isn't enought to do to try to force poor people to work. Also, it would be big government. I've never understood why things cost anything at all. Parents give you food and clothing, etc. Trade makes no sense when noone needs what you can do for them.

    2. Charles Marean, Jr says:

      Forcing people to work is wrong. A government can coin or print money to pay for things with so I'm tired of conservatives claiming it needs to be a cheapskate.

    3. annie biz USA says:


      I know a President who should go to England for some classes in common sense and decency.

    4. Dana Hoffman, Minnes says:

      I am all for welfare reform even being a person who is disabled and depend on it to help me through the month, however before we can even begin to think about welfare reform we have to have leaders that know what they are doing in order to have a successful reform and can think outside the box with their own box (or heads in this case) and do so without violating the rights granted to every american living here in the US. When you have a food support program that seems to be running fine until someone in the county office has a bad day and you talk back to them, well thats when the so called food support program no longer runs or does what it was intended to do. If the agency workers are not going to be held liable for their mistakes and errors and its plain that the mistake was the agency's error then why would anyone want to follow the rules of the program to begin with? why should anyone try and convict those person who cheat the system of fraud when thats exactly what is happening at the county level only they dont call it fraud they call it agency error. I had a case worker at the county say to me: We are never held liable, and never be because we are protected/immune from lawsuits, and we can overpay you without you knowing and then when you piss us off we can demand that money back and you have to pay it because the food support program is a federal program adminisitered to the states who then give the responsibility to the different counties to disburse it. Really????? these county agencies and such get paid to administer food support and other programs and they get paid to do so on the grounds that it is done correctly and in a timely fashion, and error free. Again, really????? ok well if my county has as many (this can be proven) agency errors as it does and thats not considered fraud, would it be safe to say that while at the convention of Morons gone wild they were able to come up with their own means of job stability? Again you can not give a layman the job of a podiatrist and expect without proper training and responsibility and accountablity, that that person is going to do the job they are supposed to be doing and getting paid for. So, its okay , ooppsss sorry Ms Jones, due to my agency error I dug to deep into the toenail, thats now going to cause a staph infection, and with that being said I am now going to have to take your toe. See how stupid that sounds? But the reality is that very thing is happening here in America today and all those layman down at the county office dont know how to do their jobs properly, and yet the state wants their input as to how we might be able to have a welfare reform, you are kidding me………..right? I would give anything to sit down with these lawmakers who make these such bills and introduce them and just ask, what the hell were you thinking? Then ask them for a drug test.If they were held accountable for their mistakes (all of them) there would be less agency error, there would be less fraud, and I would be more than happy to hear their suggestions on reform, but until that occurs we will remain in a sad state of affairs and at the hands and rules of Morons gone wild, now thats a scary thought.

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