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Affluent Christian Investor | October 21, 2017

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To Work or Receive Welfare? That is the question…

women working making hosiery 1936 1930s public domain

I came across a fascinating article called When Work is Punished: The Tragedy of America’s Welfare State.  Essentially, here is what I learned.

“Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pointed out that ‘the single mom (on government welfare) is better off with earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 (in the private sector) with net income and benefits of $57,045.’ She looses about $300 total income and benefits to leave welfare and take a job paying $69,000 a year.”

The moral of this story is that the American welfare system punishes work and incentivizes dependency.

“At issue is the so-called ‘welfare cliff’ beyond which families will literally become poorer the higher their wages, as the drop off in entitlements more than offsets the increase in earnings.

A study by the Illinois Policy Institute shows just how dramatic the effect of “falling off the cliff” (so to speak) can be. In one of the most startling findings for instance, if a single mother raising two children were to accept a pay raise from $12 to $18 per hour, her total resources would fall by nearly 33%.”

The Bible makes it clear that those who are able to work should work and the church should take care of widows, orphans, aliens and the sick who cannot work.  Work brings dignity and purpose.  It reminds us that the man builds the house, but the house also builds the man.  By taking away the incentive to work, we destroy our most value asset, our people.

We need an overhaul in our welfare system to incentivize work and break dependency… It is better for the poor, the taxpayer and the nation.


Originally posted on Crown.


Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown, a non-profit business and personal finance policy and educational organization, and author of “The S.A.L.T. Plan. How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions” and “Root of Riches, What if everything you think about money is wrong?”


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