Welfare Programs Cause Crime Essay

503 Words 3 Pages
"Controlling violent crime is largely a state and local responsibility," declare Robert Moffit, Edwin Meese, and Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation. "State and local officials," they say, "should take the initiative to identify and target the hard-core criminals who are committing the majority of crimes and implement tough policies to put them behind bars and keep them there. Mounting evidence shows that this approach works."

Attacking the root causes of crime also makes sense, provided those causes are correctly identified. Poverty, for instance, does not cause crime. "The real root cause of crime is family breakdown," the three analysts contend. They point out that "fatherless children - regardless of socioeconomic and racial
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Robert Rector, also of the Heritage Foundation, reports that "the United States has 'invested' nearly $7 trillion in programs that provide cash, food, housing, and medical and social services to poor and low-income Americans. But," he observes, "while the nation was pouring this flood of resources into the War on Poverty, most of its social problems got worse, not better. In its wake, a deluge of illegitimacy, crime, drug abuse, and welfare dependency has besieged America."

Rector concludes that "we get what we pay for. For 30 years, the welfare system paid for non-work and non-marriage, and it has achieved massive increases in both. By undermining the work ethic and rewarding illegitimacy," he explains, "the welfare system has insidiously generated its own clientele. The more money that is spent, the more people in apparent need of aid appear."

Rector argues that welfare has "bribed individuals into courses of behavior that, in the long run, are self-defeating, harmful to children, and increasingly a threat to society. Welfare's most ominous feature," he contends, "is its corrosive effect on family structure - its policies have driven up illegitimacy, which in turn has been a powerful factor that contributes to almost every other current social problem." Rector recommends returning to "traditional charity, which recognizes that 'one-way' handouts usually hurt those they are intended to help. True charity," he…