Today, people are more likely to brag about milking the system instead, the true cost of a security net is our self reliance.
This sentence highlights the difference between you and me if not the the difference between most folks on the left and most folks on the right.
You view a safety net as something that most people scheme and scam and are willing to essentially to become what they do for a living. While I agree that there certainly is some abuse I also believe that it's the kind of abuse that you're talking about is a very small percentage of cases and that in most cases it's a matter of people trying to make it on their own that for one reason or other usually having more to do with blind luck than any kind of character flaw on their part that they require some kind of assistence.
Your particular example happens to pick welfare as your example however realistically welfare is such a miniscule portion of the budget that it hardly warrants discussion.
If you take look at what the real problems are at least on the non-defense budget side of the ledger the two things that stand out (besides the Bush tax cuts which in reality make up a significant portion of our current shortfall) and those are Social Security and Medicare. So let's talk about those two things for a moment.
First Social Security which all the lies from the right notwithstanding is really in pretty good shape. It has it's own, and up til now independent, source of funding specifically payroll taxes (a highly regressive form of taxation I might add) which currently has a *surplus* of over $2.6T dollars and by every reckoning is fully funded until the 2040 timeframe. Even if nothing is done to "fix" Social Security then when the surplus is depleted in the 2040 timeframe the revenue will still be sufficient to support 79% of projected outlays. This is assuming no changes, in particular to the COLA as it currently stands. SO in the absolute worst case we're looking at a 21% shortfall 30 years into the future and while a sudden cut of 21% would indeed be drastic it could easily be fixed with some very small adjustments today certainly far smaller than those being bandied about.
So the bottom line is Social Security is not really a problem. However Medicare is indeed a problem and it's a problem that's far bigger than Medicare itself. The Medicare problem is merely one portion of the overall healthcare problem that we have in this country. Medical costs are simply rising so fast, way beyond the rate of inflation, that they are simply becoming a greater and greater portion of GDP. That's the real problem. The question is what to do about it?
Are we supposed to simply let seniors die? Deathpanels were certainly a point the Teabaggers jumped all over during the healthcare debate. However that's what is in reality being proposed. What kind of insurance could a 70 year old couple get? Other than Medicare or Medicare Advantage there's really no option. Today I pay $20K per year for family coverage what a 70 year old couple would pay would be well beyond that and then what would it be even just 10 years later when they were 80? If they could even get coverage, which today they couldn't, the price would be astronomical.
The bottom line is that I support Medicare for all which I maintain would be less costly overall between what we pay in taxes for our healthcare system plus what we pay in total to the insurance industry. Plus by doing so we would actually be doing the same thing that the rest of the civilized world manages to do.
But obviously we're not going to solve the US healthcare problem in this or any other thread, however since you used welfare as your example I want to tell you a little bit about corporate welfare specifically as it regards our defense spending.
I'll try to keep this long story short, after being unemployed for 15 months (during which time I dissipated about $75,000 of my life savings) in 2003 and the first three months of 2004 I got a job with Lockheed Martin who contracted me to a DoD research facility for $90,000 (which was a $30,000 pay cut from my previous job). So here's where the corporate welfare came in because the cost of my services to the government were billed out at $320,000 per year. The way it worked was I got $90K, Lockheed Martin took $110K and the DoD research facility took another $120,000 a year as overhead. And I was one of literally *thousands* of such contractors.
Welfare, Food Stamps, Aid to Dependent Children and any other welfare type program pales in comparison to all the corporate welfare that's paid for on the taxpayers dime.
As an aside after a few years I got lucky and it was determined that there was "occupational conflict of interest" in my working as a Lockheed Martin employee on projects on which Lockheed Martin bid and at that point I was directed to select another contract house and since I knew how much they paid for me I was able to negotiate my current $90 an hour rate and so now I make $180K a year, my contract house makes $20K a year but the research facility still makes $120K a year and I still cost the taxpayer $320K a year or almost 3 times what I'm worth in the commercial market.
That's *real* welfare and that's what should be cut, the problem is that just as any fiscal spending cuts get applied to things the middle class America needs like Social Security and Medicare, the defense cuts proposed are veterans pensions and healthcare, which is something I'm not in favor of either.
The bottom line is that you're looking at things that cost a penny looking to save dollars (i.e. Welfare) or you're looking at reducing things that really help people, that they need and that is not even available commercially assuming most seniors could afford it to begin with.
These things are what your policy choices would do and hence are what I wish on anyone and everyone that makes the choice to explicitly hurt people which is what the Republican and the Teabaggers wish to do.