Jordan Candler / Aug. 25, 2015

In Washington, DC, Welfare Is Already on Par With Europe

European-level dependency is no longer a question of "when."

Normally when it comes to welfare in America the $1 trillion question is when exactly we will devolve into European-level dependency. When it comes to our nation’s capital, however, it seems we’re already there — and then some. In fact, if you live in DC, Denmark is the only country that offers greater benefits on the taxpayer dole, according to a new Cato Institute study. Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes write, “In D.C., a mother with two children under the age of five who participates in six major welfare programs — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), housing assistance, home energy assistance, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and free commodities — would receive a benefits package worth $34,963 per year. Using a similar measure, Cato found that benefits in Europe ranged from $38,588 per year in Denmark to just $1,112 in Romania. In fact, the District’s welfare system can be more generous than every country included except Denmark. The benefits package is higher than in well known welfare states as France ($17,324), Germany ($23,257) and even Sweden ($22,111).” Keep in mind the study excludes Medicaid expenses that would add another $8,140. Tanner and Hughes are also careful to note, “People in these programs are not lazy, but they are also not stupid. Like everyone else, they respond to incentives. If welfare pays better than work, people on welfare will be less likely to work.” Perhaps a good place to begin reform is on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers’ paychecks should be rescinded until they actually get any work done.

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