Sophia D. Michigan


Life is demanding. We all need a little help sometimes, and that's what welfare is made for. Welfare, then, is a good thing, right? Some would disagree.

Dear Future President,

Life is demanding. We, as Americans, get a lot thrown at us on a daily basis, and sometimes it becomes too much to bear. We all need a little help sometimes, and that’s what welfare is made for. Welfare, then, is a good thing, right? Many people would argue so. There’s also many people, however, who would maintain that welfare is detrimental and corrupt in our country.

Those in support of welfare would reason that without it, an additional 2.6% of americans, about 8 million people, would be in poverty along with the original 14.5% in 2013. On a larger scale, it might not seem like much compared to the total population of 325 million, but when put into perspective, that 2.6% is approximately equal to the entire population of Virginia. Additionally. a study done by the University of California at Berkley found that the government spends $152.8 billion yearly on food stamps, health insurance, and cash assistance programs for families that are struggling to make ends meet.

As a country I believe we all take pride in these and in the fact that we’re doing a great deed by helping these people, but I’ve seen first-hand in my own life how that generosity is taken advantage of and abused, and this issue spreads onto a much larger scale than just one person. Thus, I believe that welfare is a flawed system vulnerable to selfish and corrupt people looking to take advantage of its benefits.

In an ideal world, welfare would be used so those with the ability to would work and earn their own money, then help those who are unable to do so. The problem is, in reality, not everyone plays fair, in fact most people won’t if they don’t have to. Who could blame them? If someone gave you the opportunity to quit work, or not worry about going to college, or even high school, and still get daily expenses covered by money that was freely given, would you do it? A life not having to worry about making money sounds amazing, except for the people who have to work to make that money in place of that person. Because of someone's decision to sit back and relax with no responsibilities, everyone else has to work harder to make up for it.

I hear people say, “How would you know? You wouldn’t understand.” Yes, I haven’t experienced first-hand being involved with welfare from either side of the spectrum. What I can say, however, is that I’ve seen how these conditions unfold right in front of me. I watched my own family being taken advantage of, forced into a position of submission to try and support someone who has no interest in trying to make an honest living. It’s infuriating, and pains me to see the possibility of a similar situation happening to our country on a much larger scale.

Simple children's stories, while they seem like common-sense and morality lessons that we all should understand and follow, we still sometimes fail to remember the lessons they taught us. A narrative by the name of The Donkey and the Horse illustrates this issue of welfare quite faithfully in this scenario. As the story goes, the owner of the two animals places all of his possessions on his donkey, who then asks the horse to carry half the load in his struggle. The horse refuses, causing the donkey to collapse from exhaustion and ultimately making the horse carry the whole load by itself. With this, one can visualize how the story could be applied to the issue at hand; Eventually, if more and more people continue to take advantage of welfare and tax-payers continue to have to carry the weight of them, they will eventually collapse, where they too will need aid to make up for what they lost. After that, who is left to fix it? The people who are unable to support themselves in the first place, let alone the entire working class? How long will that survive?

Evidently, welfare could become a major issue for the US, but how can it be fixed? Education may be the answer. Looking at statistics from 2012, only 13% of people that went to at least one year of college have received welfare benefits, as compared to the 45% of high school dropouts. Some would argue that this correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but more likely than not the lack of education plays a role in a person’s dependency later on in life, whether its directly or indirectly. If this is the case, shouldn’t our focus be switched from trying to aid struggling Americans directly to giving them the tools to be able to lead their own path to success?

So, future president, I’m not asking you to end welfare, as I do think it serves a just purpose. What I’m asking is to switch our focus. If we instead use a portion of the money going into welfare and use it towards improving education, we could eliminate the need of even having that extra money in welfare, and in turn benefit our economy and people. If even just a portion of that money could go towards a more accessible and quality education such as online college programs and improved public schooling conditions, we can open up learning to a plethora of people. We can lead previously struggling Americans towards an upward spiral of opportunities and success, and lift a momentous weight off the shoulders of this great country to move towards a brighter future.


High school student Sophia D


Clarkston Community Schools

Hausauer 2nd Hour

Second hour Honors ELA 10

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