13 Quotes from Men of Recent History on Government Welfare

When one adds the 107 million Americans already receiving some form of means-tested government welfare, to the 46 million seniors collecting Medicare and 22 million government employees at the federal, state and local level suddenly, over 165 million people, a clear majority of the 308 million Americans counted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, are at least partially dependents of the state.

We clearly live in a welfare state based, not on the production of wealth, but on the redistribution of wealth. Here are thirteen quotes from men of recent history on government welfare:


“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.” – Thomas Jefferson


“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” – Ben Franklin.


“There are two ways to enslave a nation. One is by arms. The other is by debt.” – John Adams


“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” – Samuel Adams


“Property is the fruit of labor. Property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently to build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence.” – Abraham Lincoln


“This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:  (1) The few plunder the many.  (2) Everybody plunders everybody.  (3) Nobody plunders anybody.” – Frederic Bastiat


“The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville


“Man, no doubt, owes many other moral duties to his fellow men; such as to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, protect the defenseless, assist the weak, and enlighten the ignorant. But these are simply moral duties, of which each man must be his own judge, in each particular case, as to whether, and how, and how far, he can, or will perform them.” – Lysander Spooner


“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain


“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.” – Ludwig von Mises


“Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.” – Friedrich August von Hayek


“It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.” — Murray N. Rothbard


“Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions.” – Milton Friedman


Over 100 Million Americans are on Welfare

“The sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal of equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation.” – Pope Leo XIII on socialism.

Over 100 Million Americans are on Welfare. That’s one-third of the population. In the wealthiest nation in the world. One out of every three Americans. Stop and think about that for a moment. This extends far beyond simply providing a safety net for the impoverished and unfortunate; the welfare state is, in fact, nothing more than government bribing Americans with their own money. But, with one American in three living off of hand-outs taken from the other two for how much longer do you think politicians will be able to hand out these “free” benefits before they drive the other two-thirds of Americans into poverty as well? After all, this data point alone should convince anyone that our nation is governed by socialist principles, and history, economics and the Catholic Church have made it very clear that collectivism can lead only to destruction.

the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in 2000 to 31.9 million when Barack Obama took office to 46.4 million today.

The federal government spent a staggering 71.8 billion dollars on the food stamp program in 2011.

The number of Americans on Medicaid grew from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011.

Medicaid was supposed to help the poorest of the poor get medical care and back in 1965 only about one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, about one-sixth of the entire country is on Medicaid. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls. But projections like that are usually way too low.

Entitlement spending alone constitutes nearly 50% of the federal budget. The next largest money pit is military spending as a result of our aggressive military adventurism abroad. Both need to be scaled back drastically – and soon.

Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.

That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

And that’s just Medicare alone. In the face of such demands the rich will soldier on – and government will probably help protect them – but the weak will be left in the cold, defenseless and unable to meet their “debt to society.”

Socialists condemn advocates of a free-market and reduced government spending as “greedy” but we as a nation are addicted to government money – which is to say that we are addicted to other people’s money. What’s more greedy than that? When we demand entitlements we say its because we’re entitled to food and housing and medical care – it is our “right.” What we’re really saying, however, is that we are entitled to the fruit of other people’s labor and we can use force to take it from them. Their “debt to society” is a debt to me. Productive Americans “owe” it to everybody else. With incentives like those soon there won’t be any producers left. You can work 16 hour days in a fishery up in Alaska or you can sit at home and receive a check in the mail from the government. Which would you choose? What happens when enough people choose the latter?

Government benevolence programs are illegitimate, an economic disaster and usurp the rightful role of the Church and private charity. There is a fundamental difference between living in a welfare state and having a safety net for the poor. The law cannot force people to be charitable – it can only forcibly take their belongings and give them to others. This only serves to pit Americans against Americans, to sow contempt where otherwise there would be none. We do have a safety net available to us that does not involve force of law or pitting neighbors against each other: its called charity. We are the most charitable nation in the world and we donate enough, not only to provide for our own poor, but to help countless around the world. By giving back to the American people what is theirs and restoring an anemic economy sucked dry by government “legalized plunder” private charity can only grow and, as a result, charity in the hearts of the American people can grow again as well.

With that, I will end this article as it began, with a quote from Pope Leo XIII:

“At the present day many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek to blame and condemn the Church for such eminent charity. They would substitute in its stead a system of relief organized by the State. But no human expedients will ever make up for the devotedness and self sacrifice of Christian charity. Charity, as a virtue, pertains to the Church.”

How to Make Illegal Immigration a Non-Issue

illegal immigration would be a non-issue if we didn’t live in a welfare state in which millions of illegal aliens drain expensive benefits that they didn’t contribute to. Want to make the American Dream a possibility for desperate Mexicans and other foreigners looking to come to the United States? End all federal welfare programs: then America can afford to open its borders to just about anyone looking for a brighter future.

What? Just let anyone come to America just because they want to? Well, why not? Without welfare, what imperative does the government have to meticulously control every person who crosses the border? Consider that, until 1914, prior to the welfare state, the United States had completely open borders. That so many Europeans could simply get on a boat heading to America and, upon landing at Ellis Island, become an immigrant in the early twentieth century is universally recognized as a good thing. Does that change now simply because most of our immigrants are from South America instead of Europe?

Free immigration today, however, is a bad thing because, while free immigration to jobs is good, free immigration to welfare is bad. One of the monumental costs of the welfare state is the immigration conundrum: If we simply allow all impoverished foreigners who want to come to America looking for a better life to freely immigrate to the United States then either our welfare state would be overburdened far beyond capacity so that the entire system would collapse or taxes and inflation would have to skyrocket to such heights that the quality of life of everyone would plummet. Or, we could close our borders, protect our welfare programs, and damn millions of would-be immigrants to their current, impoverished lifestyles. Either way, one of the inherent costs of the welfare state is to give benefits to some at the expense of everyone else – including those would-be immigrants who are so much worse off than America’s own poor.

Ultimately, one of the best ways to help the world’s impoverished and simultaneously strengthen our economy is to end the welfare state and open our borders.

Milton Friedman on illegal immigration, part 1:

Milton Friedman on illegal immigration, part 2: