All this talk about how wefare abuse is rampant, and how even legitimate welfare usage is crippling our economy and should therefore be a top priority for reform and cutbacks reminds me of a short anecdote. Some years ago I worked for a start-up company, struggling to remain cash-flow positive. During one particularly lean and stressful period, our founder and CTO went on a crusade to make sure everyone turned off their monitors when the left work. We need to cut costs he said (and he was right of course) and not wasting power is great place to start. Sounds reasonable enough, and he even enlisted a few minions to enforce his decree... And then I actually showed him the numbers. We were spending roughly $3million per quarter in operating expenses, of which our utility bill comprised $15K or 0.5%. Even if we managed to cut our utility bill by 100% (down to zero), we weren't going to make a dent in our cost structure. Since nobody can ever produce real numbers to support their anti-welfare diatribes, I suspect a similar phenomenon could be at work here. It sounds reasonable, it plays right into many a confirmation bias, but alas, it's simply not supported by the actual numbers. But whatcha gonna do?