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Poll: Many Americans blame welfare for ‘persistent poverty’

Americans blame government welfare programs for persistent poverty more than any other factor, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week.

Out of a choice of eight factors, 24 percent of Americans said “too much government welfare that prevents initiative” is the reason for persistent poverty which has become a major concern due to the lagging economy following the recession.

The second most popular answer was “Lack of job opportunities” — 18 percent — and the third most popular answers were “lack of good educational opportunities” and “breakdown of families” — at 13 percent each.

Only 4 percent of respondents said that “lack of government funding” was to blame for persistent poverty, while 3 percent said it was “drugs” and only 2 percent blamed “racial discrimination.”

NBC News and the Wall Street Journal asked a similar question in 1994, when Congress was debating welfare reform. The poll asked about poverty in the inner cities, but did not list welfare programs as a possible response.

The 1994 poll saw “lack of job opportunities” — at 31 percent — as the leading answer and a “breakdown of families” — at 23 percent — as the second most popular response.

The number of families receiving cash welfare has been more than halved since the 1990s, from about 5 million to about 2 million in 2011. However, the number of Americans on food stamps has exploded, from about 27 million in 1994 to about 46 million in 2012.

In April 2013, a record number of people collected federal disability — 10,962,532 which is more than the number of people living in Greece. April was the 195th consecutive month that the number of Americans collecting disability grew, reports CNS News.

CNS News reports: “The last time the number of Americans collecting disability decreased was in January 1997. That month the number of workers taking disability dropped by 249 people—from 4,385,623 in December 1996 to 4,385,374 in January 1997.”

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