Since 1935 -- when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act -- social programs to provide for the public welfare have been present in some form or another. Americans have received retirement benefits, unemployment compensation, and health care aid through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. However, there are those who believe that the government should cut, if not eliminate altogether, such programs for the well-being of the country.

Personal Responsibility

One argument against social welfare programs, according to the Social Welfare Policy and Underlying Values textbook, is that society should hold the individual responsible for his own well-being. According to this belief, any financial misfortune is the fault of the person. Even if he has lost his job due to a change in the economy, this school of thought would say that the person should have been creating a savings account for himself while he had a job.

Adds to the Federal Deficit

A person in favor of eliminating social programs would be likely to say that it is not prudent for the country to have social programs. The deficit is too high, in the trillions, as of 2011. According to this school of thought, the government should cut these programs, or eliminate them altogether, so that the country can focus on more important matters, like making sure U.S. troops have the food and supplies they need to remain strong, and making sure businesses have the financial incentive to remain productive.


Individuals who argue against government involvement in welfare cite constitutional reasons. According to the Health Care Pro Con website, their argument is that the Constitution promises "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Success, and the resulting happiness -- including access to health care and other services -- is contingent on the individual's pursuit of it by his hard work, and not on guaranteed insurance and/or a welfare check, according to this philosophy. Indeed, one of this worldview's tenets is that hard-working individuals should not have to worry about their tax monies going to support someone who will not work for his living.

Takes Self-Improvement Incentive Away

Another argument against social programs is that they take away the incentive of people who are unemployed, or otherwise unfortunate, to make efforts to land on their feet once again. Instead of continuing to seek a job, or perhaps taking steps toward entrepreneurship, the individual will look forward to receiving that unemployment benefit check every two weeks.