Welfare was not just a way to tax other people to pay for a poor woman's children. It was a scheme to separate families and to use the money stolen from the breadwinner to decide how to raise the children. Once the woman was on welfare, social workers checked on her and judged her with impunity, and often they found ways to take her children away from her. By this time she was alone, and there was no one to help her fight the social workers, because her husband had been banished and his money taken from him.
Yes, a lot of those men were not model husbands and fathers. Some were alcoholics or addicts, some were abusive and some were just deadbeats. Many of those men had lower IQs than their wives -- or at least they had not finished high school, while the wives had. The social workers used this fact to convince the women that their husbands were beneath them. They tried to tell the women that they could do better. But the demographics of the dating market were such that the women could in fact not do better. If they had been able to find better husbands, they would have married better men in the first place. They were a lot worse off under the thumb of the social workers and the Federal child support enforcers than they had been when left to their own devices in their less than perfect marriages.
I wrote about some of these issues in The Debt Collector.
Today, with the ACA mandate, more families are coming under the thumb of Federal welfare, because people who used to be self-supporting and ineligible for Medicaid are now being forced to enroll in this Federal program in order to avoid tax penalties. But once they are enrolled, they often find that they have lost a lot of their civil liberties. Their prescription drug use is subject to scrutiny without any privacy. Their children are subject to social worker visits. And none of this is actually free -- when they die, the Federal government will confiscate their homes and other assets to pay for the Medicaid expenditure.
Many progressives think that anyone opposed to the ACA must not care about the poor. But this program is engineered to create more poverty and to take more and more rights away from those currently only on the brink of poverty. Welfare is not free. Its highest costs are borne by those forced to submit to its tender ministrations. This is how welfare has always worked.