Can you guess how many welfare programs the federal government runs? Five? 10? Fifty?
The correct answer is more than 80, according to the Congressional Research Service. With so many programs, figuring out where to get help can be a time-consuming challenge.
To illustrate just how confusing the system is, House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, R-La., displayed the below chart at a committee hearing.
That doesn't even include the many programs at the state and local level. Combined, over $1 trillion of taxpayer money gets spent on welfare programs every year. Yet, the poverty rate is right where it was almost 50 years ago. Roughly one in seven Americans lives in poverty.
"This federal welfare system is large, fragmented, and growing in cost," Boustany said at the hearing. "This system may have started out with good intentions, but it has become a confusing maze of programs that are overlapping, duplicative, poorly coordinated and difficult to administer. I defy anyone to say this is the best way to address the human tragedy so many of our fellow citizens experience."
No matter what you think about the country's welfare system, we can all agree it's too complicated.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.