The idea behind welfare is that is it is a system run by the government to help support people that are down on their luck, unable to support themselves for even basic needs. To make sure that people, no matter what horrible situation occurs, have at least shelter and food.

The current system in the United States doesn't seem to work too well, however. People who have children while on welfare will get more money, obviously to help support the new child. People often are in situations where there's no obvious way out of their poverty, and few programs are run to help educate them, to give them skills to be productive. Even worse, the program is often set up so that working will reduce or eliminate the benefits, so that most basic jobs available, such as a part-time job in a fast food place, will result in them having LESS money available - and how many people would take a job just to have less money?

There is also a large amount of feeling by many people that everyone on welfare is simply a leech, who could easily get a decent job and work to provide for themselves, but are just too lazy to. Others don't even believe in a safety net, that everyone should provide for themselves, and if they can't do it, then they can freeze or starve to death, and it's all good.