The destructive force of low expectations not only results in the bad behavior of those who are the target of the low expectations, but it also inculcates in them the sense that since nothing is expected of them, they are exempt from delivering anything in return. And thus an entire generation of people has been instructed in dependency by Leftist policies, which require no quid pro quo as payment for their dependence. President George W. Bush framed the problem succinctly when he talked about the "soft bigotry of low expectations."
The safety net, which is just another name for charity, has become for many a hammock. Support is given and there are no requirements placed upon the recipients of that support. Most traditional sources of charity always required some action from those being helped, whether it was a few hours of volunteerism or enrollment in a self-help training program. When charity was localized, the recipient felt more of a responsibility to their fellow citizens to work towards supporting themselves. The local charity system is morally superior to the welfare state created by a Leftist central government because it is funded voluntarily. If a man sees another man who is hungry and gives him a sandwich, the benefactor feels good about helping out a fellow human being and the beneficiary feels grateful for being helped. This necessarily creates a moral act out of charity. But when government confiscates the sandwich from the man who has it and gives it to the man who doesn't, the benefactor feels bitter for having his sandwich taken from him and the beneficiary feels entitled to the sandwich because he sees it as coming from government, not the man who is actually providing the support.
I have always felt that if we can't eliminate the government involvement in buying food, housing, clothing, air conditioners and cell phones for the poor, then at the very least we should expect their children to graduate high school and stay out jail. It seems that the overwhelming majority of parents who work and/or are involved in other productive pursuits, have children who are educated and felony-free. Why is it that parents who are completely supported by taxpayer money can't assure that their kids go to school daily, do their homework and stay out of trouble? My suggestion would be to take away benefits from anyone whose children don't meet a minimum academic requirement and can't stay on the right side of the law.
As a compassionate society, we should require anyone receiving assistance to work as a volunteer in addition to raising children who become productive members of society. Studies have shown that people feel worse about themselves and are much less happy when they feel that they haven't worked for what they receive. And this is the real tragedy of Leftist policies, they destroy the human spirit and create a soulless culture.