Social safety net that is extremely necessary in today's economy of 10% unemployment and 20% underemployment. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of welfare payments are not cash, but rather credits for necessary items like food. Long demonized by politicians as a means of diverting attention from the larger problems of government (such as corruption and lobbying) to something more tangible and easy for the public at large to blame (ie. those lazy goddamn poor people). Many welfare programs, such as food stamps, now have requirements for enrollment.
Oh no, I won't get my welfare if my boss cuts my hours below twenty per week! That is the work requirement for food stamps, dontcha know?!