I grew up very poor and have fought my way up to the lower echelons of the middle class. You are correct in your assessment that many people at the bottom are not there of their own volition. But having been there (and having gone back there on most holidays for the last 10 years to visit family members who are content to accept what is handed to them rather than attempting to improve their own lots in life) I feel that the system is broken. And in its brokenness, it has broken the people who depend on it. It perpetuates itself by providing just enough to keep people from wanting to try.
I have struggled, I have fought, and I have done without. I continue to do without at times even though I work. That is because a third of my pay is commandeered to support those who CHOOSE to stay in the system.
The choice to stay in the system is a difficult one to break, especially for those who have seen what I have seen. The people I see on Welfare, Section 8, and Food Stamps drive better cars than I drive. They live in nicer houses than I have. They eat better meals than I eat. Because what they are given is more than what I am left after my earnings have been decimated by taxes, insurance, and countless other deductions.
*stepping off my soapbox now*