The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that only 5% of our federal budget dollars goes toward "welfare" (article below). And if that is the case John, it doesn't appear that the welfare state is "bankrupting the country" as you assert.http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/02/how-much-do-we-spend-nonworking-poor
I'm sure there is fraud and abuse within the system, after all the recipients are human and fallible. As there is no doubt fraud and abuse in every federal and state program. The article cited below states that abuse at gambling casino's in California alone amounted to 1.8 million welfare dollars.
But like I said, there is fraud and abuse everywhere in the system, the difference between rooting the bad from the welfare system is that it could inadvertently hurt innocent people such as children, the elderly, and the disabled with real dire consequences up to and potentially, death. Whereas, rooting out fraud in say, the defense department, the most dire consequence potential is jail time. Which is the reason we must tread with care when attempting to fix the system. The first thing, in MHO, is not to label the recipients in a negative way, because every group of humans has bad apples.
There are also been a ton of reforms from the state level (MI recent 48 month cut off) to the federal level being implemented right now:http://www.sooeveningnews.com/newsnow/x329771370/New-welfare-restrictions-target-booze-tattoos
"The movement has been spurred in part by Congress. Under legislation signed by President Barack Obama in February to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, welfare recipients are barred from using their cash assistance in strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores. States must change their own laws to conform by 2014."