Re: I am amazed . . .
The problem is that the benefits should be directed at getting people employed but when one worries about where to find their next meal today, it is hard to look for a job tomorrow and so they begin to rely on payouts. The culture purpetuates handouts rather than motivation. (I applaud the Aussie system if it works as well as you say - Canada's is supposed to work like that but most often doesn't. Though we have the same problems with the countries Aboriginals.)
The biggest problem we have is that the benefits are often better than the lowest level jobs, so there is no motivation. They are set towards a bottom standard of living that is actually above what people get when they are on minimum wage. (It gets worse when our government offers more for children so there are unemployed pumping out kids to get more money - hoorah for child poverty in the developed world!) What it should be is an assistence program that dwindles the longer you are on it but promises to reinstate support for those who work but can't make the "poverty line". I.e if someone only makes $18,000 a year (shit job indeed), the government would give them whatever it took to meet their needs. Then, the motivation would be to take that shit job and if you want a better life, work toward it.