The issue is by far the biggest bug in the system of government that goes by the name of republic: politicians rob the rich and share the spoils with the poor in exchange for their votes. Julius fucking Caesar worked this simple trick more than two thousand years ago. It never failed to destroy a country.
Two ways out of it, the way I see it.
1. Convincing the lumpenproletariat that panis et circensi will not last forever. Quoting Lady Thatcher: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". If they keep it up at the current rate, the country will go bankrupt, become Third World and they will live the way poor people live in the Third World (not pretty).
2. The rest of the country seceding from the West Coast and Northeast (a third of this country's welfare recipients reside in CA, for example) and amending its Constitution to say that only people who contribute to the treasury get to elect representatives who decide how that money is spent.
Both are highly unlikely, but we owe it to ourselves to try...