Welfare Essay, Research Paper
?Welfare, it is on just about everyone?s’ mind, whether it is Medicare or the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which is also called the AFDC. Some believe there is too much and others think there is too little. As the years go by, the need for welfare reform increases.?(Sara) Welfare is constantly being taken advantage of, and it needs to be reformed to solve this problem. Welfare in its current state is a tremendous drain on our economy. With reform, we can keep our economy on the rise for longer amounts of time. The main problem that Welfare causes is that it gives money to people who haven?t performed any work for it. This is bad for our economy because it devalues the money that is in circulation. Society must advocate a policy like Social Darwinism, because we cannot kill off the weak, but at the same time they must work for their keep. We should severely limit the benefits paid out through Welfare.
Welfare uses, or should we say, misuses billions of dollars per year. This money could be better spent on tax breaks, government-funded job training centers, and help for our ailing Social Security system. When it was originally conceived during a time of economic distress, the welfare program supplied aid to those in need. ?When it was originally conceived during a time of economic distress, the welfare program supplied aid to those in need. Welfare aid was received primarily by widowed and divorced mothers, and it served as a cushion to break their fall into a different lifestyle, so that they could get back up on their feet and walk. However today it has come to serve as a paycheck for irresponsible and slothful Americans. Welfare is like patching a water main with duct tape; you have to constantly tend to the problem to keep it in check.?(Anonymous) Welfare programs should show the poor they must learn to fish for themselves if recipients are to eventually work for their sustenance. ?In 1994 alone, 34 million people received some 140 billion dollars in Medicaid benefits. Food stamps that are used by low-income families, buys food items and work just like money. In 1994, 27 million people used food stamps costing the federal government 24 billion dollars.?(Sara) Thus, we must change our welfare system. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said: ?I can now see the end of public assistance in America.? FDR?s declaration did not come true, despite the spending what was then an unparalleled amount of federal funds for a variety of programs to help the poor. ?In a Los Angeles Times poll from 1985, 70 percent of poor women said it is ?almost always? or ?often? true that ?poor young women have babies so they can collect welfare.? Two thirds said that welfare ?almost always? or ?often? encourages fathers to avoid family responsibilities. Thus, we can be certain that not only does welfare back wrongful births, but recipients agree it seems to promote them.?(Anonymous) This is ironic because public assistance in large part is meant to be a last resort for remedying the problems of out-of-wedlock-births, not creating new ones. Researchers have concluded that Welfare handouts have decreased the recipients? willingness to work, and often it is the recipients? negative attitude towards work rather than a lack of available jobs, which is responsible for their unemployment. Without shorter time limits on aid, there is little chance that recipients will commit to the same obligations that are assumed by other citizens–to try to become self-sufficient through work, education, and by practicing good family behavior.
The problems with the current Welfare system, if it is left untouched, are the same problems we face today, only they will become worse and with greater numbers. The problem with the Welfare system, as stated above, is the fact that often women have children in order to receive public assistance. Also it has been documented that some corrupt doctors overcharge Medicaid patients because the government is picking up the check. However, in most hospitals when Medicaid is used the hospital gets less money to help the patient than they would normally get from a paying patient. Also if high-tech equipment is needed to treat a Medicaid patient it might cost more money to use the equipment than the hospital receives from the government. This system has many flaws and there is a potential for many more problems in the future if it isn?t corrected. Spending on welfare would have to increase greatly to eliminate poverty, and many people believe the cost is already too high. This means that the only intelligent course of action is to set strict time limits on the Welfare system, and to limit the benefits paid out. There is an inherent danger when cutting benefits to people who base their survival on those benefits. The first few generations will reject the new system and they will struggle to get on their feet, but this is necessary in order to produce a new breed of hard-working lower-class Americans. Not everyone can start out at the top, but the beauty of our country is that everyone is supposed to be able to start out with enough to survive, and with hard work they can succeed and raise their standard of living.
An example can be made of how faulty our current welfare system is by giving statistics of an average family on welfare, and the benefits that they are eligible to receive. A poverty line is set, and this line is an average income amount that is set to reflect how much it would cost to support a given family. The poverty line in this example for a four-person family is $20,000 a year. If a family earns less than $20,000 they are eligible for $380 per month in food stamps. So let?s say that our example family has two parents and two children. If the father works full time for $9.50 / hour, he will earn a little under $20,000 / year, which means he can use his $1500 / month on rent, utilities, car, and other expenses, and receive his $380 per month for food. So this family makes $1900, not because both parents work hard, but because one parent doesn?t work. So in effect we are paying the mother $4,500 to do nothing. If that mother had gotten a job, even if it was only part-time she could have made on average $10,000 for her family, it is this unwillingness to work that keeps her family in poverty. ?California, for instance, spent $289 million in 1994 on a job-training program called Greater Avenues for Independence (G.A.I.N.). A recent study by the Manpower Demonstration and Research Corporation found that single parents who joined the program are now earning an average 20% more than people who did not take part in the program. I think more programs like this should take the place of the original welfare programs.?(Sara) Welfare is supposed to be a last resort, used only when both parents can do no more to support their family or when one parent is unable to support his or her family. Instead, it is being depended on as a secondary income in many households. One of the largest problems with public assistance is that it is too easy to get. Welfare needs reform quickly, before it becomes too hard to get the American people off of it.
Opponents of welfare reform argue that if we take away benefits from the families who receive them, we will be punishing the men, women, and children who depend on this money to survive. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth because people in need usually find a way to get along. Welfare reform and benefit reduction will instill a healthy work ethic into otherwise lazy and irresponsible adults. This will also cause the newly employed parents to instill these values in their children, and provide proper role models for their children. Also, the cause of poverty is not the dire shortage of available jobs or livable wages. This might have been the case in the 20s or the 70s, but there is a surplus of jobs right now. The problem is that no one wants to work for $12,000, when they can get $5,000 for free. If we eliminate this option of welfare for the able, it will force them to work for what they get and to help their economy and in turn help themselves. In the communist countries of the past full employment was achieved, because there was no such thing as welfare, everyone worked because you had to in order to survive. Some people say that welfare reform will not only help make sure that people who don?t deserve assistance won?t get it; but that some people who do deserve it won?t get it. This situation is possible, however the problem we are trying to stop is the millions of people who take advantage of the welfare system. Fairness will never be able to be ensured for anything, so to solve one problem is better than letting another one eat away at the economy.
America as a country can take a look at some individual states welfare reform, and patent our national welfare after theirs. Wisconsin, California, and Ohio have all added extra requirements in order to receive public assistance. Recipients not only have to have a job, but they must be practicing good family behavior (being married if they have children, raising the children properly) or good community behavior. We need to have stricter regulations placed upon welfare systems nationwide. If we do this we can afford more job training programs, California was able to get most (97%) of their participants a better job than they had before. These states are examples of what can happen when welfare is reformed.
In the political arena, there are a select few topics that come up in every debate, and press meeting, one of those topics is welfare. The middle class could use a tax break, and they should get it, after all they are the ones working to keep our economy strong. When they can?t get help, because someone else is getting paid to do nothing, it takes away a little more hope or faith that they had in the American government. We need to cut welfare spending, and use the money we save to get the former welfare recipients on their feet, and contributing to the economy, instead of taking away from it. Reduction of welfare spending is necessary for a stronger economy, and a stronger nation overall.