Public Welfare is an important support system of the United States government. Welfare has its benefits, but the system has pitfalls. Instead of abolishing welfare as critics of the system suggest, reforms can be made to correct the problems while government, either on the state or federal level, can continue to assist the impoverished.
The term welfare is used to describe a variety of programs that provide income support and create a safety net for poor individuals and families. Such benefits include Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, food stamps, housing allowances, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Aid To Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) enables states to provide cash payments to children that are deprived of the care or support of a parent. In terms of welfare reform, this is the program most often discussed.
The media has created many myths regarding welfare and the reasons the system should be done away with. Stating that the majority of new welfare recipients are poor, single mothers, claims have been made that poor women have more children because of the incentives of welfare benefits. It has been proven that is no correlation between women's choice to have children and welfare benefit levels. Furthermore, for each additional child, a mother can expect an additional $90 of AFDC benefits, far too low to serve as any type of incentive. In addition, those states that provide higher benefits do not necessarily show higher birth rates among their welfare recipients. Families receiving AFDC benefits have 1.9 children, just about the same as the national average. (ACLU 1)
Another myth created by the media concerns the amount of money spent and the results. It has been said that after spending billions of dollars since the mid-1960's on anti-poverty programs, there have been little or no results. To begin with, spending on AFDC between 1964 and 1994 was only $500 billion, less than...