AP Government 3
13 May 2013
Welfare "Benefits" Unemployed
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Welfare began as a federally funded program in the 1930s during the Great Depression for mainly the elderly and disabled, but also the unemployed. Many Americans complained of abuse of the welfare program, claiming the citizens with assistance "were not applying for jobs, having more children just to get more aid, and staying unmarried so as to qualify for greater benefits," ("Welfare Information"). President Bill Clinton passed a reform law in 1996 that turned the welfare system power from the federal government to state governments and required the able-bodied to work or prepare for work. This law essentially established Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program, and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. TANF is "a block grant program to help move recipients into work and turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance," ("Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)"). In 2012, President Barack Obama waivered the work requirement for TANF. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families payments are abused by its recipients. Eliminating the welfare work requirement causes dependency; it should be reinstated and the program should be reformed to help further prevent abuse.
Before Obama waived the work requirement for TANF, the recipient of aid was supposed to have work within 2 years and only receive welfare aid for a maximum of 5 years. After the waiver, citizens on welfare do not have a limit on how many years they can receive aid nor are they required to have a job. How is this helping? The program is called "welfare-to-work," but how is anyone getting the motivation to get a job without being on a time limit? Citizens can receive aid for as long as they please, which may be for the rest of their life. This is a prime example of laziness. The Obama Administration's excuse for discarding the work demand: "the waiver is designed to give states more flexibility to design their own plans to help move people from welfare to work," (Kasperowicz). This makes no sense; how else can one be motivated to get a job? Not only do most welfare recipients not find jobs, the majority of welfare recipients do not find employment especially as their age increases. Forty-five percent of men and women within the age group of twenty to twenty-four find employment; while only fourteen percent of those exceeding thirty years of age find employment.
Giving more money obviously doesn't motivate the recipients; the amount of citizens on welfare has doubled since Obama became president in 2008 (Rector). Everyone has the ability to be successful, but some people would rather give up and whine to the government about their responsibility to take care of them. Obama is allowing Americans to become dependent and lazy, causing the government to spend unnecessary amounts of money helping people who aren't willing to help themselves.
In 2012, the United States officially reached the $16 trillion debt mark. This is not good. The government keeps spending more than they earn year after year and does little to nothing to prevent going further into debt. The US government spends 12% of its budget on welfare as opposed to only 3% on education (Federal Budget Spending Actuals). The government is basically saying that giving money to people who don't necessarily need it is more important than funding public schools who teach the country's future. Only 2% of the federal budget goes to police and fire stations nationwide. Protecting our country is more important than funding a program for lazy adults.
Granted, there are families and people on the TANF program who truly need the help, but the program is abused. There is no requirement to work, no limit on how long one...
Cited: Fraser, Nancy, and Linda Gordon. "A Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State." _Signs_. 2nd ed. Vol. 19. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1994. 309-36. Print.
Gaiser, T. Elliot. "Dumping Welfare Work Requirements Is Not Innovation." Web log post. _The Foundry Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation_. The Heritage Network, 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 May 2013.
Kasperowicz, Pete. "House Advances Bill Ending Obama 's Waiver of Welfare-to-work Rules." _Capitol Hill Publishing Corp_. News Communications, Inc., 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 12 May 2013. .
Rector, Robert. "How Obama Has Gutted Welfare Reform." _WP Opinions_. The Washington Post, 06 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 May 2013. .
"Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation and Costs." _SNAP Annual Summary_. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 10 May 2013. Web. 12 May 2013. .
"Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)." _Programs_. US Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. .
"Welfare Information." _US Welfare System_. N.p., 2013. Web. 12 May 2013. .
"Where Does Money For Welfare Come From?" _Understanding Our Economy_. Word Press, n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. .
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